Dylan Covered “Two Soldiers.” Song Illustrates The Tragedy of War for the Soldiers and their Devastated Loved Ones.

Two Soldiers
   ——Bob Dylan

Traditional Song

He was just a blue-eyed Boston boy,
His voice was low with pain.
"I'll do your bidding, comrade mine,
If I ride back again.
But if you ride back and I am left,
You'll do as much for me,
Mother, you know, must hear the news,
So write to her tenderly.

"She's waiting at home like a patient saint,
Her fond face pale with woe.
Her heart will be broken when I am gone,
I'll see her soon, I know."
Just then the order came to charge,
For an instance hand touched hand.
They said, "Aye," and away they rode,
That brave and devoted band.

Straight was the track to the top of the hill,
The rebels they shot and shelled,
Plowed furrows of death through the toiling ranks,
And guarded them as they fell.
There soon came a horrible dying yell
From heights that they could not gain,
And those whom doom and death had spared
Rode slowly back again.

But among the dead that were left on the hill
Was the boy with the curly hair.
The tall dark man who rode by his side
Lay dead beside him there.
There's no one to write to the blue-eyed girl
The words that her lover had said.
Momma, you know, awaits the news,
And she'll only know he's dead.

Apparently the late Jerry Garcia, Grateful Dead, introduced this song to Dylan. The latter sung it on his overlooked album of covered blues and folk songs, World Gone Wrong (1993). Dylan included it once on a concert set-list on October 9, 1994 at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston. It was the fifteenth song of a sixteen-song setlist.  

Many traditional songs preferenced blue eyes as did our society until fairly recently. Even Dylan adopted this standard ocular sentiment in "Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." Yet Dylan cannot be accused of racial preferencing in that it was common then and he was an avid supporter of civil rights and risked life and limb when he sang in Greenwood, Mississippi during a voting rights campaign by the S.N.C.C. He sang his ode to Medgar Evers, "Only A Pawn in Their Game," at the momentous March on Washington in August 1963 where Dr King delivered his "I Have A Dream" oration. He later married an African American.

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