Caribbean Winds

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Caribbean Winds (Copyright © 1985 by Special Rider Music) was written by Bob Dylan at the end of a Dylan Period, of which we’ve experienced many variations since 1981 as Bob has evolved and re-emerged album after album. Caribbean Wind was written by Bob Dylan after the end of his ’79 Tour, and prior to his ’80 Tour which began September 11, 1980.

Dylan had spent some time sailing in the Bahamas and Caribbean on a yacht named The Water Pearl. Bob said in a concert, he started writing it in St. Vincent and woke up from a strange dream in the hot sun, thinking about living with somebody for all the wrong reasons.

Bob Dylan Caribbean Wind cover

Drum track created in Garageband. Rhythm guitar Epiphone Dot 6 string, clean, one take vocals, duplicated and panned.

Caribbean Winds was ignored by most and appreciated by few fans; When it was released in 1981, current fans failed to recognized the significance in the songs lyrics. Some were attracted to intro, others to it’s rap like phrasing (that wasn’t a word for music then). Folks were confused by Bob’s genres and couldn’t pigeonhole him. Many fans moved on to various rock or country artists in the 80’s. All of this left Caribbean Winds, one of his greatest compositions, relatively undiscovered.

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Slow Train had been released in 1979 followed by Saved. The release of Bob Dylan’s 1979 LP Slow Train Coming was a huge landmark event. The album climbed to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Dylan had recently met Jesus. Crowds were showing up stunned to hear all gospel and no hits. He did show up with a passionate voice and requisite awesome band that kept many coming back for another listen.

Dylan performed the first take of Caribbean Wind in the studio in October 1980.

So much great work has been written and recorded by Bob Dylan before and since 1981, obscuring Caribbean Winds in the shadows of poetic genius.

“The powerful operations of God’s spirit, quickening or reviving the heart towards God, are compared to the blowing of the wind“. John 3:8
You can’t see the wind, only the effects.

“People can learn everything about me through my songs, if they know where to look. They can just juxtapose them with certain other songs and draw a clear picture” Bob Dylan

Caribbean Winds Lyrics

She was the rose of Sharon from paradise lost (G BM)

From the city of seven hills near the place of the cross. (Em C)

I was playin’ a show in Miami, in the theater of divine comedy. (G BM Em D C)

Told about Jesus, told about the rain (G BM)

She told me ’bout the jungle where her brothers were slain (Em C)

By the man who invented iron and disappeared so mysteriously (G BM Em D C)

Was she a child or an angel? Did we go too far? (G BM)

Were we sniperbait? Did we follow a star (Em C)

Through the hole in the wall to where the long arm of the law cannot reach? (G BM Em D C)

Could I have been used and played as a pawn? (G BM)

It certainly was possible as the gay night wore on (Em C)

When men bathed in perfume and practiced the hopes of free speech. (G BM Em D C)

And them Caribbean winds still blow from Nassau to Mexico (C D G C)

Fanning the flames in the furnace of desire (G C D)

And them distant ships of liberty on ’em iron waves so bold and free (C D G C)

Bringing everything that’s near to me nearer to the fire. (G C D G)

Sea breeze blowin’, there’s a hellhound loose (G BM)

Redeemed men who have escaped from the noose (Em C)

Preaching faith and salvation, waitin’ on the night to arrive. (G BM Em D C)

He was well connected but her heart was a snare (G BM)

And she had left him to die in there (Em C)

He was goin’ down slow, just barely stayin’ alive. (G BM Em D C)

The cry of the peacock, flies buzz in my head (G BM)

Ceiling fan broken, there’s a heat in my bed (Em C)

Street band playing “Nearer My God to Thee.” (G BM Em D C)

We met at the station where the mission bells ring (G BM)

She said, “I know what you’re thinkin’, but there ain’t a thing (Em C)

You can do about it, so let us just agree to agree.” (G BM Em D C)


Atlantic City by the cold grey sea (G BM)

Hear a voice crying “Daddy”, I always think it’s for me,  (Em C)

But it’s only the silence in the buttermilk hills that call. (G BM Em D C)

Every new messenger brings in evil report (G BM)

‘Bout armies on the march and time that is short (Em C)

An’ famines and earthquakes and train wrecks and the tearin’ down of the walls. (G BM Em D C)

Did you ever have a dream that you couldn’t explain?

Did you ever meet your accusers face to face in the rain?  (Em C)

She had chrome brown eyes that I won’t forget as long as she’s gone. (G BM Em D C)

I see the screws breakin’ loose, see the devil poundin’ on tin

I see a house in the country bein’ torn from within. (Em C)

I can hear my ancestors callin’ from the land far beyond. (G BM Em D C)


Rare 1980 live version on YouTube »

Caribbean Winds is “Dylan’s greatest song of the 1980’s” – Rolling Stone

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*For educational, literary geographical, historical, and contextual use only.

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Published by Billy Dale

Assess, then reverse engineer desired results, systemizing success.

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