Duquesne Whistle

Songfacts®:

  • Dylan penned this song's mysterious and playful lyrics with his old friend, the Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. The pair collaborated on most of the tracks on Dylan's previous album, Together Through Life.
  • The bluesy song refers to the Duquesne (pronounced doo-kayne) train service that used to run between New York Penn and Pittsburgh Penn Stations, which was named after the 18th century Fort Duquesne in the latter city. That route is now served by the daily Amtrack Pennsylvanian service. The lyrics show Dylan's distaste at times a changing'. "Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing," he demands. "Blowing like it's gonna sweep my world away."
  • The Nash Edgerton-directed music video is set on the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Dylan appears briefly throughout the clip.
  • The line, "I'm gonna stop at Carbondale and keep on going" refers to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, in the northeast corner of the state. Like all of the region, it's now a small rust belt town, but at the time when the Duquesne train line was running, Carbondale was fat off the anthracite coal industry.

Comments: 1

  • Edlis from Havanahttps://www.facebook.com/groups/edlis.cafe/permalink/535225673182636/

    "Late in the afternoon of Sunday, May 22, 2011 a huge multiple vortex tornado struck Joplin and Duquesne, Missouri. It was the third tornado to hit the area since May 1971. It killed 158 people, injured some 1,150 others, and was the deadliest tornado in the US up to that point since 1947 and was (at the time) the costliest single tornado in U.S. history."
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