Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song) (2013) – Oscar Isaac & Marcus Mumford

I procured the soundtrack of the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis soon after it was released. Today’s song Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song) is my joint favourite song from the movie along with Bob Dylan’s Farewell which closes the movie and will be featured here this Thursday. The scene in the movie where this song appears (see at the end of this post) Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song) is spectacular and about the best thing I have seen from the Coen Brothers.

I wrote an article back in 2014 of Inside Llewyn Davis including distilling the meaning of the cats in the movie. The first cat which appears in the movie tries to escape Llewyn Davis in the scene below. The Coen Brothers mentioned how difficult it was filming a cat onset and inside a train carriage full of people. The cat’s name and identity is not mentioned. In folklore and mythology, to control anything of magic, you must know its true name. Cats in particular have universally been portrayed as nearly impossible to control.

-‘Could you just tell him.. Don’t worry, Llewyn has the Cat’
– ‘Llewyn is the cat,’
– ‘No, Llewyn has the cat’

Dink’s song is an American folk song which has been covered by many folk revival musicians, including Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, and Cisco Houston as well as more recent musicians like Jeff Buckley. The song tells the story of a woman deserted by her lover when she needs him the most.
According to wikipedia: ‘The first historical record of the song was by ethnomusicologist John Lomax in 1909, who recorded it as sung by an African American woman called Dink, as she washed her husband’s clothes in a tent camp of migratory levee-builders on the bank of the Brazos River, a few miles from Houston, Texas‘.

Ef I had wings like Noah’s dove,
I’d fly up da river to the man I love.
Fare thee well, O Honey, fare thee well.

Ise got a man, an’ he’s long and tall,
Moves his body like a cannonball.
Fare thee well, O Honey, fare thee well.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music
4 comments on “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song) (2013) – Oscar Isaac & Marcus Mumford
    • Hi Bruce. I’m relieved it’s not just me that thought so. What’s surprising is the inclusion of the cats in the movie as a last minute decision by the Coens. Considering the profundity of the cats metaphorical significance, one could say the Coens hit a late home-run to win the game.

  1. I’m a major cat-lover, and was on pins and needles during much of this film, which I liked a lot. Oscar Isaac is a great actor, and I loved that Mumford & Sons were in the film too.

    • The fate of the second cat in the movie was very sad and seemed to be a metaphor for the abortion Jean had – at least that’s how I interpreted the significance of the cats in the movie. I agree Oscar is a great actor and the music was top-notch for what they were trying to accomplish.

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