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Si Tu Dois Partir

[Bob Dylan]

The original version of this song, If You Gotta Go, Go Now, was written in 1965 about the time of Another Side of Bob Dylan but was never on any of Dylan’s official albums (apart from The Bootleg Series, Volumes 1-3). It was recorded by Manfred Mann in 1965, which was one of the last ones to feature Paul Jones, and was a top ten hit in that year.

The story goes that Fairport Convention was playing a gig at the Middle Earth and thought it would be amusing to do Dylan’s song in French cajun style, so the band called for volunteers from the audience to help with the translation. Richard Thompson: “About three people turned up, so it was really written by committee, and consequently ended up not very cajun, French or Dylan.” This version was first released as a single Si Tu Dois Partir / Genesis Hall with Dave Swarbrick playing fiddle, Trevor Lucas triangle and Richard accordion. The “percussion” break towards the end of the song is the sound of a pile of chairs falling over.

From Past Archives Si Tu Dois Partir was then released on the albums Unhalfbricking and The History of Fairport Convention and in 2004 on the 5CD Fledg’ling Sandy Denny anthology A Boxful of Treasures.

This recording enjoyed minor success: the band appeared on “Top of the Pops” on 14 August 1969, see the cover picture of the semi-bootleg From Past Archives on the right. Sadly, this recording is not available.

Another version with Ric Grech of Family fame on violin was recorded on 18 March 1969 in the Playhouse Theatre, Northumberland Avenue, for the Top Gear / John Peel radio show and broadcast on 6 April 1969 with a repeat on 4 May 1969. This track was for a long time available on the bootleg A Chronicle of Sorts only but was added in 2002 to the Island CD re-release of Heyday and was published in 2002 on the Fairport unConventioNal 4CD set too.

A live recording from Cropredy 1983 was released on the cassette The Boot - 1983 Fairport Reunion. It is also the closing track on Fairport’s 25th Anniversary Concert in 1992 where Vikki Clayton replaces Sandy.

Fairport Convention recorded Si Tu Dois Partir again in 2004 for their album Over the Next Hill.

And Ruth Notman covered Si Tu Doir Partir in 2009 on her second CD, The Life of Lilly.


Fairport Convention sing Si Tu Dois Partir

C’est pas que je te demande
De faire que tu n’as jamais fait
C’est seulement qui’il fait trop tard
Et qu’il fait trop noir pour trouver la porte

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Mais si tu dois partir, va-t’en
Mais si tu dois partir, va-t’en
Si non, tu dois rester la nuit

C’est pas que je te demande
De prendre part dans ce jeu
C’est seulement, je n’ai pas de montre
Et tu demandes toujours l’heure par contre

Tu sais, j’aurais des cauchemars
Et aussi mauvaise conscience
Si je t’empêchais de faire
Ce que vraiment tu espères

La La La …

If You Gotta Go, Go Now

Please find the lyrics for Bob Dylan’s original version of this song at Bob Dylan’s website.