Thief On The Cross

Written by Bob Dylan
Dylan's last gospel song, performed once, in New Orleans, Nov 10, 1981
Tabbed by Eyolf Østrem


The riff that runs through the song is basically the same as in Cover Down Break Through, and several other gospel period songs. It can be played something like:

  A                 D     C
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .
|-0---------------|-2-----0---------|
|-2---------------|-3-----1---------|
|-2---------------|-2-----0---------|
|-2---------------|-0-----2---------|
|-0---------------|-------3---------|
|-----------------|-----------------|

The C can be replaced by a D11 (xx0010 or x55555), and the order of the chords is frequently reversed:

  A                 C     D     C
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .
|-0---------------|-0-----2-----0---|
|-2---------------|-1-----3-----1---|
|-2---------------|-0-----2-----0---|
|-2---------------|-2-----0-----2---|
|-0---------------|-3-----------3---|
|-----------------|-----------------|

E11 = 022232


 A                  C D C A                  C  D C
(Thief on the cross,      chances are slim)

There's a thief on the cross, his chances are slim
There's thief on the cross, I want to talk to him
     C                  D
Well everybody's been diverted,
     C                          D
Everybody lookin' the other way
C                           D
 Everybody's attention is divided
          C                 E11
Well they may not afford to wait, well -
There's a thief on the cross his chances are slim
There's a thief on the cross I wanna talk to him
Wanna ask him 'bout his mother
Wanna ask him 'bout his world
Wanna ask him 'bout to talk to himself
If this time it didn't roll too well, well -
There's a thief on the cross his chances are slim
There's a thief on the cross I wanna talk to him
Well, everybody know too excited [?]
Don't be too surprised
Head for the dawn and you can see it well
And it's rising in his eyes, well -
There's a thief on the cross his chances are slim
There's a thief on the cross I wanna talk to him

There's a thief on the cross, there's a thief on the cross
Now there's winning, ruling and readin'
Everybody goes [...]
[every scene be] too excited
Whether Iran or Mexico, well -
There's a thief on the cross his chances are slim
There's a thief on the cross I wanna talk to him.

There's a thief on the cross,
thief on the cross
There's a thief on the cross,
There's a thief on the cross,
There's a thief on the cross