Words and music Bob Dylan (but to some extent based on Bob Wills’ Brain Cloudy Blues)
Recorded Jul 9, 1962, during the Freewheelin’ sessions, released on The Bootleg Series 1-3 (1991)
Tabbed by Eyolf Østrem

This one eluded me for a while; I thought it was in open g tuning for a while (because of the G7 chord), but couldn’t then find a practical way of playing the other chords. I’m pretty confident about the 5x0003 shape, though. I haven’t heard Dylan use it elsewhere in this tuning (but he uses a similar shape in Barbara Allen, in simple Drop D tuning), but nothing happens during that chord, and that’s evidence that it is fingered in a way that prevents things from happening, such as the suggestion. Besides, it works.
The real tricky part is the rhythm, of course, with its constant changes between triple and duple time. I’ve noted in the verses where the riff (first bar of intro) begins, and where the beats fall in the text (usually the riff begins with an upbeat 3—–; I’ve marked that with a comma).

According to Vince Cancilla, the “You’re gonna need my help someday” part is copied exactly – text and melody – from Bob Wills’ “Brain Cloudy Blues” from the 1940’s. “The last two lines also follow the same melody. He even sings it the same way, with that high pitched – neeeed.” (V.C.)

Double dropped d tuning (D-A-d-g-b-d’; tune down the first and the sixth string one whole step), capo 5th fret.

Chords:

D5     000230
D7sus4 000010
G      xx0000
G7     5x0003
A      202222 (w/thumb)
C9     030030


Intro (1st bar=riff):

  :       .       .              :       .       .         :       .
|-----3---0---0-0-0-0-----|----|-----3---0---0-0-0-0-0---|-0-------0-0-0-0--
|---------0---1-1-1-1-----|----|-------------1-1-1-1-0---|-3-------3-3-3-3--
|-------------0-0-0-0-----| x4,|-------------0-0-0-0-0---|-2-------2-2-2-2--
|-------------0-0-0-0-----|then|-------------0-0-0-0-0---|-0-------0-0-0-0--
|-------------0-0-0-0-----|----|-------------------------|-0-------0-0-0-0--
|(0)------------------3---|----|-0-----------------------|-0-------0-0-0-0--
Well, you can

D5            riff   .        .
.     , riff      .       .
You can fall down on your knees,
,   riff        .            .
And pray to the Lord, pretty mama,
,      riff        .     .    D7sus4-G
But it ain't gonna do no good.
G7 *) . . . riff .  .
You're gonna need_________
.       ,riff  . . ,riff . .
my help someday
D5   A         .         .           .
Well, if y'all can't quit your sinnin'
**)        .         .   ,    riff x2

*)
:       .         :       .         :       .         :       .
|-3---3-3-3-3-3---|-3---3-3-3-3-3---|-----3---0---0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0---|-----3--
|-0---0-0-0-0-0---|-0---0-0-0-0-0---|-------------1-1-|-1-1-1-1-1-1-0---|--------
|-0---0-0-0-0-0---|-0---0-0-0-0-0---|-------------0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0---|--------
|-0---0-0-0-0-0---|-0---0-0-0-0-0---|-------------0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0---|-0---etc
|-----------------|-----------------|-------------0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0---|-0------
|-5---------------|-5---------------|-5-----------0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0---|-0------
nee   -   -   -   -     -    -  ee   -     -     -    heed my help some day
need,                       you're gonna need___________   my help some day

**)
:       .       .       .       .          :       .       .
|-----3---0-------0-------0-0-0-0-0-0------|-----3---0---0-0-0-0-0---
|-----------------1-------1-1-1-1-1-1------|-------------1-1-1-1-0---
|-----------------0-------0-0-0-0-0-0------|-------------0-0-0-0-0---
|-----------------0-------0-0-0-0-0-0------|-------------0-0-0-0-0---
|-------------0----------------------------|-------------------------
|-0-----------0-----------------------3----|-0-------------------3---

D5      riff    .           .
You can     run down to the desert,
.       riff       .           .
riff     .          .              riff     .         .
You can raise up your right hand, but your good man   ain't a-comin' home,
riff        D7sus4
you better understand
G     G7
You're gonna need
riff
You're gonna need my help someday
.     .               .       riff      .    .  D5
(someday, you're gonna need my help, someday)
A
Well, if y'all can't quit your sinnin'
riff . . .         .        riff x2

D5        /c riff    .           .
Now, you can     run down to the White House,
.       riff        .       .
You can gaze on the Capitol Dome,
riff         .           .            riff
You can knock on the President's gate, pretty mama,
.               /f /d  /f    /d
But you know it's gonna be too late.
/f       /d  G7 *)
You're gonna need
riff  .   .
You're gonna need my help someday
.        riff  .  .  D5
(my help someday)
A
Well, if y'all can't quit your sinnin'
riff . . .         .        riff

riff     .           .
And you can     hitchhike on the highway,
.       riff       .           .               .
You can stand all alone by the side of the road.
riff      .      .            .
try to flag a ride back home, pretty mama,
riff    .     .             .      .
But you ain't a-gonna ride in my car no more.
G7
You're gonna need
riff .
You're gonna need my help someday
.   .
(oh yes, yeah)
Well, if y'all can't quit your sinnin'

You can fall down on your knees
And pray to the Lord, pretty mama,
But it ain't gonna do no good.
You're gonna need
You're gonna need my help someday
(oh, wait and see)
if y'all can't quit your sinnin'