Original Performance: The Carter Family
Written by: A.P. Carter
a.k.a. Little Sparrow
Who's That Knockin' At My Window? [Version (a)]:
[From December 16 1997, version]
Who's that knockin' at my window?
Knocks so loud and won't come in
It is your old true-hearted lover
Rise you up and let him in
Go away, go away, don't wake my mother
Our love's a thing she can't endure
She's been the ruin of many a lover
She'll be the ruin of many more
Go away, go away, don't wake my father
For there is a thing on his breast
And on his chest, he carries a weapon
To kill the one that I love best
I wish I was a little sparrow
I'd circle like a turtledove
Fly away to a lonesome valley
And settle down in the land of love
"Who's That Knockin' At My Window?" is originally a Carter Family song. Beck's a long-time fan of theirs, and has used songs of theirs as inspiration for both "Girl Dreams
" and "The World May Loose Its Motion
Bootlegs of the December 16 1997 often refer to the song as "Little Sparrow."
Played live 5 times:
Earliest known live version: December 16, 1997
Latest known live version: November 26, 20001997 version:
The first time Beck sang this song during his set, opening for Bob Dylan in December 1997. He began by explaining that as he was trying to find some songs to do for the show, he found an old banjo in his closet. Beck had purchased the banjo with some of the very first profits he had made from music. Beck then did a fairly faithful cover of "Who's That Knockin' At My Window?" for the audience of Dylan fans.
Beck returned to the song at his two hometown gigs at the Wilshire Theatre in October 2000. I am not sure whether or not a banjo was used, like on the first version three years prior. A month later, however, at the benefit show for Petra Haden, Beck played the song on his acoustic guitar. The Petra show version is a pretty one, though the joy of hearing Beck frail on his banjo is lost.