“Sugar Baby” by Bob Dylan
Dylan singing about the complications of life and love with a minimal amount of backing - it’s deliberately paced, as if languishing in the miseries of each. I’d easily out this song up against any of the “classic” Dylan songs from the 60s or 70s. Slow, dirge-like, pensive - what’s not to love?
Some of these bootleggers, they make pretty good stuff.
Plenty of places to hide things here if you want to hide them bad enough.
I’m staying with Aunt Sally, but you know she not really my aunt.
Some of these memories, you can learn to live with and some of’em you can’t
“Sugar Baby” by Bob Dylan
“Blind Willie McTell” by Bob Dylan
How about some blues on Tuesday by Bob Dylan and about bluesman Blind Willie McTell?
One of the things I appreciate most about Bob Dylan is his desire to pay homage to those who came before. I speaks of humility and is a trait generally lost on today’s performers, with the minor exception that many consider a cover song paying homage. But it’s not quite the same.
There’s a woman by the river
With some fine young handsome man
He’s dressed up like a squire
Bootlegged whiskey in his hand
There’s a chain gang on the highway
I can hear them rebels yell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell
“Dear Landlord” by Bob Dylan
Sometimes I post things here and get all intellectual or sentimental about them. Sometimes I post things because, well, because I had to call my landlord today to come fix the sink in my bathroom.
Please don’t put a price on my soul
“Visions of Johanna” by Bob Dylan
I’ve been posting here for two weeks, and I can’t believe that I haven’t posted a song from my favorite Dylan album: Blonde on Blonde. I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but I don’t think you can adequately understand Dylan unless you come to this album. Case in point: a couple years ago, a friend of mine asked me for a list of Dylan songs for a class, but they had to be songs that he wouldn’t know from the radio or Greatest Hits compilations. I immediately went to this album and found some gems. Granted, the album had its hits, but it also has songs like this one and “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”.
And “Visions of Johanna” also has one of my favorite Dylan lyrics:
We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it
“When I Paint My Masterpiece” by Bob Dylan
When I finish my thesis, my masterpiece, I fully intend to buy a gaming console, play the hell out of Assassin’s Creed and read American Gods, Don Quixote, and a ton of classical epics.
Yes, it sure has been a long, hard climb(314 plays)
“Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts” by Bob Dylan
Recently, I’ve begun watching the political drama House of Cards on Netflix and, I can’t help but think of this Dylan song. The most obvious reason is because of the connection between the two titles, but, upon listening and re-listening to the song, they both seem to have shady and ambiguous characters with motives the same. Because of this perceived connection, I’ve also begun wondering which characters align. Most obviously, Kevin Spacey’s character is the Jack of Hearts and the journalist is probably Lily, leaving Spacey’s wife to be Rosemary. As I’m only 5 episodes in, I’m not sure if these comparisons will work out, but it’s still an interesting game to play with a great song and an intriguing show.
“Sara” by Bob Dylan
For Gretchen (thatgroovychick), the first I’ve ever known to proclaim Desire her favorite Dylan album, and hoping her stay across the ocean is going well.
“Sara” may very well be Dylan’s saddest song, the result of a masterful combination of the melancholic memories of the verses, the heartbroken chorus, the slow, dirge-like rhythms, and the longing of the solo violin echoing an impending loss. It may also be his most personal, recounting his relationship with his estranged wife, Sara, who filed for divorce not long after the album was released.
I can still hear the sounds of those Methodist bells
I’d taken the cure and had just gotten through
Staying up for days in the Chelsea Hotel
Writing “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” for you
“Bob Dylan’s Dream” by Bob Dylan
I’ve been having a number of vivid dreams lately. The odd thing is that in these dreams are people I haven’t seen in as many as twenty years and people I know but have never met and probably never will (among them, people of Tumblr). It got me to thinking how our dreaming brain breaks down the barriers our waking brain puts up, particularly social, temporal, and geographical limitations.
I wish, I wish, I wish in vain
That we could sit simply in that room again
Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat
I’d give it all gladly if our lives could be like that
“Maggie’s Farm” by Bob Dylan
I just finished reading William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” and couldn’t help but think of Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” since both take place on a farm and reveal how farm workers deal with the disparity between themselves and the owners. Simply, they are both about the inequity of the haves and the have nots only in “Barn Burning” the inequity is complicated by an “old fierce pull of blood” - an inherited sense of injustice exacerbated by the fine white mansions with black house servants working in them. Abner Snopes, feeling slighted by the servant, soils and ultimately destroys the owner’s imported rug, and is made to pay damages against his expected pay at harvest time. Like so many times before, Snopes retaliates against this perceived insult by burning the owner’s barn, the symbol of his industry and livelihood.
Dylan, unlike Snopes, is actually in a situation which is demeaning (“puts his cigar/ out in your face just for kicks”), unfeeling (“his bedroom window/ it is made out of bricks”), dishonest (“She’s sixty-eight but she says she’s fifty-four”), and unjust (“Then he fines you every time you slam the door”). Ultimately, though, it may be his need for individuality and desire to use his mind instead of wasting his time on manual labor (“I got a head full of ideas/ That are driving me insane/ It’s a shame the way they make use scrub the floor”) which make him want to quit. However, there is no sense that Dylan will seek any retribution on his bosses; he merely wants to quit the farm.
I suppose that the lesson in these two similar works is how you deal with the problems of life - you can either allow your anger to exacerbate the situation or keep your calm and carry on (ok, is that too much of an internet cliche?). After all, they say living well is the best revenge.
Ya, see most that song is about Kerouac, the first line I believe in a reference to his book Tristessa as he was lost in Mexico City in the rain. Juarez section. And housing project hill is reference to his book Desolation Angels.
I agree. Dylan used a number of references and sources for his songs, particularly from this time period. This song also includes references to Poe (“Rue Morgue Avenue”) and his style at the time was very much influenced by the French Symbolist and Surrealist poets like Rimbaud, Baudelaire, and Verlaine.
ohokayhi asked: What's are the central themes to your thesis about? Doing it on On The Road sounds like an interesting thesis, and now I'm intrigued.
My thesis is about movement, available space, and changes to the journey pattern in American Literature. Chapter 1 is about the national tendency to move and the reasons characters move, Chapter 2 is about how the movement and the road change the travelers’ goals, and Chapter 3 is about what they ultimately find (instead of a new job or a place more suited to their personality, they find truth or a greater appreciation for the place they left (like Kerouac/Paradise)).
In addition to On the Road, I’m using Moby-Dick, Huck Finn, The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, Death of a Salesman, The Bean Trees, and Into the Wild as primary works and In the American Grain (Williams), Studies in Classic American Literature (Lawrence), Kerouac’s Crooked Road (Hunt), and American Incarnation (Jehlen) as my main secondary sources - and then a dozen or so articles.
Thanks for the question and the interest.
“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan
For the Oscars today, how about a Dylan song from a movie soundtrack?(191 plays)
“House of the Risin’ Sun” by Bob Dylan
Going way back for today’s song, this version made most famous by The Animals was one of the traditional songs on Dylan’s first album. In fact, of the 13 songs on it, Dylan, the greatest songwriter of the century, only wrote two. But somehow, they’re all Dylan songs.