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  • Outlaw Blues (9 comments)

    • Comment by Columbus on February 5, 2014

      ‘She Belongs To Me’ has the line:

      She never stumbles/she got no place to fall

      Comment by Columbus on February 5, 2014

      It kind of echoes  It’s Alright, Ma; ‘And if my thought-dreams could be seen/ They’d probably put my head in a guillotine’ – doesn’t it?

      Comment by Columbus on February 5, 2014

      According to Heylin: Revolution In The Air they are two different songs. {editor’s note: The two songs are California, which influenced, or morphed into,Outlaw Blues.}

      Comment by Steve Lescure on February 7, 2014


      Comment by Steve Lescure on February 7, 2014

      You’re right.   Reminds me of what he says to the Times reporter in “Don’t Look Back”.

      “Really the truth is just a plain picture.”




      Comment by Steve Lescure on February 7, 2014

      That’s an interesting question: when is a song a new song, and when is it a rewrite of an existing song.

      I”ve never heard the song.  

      Info from wiki:

      Dylan also recorded two additional songs that did not make the album. The first is “Denise”, a song which uses the same music as “Black Crow Blues” but with different lyrics. The second is “California”, which again uses “Black Crow Blues”‘s music as the basic structure of the song. A small section of the “California” lyrics were reused in “Outlaw Blues”, a song that appeared on Dylan’s next album, Bringing It All Back Home. Both outtakes are circulating.


      From Search For a Gem website.


      Song identified as an early version of OUTLAW BLUES with different lyrics (which appear in “Writings and Drawings” under this title, and on bobdylan.com here), recorded at Columbia Studios, New York, 13 Jan 1965 (CO85281) – the final version of OUTLAW BLUES was released on “Bringing It All Back Home”. CALIFORNIA was included in the survey of unreleased Dylan by Greil Marcus in “Rolling Stone”, 26 Nov 1969. It was available officially only as a cover by Italian singer Michel Montecrossa on his 2001 Mira Sound Germany album “4th Time Around”, for ordering details see . Also known as GOIN’ DOWN SOUTH. CALIFORNIA was officially released in Nov 2009 on the CBS US TV series soundtrack album “NCIS: The Official TV Series Soundtrack Vol. 2”, so is now no longer eligible for this directory
      Clinton Heylin’s book “Revolution In The Air – The Songs Of Bob Dylan Vol. 1: 1957-73” (Constable, 2009) states CALIFORNIA is not in fact the same song as OUTLAW BLUES even though the two songs share some lyrics

      Comment by steve on February 7, 2014

      Here’s a link to California on Grooveshark:



      Here’s a link to Outlaw Blues:


      And Here’s the version of Outlaw Blues on Genuine Bootleg Series:


      Comment by steve on February 7, 2014

      Is “black tooth” a blues reference?  Couldn’t find it.   Found this instead.



      Comment by steve on February 14, 2014

      posted by Bob Stacy on 2/13/14 in Facebook Edlis Cafe group.


      Dorie Ladner, Tougaloo College (Mississippi) activist and one-time “semi-love” interest of Bob Dylan – check his “Outlaw Blues” – was a chief reason Dylan made a brief stop at Tougaloo fifty years ago this week during his epic car trip through the South on the way to the West Coast. While there, Dylan visited with activist friends and performed an unscheduled one-hour set. 

      Dylan had known Dorie from Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) circles and spent considerable time around her when she was in New York City the preceding summer helping organize the March On Washington DC. Dylan, the musician cum civil rights activist, may have hung around the SNCC and March offices, but he especially haunted the apartment shared by some of the female workers. Much like his earlier times spent around Dinkytown radicals and leftists, it’s not likely he participated in any of the heavy politicizing and discussions. Instead, with an interested but somewhat captive audience, he let his songs do his talking. Sometimes, the welcome for Bob Dylan concerts wore a little thin …

      _ _ _ _ _ _
      I got a woman in Jackson
      I ain’t gonna say her name
      I got a woman in Jackson
      I ain’t gonna say her name
      She’s a brown-skin woman, but I
      Love her just the same

      the book is Fire in my Soul – the Life of Eleanor Holmes Norton

  • Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (7 comments)

    • Comment by EDLIS Café on November 4, 2013

      Just as Bob Dylan’s Mozambique was obviously a comment on political awareness — or rather lack of it — and a well pointed needle towards the vague political awareness of those who consider themselves aware and committed but know little about specific countries and events, so Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hats had an obvious political context at the time. New and very young Dylan listeners may not find these references so obvious as those who were there. Most know of Jackie Kennedy and her pill-box hat, and most know of the dedicated followers of fashion. And most accept it as ludicrous, because of how a leopard- skin pill-box hat looks. And most know about Edie Sedgwick. But the barb was greater at the time, and some recent enquirers clearly miss this particular layer of significance.

      Bear in mind our hero himself was wearing a very large- patterned hound’s tooth suit at the time, there is ludicrous and there is ludicrous. Clowns on stage and clowns in power. Mobutu had made himself head of state with full executive powers in 1965. He wildly imprisoned, exiled and executed his political opponents. He had been involved in the army coup and fared well in the vacuum left by the Belgians when the Belgian Congo gained its independence in 1960.

      Thirty one years into his reign Zaire is among the very saddest places on earth. And he still wears his famous Leopard-Skin hat, and smiles. Mobuto is a multi-billionaire, Swiss bank accounts, Swiss medical care, he is recouping on the Riviera in one of his many homes in Europe. This man has thoroughly understood American values from the outset, the CIA role in his rise to power long well known, playing the cold war game from all sides, mixing with bankers and arms dealers, getting strong American support in exchange for US raids against Angola and other communist strongholds in Africa. And in the mid-1960s the African leader with a leopard-skin hat on his head in his photographs was often in the newspapers.

      This is just the scene, I do not mean to imply that Bob Dylan knew his African politics in any better detail than he knows his own records, but it seems extremely likely that he moved in circles where Mobuto and other similar issues would be discussed at length. He will have seen the reaction of politically committed people to a craze for leopard-skin pill-box hats, a symbol they will have recognised for its African significance, one more straw to the shame they already felt about their country’s foreign policy and intervention in foreign elections. (Mobuto’s Popular Revolutionary Movement did not become the sole legal party of a one party state until 1967, before that he had to win multi-party elections. Luckily he did not have to import his democracy from the ancient Greeks, he found more accommodating bedfellows.) Bob Dylan observes, comments and reflects. On Fashion. On the fashionable. On fashionable politics. On political fashions. On the people that he’s known. On lameness and the like…

      I cannot recall Bob playing Kinshasa, can you? Maybe its the abacos law? Bob could not wear his hound’s tooth suit there. One wears the outfit designed by Mobuto, abacos, short for: a bas la costume — down with suits.

      If only it were not so serious, a person could easily support a down with suits party on many levels: what suits stand for, why they are worn, what they mean, a certain character’s personal taste in, and so on. But Mobuto’s authenticity doctrine is not a man being frivolously silly, he has always been deadly serious.

      Lightning Hopkins Automobile Blues has a lot to answer for!

      Comment by steve on November 4, 2013

      Great comment.   I never consider this angle myself, nor read it anywhere before.  Now that I think about it, it does seem plausible, a connection Dylan may have considered.  Mobuto certainly deserved the ridicule, even more than poor Edie.  Interesting.  Love the link to Dylan’s own pill-box 🙂

      Comment by Hilda Fernhout on November 17, 2013

      Hatpins served to keep difficult hats on your head….

      Comment by steve on November 18, 2013

      Edie or Mobutu could have used more hatpins for sure. thanks for the comment.

      Comment by Tara Townsend on September 19, 2018

      I’m sorry but you have got a typo in this paragraph: “Edie was a

      wild child with a penchant…”

      Comment by steve lescure on September 19, 2018


      Comment by Music of Bob Dylan on September 1, 2019

      “We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:



      Search for The Bob Dylan Project



      If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.


      Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.”


  • Desolation Row (6 comments)

    • Comment by steve on November 2, 2013

      Michael Gray’s Song and Dance Man 3 points out that this verse parallels The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock


      We have lingered in the chambers of the sea

      By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

      Till human voices wake us, and we drown



      Comment by anon on January 2, 2014

      In an interview with USA Today on September 10, 2001, the day before the release of his album Love and Theft, Dylan claimed that the song “is a minstrel song through and through. I saw some ragtag minstrel show in blackface at the carnivals when I was growing up, and it had an effect on me, just as much as seeing the lady with four legs.”

      Comment by steve on January 8, 2014
      Comment by Columbus on March 14, 2014

      Poor Cain! He is first killed by his brother and then punished by God !

      Otherwise: Good work – will you not continue beyond JWH?

      Comment by Steve Lescure on March 17, 2014

      Whoops!  Thanks for pointing that out, I really appreciate it!   I’ll fix…..

      Although I love the albums that immediately followed JWH, I don’t think they are as interesting as what came before.  I’m thinking that maybe I’ll start working backwards from Tempest, that might be fun.



      Comment by David George Freeman on December 16, 2019

      We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:



      If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.


      Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.

  • From a Buick 6 (5 comments)

    • Comment by Bill on December 6, 2016

      I could not disagree more with the reference to From a Buick 6 as a filler. It fits perfectly.

      Yes, it is a standard 12 bar blues, but that is exactly the point. Delta blues filtered through Chicago blues viewed through a mid-sixties lens on an album named for the road that took the blues from the delta to Chicago.

      The rawness of the take captures that Muddy Waters transition from acoustic to overblown distressed amp electric blues. If you never saw Dylan at Newport when he switched, he was doing the same thing.

      I would say this song captures more of what the album is about than most songs.

      Comment by Bill on December 6, 2016

      Paragraph 8 hints to the answer, but really how much more transparent does Dylan have to be? This is a song about what the bluesman experiences as his view from the Buick 6 much like Robert Johnson. Think from Memphis to Norfolk is a 36 hour drive – time to reflect.

      Comment by Brett on September 17, 2017

      I think you could write a dissertation on Dylan’s use of the word “mama”.

      In this case, my first instinct was to think he is contrasting his wife/lover with his fearsomely loyal mother, who will do anything for him – keep him fed with bread, sew him up with thread (metaphysically speaking, naturally), and even continue to make up his bed after he dies, but who can’t save him from death itself or even existential despair.

      As in “It’s Alright, Ma”, the mother is the figure that Dylan’s narrators call out to when they are on the edge of despair or death (also see: “Mama take this badge off of me”).

      Comment by Brett Greenspan on September 19, 2017

      Retracted, it’s clearly about his woman on the side : )

      Still a great depiction of a fearsomely loyal woman.

      Comment by Music of Bob Dylan on December 25, 2019

      We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:




      If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.


      Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.

  • Bob Dylan's 115th Dream (5 comments)

    • Comment by Rachel A. on December 15, 2016

      Duluth, MN, is an international seaport. Dylan mentions the cold, massive, dangerous Lake Superior many times in song, interviews, and in Chronicles.

      Comment by steve lescure on December 16, 2016

      good  point, didn’t think of that. 🙂


      Comment by Anthony Piscitelli on September 21, 2017

      Ahab not Arab 🙂


      Comment by Anthony Piscitelli on September 21, 2017

      oops nevermind

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 9, 2019

      We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:



      If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.


      Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.

  • Visions of Johanna (5 comments)

    • Comment by Kevin Fisher on April 4, 2015

      I think this line refers to groupies trying to get the keys to his room

      Comment by Brett on September 17, 2017

      I used to find this one of his sloppier lyrics actually, and my interest in the lyrics (as opposed to the amazing musical arrangement) waned after the absolutely genius mood-setting of the opening (“but there’s nothing really nothing to turn off”.

      It was only when I really reflected on the blinding brilliance of the line”the ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face” that I gave the rest of the lyrics real attention.

      I think “handful of rain” is a metaphor for Louise crying into her hands. She is perhaps a woman who uses her love for the unsatisfied narrator – and the devastation it would cause if he left her – to guilt him into staying, even though he knows the relationship is not right. For whatever reason, maybe because he already knows no one will measure up to Johanna, he can’t defy her tears and move on.

      Comment by Brett on September 17, 2017

      Sean Wilentz writes in passing, in “Bob Dylan in America”, that this stanza is from Louise’s perspective.

      I thought perhaps it is the voice inside the narrator who won’t let him forget Johanna (“speaks of a farewell kiss to me”), but has a lot of gall to hang around the narrator constantly, muttering, even though he has nothing useful to contribute.

      But yes, like so often in Dylan, the (at times too easy) rhymes inform the lines, and efforts to read too deep into every word are misplaced.

      Comment by Brett on September 17, 2017

      I think the museum scene is coherently surrealistic and absolutely brilliant – history and the infinite, how long life can feel without your love, the contrast between the idealized Mona Lisa (“the delicate wallflower”, which is just insanely brilliant) and the repulsive women admiring the painting. While rhyming “freeze, sneeze, knees” may just seem like more loose rhyming, they are coherently offensive depictions of women (a jelly-faced woman sneezing, mules with their jewels and binoculars, presumably to inspect the art better), though the last fat joke about not being able to see their knees is redeemed by the fact that Mona Lisa also doesn’t have knees, or anything else from the neck down….that she is not perfect either, beyond her “highway blues”.

      The last stanza is the most cryptic and most tempting to dismiss. I think the reference to two Jewish archetypes (peddler, fiddler) is very striking. And there is something suggestive about a violin player – a musician and artist – delivering the message (or perhaps simple life advice) that there are no debts, that we are not beholden, on something as prosaic as a fish truck. Dylan’s “conscience explodes”, suggesting the resulting freedom of the realization. And then he makes his own music with the skeleton keys of his harmonica, transforming the visions of Johana into art – the only thing you can do with lost love other than dwell or  try to forget.

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 7, 2019

      We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:


      If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.


      Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.

  • Gates of Eden (5 comments)

    • Comment by samuel rummelson on November 18, 2013

      “no sins inside the gates of Eden” – original sin doesn’t exist before The Fall (eating if the apple)


      Comment by Charles Blakely on October 7, 2017

      Never trust any commentator on Biblical themes who does not know the name of the last book of the Bible.  It is Revelation, or the Revelation to St. John.  It is not “Revelations.”  It is one long revelation.  Anybody who does not know this probably doesn’t know much about how the book should be interpreted.

      Comment by Charles Blakely on October 7, 2017

      See comment on paragraph #15.

      Comment by Matthew Wester on August 9, 2018

      I don’t think Gates of Eden has a conventional moral message at all.  Dylan never lived by conventional morals.  Just because Dylan used Biblical motifs throughout his songwriting doesn’t mean it was to convey a conventional moral message,. I think there is plenty of evidence to conclude that Dylan’s spirituality was not the “believe and obey” authority, clearly defined good and bad, reward and punishment, fear and guilt kind of fundamentalist type of religiosity, but instead it was an individualistic, humanitarian, mystical direct experience of God kind of spirituality.  He would certainly use themes from the Judeo-Christian tradition, but always interpreted mystically ,just as Joseph Campbell did.

      To me, Gates of Eden is the state of being for souls who no longer believe or perceive in an artificial separation between humans, nature, and God.  Everything that is outside of the Gates of Eden is for those whose spirituality has not yet developed enough to know that every being, every bit of matter organic and non-organic, the entire universe, altogether collectively is what God is.

      Comment by steve lescure on August 10, 2018

      Great food for thought, the whole point of creating this site.

  • The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (5 comments)

    • Comment by EDLIS Cafe on October 2, 2013

      Some might say that Dylan was something of a sloppy journalist. But anyone who knows his work would know that he rarely if ever gets the detail and facts correct, odd things get changed, misremembered or improved in many songs. The truths he captures are not literal but are all the more powerful because he does not concentrate on accuracy, he crafts memorable words and pictures and has never shown any concern that the newspaper, the courts, the historians, the propagandists, the activists would all tell it differently. Often more accurately in fact and detail. That is of no concern to the songwriter Bob Dylan.

      Comment by Columbus on October 30, 2013

      Thanks for bringing the Baltimore Sun article.


      Comment by steve on October 30, 2013

      Glad you found it useful.

      Comment by susanna on December 6, 2013

      hi steve. this is a great site. i am a long time dylan fan but i really enjoy being able to discuss the meaning of his poetry/lyrics.

      i agree with one criticism you’e made – i didn’t like the rhyming of “table” with itself 3 times either. not sure what dylan was trying to do there but if there isn’t some specific literary reason, it just comes off kind of lazy.

      i’m interested in your interpretation of the chorus. “you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears.”  you take that to mean the liberal audience for the story, i took it the complete other way. those who “philosophize disgrace” to me were those who justified bigotry, and i took the tears to be tears of shame. however, you could be right. i will give it another listen or 10 thinking of that interpretation.

      anyway thanks for the site –  you’ve put a lot of work into this, but i think it’s worth it – we are talking about a great poet here. i’ll check in on other songs you’ve commented on. i know it’s very new, but i’d love to hear your interpretation of “early roman kings.”

      Comment by steve on December 7, 2013

      Thanks Susanna! Al right, somebody agrees with me about the “table’ rhymes. That’s always bugged me. I’ll do the same about the “disgrace and criticize all fears”. I never thought if it that way. I’ll post back if I have any new thoughts.

      I love Tempest, and Early Roman Kings in particular. Although I haven’t analyzed it in any detail, my first thought was that it was a pointed jab at the “1 %ers”, the financial class, the venture capitalists. I always picture Mitch Romney wearing a “shark-skin” suit. I hope one day to expand my site to new Dylan work. Never enough time (sigh).

      thanks for the thoughtful post!

  • When the Ship Comes In (5 comments)

    • Comment by Columbus on October 30, 2013

      Remember also Joan Baez telling Scorcese in his documentary ‘No Direction Home’ that Dylan wrote the song during a night after which he had been denied access to a hotel, because he looked so scruffy. The song is an archetypal ‘revenge’ song or a ‘justice will prevail’ song along the lines of Matthew 20:16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” –


      Comment by steve on October 30, 2013

      Excellent! I remember that story very well. I’m glad you mentioned it.

      Comment by dirk gibson on November 18, 2013

      John Landau “this song is truly frightening in its righteous zeal.  It is vengeful in the Old Testament sense of the word.  It is the work of a profoundly religious mentality, but Bob dylan didn’t have to go any farther than the good old USA to get into this kind of religion”

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 7, 2019

      “We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:


      If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.


      Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.”


      Comment by David George Freeman on December 7, 2019

      We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:



      If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.


      Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.

  • Only a Pawn in Their Game (5 comments)

    • Comment by Columbus on October 28, 2013

      This link, the duet with Joan Baez, leads you to ‘With God On Our Side’.

      Excellent blog!

      Comment by Joey Belmondo on January 14, 2014

      Hey, Thanx for writing this article! Very insightful! I personally needed this because i have been singing the song for some time now but had a vague idea about its history, and felt like i couldn’t keep it going on for much longer, i wanted the entire truth behind it so that i could play it with more realness!

      I must say that its ironic that both of these men are WW2 vets, that they actually at one point in their lives fought for the same cause! Its also ironic that while Byron fought to end nazism, he was one himself, albeit in his country and under another flag and name!

      Human nature is so damn complicated, so much suffering has gone on and continues to go on, but when you have people like Dylan who can capture all of these things and put them into one song, that song becomes a picture of history, one that is carried in the hearts and minds of the people, so that hopefully the suffering will never be repeated again!

      Comment by steve on January 15, 2014

      Hi Joey,  thanks for taking the time to write such an insightful comment.  I appreciate it.  That’s an interesting point that both men fought for the same cause.  I hadn’t thought of it that way.  Sad and weird.  And, yes,  “Only a Pawn”   is a work of genius, for sure.

      I’m glad you found the article useful;  it was fun putting it together.    There was so much history that went into that one short song.




      Comment by steve on March 20, 2014

      posted on facebook put here for safekeeping (links to original sources below):
      Medgar Evers, far left, was threatened and eventually killed for registering African Americans voters in Missississippi.

      T. R. M. Howard is on the far right with glasses and distinctive moustache…

      A bullet from the back of a bush took Medgar Evers’ blood.
      A hand set the spark
      Two eyes took the aim
      Behind a man’s brain
      But he can’t be blamed
      He’s only a pawn in their game.

      —”Only A Pawn in their Game,”
      Bob Dylan, 1963

      It was raining the morning of May 17, 2003. I was in my office, worrying about what the Jubilee! JAM organizers must be going through. It’s hard to make this festival pay off in good weather, not to mention in times of thunderstorms and crime hysteria. I knew the rain, coming on the JAM’s big day—Cassandra Wilson, Bob Dylan and Gerald Levert were scheduled that evening—would be playing hell with the moods of the organizers.

      The phone rang me out of my trance. Caller ID said it was Charles Evers, a man who, despite some political differences, has become my friend and partner in attempting to bridge racial gaps. I do his radio show, and this magazine is co-sponsoring the homecoming celebration this year, in honor of his martyred brother. He wrote an opinion piece about the Iraq war for us. “Hi, Mr. Evers.”

      He got to the point. “Donna, do you think you could help me meet Bob Dylan today? I want to thank him for that song he wrote for Medgar when he was killed.”

      Gulp. I had no clout that could help Mr. Evers meet Mr. Dylan. I also knew how media-paranoid Dylan is, and that his people had told JAM honcho Malcolm White that he would meet absolutely no one at the JAM so don’t bother to ask.

      But I also knew what “that song” was, and what it meant when Dylan, seemingly blinking back tears, had sung it at the 1963 March on Washington, two-and-a-half months after a bigot had executed Medgar Evers in Jackson in front of his children: “Daddy! Daddy! Please get up, Daddy!”

      I shocked myself by saying, “Sure, Mr. Evers, I’ll see what I can do. I bet Dylan would love to meet you.” I hung up, promising to call his cell phone with updates.

      Throughout the day, as the weather improved and worsened again, my quest didn’t go so well. Malcolm—who understood the gravity of the request—promised to ask Dylan’s manager, but reiterated the singer’s demand not to meet anyone. At 6:30, a half hour before the Dylan show, I checked in again, and Malcolm told me the prospect was bleak. Dylan’s manager said he might pass by Mr. Evers and shake his hand if he happened to be standing right there. No media, though. I said this wasn’t about me; I’d stay a mile away if I had to; this was about Mr. Evers and Mr. Dylan.

      I called Mr. Evers, and talked him into coming to the JAM, even without a guarantee that he’d meet the singer. “I have a pass for you; come watch the show with me, and then we’ll see what we can do,” I told him, and he said OK. I had a sinking feeling, though, that I might be raising his hopes for nothing—except a good show, of course. I met him in the JRA parking garage, and we walked to the VIP stage, with Mr. Evers stopping to shake black and white hands along the way. I remarked that he might be the biggest celebrity there that night. He laughed and slapped my arm. “No way.”

      The show was excellent, although truth be known the sound was better down in the mud where we watched the encore. I was a little disappointed, although not surprised, that Dylan didn’t seize the opportunity to sing “Only a Pawn in their Game.” Looking out at the mostly white crowd, gathered on the AmSouth lawn near where the old segregated Woolworth got its 15 minutes of fame in the 1960s, I told Mr. Evers, “I wish people like Mr. Dylan could understand the progress we’re making around here these days.” Mr. Evers nodded his head. We both knew that Jackson could handle hearing that song if Dylan could handle doing it for us.

      Before the show ended, I checked with JAM organizer Holly Lange about where Mr. Evers should stand to get his shot to thank Mr. Dylan. She shook her head: “I’m sorry. It’s just not going to happen. We tried, but they’ve cleared everyone out of backstage. He won’t be able to get back there.”

      I went back and told Mr. Evers. He shrugged, saying that he’d enjoyed the show anyhow. I asked him to come back to our tent afterward to have his picture taken. He graciously said OK.

      Mr. Evers was holding court at the tent, looking like he was running for office again as he waved and shook hands, when Holly appeared in the crowd. “Come. Now.” she commanded, breathless from running. I pulled Mr. Evers away from a conversation mid-sentence, and she grabbed his other arm. “Mr. Evers, I’m sorry to do this to you, but we’ve got to hurry,” she said, yanking him through the crowd, me attached to his other arm.

      When they let us through the fence, the scene suddenly became quiet and reverent with everyone seemingly scared to blink. I stopped next to Malcolm and Holly. Then Bob Dylan appeared wearing his white cowboy hat. He warmly grasped Mr. Evers’ hand and held it for a good five minutes while they talked eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart, man-to-man. They both nodded a lot and seemed emotional. I didn’t try to get closer. This was between two giants of the Civil Rights Movement, and the man they—we—had lost to hatred. I blinked back tears.

      Suddenly, Mr. Evers turned around and took my arm, pulling me forward. Mr. Dylan slowly turned his gaze to my face and reached for my hand. I shook it, just looking into his eyes, as Mr. Evers told him who I was, that I had a newspaper and that we’re trying to bridge racial gaps and do good things in Jackson. My heart was in my toes. “I’m honored to meet you” is all I said.

      Then Mr. Evers and I turned and walked away, with him hugging me with boyish delight. He thanked me profusely.

      I’m the one who is thankful. To Malcolm and Holly and Dylan’s people. And to Mr. Evers for letting me be part of his—and, by extension, Medgar’s—special moment.

      Another good reason to call Jackson home.

      Photograph cortesy of Mississippi Department of Archives and History.




      Comment by steve on March 20, 2014

      posted on Edlis Cafe on Facebook, linked  here for safe-keeping.  Eulogy for Medgar Evers.


  • Welcome to the Bob Dylan Commentaries (5 comments)

    • Comment by Bill Easton on September 25, 2013

      Informative site!  I like how readers can add their own comments.  hope you add more over time.


      Comment by manwithnoname on September 25, 2013

      site matches the purpose. thanks!

      Comment by steve on October 9, 2013

      I’ve decide to take this site beyond the first seven albums.   See the “In Progress” section under “Contents”.

      Comment by Charlotte Carlin on January 15, 2015

      You’re doing a great job! We havent’ had any news for a long  – time, not since Drifter’s Escape. Please don’t stop.



      Comment by steve on January 17, 2015

      Hi Charlotte – Thanks for checking in and the encouraging words!

      I kind of got off track working on technical WordPress stuff. Recently I’ve gotten back to this site – should finish “I Am a Lonesome Hobo” shortly!


  • Bob Dylan's Dream (5 comments)

    • Comment by Columbus on September 30, 2013

      His name is Martin Dominic Forbes Carthy, called Martin Carthy,  according to wikipedia ‘one of the most influential figures in British traditional music’.

      Comment by Columbus on October 1, 2013

      Two last verses missing.

      Comment by admin on October 1, 2013

      Thanks! Fixed….

      Comment by admin on October 1, 2013

      Thanks! fixed.


      Comment by David George Freeman on December 10, 2019

      We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:


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  • It Ain't Me, Babe (4 comments)

    • Comment by Columbus on November 28, 2013

      So right about Betsy Bowden! I have been wondering over the years why almost no one refers to her. Clinton Heylin does, of course, but other than him?


      Comment by steve on December 1, 2013

      She definitely picked-up on what Dylan was doing very early on. Years later Paul Williams and others chimed in. Definitely an overlooked book. I’m glad somebody else appreciates it too.

      Comment by steve on December 18, 2013

      Some notes on this song included in the vintage fanzine, Homer the Slut.  These are from Volume I.  It was available on the net at one point.  Can’t find it now.

      Wilfrid Mellers (Darker Shade of Pale)

      Dylan seeks escape from any human eelationship that threatens his personal integrity.

      These songs are not really cruel, because he is asking the other person not to fear self-knowledge…..1T AIN’T ME BABE, …dismissive in that he refuses to allow the girl’s self-regarding love to engulf him, disarms through its lyricism and chuckles through its internal rhymes. Here Dylan’s irony laughs rather than blisters, and laughter can be a great healer.

      (Talking of BEFORE THE FLOOD =) Songs from various periods of Dylan’s career are re-created with a forward-looking, forward-thrusting drive Liberated by The Band. IT AIN’T ME, BABE becomes not merely a cheeky woman-rejecting number, but a positive celebration of freedom, chortling in cock-a-hoop abandon.

      John Herdman (Voice Without Restraint)

      There are a number of songs of the period up to BLONDE ON BLONDE which present, with varying degrees of irony and from differing vantage points such a sane man’s view of finished, dying or unpromising relationships.._…IT AINT ME BABE is a warning off song, aimed at discouraging a starry-eyed admirer…_.There is certainly an element of hardness in these songs which can look like cruelty:

      Go melt back in the night, babe

      Everything inside is made of stone.

      There’s nothing in here moving

      Anyway I’m not alone.

      In neither song is Dylan putting someone down; rather he is advising them to “think positively”, in a way which implies a genuine concern…..

      Anthony Scaduto (No Direction Home)

      IT AIN’T ME BABE tells Suze and all women that the Search for an illusory Hollywood-romantic love, for someone who will die for her, who will pick her up each time

      she falls, a lover for your life, has turned him to stone because he cannot fulfills such terms.

      Michael Gray (Song and Dance Man)

      When we come to Dylan’s more concentrated and sustained expressions of this same theme, of this negative-positive moral, we find, I think, that their plausibility derives from their being always addressed to a particular woman or specific entanglements of which the narrator understands the full worth. It is never, in Dylan’s hands, a merely boastful theme-never a Papa Hemingway conceit, an I’m-too-hot-to-hold bravado. The opposite impulse,the desire to stay and be entangled, is always felt to be present, though it cannot (until Nashville Skyline) win. We have this formula in DON’T THINK TWICE, ITS ALL RIGHT, from the second Dylan album, a song based, for its tune, on Johnny Cash’s composition UNDERSTAND YOUR MAN:

      I’m a-thinkin’ and a-wonderin  all the way down the road

      I once loved a woman-a child, I am told

      I gave her my love but she wanted my soul

      But don ‘t think twice, it’s all right. .

      The same integrity of spirit underlies the 1964 song IT AIN’T ME, BABE:

      You say you ‘re looking for someone

      Who’ll pick you up each timeyou fall

      To carry flowers constantly

      An to come each time you call,

      A lover for your life an’ nothing more,

      But it am ‘t me, babe,

      No, no, no it ain’t me, babe,

      It ain‘t me you ‘re lookin’for, babe.

      In the first of those two examples, there is a hint of direct reproach, yet the narrator’s own doubts give this a redressing balance. The title line is, ¡n that verse of the song, deliberately addressed to the narrator himself. In the second example above, doubt is unnecessary because behind the narrator’s careful assessment of the woman involved there is an element of compassion for her needs, and a consequent determination on his part to acquit himself fairly.

      Comment by Music of Bob Dylan on November 19, 2019

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  • General Comments (4 comments)

    • Comment by Daniel on November 20, 2013

      There is so much great material on this site… And I really like the concept of comments by paragraph.

      But I wish it had a more inviting look. Does anyone else build a wp theme that does this functionality? I think if it was more fun to look at, you’d build a solid following.

      My 2¢ for what its worth.



      Comment by steve on November 20, 2013

      Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for taking the time to enter a comment. I appreciate it. I’m glad you found it interesting. I think you are correct, if the site looked snazzier it would draw more people in. I think I also need to promote it somehow, create a blog etc. I’m thinking about ways to do both of those things. (tweaking the design is tough sledding.) Right now I’m working on another outside project and i haven’t been able to focus on it. But I will. the site is built using the CommentPress theme – http://futureofthebook.org/commentpress/examples/. I’ve seen a few examples that tweak the design a bit to make it look nicer.

      Comment by Hosting on January 10, 2017

      Well, then, it seems that Dylan was the only one of his era to have been able to embody fully the musicality that is essential to great poetry, the second voice that haunts every poet, but which he generally delegates to those who recite or read him, the power of song that is his ultimate and secret truth and that some have gone mad – literally and tragically mad – trying to pull from cage into canto.

      Comment by Wayzata on January 26, 2020

      Having recently read “Chronicles: Volume One” & now plowing thru M. Gray’s “Song & Dance Man,” I stumbled upon this magnificent resource, especially for its song-by-song commentary. Many thanks to all involved. One quick question: Is there a plan to continue post-“JohnWesleyHarding” or did I miss the Mission Statement somewhere? Would love to hear/read more from Dylanologists on the later albums, particularly Bob’s return to stellar material with “Time Out Of Mind,” “Love and Theft,” and “Modern Times.”

  • Absolutely Sweet Marie (4 comments)

    • Comment by steve on October 7, 2013

      Link to the Harper’s article is here.
      The article also documents similar borrowings committed by other artists, including William Burroughs, T.S. Elliot, and many others. Includes a detailed analysis of the ethical considerations in play.

      Comment by EDLIS Café on October 7, 2013

      During a 1991 interview published in Paul Zollo’s book Songwriters on Songwriting, Expanded Fourth Edition (New York: Da Capo Press, 1997), Dylan gives an idea of how he sees the song in his explanation of a line about a “yellow railroad”:

      That’s about as complete as you can be. Every single letter in that line. It’s all true. On a literal and on an escapist level…. Getting back to the yellow railroad, that could be from looking someplace. Being a performer, you travel the world. You’re not just looking out of the same window everyday. You’re not just walking down the same old street. So you must make yourself observe whatever. But most of the time it hits you. You don’t have to observe. It hits you. Like, “yellow railroad” could have been a blinding day when the sun was so bright on a railroad someplace and it stayed on my mind…. These aren’t contrived images. These are images which are just in there and have got to come out.

      Comment by carl on June 11, 2015

      from a facebook post:

      “We want to make it safe to live by the law; enough has been done to make it safe to live life outside the law” – Barry Goldwater 1964

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 6, 2019

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  • Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again (4 comments)

    • Comment by steve on October 19, 2013
      Edlis Cafe comment…

      Richie Unterberger draws comparisons to the mid-to-late 1960s work of Bob Dylan. (Dylan’s name appears among the graffiti on the album cover.) Unterberg writes “…the similarity to some of Dylan’s long, wordy surreal songs of the mid-’60s is close enough that it’s a little surprising ‘Jigsaw Puzzle’ hasn’t been singled out by more listeners as being a Dylan imitation, particularly since it frankly sounds a little hackneyed in its approximation of Dylanesque weirdness.” Some Dylanologists consider this song to be a direct response to the 1966 “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.” The lyrics depict the observations of the singer who finds himself surrounded by “misfits and weirdos”:

      “There’s a tramp sittin’ on my doorstep, Tryin’ to waste his time; With his methylated sandwich, He’s a walking clothesline; And here comes the bishop’s daughter, On the other side; She looks a trifle jealous, She’s been an outcast all her life”

      “Me, I’m waiting so patiently, Lying on the floor; I’m just trying to do my jig-saw puzzle, Before it rains anymore”

      Comment by Dave on December 4, 2013

      In the verse where it says; “How badly they were shocked”. It should read; “How badly they are shocked”. Then where it says; “We built a fire on main street”. It says; “When I speak built a fire on main st.” or something like that. I used a program called Sony Vegas Pro 12 and it allows you to slow the song down as much as you want but I still can’t decipher exactly what he says about building a fire on main st. Hopefully, someone can help me out.

      Comment by steve on December 7, 2013

      That’s interesting. I’m going to go thru my old bootlegs and see what is sung on those versions. Might shed some light on what he meant to sign.

      Comment by Music of Bob Dylan on August 31, 2019

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  • Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (4 comments)

    • Comment by steve on December 26, 2013

      Link to a nice article in the Boston Globe (12/19/13) that provides a short overview of Clayton’s career/life.  Discuss the Clayton connection with this song and Baby Blue.



      article is saved here for safe-keeping.

      Clayton article from Boston Globe




      Comment by steve on January 2, 2014

      facebook thread on this topic.




      the essential post:


      The short answer to Ed Lyrics’ original question:

      > Is it known when Paul Clayton discovered (published?) this song. and did it come with a tune? I’m curious how long it took for Dylan to then write his own version.

      Clayton’s song seems to be an amalgamation of two songs (tune and lyrics), whilst the Dylan use of the song is interesting… 


      Now for the longer answer…. 

      From ‘Paul Clayton and the Folksong Revival’ by Bob Coltman.

      First – how Clayton wrote the song, “Who’s Gonna Buy You Ribbons”:

      ‘By 1962, though, dog eat dog was becoming the new mood as folksingers vied for popularity. Gina Glaser, who had come up during the earlier, kinder era, saw the new trend developing even before she left for England. She speaks of “the competition, the backbiting, the nastiness. It was horrible.” Though not everyone saw it coming, events in that whirl would doom real folksong. The singers rising to the top of the seething heap would be those who featured not traditional numbers but originals, preferably of their own writing.

      ‘Paul saw that this new direction would be a key to staying in the game. “Gotta Travel On” had shown the way; now he had a new folk-based lyric, “Who’ll Buy You Ribbons (When I’m Gone).” It soon found modest popularity. He had put together this one, too, from folk sources. Stephen Wilson says he had “taken two different ideas. I know this from Clayton’s own lips. He slightly changed to tune to ‘Call Me Old Black Dog.’ The words were a song he picked up a sheet copy of in the University of Virginia library, called ‘Who’s Gonna Buy You Chickens When I’m Gone.’ He liked the idea of it.”

      ‘Paul brought the song into the mainstream by junking the chickens and substituting ribbons. His song, as copyrighted, was simple, brief and hooky in the music industry sense. 

      ‘If some of these lines remind you of a later folk rock hit, that’s no accident as we shall see.

      ‘”Who’ll Buy You Ribbons” is erroneously said to be based on a song from the early folk craze “Scarlet Ribbons (for Her Hair),” which had worn out turntables by the thousands in Harry Belafonte’s rendition. But it shares neither tune nor lyric with the Belafonte hit, only the ribbon theme and that was scarcely new; witness the perennial favorite “Oh, Dear, What Can The Matter Be?”…

      …’John Jacob Niles, too, had a ribbon song: “If I Had Ribbon Bow.” At best the “Scarlet Ribbons” suggestion is a red herring.

      ‘Paul also claimed he found “Who’s Gonna Buy You Chickens” on an Appalachian collecting trip. Evidence suggests he got the song from Marybird McAllister, though it does not appear on the Library of Congress’s title list of some 150 of her songs he taped between 1958 and 1961. On balance Wilson’s account is as close to definitive as we’re likely to get.’


      In terms of the Dylan appropriation and ‘Don’t Think Twice’, that all seemed to have happened around 1962.

      ‘Barry Kornfeld recalled how one [song] became the other: “I was with Paul one day, and Dylan wanders by and says, ‘Hey, man, that’s a great song. I’m gonna use that song.’ And he wrote a far better song, a more interesting song — ‘Don’t Think Twice.”

      ‘Paul’s best friend, Stephen Wilson, asserts of “Ribbons,” “Cute song, it had a very nice change, nice feeling in it. Paul said he went to see Dylan in New York and Dylan picked up the guitar and said, ‘Hey, Paul, I rewrote your song, what do you think about this?'” and played Paul “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” At first Paul was enthusiastic about “Twice.” But then Peter Paul and Mary turned it into a huge hit. For Paul, scratching for gigs to pay the rent and survive, it looked like the big fish that got away. Wilson recalls, “Royaltywise, it would have been a big producer if you owned half of it, and to a person who was dying of no money, half of the twenty or thirty or forty grand would have been a huge [windfall]”

      ‘Paul needed it badly – he would be dirt poor the rest of his life.’


      Coltman, Bob. Paul Clayton and the Folksong Revival. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2008, 9780810861329: 132-133, 146-147.

      […] Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right […]

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 16, 2019

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  • I Want You (4 comments)

    • Comment by Charles Hartman on June 24, 2015

      These are the official (website) lyrics, but what Dylan actually sings is “She knows that she’s not afraid to look at her.” The cast of characters is uncertain and their interactions are very tangled.

      Comment by steve on June 25, 2015

      Thanks for the comment. That’s interesting. I wonder if he just just “mis-sung”, wouldn’t be the first time. Or perhaps he wanted it that way. I just listen to the Dylan and Dead version, he sings it the official version there.

      Comment by steve on June 25, 2015

      Interesting, thanks  for the comment.   I  wonder if he  just “mis-sung”,  wouldn’t  be the  first time,  or  he  wanted  it  that way?  I just  listen to  the Dylan  and  the  Dead  version.   He sings it the  “official  way.

      Comment by betsy on September 29, 2019

      I think it is too tempting for those of us analysing Dylan’s music almost 20 years into a new millenium, so far away from the time it was written, that we forget about the biggest issue of Dylan’s hay day – the Vietnam War. The undertakers is guity, he doesn’t just feel guilty — Dylan makes clear that he is guilty, like all the other bureaucrats and most of the adult population who are walking around pretending that hundreds of thousand of our kids, 18 year olds with their lives ahead of them, had been rounded up and dumped into the man-made jungle that was the Vietnam war. 200,000 – 250,000 of them came home in coffins draped in flags, most of the rest came home in a different kind of coffin. Dylan has set the scene.

  • It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (3 comments)

    • Comment by steve lescure on December 17, 2016

      Just noticed that the traditional Rocks and Gravel includes the lines:

      Don’t my gal look good, When she’s comin’ after me?

      very similar to the lines in this song, “don’t my gal..”



      Comment by Daniel Vojtisek on March 1, 2019

      Everybody seems to work hard to avoid the explanation of “Double E”. In every analysis of the song I came across the author spends quite a long time guessing what this or that metaphor might really mean but, for reasons unknown to me, goes over the “Double E” as if in fact it wasn’t in the lyrics. Other example of “Double E” in connection with railroads is Warren Zevon’s “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”: I laid my head on the railroad track/waiting for the Double E. Another Double E train is mentioned in “The Liar’s Club: A Memoir” by Mary Karr where one character says that he took a Double E train from Memphis to New Orleans. Furry Lewis’s Jelly Roll you mention seems to me to be another story – the Double E there definitely means something different from Dylan’s (and Zevon’s, for that matter) meaning. But I may be wrong, I am not an American, even not a native English speaker.

      The fact that meaning of so frequently used term is not known to everybody in the US puzzles me. Thank you.


      Comment by Daniel Vojtisek on February 19, 2020

      “And now for the train terminology.” Brakeman in the illustration is turning a brake wheel, not flagging the train down, by the way. And if this paragraph deals with “train terminology” why there is no explanation of “Double E” , again?



  • Baby Let Me Follow You Down (3 comments)

  • I Shall Be Free No. 10 (3 comments)

    • Comment by Columbus on November 27, 2013

      Oh Dear, these are the lyrics of I Shall Be Free from Freewheelin’ – not from I Shall Be Free # 10 from Another Side.

      Comment by steve on November 27, 2013

      wow, you are right!  must have cut-and-pasted over the wrong one.  Fixed… thanks!!

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 13, 2019

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  • I Pity the Poor Immigrant (3 comments)

    • Comment by Phil Graham on June 20, 2015

      The song is “Morning Dew”, not Misty Dew!!!

      Comment by steve on June 22, 2015

      whoops!  fixed.  thanks  for pointing that out.

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 13, 2019

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  • Subterranean Homesick Blues (3 comments)

    • Comment by admin on October 1, 2013

      From a post in EDLIS Cafe….

      Dylan potentially got the inspiration for his  line “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” from an old movie, Blonde Ice (1948).   Around the 23:15  mark of the movie


      a character says “You don’t need a weather vane to see which way this wind is blowing.”








      Comment by feminization hypnosis mistress on October 10, 2013

      I look forward to new updates and will share this site with my Facebook group.
      Chat soon!

      Comment by anon on May 3, 2016

      It was Dylan’s idea. In a bar, he asked me, and I said I thought it was terrific. We took a long hundreds of shirt cardboards on the trip, and we sat down with Donovan and Joan (Baez), and just did different signs. I did some too, but I can’t remember which ones I did.” — D. A. Pennebaker

  • Bringing It All Back Home (3 comments)

  • I Shall Be Free (3 comments)

    • Comment by Columbus on October 2, 2013

      –>Well, there are lyrical debts to Leadbelly’s ‘Take a Whiff on Me’ and ‘Talkin’ Blues’.

      Comment by steve on June 13, 2015

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 13, 2019

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  • The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest (3 comments)

  • All Along the Watchtower (3 comments)

    • Comment by Jon Dennis on March 2, 2015

      Surely it’s “Along” rather than “Around”? Although as Dave Van Ronk pointed out, you can’t actually go along a watchtower.

      Comment by steve on March 3, 2015

      Thanks  Jon,  I’ll fix that.  Von Ronk was right, wasn’t  he?!

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 6, 2019

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  • A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (3 comments)

    • Comment by Columbus on September 27, 2013

      Dylan did say in that interview: “I’ve read his (i.e. Rimbaud’s) tiny little book ‘evil flowers’ too.” But “Les Fleurs du Mal”, 1857, English translation: ‘The Flowers of Evil’ was written by Charles Baudelaire. You cannot mention the Symbolists without mentioning Baudelaire.

      Otherwise great website, great overview of the facts behind the songs.


      Comment by admin on October 1, 2013

      Great catch!  I noted this fact in the text.

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 6, 2019

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  • Drifter's Escape (2 comments)

  • She Belongs to Me (2 comments)

  • Tombstone Blues (2 comments)

    • Comment by Cindy Bradley on August 12, 2018

      John the Baptist was just a few months older than Jesus, (they were cousins) therefore there is no way for him to have baptised”baby Jesus”. Instead,he baptised Jesus in the Jordan River and they were both adult men.

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 7, 2019

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  • Love Minus Zero (2 comments)

    • Comment by Angelo on September 18, 2013

      Little mistake here, I Don’t Believe You is from Another Side.

      Comment by Columbus on February 5, 2014

      She does not participate in ‘people’s games that you got to dodge’ – here referred to as a game of chess: horsemen/knights/pawn. There is of course something apocalyptic about the use of horsemen instead of the four knights of the game.

      And, oh, you must read Edgar Allen Poe: The Raven. The whole atmosphere of the poem adds to an understanding and appreciation of Dylan’s beautiful song.

  • Like a Rolling Stone (2 comments)

    • Comment by carl sandburg on November 1, 2013


       February 1966

      PLAYBOY: You used to say that you wanted to perform as little as possible, that you wanted to keep most of your time to  67yourself. Yet you’re doing more concerts and cutting more records every year. Why? Is it the money?

      DYLAN: Everything is changed now from before. Last spring. I guess I was going to quit singing. I was very drained, and the way things were going, it was a very draggy situation – I mean, when you do “Everybody Loves You for Your Black Eye,” and meanwhile the back of your head is caving in. Anyway, I was playing a lot of songs I didn’t want to play. I was singing words I didn’t really want to sing. I don’t mean words like “God” and “mother” and “President” and “suicide” and “meat cleaver.” I mean simple little words like “if” and “hope” and “you.” But “Like a Rolling Stone” changed it all: I didn’t care anymore after that about writing books or poems or whatever. I mean it was some thing that I myself could dig. It’s very tiring having other people tell you how much they dig you if you yourself don’t dig you. It’s also very deadly entertainment wise. Contrary to what some scary people think, I don’t play with a band now for any kind of propaganda-type or commercial-type reasons. It’s just that my songs are pictures and the band makes the sound of the pictures.


  • I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine (2 comments)

    • Comment by ray miller on December 16, 2013

      Some biblical quotes that led to his conversion…

      “Not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual excess and lust, not in quarreling and jealousy. Rather, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh” (Romans 13:13-14).


      Not everything that feels good ends well. “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 13, 2019

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  • As I Went Out One Morning (2 comments)

    • Comment by David George Freeman on March 22, 2017

      Hello there, thank you for posting this interesting essay. Join us inside Bob Dylan’s Music Box  http://thebobdylanproject.com/Song/id/36/As-I-Went-Out-One-Morning and listen to every version of every song

      Comment by steve lescure on March 22, 2017

      Very cool site! Thanks for the link, I’ll be checking it out in-depth.

  • Queen Jane Approximately (2 comments)

  • Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (2 comments)

    • Comment by Aleksey Calvin on September 18, 2013

      I’ve always heard this as a drug reference. According to various sources, Dylan was not beyond indulging in the magic amphetamine injections so popular at the time. However, there are several other voices as well as Dylan’s own rumored admission to Robert Shelton during an “in-flight” interview in 1966 that point to the singer developing a heroin habit during some period prior to the Woodstock retreat. New York was definitely the proper place to discover dope in the early 60s and, to the choir-fans calling “blasphemy!”, it is not too difficult to remain a high-functioning junkie, particularly if one doesn’t have money problems. Sometimes, you just never know with a person. The stereotype of a passive junkie melting into the couch is usually just that. It takes quite a bit of effort to financially secure a supply and the best way to do that is to… have a job. I’ve known plenty of junkies who could fool the whole world and certainly prefer to, mainly due to the stigma attached to the drug. Almost nobody would know it when they had a habit and almost nobody noticed when they quit. In that sense, being a speed-freak is a lot more obvious and alcoholics might as well be jangling bottles from their necks. So, though I am NOT saying with any degree of certainty that Dylan was a heroin addict (due to limited evidence), I wouldn’t exclude that as a possibility.

  • Blonde on Blonde (2 comments)

    • Comment by anonymous on February 26, 2014

      Video of Al Kooper discussing Blonde on Blonde.




      Comment by Rosemary Patrick on February 11, 2020

      Good interveiw

  • Just Like a Woman (2 comments)

    • Comment by Paul Grieves on May 25, 2017

      There’s a theory that this song was about a transvestite. I believe Dylan was hanging out with Andy Warhol at this time and he took him into the oddity of his world and introduced him to lots of different characters. The line about not fitting might have some thing to do with this too? I don’t know – it’s still mystery and one to chew over.

      Comment by Music of Bob Dylan on September 2, 2019

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  • Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35 (2 comments)

    • Comment by Columbus on March 24, 2014

      Captain Arab, not Ahab (the captain from Moby Dick ), is mentioned in ‘Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream’ from Bringing It All Back Home. In Highway 61 Revisited the name is Abe.

      Otherwise: good work!

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 18, 2019

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  • Restless Farewell (2 comments)

    • Comment by David George Freeman on December 18, 2019

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      Comment by Niick on June 17, 2020

      Here is a link to the full episode:



      March 10, 1964

  • House of the Rising Sun (2 comments)

    • Comment by Jon on October 15, 2016

      “sewed” (fabric), not “sowed” (seeds).

      Comment by steve lescure on October 16, 2016

      thanks,  you’re right.  (It’s “sowed” on bobdylan.com too.)

  • Talkin' World War III Blues (2 comments)

  • One Too Many Mornings (2 comments)

    • Comment by Thestoner.info on August 10, 2018

      Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading?
      I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
      Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

      Comment by steve lescure on August 10, 2018

      They load ok for me. ?

  • Blowin' in the Wind (2 comments)

    • Comment by anonymous on February 26, 2014

      Link to an article that mentions Dylan may have picked-up Auction Block from Dolores Dixon, of the New World Singers.


      Cantor Bob at 75

      Comment by David George Freeman on December 9, 2019

      We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:



      If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.


      Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.

  • Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (2 comments)

  • Chimes of Freedom (2 comments)

    • Comment by carl sandburg on November 1, 2013

      corner of the room, watching Dylan intently as he talked.

      Q: To start with the obvious question: what do you think of

      Sheffield University Paper, May 1965

      Donovan and “Catch the Wind?”

      A: Well, I quite like that song, and he sings it quite well. He’s very young though, and people might like to try to make him into something that he isn’t; that’s something he’ll have to watch. But the song is O.K.

      Q: Isn’t the tune a lot like your “Chimes of Freedom”?

      A: Oh, I don’t care what he takes from me; I don’t care what other singers do to my songs either, they can’t hurt me any. Like with the Animals and “Baby Let Me Follow You Down”, I didn’t worry none about that. I met the Animals over in New York, and we all went out and got scoused. Is that what you say? (Someone behind him suggests “sloshed”.) Oh yeah, that’s it, sloshed.

      Anyway, the Animals are O.K., I liked their last one, “Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood”, that was a good one.


      Animals reference/they “stole” his version of Bably Let Me Follow  You Down –>



      Comment by David George Freeman on December 25, 2019

      We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:


      If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.


      Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.

  • Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine (1 comment)

  • Temporary Like Achilles (1 comment)

    • Comment by Nicholas J Pierotti on October 9, 2018

      hogwash. it’s one of the strongest songs on the album

  • Corrina, Corrina (1 comment)

  • Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance (1 comment)

    • Comment by Columbus on October 2, 2013

      Henry Thomas’ Henry Won’t You Allow Me One More Chance’ was NOT included on Harry Smith’s Anthology, only his ‘Fishing Blues’. See Heylin: Revolution In The Air.

  • Pretty Peggy-O (1 comment)

  • Fourth Time Around (1 comment)

  • Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands (1 comment)

  • Freight Train Blues (1 comment)

    • Comment by Jay on March 26, 2017

      I have a live version of Freight Train Blues. You can purchase it on ITunes on the compilation Folk Barbecue Party. He also plays Stealin’ Stealin’.

  • Bob Dylan’s Blues (1 comment)

  • Down the Highway (1 comment)

  • Masters of War (1 comment)

    • Comment by steve on June 4, 2015

      From a post  on Facebook group  Edlis Cafe regarding Nottamun Town.

      “A piece of folksong surrealism,” is how Jean describes “Nottamun Town,” dreamlike in its disorienting juxtapositions: “Ten thousand stood around me, and yet I’s alone….” The family could trace their knowledge of the song back to Crockett Ritchie; according to Uncle Jason, “‘hit’s might neart sure to be about Nottingham in Old England.'”

      The song was likely a product of the early mummers’ plays, in which local actors would blacken their faces and turn their clothing inside out to escape recognition. Bob Dylan was not only influenced by the song’s jumble of mixed-up, fantastical lyrics… but also melodically, as he borrowed the tune for “Masters of War”.

      Lenny Kaye, Liner Notes for “O Love Is Teasin — Anglo-American Mountain Balladry,” Elektra 9 60402-1-U, 1985


  • Dear Landlord (1 comment)

  • Song to Woody (1 comment)

    • Comment by mark on November 27, 2019

      He mentions here’s to Cisco and Sonny and Leadbelly too.


  • The Times They Are A-Changin' (1 comment)

    • Comment by steve on January 4, 2014

      from Wikepedia:


      11 Outlined Epitaphs ( Eleven epitaphs sketchy ) is the title of a poem written in the early sixties by Bob Dylan .

      It was published in the volumes Writings and Drawings and Lyrics 1962-1985 [1] . An abridged version of the text was published by Columbia Records – under 4 Outlined Epitaphs – such as liner notes for the album The Times They Are A-Changin ‘ , released in February 1964 [2] .

      Among the texts is not intended to be set to music, this is one of the most elaborate in the production of the author that this work gives evidence of a literary poetry already well defined in spite of his young age, although suspended – and feel free to sometimes conflicting – between the visionary of themaudit French and force radical wing of the emerging – at that time – the counterculture dictated by the Beat Generation .

  • One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) (1 comment)

  • The Times They Are A-Changin' (1 comment)

    • Comment by carl sandburg on November 1, 2013

      interview – BOB DYLAN TALKING by Joseph Haas

      Published in Chicago Daily News 27 Nov 1965 Reprinted in “Retrospective” ed.

      by Craig McGregor

      Q: In songs like “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” you made a distinction between young and old thinking, you talked about the older generation failing to understand the younger?

      A: That’s not what I was saying. It happened maybe that those were the only words I could find to separate aliveness from deadness. It has nothing to do with age.


  • My Back Pages (1 comment)

    • Comment by Doug Olena on December 15, 2017

      This is vs 1 before his reflective refrain.

      “Crimson flames tied through my ears”

      I’m thinking this has to do with how certain Dylan was that the ideas he had were true, big T true. His certainty motivated him to set up the following line as a battle strategy against those who thought differently.

      “Rollin’ high and mighty traps”

      Here’s the confidence of youth from that certainty setting up traps for those who didn’t know what he did.

      “Pounced with fire on flaming roads”

      Raw and fiery determination set his course. The strength of his youth dedicated to the journey.

      “Using ideas as my maps”

      He simply let his imagination and belief guide him.

      “‘We’ll meet on edges, soon,’ said I”

      Whether he’s speaking to the enemies of his truth or his fellow travelers doesn’t seem to matter here.

      “Proud ’neath heated brow”

      The heat in his head produced by the crimson flames, fire, and flaming roads.

      The refrain to the verses is the reflection after some time on that road, recognizing that he really didn’t get it after all, or if he did get it, he is less certain that his truth was big T truth, or that he should have brandished his weapons against those who disagreed with him.

  • To Ramona (1 comment)

  • Black Crow Blues (1 comment)

  • All I Really Want To Do (1 comment)

  • Fixin' to Die (1 comment)

  • Talkin' New York (1 comment)

  • Ballad in Plain D (1 comment)

  • You're No Good (1 comment)

  • It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (1 comment)

  • Maggie's Farm (1 comment)

  • Bob Dylan (1 comment)

  • Ballad of a Thin Man (1 comment)

  • Boots of Spanish Leather (1 comment)

  • With God on Our Side (1 comment)

    • Comment by steve lescure on April 13, 2016

      Dylan said  in the well-known San Francisco interview that he  liked Manfred Mann’s covers of his songs.

  • Ballad of Hollis Brown (1 comment)

  • Down Along the Cove (1 comment)

Comments on the Blog

  • Desolation Row - Excerpt from Homer the Slut Fanzine (9 comments)

    • Comment by steve on January 2, 2014

      Two good points.  Dylan – as great as he is –  can be undisciplined on occasion.  

      Good word choice – “images of incongruity”.

      Comment by steve on January 2, 2014

      Are the lines about Einstein meaningless?  Maybe so, I guess. But I like it anyway. I take them to mean that Einstein concluded that “sniffing drainpipes” was most more worthwhile than developing theories that led to things like atomic weapons. (  )


      Comment by steve on January 2, 2014

      I always liked those lines myself.

      Comment by steve on January 4, 2014

      Muir also had the first ten issues of Judas on his site as well. Seem to be gone!

      Comment by steve on January 4, 2014

      Anybody want to chime in on how the bit about Romeo ia “comment on America Society”?  I always thought it was Dylan poking fun at the Romeo-type.

      Comment by steve on January 4, 2014

      “secretly flirting with sanity.”    I like that description of Ophelia thinking about escaping from her chains.

      Comment by steve on January 16, 2014

      Andrew Muir pointed out to me that Jim Brady was a classmate of his in college.  He wrote this piece about Desolation Row as part of a literature dissertation.

      Comment by Andrew Muir on July 31, 2015

      Hi Steve,


      Glad you find the old Homers of interest. As for the Judasses (Judae ??) 17 issues are up in full – or near full form at:




      Comment by steve on August 5, 2015

      Hi  Andrew – Thanks for taking the  time to let me  of the update! I’ll  take a  look.  Judas was an  amazing magazine  – I  own most of them.





  • Ellen Willis Article - Editor of New Yorker (2 comments)

    • Comment by FrankCup on March 13, 2020

      Today, almost every critic bows down to the Velvets, but Willis “got” those proto-punks early. Her 1979 essay from the anthology “Stranded” (included here) remains a foundational, luminous analysis of Lou Reed’s street-hassle humanism — and a statement of Willis’s own purpose. “What it comes down to for me — as a Velvets fan, a lover of rock ’n’ roll, a New Yorker, an aesthete, a punk, a sinner, a sometime seeker of enlightenment (and love) (and sex) — is this: I believe that we are all, openly or secretly, struggling against one or another kind of nihilism. I believe that body and spirit are not really separate, though it often seems that way. I believe that redemption is never impossible and always equivocal,” she wrote, then ended wryly with the refrain from “Heroin”: “But I guess that I just don’t know.”

      Comment by steve lescure on March 13, 2020

      Thanks for the excellent contribution!


  • Pete Seeger's Advice Column in Seventeen Magazine (1 comment)

    • Comment by anonymous on February 17, 2014

      Very strange but lovely to learn that Pete Seeger wrote an advice column directed at teenage girls. If I may include a personal anecdote: As a teen I was enthralled by Seventeen Magazine, (when I could get my hands on one) and spent hours dreaming about how wonderful it would be, how happy I would be, if I could look like those beautiful girls and have their beautiful, stylish clothes instead of the hand-me-downs of a “maiden” aunt who just happened to be my size. I especially liked Pete’s #3, though I must admit, it and all the rest of his advice would have gone over my head at the time. I think the same could be said of most teen girls of the late fifties- early sixties, at least the ones I knew. “Debts can be chains, best used when they can haul you to new heights, rather than entangle your legs. It’s the same with possessions. “Man doesn’t possess possessions: they possess us.”An excellent paper below on how young women and women in general were [are] groomed to be consumers.http://dumas.ccsd.cnrs.fr/…/V_Martins_Lamb_-_Civi_2011.pdfVanessa Martins Lamb “The 1950’s and 1960’s and the American Woman: the transition from the “housewife” to the feminist” The Consumer Society, page 10 of 109Another sector of this society benefited from the suburbs: the car industry. Families were living far from schools, from business and shopping areas and required a fast and efficient means of transportation. The car became a status symbol; manufacturers launched new models regularly and fostered the feeling that car s were an indication of success. With the development of these communities, business leaders saw an opportunity to develop their activities. Stores, malls and huge parking lots were installed on roads, therefore democratizing further the well-known “consumer society”.The economy opened up and the way of life of the population reflected this. These changes were particularly noticeable in fashion, in technological and industrial growth. Computers, transistors, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and microwaves became popular and the majority of them were very affordable. The most developed home appliance was by far the television set. Developed in the 1930’s, television was the essential equipment in the house and in the life of a 1950’s family. As a result, society experienced a “baby-boom”: there were 24.3 million children between 5 and 14 years in the 1950’s and 35.5 million in the 1960’s. In 1956 America had 13 million teenagers who wanted to live a different life from their parent’s generation. They were more autonomous than the former generation; they did not have the concern to save money which their parents had at their age. All the money they gained was spent quickly in clothing, accessories for the hairstyle or rock’n roll recordsMichael Kammen, “American Culture, American Tastes”“cultural power depends on the production, promotion and dissemination of cultural artifacts”. “Thousands of people at an amusement park as opposed to many tens of millions worldwide watching the Super Bowl in January. Popular culture is more often than not, as participatory and interactive, whereas mass culture…induces passivity and the privatization of culture.”Kammen’s NY Times obituaryhttp://www.nytimes.com/…/michael-kammen-historian-of-us…Excerpt: In “American Culture, American Tastes” (1999), he drew a distinction between popular culture (which in his view encompassed old-fashioned participatory entertainments like vaudeville and county fairs) and mass culture (including more solitary electronic pursuits like television, video games and the Internet), arguing that by the late 20th century the boundary between the two had become indistinct.Thomas Hine“I Want That!How We All Became Shoppers” http://www.thomashine.com/i_want_that_how_we_all_became…“People giggle at shopping, perhaps, because of the absurdity of humanity’s fate—looking for a bargain in an indifferent universe. Shopping is ridiculous because what our spirits need is so vastly out of proportion to the goods we settle for. Like the prizes bestowed by the Wizard of Oz, the treasures we cart home don’t begin to satisfy the longings that sent us on our journeys.”
      about an hour ago


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