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Absolutely Sweet Marie

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2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Commentary

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 The  lyrics to Absolutely Sweet Marie are kind of all over the place, finally fading away with some confusing, ambiguous lines about the woman’s “yellow railroad” and her “ruined balcony”. The Blonde on Blonde musicians have told the story many times about how they played cards while Dylan finished some of the songs during the sessions. I’m guessing that Absolutely is one of those toss-offs.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 2 The song contains one Dylan’s most quoted aphorisms: “To live outside the law you must be honest”. Jonathan Lethem, in an article in Harpers magazine in February 2007, notes that the line is very similar to a line in the 1958 film The Lineup, “When you live outside the law, you have to eliminate dishonesty”.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 The lines “Well, anybody can be just like me, obviously/But then, now again, not too many can be like you, fortunately” is cited in Ben Yagoda’s book, When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It, as being a great example of imaginative use of adverbs (“obviously” “absolutely” “fortunately”).

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 ‘Sweet Marie’ rolls off the tongue nicely. “Sweet Melinda” appears in Just Like Tom Thumbs’ Blues. It does sound good.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Dylan may have copped the name from a well-known carnival fat lady. That Sweet Marie supposedly weighted over 600 pounds. The artwork used to advertise carnivals with characters such as Sweet Marie is now highly collectible.Gideon Bosker and Carl Hammer edited a book of this type of advertisements. The cover illustration portrays Sweet Marie in the process of eating half-a-dozen eggs.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 It has also been suggested that Dylan took the name from an old song of the same name written by Irishman Percy French. French’s song was a popular number in the sixties, and was covered by Dylan’s cohorts Tommy Makem and The Clancy Brothers.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 The performance on the recording is fantastic. The organ and drums drive the bouncy little tune along. Dylan sings it well, and throws in an extended, wildly exuberant harmonica break in at the end. Good stuff.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 Dylan didn’t play the song live until 1988. Since then he’s often used it as the opening number.

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13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 George Harrison did a nice cover at the 30th Anniversary Concert concert in 1992.

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15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Jason and the Scorchers give it a demented cow-punk treatment.

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19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 Lyrics

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 Well, your railroad gate, you know I just can’t jump it
Sometimes it gets so hard, you see
I’m just sitting here beating on my trumpet
With all these promises you left for me
But where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 Well, I waited for you when I was half sick
Yes, I waited for you when you hated me
Well, I waited for you inside of the frozen traffic
When you knew I had some other place to be
Now, where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 Well, anybody can be just like me, obviously
But then, now again, not too many can be like you, fortunately.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 Well, six white horses that you did promise
Were finally delivered down to the penitentiary
But to live outside the law, you must be honest
I know you always say that you agree
But where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 Well, I don’t know how it happened
But the river-boat captain, he knows my fate
But ev’rybody else, even yourself
They’re just gonna have to wait.

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 Well, I got the fever down in my pockets
The Persian drunkard, he follows me
Yes, I can take him to your house but I can’t unlock it
You see, you forgot to leave me with the key
Oh, where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 Now, I been in jail when all my mail showed
That a man can’t give his address out to bad company
And now I stand here lookin’ at your yellow railroad
In the ruins of your balcony
Wond’ring where you are tonight, sweet Marie.

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Source: http://www.bobdylancommentaries.com/blonde-on-blonde/absolutely-sweet-marie/