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Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again

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2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Commentary

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again is certainly one of the best songs on Blonde on Blonde. The lyrics are highly creative, striking. The music is potent and propelling. Although not as well-known as many of his other songs, Stuck Inside is absolutely one of Dylan’s (many) great songs.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Stuck Inside is another one of Dylan non-narrative narrative songs. The lyrics clearly tell a story of some sort, a tale of loneliness, isolation, longing, desperation, and escape. However, the verses are only connected by theme, not by any sense of linear story telling. In performance, Dylan often swaps the order of several verses (often the third through the fifth). The order doesn’t really matter.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Once again the theme is one of the outsider trying to escape’square society. The song tells the tale of a man desperately looking for a way out of “Mobile’s Grand Street” and into some kind of sane world, such as can be found, apparently, in “Memphis”.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Stuck Inside is a song that would have fit in well on Highway 61 Revisited. First of all, the sound is much more raucous and explosive that anything else on Blonde on Blonde, outside of One of Us Must Know. The style of the lyrics definitely hearkens back to Desolation Row and Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues. The influence of the Beat poets is obvious. A phrase such as “neon madmen” could have been pulled right out of an Allen Ginsberg poem. The lines

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 But he cursed me when I proved it to him,
Then I whispered, “Not even you can hide.
You see, you’re just like me,
I hope you’re satisfied.”

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 bring to mind Ballad of a Thin Man, another Beat inspired lyric.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 Like many songs on Highway 61 Revisited, the song features a host of proper nouns and characters – the Rag-man, Mama, Shakespeare, French Girl, Mona, Railroad Men, Grandpa, The Senator, The Preacher, The Rain-man, Ruthie, The Debutante, and Neon Madman. The song has more characters than some movies.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 Dylan probably chose the two contrasting city names, Mobile and Memphis, not only because the names sound good together, but also because of the contrasting history of the two towns. Mobile is a city in Alabama, one of the more racially segregated states in the country. It was the site of some of the infamous civil rights protests and violence that was happening around the time Blonde on Blonde was recorded. Memphis, on the other hand, was the home of “soul music”, and known as a hip and happening town.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 On the recording Dylan sings one line differently than what is published in the lyric book. In the published lyrics the line is written “Now the preacher looked so baffled”. On the record Dylan clearly adds an additional word before “preacher”, but it’s not clear what it is. It could be “tea preacher”. Some have speculated that a tea preacher could be a marijuana dealer. Some on rec.music.dylan have suggested that Dylan was trying to sing “teacher” and it came out wrong.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 It could be that Dylan sings “teen preacher”. A post on rec.music.dylan noted that Dylan could have been referring to the well-known teen preacher Marjoe Gortner, who worked as a traveling evangelical preacher during the sixties. Gortner later help create a documentary, Marjoe, in which he confesses that his preaching was just an act he did to make a buck. Could be I guess, although in all likelihood it was just a vocal hiccup.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Stuck Inside only appears on one official live album, Hard Rain. It’s a nice version.

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15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Dylan performed it live many times in the late eighties and the nineties. In the live versions he sometimes leaves out several of the middle verses, not always the same ones.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 Most of the bootleg versions don’t really add a lot to the original. However, G.E. Smith, the former Saturday Night Live band leader, contributes some very energetic guitar solos to the song during the early 90s shows. More recent performances are performed quite differently, very slow and quiet. All are interesting but none really comes close to surpassing the original.

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26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 Oh, the ragman draws circles
Up and down the block.
I’d ask him what the matter was
But I know that he don’t talk.
And the ladies treat me kindly
And furnish me with tape,
But deep inside my heart
I know I can’t escape.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Well, Shakespeare, he’s in the alley
With his pointed shoes and his bells,
Speaking to some French girl,
Who says she knows me well.
And I would send a message
To find out if she’s talked,
But the post office has been stolen
And the mailbox is locked.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Mona tried to tell me
To stay away from the train line.
She said that all the railroad men
Just drink up your blood like wine.
An’ I said, “Oh, I didn’t know that,
But then again, there’s only one I’ve met
An’ he just smoked my eyelids
An’ punched my cigarette.”
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 1 Grandpa died last week
And now he’s buried in the rocks,
But everybody still talks about
How badly they were shocked.
But me, I expected it to happen,
I knew he’d lost control
When he built a fire on Main Street
And shot it full of holes.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 Now the senator came down here
Showing ev’ryone his gun,
Handing out free tickets
To the wedding of his son.
An’ me, I nearly got busted
An’ wouldn’t it be my luck
To get caught without a ticket
And be discovered beneath a truck.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 Now the preacher looked so baffled
When I asked him why he dressed
With twenty pounds of headlines
Stapled to his chest.
But he cursed me when I proved it to him,
Then I whispered, “Not even you can hide.
You see, you’re just like me,
I hope you’re satisfied.”
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 Now the rainman gave me two cures,
Then he said, “Jump right in.”
The one was Texas medicine,
The other was just railroad gin.
An’ like a fool I mixed them
An’ it strangled up my mind,
An’ now people just get uglier
An’ I have no sense of time.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 When Ruthie says come see her
In her honky-tonk lagoon,
Where I can watch her waltz for free
‘Neath her Panamanian moon.
An’ I say, “Aw come on now,
You must know about my debutante.”
An’ she says, “Your debutante just knows what you need
But I know what you want.”
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 Now the bricks lay on Grand Street
Where the neon madmen climb.
They all fall there so perfectly,
It all seems so well timed.
An’ here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of
Going through all these things twice.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

Page 80
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Source: http://www.bobdylancommentaries.com/blonde-on-blonde/stuck-inside-of-mobile-with-the-memphis-blues-again/