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I Shall Be Free

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Commentary

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0
I Shall be Free
is a silly song that adds a little comic relief to the recording. The tune itself is based on Leadbelly’s We Shall Be Free. Dylan’s song  sounds a lot like this Guthrie version.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 The lyrics are Dylan’s own creation and make absolutely no reference to Leadbelly’s song. The song contains one of the relatively rare examples of Dylan getting a bit risqué:

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Well, my telephone rang it would not stop,
It’s President Kennedy callin’ me up.
He said, “My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?”
I said, “My friend, John, Brigitte Bardot,Anita Ekberg, Sophia Loren.”

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 I don’t think Dylan referring to the growth of the Gross National Product.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Babatunde Olatunji get a name-check in the lyrics. Olatunji was a fairly well-known and influential jazz musician in New York City in the sixties. He released Drums of Passion in 1959, which introduced African drumming to many Americans for the first time. Born in 1927 in Nigeria, Olatunji influenced many musicians in both the jazz and rock fields, including John Coltrane and Carlos Santana.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 1 The lyrics sung by Dylan on the original recording are substantially different than the lyrics available on bobdylan.com, where the politician is “eating bullshit” and his girlfriend wants him to grow a “cigar” on his face, among many other changes. This is something of a mystery, since Dylan has never played the song live after a performance at Gerde’s Folk City in May, 1962, before the song was recorded for the album.


11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 Lyrics

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 Well, I took me a woman late last night,
I’s three-fourths drunk, she looked uptight.
She took off her wheel, took off her bell,
Took off her wig, said, “How do I smell?”
I hot-footed it . . . bare-naked . . .
Out the window!

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Well, sometimes I might get drunk,
Walk like a duck and stomp like a skunk.
Don’t hurt me none, don’t hurt my pride
‘Cause I got my little lady right by my side.
(Right there
Proud as can be)

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 I’s out there paintin’ on the old woodshed
When a can a black paint it fell on my head.
I went down to scrub and rub
But I had to sit in back of the tub.
(Cost a quarter
And I had to get out quick . . .
Someone wanted to come in and take a sauna)

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Well, my telephone rang it would not stop,
It’s President Kennedy callin’ me up.
He said, “My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?”
I said, “My friend, John, Brigitte Bardot,
Anita Ekberg,
Sophia Loren.”
(Put ’em all in the same room with Ernest Borgnine!)

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 Well, I got a woman sleeps on a cot,
She yells and hollers and squeals a lot.
Licks my face and tickles my ear,
Bends me over and buys me beer.
(She’s a honeymooner
A June crooner
A spoon feeder
And a natural leader)

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 Oh, there ain’t no use in me workin’ so heavy,
I got a woman who works on the levee.
Pumping that water up to her neck,
Every week she sends me a monthly check.
(She’s a humdinger
Folk singer
Dead ringer
For a thing-a-muh jigger)

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 Late one day in the middle of the week,
Eyes were closed I was half asleep.
I chased me a woman up the hill,
Right in the middle of an air raid drill.
It was Little Bo Peep!
(I jumped a fallout shelter
I jumped a bean stalk
I jumped a ferris wheel)

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 Now, the man on the stand he wants my vote,
He’s a-runnin’ for office on the ballot note.
He’s out there preachin’ in front of the steeple,
Tellin’ me he loves all kinds-a people.
(He’s eatin’ bagels
He’s eatin’ pizza
He’s eatin’ chitlins
He’s eatin’ bullshit!)

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 Oh, set me down on a television floor,
I’ll flip the channel to number four.
Out of the shower comes a grown-up man
With a bottle of hair oil in his hand.
(It’s that greasy kid stuff.
What I want to know, Mr. Football Man, is
What do you do about Willy Mays and Yul Brynner,
Charles de Gaulle
And Robert Louis Stevenson?)

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 Well, the funniest woman I ever seen
Was the great-granddaughter of Mr. Clean.
She takes about fifteen baths a day,
Wants me to grow a cigar on my face.
(She’s a little bit heavy!)

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 Well, ask me why I’m drunk alla time,
It levels my head and eases my mind.
I just walk along and stroll and sing,
I see better days and I do better things.
(I catch dinosaurs
I make love to Elizabeth Taylor . . .
Catch hell from Richard Burton!)

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Source: http://www.bobdylancommentaries.com/freewheelin-bob-dylan/i-shall-be-free/