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Oxford Town

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2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Commentary

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 The narrative of Oxford Town centers on the events that took place at the University of Mississippi in 1963. “Ole Miss” is located a mile from the town of Oxford, Mississippi, 75 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 James Meredith, a U.S. Air Force veteran, was the first black student to enroll at Ole Miss. Many Mississippians, including Mississipi’s governer Ross Barnett, pledged to keep the university segregated by “whatever means necessary”.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 After it became obvious trouble was brewing, Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent federal marshals to protect Meredith. Riots ensued. One hundred sixty marshals were wounded and two bystanders were killed.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Dylan sings the song in a matter-of-fact manner that suggests that the narrator is not terribly surprised or saddened about what happened. “He come in to the door, he couldn’t get in/All because of the color of his skin/What do you think about that, my friend”. The tune itself, which Dylan described in the liner notes as a “banjo tune”, is happy and jaunty, in ironic contrast to the seriousness of the song’s theme.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 “Me and my gal” could be read as Dylan referring to himself and his girlfriend at the time, Suze Rotolo, who was involved in the civil right movement and was at least partially responsible for getting Dylan semi-involved. The lines “I don’t even know why we come/Goin’ back were we come from” clearly point an accusatory finger at some civil rights workers lack of commitment to the cause. The listener is encouraged to examine his own commitment.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 It’s hard to believe but Meredith is now a staunch Republican and – even more unbelievably – served as a policy adviser to none other than Jesse Helms, the ultra-conservative, race-baiting former senator from North Carolina. Couldn’t make this stuff up.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 Dylan supposedly wrote the song in response to a request by the Broadside’ editor for a song about the broadside request for song about James MeredithMeredith issue.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 Oxford Town is a wonderful song. It’s a shame that Dylan has only performed it live once, in Oxford, in 1990. Those interested in investigating the song further should seek out Betsy Bowden’s Performed Literature.

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16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 Richie Havens always does Dylan good.

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23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 Lyrics

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 Oxford Town, Oxford Town
Ev’rybody’s got their heads bowed down
The sun don’t shine above the ground
Ain’t a-goin’ down to Oxford Town

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 He went down to Oxford Town
Guns and clubs followed him down
All because his face was brown
Better get away from Oxford Town

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 Oxford Town around the bend
He come in to the door, he couldn’t get in
All because of the color of his skin
What do you think about that, my frien’?

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Me and my gal, my gal’s son
We got met with a tear gas bomb
I don’t even know why we come
Goin’ back where we come from

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Oxford Town in the afternoon
Ev’rybody singin’ a sorrowful tune
Two men died ‘neath the Mississippi moon
Somebody better investigate soon

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 Oxford Town, Oxford Town
Ev’rybody’s got their heads bowed down
The sun don’t shine above the ground
Ain’t a-goin’ down to Oxford Town

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Source: http://www.bobdylancommentaries.com/freewheelin-bob-dylan/oxford-town/