When a piece of art is large and glorious – for example, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) or Moby Dick – it’s easy to overlook major weaknesses. Maybe a song has some weak lines. Maybe the book rambles on incessantly about the history of whaling. But the greatness overcomes the shaky bits.
But when the work is light-weight, then every little piece had better be precisely executed, otherwise, the entire thing will collapse like an over-shaken souffle. Peggy Day is a collapsed souffle.
It’s full of annoyingly poetry 101 rhymes and lines, such as.
Peggy Day stole my poor heart away,
By golly, what more can I say,
Love to spend the night with Peggy Day.
By golly, he should have reserved this drek for Self Portrait.
Wilfrid Mellers (author of A Darker Shade of Pale) liked it though, so that’s something.
Peggy Day puns delightedly on day and night in a boogie number in which again blue notes and metrical dislocations become sheer ebullience.
Dylan uses a bridge in the third verse, perhaps to emphasize that she’s his “little lady“. Please make it stop.
It’s never been played live. Good.
I like the song better sans lyrics.