Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s, Highway 61 Revisited

They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They’ve got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad they’re restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row.

Cinderella, she seems so easy
“It takes one to know one,” she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he’s moaning
“You belong to Me I Believe”
And someone says, “You’re in the wrong place, my friend
You better leave”
And the only sound that’s left
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On Desolation Row.

Now the moon is almost hidden
The stars are beginning to hide
The fortunetelling lady
Has even taken all her things inside
All except for Cain and Abel
And the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody is making love
Or else expecting rain
And the Good Samaritan, he’s dressing
He’s getting ready for the show
He’s going to the carnival tonight
On Desolation Row.
Now Ophelia, she’s ‘neath the window
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday
She already is an old maid
To her, death is quite romantic
She wears an iron vest
Her profession’s her religion
Her sin is her lifelessness
And though her eyes are fixed upon
Noah’s great rainbow
She spends her time peeking
Into Desolation Row.

Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood
With his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago
With his friend, a jealous monk
He looked so immaculately frightful
As he bummed a cigarette
Then he went off sniffing drainpipes
And reciting the alphabet
You would not think to look at him
But he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin
On Desolation Row.

Dr. Filth, he keeps his world
Inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients
They’re trying to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser
She’s in charge of the cyanide hole
And she also keeps the cards that read
“Have Mercy on His Soul”
They all play on penny whistles
You can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough
From Desolation Row.
Across the street they’ve nailed the curtains
They’re getting ready for the feast
The Phantom of the Opera
In a perfect image of a priest
They’re spoonfeeding Casanova
To get him to feel more assured
Then they’ll kill him with self-confidence
After poisoning him with words
And the Phantom’s shouting to skinny girls
“Get outa here if you don’t know”
Casanova is just being punished for going
To Desolation Row.

At midnight all the agents
And the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone
That knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory
Where the heart-attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders
And then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles
By insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping
To Desolation Row.

They be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody’s shouting
“Which side are you on ?”
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row.
Yes, I received your letter yesterday
About the time the door knob broke
When you asked me how I was doing
Was that some kind of joke ?
All these people that you mention
Yes, I know them, they’re quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
And give them all another name
Right now I can’t read too good
Dont send me no more letters no
Not unless you mail them
From Desolation Row.


Song of The Day: Bob Dylan – The Death of Emmett Till

It was sixty years ago today that Emmett Till was murdered.

’Twas down in Mississippi not so long ago
When a young boy from Chicago town stepped through a Southern door
This boy’s dreadful tragedy I can still remember well
The color of his skin was black and his name was Emmett Till

Some men they dragged him to a barn and there they beat him up
They said they had a reason, but I can’t remember what
They tortured him and did some things too evil to repeat
There were screaming sounds inside the barn, there was laughing sounds
out on the street

Then they rolled his body down a gulf amidst a bloody red rain
And they threw him in the waters wide to cease his screaming pain
The reason that they killed him there, and I’m sure it ain’t no lie
Was just for the fun of killin’ him and to watch him slowly die

And then to stop the United States of yelling for a trial
Two brothers they confessed that they had killed poor Emmett Till
But on the jury there were men who helped the brothers commit this
awful crime
And so this trial was a mockery, but nobody seemed to mind

I saw the morning papers but I could not bear to see
The smiling brothers walkin’ down the courthouse stairs
For the jury found them innocent and the brothers they went free
While Emmett’s body floats the foam of a Jim Crow southern sea

If you can’t speak out against this kind of thing, a crime that’s so unjust
Your eyes are filled with dead men’s dirt, your mind is filled with dust
Your arms and legs they must be in shackles and chains, and your blood
it must refuse to flow
For you let this human race fall down so God-awful low!

This song is just a reminder to remind your fellow man
That this kind of thing still lives today in that ghost-robed Ku Klux Klan
But if all of us folks that thinks alike, if we gave all we could give
We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live

Song of The Day: Bob Dylan – Mixed Up Confusion (take 5) (1962)

It’s Bob Dylan’s birthday!
The full fledged Dylan electric era sound, in 1962. Mixed Up Confusion is the first appearance of what Dylan would later refer to as “that wild mercury sound”. Amazing how Dylan already had this sound worked out years prior to the epochal and controversial “going electric” period of Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home, and his Newport Folk Festival appearance. The man was so far ahead of the game, that it took him years just to catch up with himself!

With all the scholarly research of the numerous Dylan obsessives out there, I’m gonna pass on the story of this song and it’s many permutations to a link more qualified for such a task. Suffice it to say here, that it was Dylan’s first single, cut during the Freewheelin’ Sessions, and does not appear on that record, although it’s B-side, Corrina, Corrina, does.

Happy birthday, Edie Sedgwick

Happy Birthday, David Blue. Now listen to some awesomeness from his 1966 LP

It seems that not many people know the name, David Blue, and those that do are firmly within the singer/songwriter camp of listeners. That all needs to change, as his eponymous, 1966, full length debut, contains some of the most bent copping of Dylan’s, Highway 61 Revisited and Bringing It All Back Home LPs, ever waxed. There is no doubt that the comparison is apt as Blue employed session musicians who had worked with Dylan, and Dylan himself, as a friend of Blue’s, would stop by the studio during these very sessions.

Just give a listen to If Your Monkey Can’t Get, which sounds as if the Velvet Underground, circa White Light/White Heat, jumped in as Dylan’s 65-66 backing band. The intro even reminds me a little of post-No Wave, Sonic Youth. An absolute monster!

It Tastes Like Candy, also has a Velvets edge, with it’s circular guitar and organ melody and floor tom kept beat

Justine is another stompin’ punker of a Dylan rip

Richie Unterberger’s informative liner notes for the reissue

Happy Birthday, Gerry Goffin

Seeing as it was Gerry Goffin’s wife and songwriting partner, Carole King’s, birthday two days ago, some of the best songs of their partnership are at that post, so here’s a few from Goffin’s excellent, 1973, Dylan influenced, solo 2LP, It Ain’t Exactly Entertainment.

And the bizarre masochistic paean to domestic violence, He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss). Troubling subject matter aside, a great track co-written with Carole

And this tender ballad that would have fit perfectly onto the above posted solo LP

Happy Birthday, Francoise Hardy. Pt II: The Style

Kim Fowley: The AMAZING Ugly Things interview

Thanks to Mike Stax for posting this to the internet, in the light of Kim’s passing. Even if you think you have no interest in him, this interview is an engrossing and hilarious read. With Kim going a mile a minute, the interview format is largely moot. Every story is merely a touching off point for Kim’s vast experiences. Names aren’t so much dropped, as bombed, and these are BIG names. Additionally, interviewer Mike Stax is able to wrest out some info on Kim’s lesser known productions, for the true Fowleyphile.

and how did I forget this gem in my previous post?