Category: Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

dylan 1965 – 1966

I love Bob Dylan and since it’s his birthday, he gets two posts today. This is taken from my book A Circus Mind and makes reference to 1965’s Highway 61 Revisited and rock’s first significant double album Blonde on Blonde. Rambunctious blues rock and powerful poetry fill both albums head to toe. Enjoy some Rainy Day Women 12 & 35!

Dylan 1965 – 1966 – A Circus Mind

“I followed the blues highway, crossroads, soul sold devil
Where electric expressions excited the girls in yellow
In the ripples and flow of the Cumberland River
The marijuana martyr was surrounded by shouting and laughter

I expanded, I’m converting the vibrations of steel strings
But baby, I promise it wasn’t you I was abandoning
But you turned on me faster than the Queen of Hearts
The work is done, the floor is clean, and I’m leaving this old farm

Like smoke through a key hole, I passed you by
And now I’m laughing at the reflection of Judas in your eyes
So now your on your own, standing all alone
Self absorbed in your bleeding heart shaped throne” – Ryan Cox

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Bob DylanHunter S Thompson

hunter s thompson – funeral

“The evenin’s empire returns and surrounds me with a single gunshot
And the ragged clowns dance behind me as the fireworks go off” – Ryan Cox


Hunter S Thompson – A Circus Mind

The last lines of this writing make references to the suicide death and funeral of Hunter S Thompson, as well as Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” which played during his funeral.

Hunter S Thompson took his own life with a single gunshot on February 20, 2005. On August 20, 2005, in a private ceremony, Thompson’s ashes were fired from a cannon atop a 153-foot tower of his own design (in the shape of a double-thumbed fist clutching a peyote button) to the tune of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” and Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Red, white, blue, and green fireworks were launched along with his ashes.

“Mr. Tambourine Man” is a song written and performed by Bob Dylan, which was released on his 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home. The song has a bright, expansive melody and has become famous in particular for its surrealistic imagery, influenced by artists as diverse as French poet Arthur Rimbaud and Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini. The lyrics call on the title character to play a song and the narrator will follow. Interpretations of the lyrics have included a worship to drugs such as LSD, a call to the singer’s muse, a reflection of the audience’s demands on the singer, and religious interpretations.

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship
My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step
Wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin’
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’, swingin’ madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facin’
And if you hear vague traces of skippin’ reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time, it’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind
It’s just a shadow you’re seein’ that he’s chasing

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Bob Dylan

jewels and binoculars

The complimentary close to the foreward of A Cirucs Mind, jewels and binoculars, is the start of the second to last line of the 4th verse of the Bob Dylan song “Visions of Johanna.”  “Visions of Johanna” is a song from Dylan’s 1966 album Blonde on Blonde. Dylan referred to it as his favorite song on the album which captured “that thin, that wild mercury sound” There have been a number of speculations about the meaning of the song, none of which have been supported by statements made by Dylan. “Visions” has been described as Dylan stranded between slavery and freedom, a relationship with a lost love, and even the consiousness of the citizens of the United States and Europe during World War II. The imagery that Dylan creates in the song is second to none and easily my favorite Dylan tune. Ol Bobby D is not too freewheelin with his music on youtube, so I linked a killer version by Jerry Garcia. If you have never heard the song or read the lyrics it is defenitley worth a once over.

Visions of Johanna

Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it
And Louise holds a handful of rain, temptin’ you to defy it
Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off
Just Louise and her lover so entwined
And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind

In the empty lot where the ladies play blindman’s bluff with the key chain
And the all-night girls they whisper of escapades out on the “D” train
We can hear the night watchman click his flashlight
Ask himself if it’s him or them that’s really insane
Louise, she’s all right, she’s just near
She’s delicate and seems like the mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna’s not here
The ghost of ’lectricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place

Now, little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously
He brags of his misery, he likes to live dangerously
And when bringing her name up
He speaks of a farewell kiss to me
He’s sure got a lotta gall to be so useless and all
Muttering small talk at the wall while I’m in the hall
How can I explain?
Oh, it’s so hard to get on
And these visions of Johanna, they kept me up past the dawn

Inside the museums, Infinity goes up on trial
Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while
But Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues
You can tell by the way she smiles
See the primitive wallflower freeze
When the jelly-faced women all sneeze
Hear the one with the mustache say, “Jeeze
I can’t find my knees”
Oh, jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule
But these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so cruel

The peddler now speaks to the countess who’s pretending to care for him
Sayin’, “Name me someone that’s not a parasite and I’ll go out and say a prayer for him”
But like Louise always says
“Ya can’t look at much, can ya man?”
As she, herself, prepares for him
And Madonna, she still has not showed
We see this empty cage now corrode
Where her cape of the stage once had flowed
The fiddler, he now steps to the road
He writes ev’rything’s been returned which was owed
On the back of the fish truck that loads
While my conscience explodes
The harmonicas play the skeleton keys and the rain
And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain