Tag Archives: folk music

My Life – According to Bob Dylan

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I agree with the Christians – there is only one God – he’s a Jewish folk singer named Bob

 

In this piece of inane bullshit I will give you a run down of my favorite Dylan songs – the ones that have made me laugh, made me angry, made me cry and made me lose my voice – but most importantly made me who I am and in turn a massive Dylan fan or as we like to be referred to as – a Dylanologist. It is easier to go through his albums chronologically so my apologies if you get confused.

Song to Woody – Bob Dylan – 1962 –
 This song ultimatly reminds me of my daughter. When she was first born (and I was shamelessly trying to weane her onto Dylan as I did when she was in utero) I used to play and sing this song to her. To this day it makes me smile, his voice is so pure and untarnished. You can sense the hope in this song, a hope that you can argue was met or dismissed. Still one of the best songs he has ever sang and one of his first ever to be released.

Oxford Town – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan – 1963 – The first year of sixth form college when I was sitting on the train in the beaming sunshine listening to this on my iPod and reading about civil rights in my history textbook. I put two and two together and realised what he was singing about. A revelation to this day I am still glad I had. Amazing song with some of his best vocal work of all his albums.

To Ramona – Another Side of Bob Dylan – 1964 – I remember being incredibly stoned as I mostly was when I was fifteen and coming home from school. This album had arrived through the post and I went upstairs and put it on. The moment I heard the lyrics “Its all just a dream babe, a vacuum a scheme babe, that sucks you into feeling like this” I was officially in love. This song is mine and Bobs ❤

Boots of Spanish Leather – The Times They Are A-Changin’- 1964
 This song (regrettably) reminds me of my ex-husband as it became the song I used to listen to at seven o’clock in the morning waiting for my train, staring at the same row of houses as the winter sun crept up behind them. He went to South Africa about three days after we officially became “something” and I do not think to this day I have ever felt a longing for someone/something before or since then. This song helped me through but is really hard to listen to now without crying.

Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream – Bringing It All Back Home – 1965 – This had to be on this list man. It was my ring tone for nearly four years! I remember the first time I sang it from beginning to end I found myself almost pausing for applause in my bedroom and then laughing as much as Dylan does at the beginning. Its one of those truly original songs that tells a story only the true Dylanologists understand! Quintessential Bob 🙂

Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues – Highway 61 Revisited – 1965 –
 This bad boy really helped me hone my Dylan drone 🙂 I love singing it and have done at least once a week since the first time I heard it. Best memory of it though would have to be sitting in Cyprus watching the sun set over the mountains and almost screaming it off of the balcony of my Nan’s house to a host of confused Cypriote people walking past!

Visions of Johanna – Blonde on Blonde – 1966 – Although this album is held in high esteem I must say that this song is my favorite. Best memory would be waking up one summer slicked with sweat at some ridiculous hour like five thirty in the afternoon. I clicked this album round and skipped it straight to number three and turned it all the way up. My Mum started banging on the door for me to turn it down and when she opened it she looked at me, with my eyes closed and a roll up in my hand, mouthing the words and looking slightly worse for wear. She left quite abruptly.

I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight – John Wesley Harding – 1967 – One of his more gentle numbers I used to listen to this one while I was cooking most of the time. It reminds me of one particularly nice Thai red curry I made when I came home from college one day. It always seems to make its way into my ears when there is food on the agenda.

Girl From The North Country – Nashville Skyline – 1969 – Those of you who know me well enough will know that I do not particularly like this album but I do own it and have listened to it from time to time. This is one of the only songs that I like from it and it reminds me of a rather dark chapter in my young life that I indulge my memory in from time to time. If I am listening to this song – I am feeling sorry for myself. However I must add that it is better than any antidepressant on the market … kinda 🙂

If Not For You – New Morning – 1970 – Again not one of my favorite albums but this is one of my favorite Dylan songs. Again a loose and romantic number, but I find it easy to listen to Bob telling me how much he loves me 🙂 (crazy much?!?) I remember playing DX Ball all night with my brother listening to this album when I first got it – he was not too impressed with any of it but I found a few diamonds, including this one.

She Belongs To Me – Self-Portrait – 1970 – I love this song and the live version on this album has always had a place in my heart. Memory associated to it would have to be when reading (and trying to understand) The Discourse(s) of Jean Jaques Rosseau. I think I never noticed how bad the album was until I stopped exuding all my energy on one of the only books I have ever had to read four times to understand any of it!

Its Alright Ma – Before The Flood – 1974 – The first time I saw Dylan I cried when I heard him sing this song. Whenever I hear it performed live as is on this amazing album I feel those butterflies coming back into my stomach and its comforting. You want to know what hysteria is? A sixteen year old Unknown Hobo twenty minutes before seeing Dylan live …

You Angel You – Planet Waves – 1974 – One of his best love songs that reminds me of the summer. I got hideously drunk and serenaded my cousin outside a pub while listening to this song on my MP3 player and in turn seduced a man who became a lot to me … and subsequently nothing. The memory of that night and this song however will always have a good place in my heart.

Idiot Wind – Blood On The Tracks – 1975 – This is without a doubt my favorite Dylan album! However with all the songs meaning something me this one is special because I was excluded from my secondary school (for two weeks!)  when I was about fourteen or so for writing “You’re an idiot man, its a wonder that you still know how to breathe” in permanent marker on my head of years office door. They did not guess it was Dylan so I silently took credit for one of the best “I hate you” songs in the world!

Isis – Desire – 1976 – This song is legendary! The first song I ever learnt to play on the guitar (and tambourine!) and still one of my favorite. A magical story line and one of Bob’s best videos … I melt for a man in greas paint with a flower in his hat!

Shelter From The Storm – Hard Rain – 1976 – A song from my favorite Dylan album performed on my favorite ever live album. This song reminds me of my exhusband and I (after a few too many late nights) wearing flannel and trying to light a barbeque in the rain. It did not work but this song blared from the speakers of the living room and we left the doors open all day. The neighbours were confused and we were stoned and in love. Good times.

Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) – Street Legal – 1978 – I first saw Masked and Anonymous some time before 2005 in my little brothers bedroom because his was the only room with any reception. It was near the beginning of my extreme infatuation with Dylan and during a rather heart breaking run in the movie this song sweept through the tinny speakers and cut a nook in my heart, where it sits and stays. In my opinion one of his best songs … period.

Gotta Serve Somebody – Slow Train Coming – 1979 – The first week I had my first real computer this album had just arrived in the post. I remember the excitement of unpeeling those black blocks from their boxes and this song coming on. While I played around (until the early hours of the morning) with it this album played on a loop – much to the disapproval of my family and my neighbours, but true love perseveres!

Every Grain of Sand – Shot of Love – 1981 – My favorite memory of this song is a time when the song was not even playing! I took my little brother to his first real concert, which was surprisingly Dylan, and there was a, lets say mentally compromised, man standing behind us whom throughout the show continually shouted “Every Grain of Sand!” at the stage. My brother and I both found it hysterically amusing and when we got home I played the song to my brother and he agreed that Bob should have bloody played it!

Jokerman – Infidels – 1983 – The lyrics to this song, from beginning to end, were written on my desk as a teenager. I remember watching the video on YouTube and making my friends, who were normal teenage girls who did not find old men attractive, watch for the line in the video when he says “You know what he wants” because he done this thing with his eyes that made me swoon. Good memories 🙂

I’ll Remember You – Empire Burlesque – 1985 – This is one of my favorite Dylan songs and again became so whilst watching the movie Masked and Anonymous. I have not listened to it in five years and even though I listen to the rest of the album almost every week, this song is always skipped. I am saving it for the darkest of days when Dylan returns to God and I am left alone. Its sacred like that 🙂

Knockin’ On Heavens Door – Dylan and the Dead – 1988 – The two greatest musicians Dylan and Garcia coming together and singing THE best version of this widely covered song. Its fucking Dylan and the Dead, do I need to say more?

Most of the Time – Oh Mercy – 1989 – I don’t know why but not many people have this album. It is one of my favorites but I suppose it depends if you like politcal Bob or heart broken Bob … I like them both in equal measure and this is one of the best heart break songs that I have ever heard and still struggle not to knot up when I listen to it.

Make You Feel My Love – Time Out Of Mind – 1997 – It was the ninth of October. I was hungover. I had missed college. I met my exhusband a week later. I had no skin left on the right side of my leg. It was cold and grey. The house was quiet until this song crept out of my speakers. I sat still in the greyness of the evening when I had woken up. My friend was still asleep in my bed. It started to rain. I started to cry.

Mississippi – Love and Theft – 2001 – This album again is very underrated but one of my favorites. I love his voice in this song in particular though and when I came out hospital with a no from the doctor in regards to returning to college I got a job in a supermarket. I used to listen to this album in the car as my Mum dropped me off and it still calms me down when I am nervous.

Someday Baby – Modern Times – 2006 – I was supposed to be going out with my friends that night but when I got home and saw the album sitting on the doorstep I ran upstairs and plugged the world away. I sat, I listened and I loved. Best memory of this song is sitting in the car with my Nan complaining about my Mums car, smiling to myself as she spoke to me without knowing that I could not hear a word she was saying, and just kept nodding. Ignorance is even more blissful when you have Dylan to accompany you!

So that is it … there are a lot more songs in between but I have tried to give you one off of most of the albums I own. I hope you listen to the ones you haven’t heard, buy the albums you haven’t got and join the wonderful (all be it eccentric) world of the Dylanologist.