John Surman


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I have always been fascinated by the deep tones of certain instruments and voices (perhaps my Welsh upbringing brought me in contact with basso profondo!)

I love the sound of the bass clarinet and baritone sax as well as the low notes on a cello.

Before reading anything more just listen to this piece by John Surman

Edges of illusion

The fantastic track “Edges Of Illusion” is taken from John Surman’s great album “Upon Reflection” (1979) resp. from the sampler album “John Surman – :rarum” (2004). The album is recorded by ECM Records in excellent audio quality.
Listen and enjoy it.

MUSICIANS: John Surman
Bass Clarinet
Soprano Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone

Produced by John Surman & Manfred Eicher (ECM Records, 1988).

John Surman was one of the very few saxmen in England to find a significant audience in rock during the late ’60s, playing gigs regularly at venues like the Marquee Club in London. Also a clarinetist of some renown, and no slouch on keyboards either, the atmospheric sounds that Surman creates on his horns has been a major asset to the ECM label ever since the late ’70s; but, before that, he was an extremely prolific artist on Deram, Futura, Dawn, and Island, cutting seven solo albums between 1968 and 1974 on those mainstream pop-oriented labels, as well as recording with Morning Glory on Island.

One of England’s top jazz players of the past several decades, Surman is particularly strong on the baritone. Surman played in jazz workshops while still in high school. He studied at the London College of Music and London University Institute of Education in the mid-’60s, played with Alexis Korner and Mike Westbrook until the late ’60s, and recorded with the latter until the mid-’70s. He was voted best soloist at the 1968 Montreux Festival while heading his band.

Surman worked with Graham Collier, Mike Gibbs, Dave Holland, Chris McGregor, and John McLaughlin in the ’60s, and toured Europe with the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland big band in 1970. Surman toured and recorded with Barre Phillips and Stu Martin in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and again in the late ’70s, adding Albert Mangelsdorff to the group. They called themselves the Trio, then Mumps. Surman played with Mike Osborne and Alan Skidmore in the sax trio SOS in the mid-’70s. He also collaborated with the Carolyn Carlson dance company at the Paris Opera through the mid- and late ’70s. Surman recorded with Stan Tracey and Karin Krog, while working with Miroslav Vitous and Azimuth.

He led the Brass Project in the early ’80s, and played in Collier’s big band and Gil Evans’ British orchestra. Surman toured with Evans again in the late ’80s. He began recording as a leader for Pye in the early ’70s, and did sessions for Ogun and ECM. Surman continued recording in the ’80s, mostly for ECM. He worked with Terje Rypdal, Jack DeJohnette, Pierre Favre, Bengt Hallberg, Archie Shepp, Warne Marsh, and Red Mitchell, among others.

Surman has made many recordings for ECM, spanning from free form to mood music, and he remains one of the label’s most consistently stimulating artists.“(by Ronn Wynn & Bruce Eder, All Music Guide)

The Wizard’s song (1990)

Cyril Davies -British Blues


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Cyril Davies introduced the British public to blues harp ( harmonica) and the songs of Muddy Waters and other US blues greats:

I’ve Got My Mojo Working (1963)

Pye International NEP 44025 June 16, 1964
1. Country Line Special 2. Chicago Calling
Cyril Davies: Vocals, Harmonica Bernie Watson: Guitar Piano: Nicky Hopkins Bass: Ricky Brown Drums: Carlo Little
3. Preaching The Blues 4. Sweet Mary
Cyril Davies: Vocals, Harmonica Geoff Bradford: Guitar Cliff Barton: Bass Keith Scott: Piano Micky Waller: Drums Additional vocals on ‘Preachin’ The Blues: Alex Bradford & Madeline Bell

Cyril Davies only had two months of life left when this was recorded. He died of pleurisy resulting from leukaemia January 7th, 1964, aged only 32.


Again with Long John Baldry

Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars with Long John Baldry & The Velvettes – Leave My Woman Alone (1963)

The quality of the video may not be great, but just to savour those moments in the early days of ‘British’ Blues,is worth it.

Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars with Long John Baldry – Night Time Is The Right Time (1963)

We cannot forget Alexis Korner as the key player in the British Blues scene in the early 60’s.

Blues Incorporated on BBC Jazz Club, July 12 1962

Alexis Korner – Guitar,

vocals Cyril Davies – Harmonica, vocals,

Dick Heckstall-Smith – Saxophone

Dave Stevens- Piano

Jack Bruce – Bass

Charlie Watts – Drums

Introduction by Humphrey Lyttelton(another great active supporter of the blues and instrumental in bringing many blues artists from the States, who could really influence British players and listeners.

As you can see from the musicians list we have the starting points of the Rolling Stones, Cream, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum and more…

Blues Lovers Weekly Planner


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Blues Lovers Weekly Planner

New to the market -a great gift for a musician/listener.

This Blues Lover’s Weekly Planner is just what it says – it is a planner for those interested in Blues. Apart from the monthly reference sheets (12) and 52 weekly planner sheets there is plenty that a Blues music lover and musician could usefully use in this planner.

Key advantages of using this planner:

Undated – it lets you fill in the dates as you please,” so you can start using it at any point in the year.

Calendars for 2022, and 2023 are included for easy reference. This planner can therefore be useful anytime during the next two years and beyond.

Blues Musicians – the planner is helpful for everyone, but musicians will find the pages with blank music staves, chord diagrams and the circle of fifths; great for creativity, while getting inspired by the quotations from great Blues musicians.

The Blues are the true facts of life expressed in words and song, inspiration, feeling, and understanding. – Willie Dixon

Blues is my life. It’s a true feeling that comes from the heart, not something that just comes out of my mouth. Koko Taylor

You will find pages on blues info such as the circle of fifths and blues harp playing as well as creative pages of music staves and blank chord diagrams. The long list of websites includes references to online harp and guitar tutors.

To purchase the Blues Lovers Weekly Planner find it here and also here

More women blues harp players


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Following my earlier post, there seems to be a new batch of great female harmonica players.

Indiara Sfair

Amanda Ventura

Try The Way

Sarah Saputri -Sarah is an Indonesian singer, song writer and harmonica player

and Sarah’s collaboration with Swedish player Indiara Sfair

More to come….

see also:

Jazz Lover’s Weekly Planner


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New onto the market is the Jazz Lover’s Weekly Planner

This Jazz Lover’s Weekly Planner is just what it states. Apart from the monthly reference sheets (12) and 52 weekly planning sheets there is plenty that a jazz lover and musician could usefully use in this planner.

Key advantages of using this planner:

Undated – it lets you fill in the dates as you please, so you can start using it at any point in the year.

Calendars for 2022, and 2023 are included for easy reference. This planner can therefore be useful anytime during the next two years and beyond.

Jazz Musicians – the planner is helpful for everyone, but musicians will find the pages with blank music staves, chord diagrams and the circle of fifths great for creativity, while being inspired by the quotations from great jazz musicians, e.g.

“Jazz is a very democratic musical form. It comes out of a communal experience. We take our respective instruments and collectively create a thing of beauty.”     Max Roach

“There are four qualities essential to a great jazzman. they are taste, courage, individuality, and irreverence”.              Stan Getz

“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.”         Charlie Parker

Jazz listeners -this planner is not just for musicians but for listeners too – check out the list of jazz websites.

For everyone there are plenty of lined note pages as well as some blank pages for sketches, diagrams or even for jotting down ideas during song writing. There is a page for listing contacts, a project planning page and at the back there is a page of websites of jazz musicians, past and present and other relevant jazz sites.

A great present for a jazz listener or a musician and with the A5 size, can fit easily into bags and coat pockets.

Get it here or here

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Exemplar pages (draft only)

Blind Willie McTell


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Blind Willie McTell (born William Samuel McTier; May 5, 1898 – August 19, 1959) was a Piedmont blues and ragtime singer and guitarist. He played with a fluid, syncopated fingerstyle guitar technique, common among many exponents of Piedmont blues. Unlike his contemporaries, he came to use twelve-string guitars exclusively. McTell was also an adept slide guitarist, unusual among ragtime bluesmen.(ref Wikipedia).

For me it is a personal liking of his music, particularly as I like 12 string guitar and I find his voice particularly striking.

Try this:

Broke Down Engine Blues

Recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, October 23, 1931.

and a couple of years earlier -Travellin’ Blues

Recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, October 30, 1929.

Another of his early ragtime tracks:Warm It Up to Me

Statesboro Blues – some of the artists who have performed the song includes Allman Brothers Band ,Canned Heat Taj Mahal, David Bromberg, Dave Van Ronk, The Devil Makes Three and Ralph McTell,

Rough Alley Blues (1931) with Ruth Ellis

Blind Willie McTell and Ruth Willis – Rough Alley Blues

Close down your windows and let down all your blinds

Close down your windows and let down all your blinds

So the next-door neighbor, baby, won’t hear your best friend cryin’

Take it low down and easy, don’t let your bedspring moan

Take it low down and easy, don’t let your bedspring moan

So your next-door neighbor, baby, won’t hear you grieve and groan

Go wild, baby, I’m not scared to fear. (Aw, sing it, baby)

Go wild, baby, I’m not scared to fear

Then I’ll give it all to you, mama, like a Cadillac changing gear

I take it to my room and lay it ‘cross my big brass bed

I take it to my room and lay it ‘cross my big brass bed

I guess I’ll be my own singer, neighbours turn cherry red

(Play that thing boy. Aw,

Play that thing for me and miss Mary, ‘Cause it’s gettin’ good

It drove my partner out of town.

I wouldn’t have done it without that old Harris street corner)

It was a mean old miller that taught me how to grind

(Taught you how to twist too, I believe)

It was a mean old miller that taught me how to grind

And it was a married woman, mama,

Who learned me that old shun-shine

I’m going down this alley and get me two more drinks of booze

(They have police down there. They’ll sure arrest you)

I’m going down this alley, get me two more drinks of booze

Because I’m drunk now, mama, and I’ve got them old rough alley blues

(Stand by, people, if you wants to know it all)

Dark Night Blues

You might be wanting to know a little more about legendary Georgia blues-man Willie McTell -here is a documentary:

This video was created by David Fulmer for Georgia Public Television (1997) and is a part of the South Georgia Folklife Collection at Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections.

South Georgia Folklife Project:

Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections:

And another song of the great BWMc – Searching the Desert for the Blues (1931)

Searching The Desert For The Blues

You may search the ocean, you might go ‘cross the deep blue sea

But mama, you’ll never find another hot shot like me

I followed my baby from the station to the train

And the blues came down like night and showered me

I left her at the station wringing her hands and crying

I told her, she had a home just as long as I got mine

I’ve got two women and you can’t tell them apart

I’ve got one in my bosom and the other one in my heart

The one in my bosom, she’s in Tennessee

And the one in my heart, don’t even give a darn for me

I used to say a married woman was the sweetest woman that ever been born

But I’ve changed that thing, you better leave married women alone

Take my advice, let these married women be

‘Cause their husbands’ll grab you, beat you ragged as a cedar tree

When a woman say, she love you ’bout good as she do herself

I don’t pay her no attention, tell that same line to somebody else

I really don’t believe no woman in the whole round world do right

Act like an angel in the daytime, mess by the ditch at night

I’m going, pretty mama, please don’t break this rule

That’s why I’m searching these deserts for the blues

I’m going, pretty mama, searching these deserts now

That’s why I’m walking my baby home anyhow

Lord, oh Lord

Lordy, Lordy, Lord

Oh Lordy Lord

Lord, Lord, Lord

When a woman say, she love you ’bout good as she do herself

I don’t pay her no attention, tell that same line to somebody else

Lord, Lord

Lord, Lord, Lord

And more ….Lord….Lord send me an Angel (1933)

And a nice uptempo number -Atlanta Strut (1929)

Great guitar work!

Scarey Day Blues (1931)

Recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, October 23, 1931.

Some slide work on this one:Savannah Mama

Recorded in New York City, September 18, 1933

Little Delia

McTell in 1949, performing a traditional ballad about the murder of Delia Green, a young girl from Georgia.

Some info about the song:…

Delia, Delia, how can it be?

Say you love old rounders and don’t love me

Now she one more rounder gone

Delia, Delia, see that I’m all alone

Some of you rounders going to pay my way back home

Cause she one more rounder gone

Sitting on the housetop, high as I can see

Say you love those rounders and don’t love me

But she one more rounder gone

Delia’s poor mother took a little trip out West

When she returned, little Delia was lying in rest

But she one more rounder gone

Delia’s mother weeped, Delia’s father moaned

They wouldn’t have hated it so bad if that child had died at home

But she’s all I got and gone

Delia was a gambler runnin’ all around

She was one girl never let the deal go down

But she one more rounder gone

Rubber-tired buggy, double-seated hack,

Took little Delia to the cemetery but failed to bring her back

But she one more rounder gone

Delia was a gambler runnin’ all around

She was one girl never let the deal go down

But she one more rounder gone

Delia lookin’ high, Kenny lookin’ low,

Shot poor Delia down with that fateful 44

But she one more rounder gone

Delia, Delia, take no one’s advice

Last words I heard her say were, “Jesus Christ!”

But she one more rounder gone

Kenny he’s in the bar-room drinkin’ out of a silver cup

Delia she’s in the graveyard, may not never wake up

But she one more rounder gone

Judge said to Kenny, “What all that fuss about?”

“All account of a gambler’s tryin’ to put me out

But she one more rounder gone

Judge said to Kenny, “I’m gonna tell you an actual fact,

Son you go state till Delia come back,”

Cause she one more rounder gone

Lyrics from <a href=””></a&gt;

The origin of this song may be this:

Late on Christmas Day, December 25th, 1900 a fourteen year old girl named Delia Green was murdered in Savannah, Georgia by a fifteen year old boy named Moses Houston. Houston shot Delia after an argument. The newspapers reported that the two had been romantically involved for several months but Delia had recently ended the relationship with Houston and was seeing another man.

Moses Houston stood trial for Delia’s murder in the spring of 1901, was convicted by the jury and sentenced to life imprisonment by the presiding judge. Moses served twelve years and then was pardoned by the Georgia Governor, John M. Slaton in 1913. Delia Green is buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery South in Savannah in an unmarked grave. Houston disappeared into the pages of history.

Rev Gary Davies played an early version of this song as well as Stefan Grossman and Bob Dylan:

and another great ragtime from McTell:” Southern Can Is Mine ” (1931)

And a song with his wife Kate McTell

This song :Mama let me scoop for you – is listed as sung with Ruby Glaze, who some think maybe his wife Kate McTell.

It was common to change your name -particularly if you were recording with different record labels.McTell traveled and performed widely, recording for several labels under different names: Blind Willie McTell (for Victor and Decca), Blind Sammie (for Columbia), Georgia Bill (for Okeh), Hot Shot Willie (for Victor), Blind Willie (for Vocalion and Bluebird), Barrelhouse Sammie (for Atlantic), and Pig & Whistle Red (for Regal)

We have had Ruth Ellis, Kate McTell and now another female collaborator -the great Memphis Minnie

Love Changing Blues

Another collaborator was Curly Weaver

Was Born to Die

Enjoy the guitar in the following song – Bell Street Blues

My Baby is Gone

I particularly like the rhythm of this song and the ragtime guitar

Kill it Kid

Wabash Cannonball – a traditional song possibly based on the idea that hobos imagined a mythical train called the “Wabash Cannonball” which was a “death coach” that appeared at the death of a hobo to carry his soul to its reward. The song was then created with the lyrics and music telling the story of the train.

Wabash Cannonball

Out from the wide Pacific ocean to the broad Atlantic shore

    She climbs flowery mountain, o’r hills and by the shore

    Although she’s tall and handsome, and she’s known quite well by all

    She’s a regular combination of the Wabash Cannonball.


    Oh, the Eastern states are dandy, so the Western people say

    Chicago, Rock Island, St. Louis by the way

    To the lakes of Minnesota where the rippling waters fall

    No chances to be taken on the Wabash Cannonball.


    Oh, listen to the jingle, the rumor and the roar

    As she glides along the woodland, o’r hills and by the shore

    She climbs the flowery mountain, hear the merry hobos squall

    She glides along the woodland, the Wabash Cannonball.


    Oh, here’s old daddy Cleaton, let his name forever be

    And long be remembered in the courts of Tennessee

    For he is a good old rounder ’til the curtain ’round him fall

    He’ll be carried back to victory on the Wabash Cannonball.


    I have rode the I.C. Limited, also the Royal Blue

    Across the Eastern countries on Elkhorn Number Two

    I have rode those highball trains from coast to coast that’s all

    But I have found no equal on the Wabash Cannonball.


    Oh, listen to the jingle, the rumor and the roar

    As she glides along the woodland, o’r hills and by the shore

    She climbs the flowery mountain, hear the merry hobos squall

    She glides along the woodland, the Wabash Cannonball.

I like this version of the traditional song ‘Motherless Children”

It is believed that he heard this from Blind Willie Johnson. The phrasing and the playoff with his guitar is particularly striking -great energy.

” Come On Around To My House Mama ” (October 1929)-hear him talk to his guitar!

Two vids of Blind Willie McTell talking to Alan Lomax and playing

In 1940 John A. Lomax and his wife, Ruby Terrill Lomax, a professor of classics at the University of Texas at Austin, interviewed and recorded McTell for the Archive of American Folk Song of the Library of Congress in a two-hour session held in their hotel room in Atlanta.[7] These recordings document McTell’s distinctive musical style, which bridges the gap between the raw country blues of the early part of the 20th century and the more conventionally melodious, ragtime-influenced East Coast Piedmont blues sound. The Lomaxes also elicited from the singer traditional songs (such as “The Boll Weevil” and “John Henry”) and spirituals (such as “Amazing Grace”),[8] which were not part of his usual commercial repertoire. In the interview, John A. Lomax is heard asking if McTell knows any “complaining” songs (an earlier term for protest songs), to which the singer replies somewhat uncomfortably and evasively that he does not.

I do like the Dying Crapshooter’s Blues -with some talk from Blind Willie

Another from his last sessions in 1949

A Married Man’s a Fool. For his last years although married he was living separately from his wife Kate as she was working in Fort Gordon, near Augusta, and he was working around Atlanta.

Blind Willie McTell only received $10 for his recording session with Alan Lomax -it was a real shame he could not benefit from the boom in ‘re-discovering’ blues musicians who recorded in the 1920s/30s.

BW McTell died of a stroke in 1959 (aided and abetted by diabetes and alcoholism) -just 4 years before Mississippi John Hurt was ‘discovered’ in Avalon in 1963. Musicians such as Son House,Sleepy John Estes, Bukka White and Skip James were also lucky enough to get real recognition and a little cash, in their later years, but not enough recognition for Blind Willie.

At least Bob Dylan recognised his talent:

Help Me


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I love to hear different renditions of the same song -lets look at Help Me

Of course we need to start with Aleck Rice Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson II):

A great live version,slightly different tempo – SB II with the Chris Barber Band:

and from the wonderful Junior Wells…….

A live version with Junior Wells and Buddy Guy:

Paul Butterfield

A slightly faster version by the Paul Butterfield Blues band

Guitar: Elvin Bishop Bass Guitar: Jerome Arnold Organ: Mark Naftalin Guitar: Mike Bloomfield Vocals: Paul Butterfield Drums: Sam Lay

A live version by Van the Man:

A non-harp version by Walter Trout and his band:

If you are a fellow harp player, you might like to learn some riffs yourself from some great harp teachers such as Tomlin Leckie :

And a lesson from another enthusiastic harp player and teacher:Will Wilde

and for those who have decided to learn -a backing track:

Now Help yourself:)…………

The Kora – the beauty of the West African Harp


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A Kora

A kora, typically has 21 strings, which is played by plucking with the fingers and thumbs.

Senegalese Kora

The Kora is a West African harp of the family of bridge harps or harp-lutes. The kora is built from a large calabash, cut in half and covered with cow skin to make a resonator with a long hardwood neck. The skin is supported by two handles that run underneath it. It has 21 strings, each of which plays a different note. These strings are supported by a notched, double free-standing bridge.

Senegalese Kora Maker

The sound of a kora resembles that of a harp, though when played in the traditional style it bears resemblance to a guitar played using the flamenco or Delta blues technique of plucking polyrhythmic patterns with both hands (using the remaining fingers to secure the instrument by holding the hand posts on either side of the strings). Ostinato riffs (“Kumbengo”) and improvised solo runs (“Birimintingo”) are played at the same time by skilled players.

Seckou Keita from Senegal

and the more famous Diabate family of Kora players from Mali:

Another Malian player

The Kora is found in all Mande cultures. It is played by the Mandinka in Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau, the Malinke or Maninka in Guinée, the Bambara or Bamana in Mali and the Dioula in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). Though, it’s Gambia and Casamance (South Senegal) where it has the greatest importance for social life.

From Gambia:

The best way to describe kora playing is to listen (and watch).

Listen and watch Ballake and Sona together :

Kora players have traditionally come from jali families (also from the Mandinka tribes) who are traditional historians, genealogists and storytellers who pass their skills on to their descendants. Though played in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso, the instrument was first discovered in the Gambia. While those from neighbouring Guinea were known to carry the lute, Senegalese Griots were known as carriers of a hand drum known as the Sabar. Most West African musicians prefer the term “jali” to “griot,” which is the French word. “Jali” means something similar to a “bard” or oral historian.

Traditional koras feature strings, eleven played by the left hand and ten by the right. Modern koras made in the Casamance region of southern Senegal sometimes feature additional bass strings, adding up to four strings to the traditional 21.

Strings were traditionally made from thin strips of hide, such as cow or antelope skin. Today, most strings are made from harp strings or nylon fishing line, sometimes plaited together to create thicker strings.

Ref: Mamadou Koyate (bridge by Djimo Koyate) Kora, ca. 1960 Mandinka people, Senegambia, Gourd, goat skin, antelope-hide metal, wood; L. 115.8 cm (45 9/16 in.); W. 52.5 cm (20 11/16 in.); Diam. 27.6 cm (10 7/8 in.) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1975 (1975.59)


In the 1300s, the traveller Ibn Battuta mentioned that the women who accompanied Dugha to perform were carrying bows that they plucked. He did not mention the number of strings, but this clearly shows the existence of harp instruments in 14th century Mali and could be the earliest written reference to the kora.

Seckou Keita ,as a modern Kora player, loves to work with other artists such as Baaba Maal and Catrin Finch(traditional Welsh Harpist)

And a new fusion, as Seckou plays with Cuban musician Omar Sosa:

Toumani Diabate also loves working with a wide variety of musicians, such as the wonderful Ali Farka Toure:

and here is Toumani playing with his son ( Sidiki) :

and a very international collaboration, with Ketama and Danny Thompson:

It seems that Kora players find their niche with many styles of music and musicians,take a look at this more classical collaboration:

Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal:

See also:


Bob Dylan’s blues


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Apart from the obvious influence of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan was also steeped in the range of Blues music.

There are many examples either of direct influence or a title may link it to a blues song,for example:

“When I got troubles.”  was recorded in 1959, and appeared on “No Direction Home” – Bootleg 7. 

The song’s title is related to a Lightning Hopkins classic:

And one of my favourites, Blind Willie McTell where the obvious love of the blues is clearly seen:

And who did he choose as lead guitarist, when in 1965, he stormed into a new electric phase -Mike Bloomfield! He also used other members of Paul Butterfield Blues Band at the Newport Folk Festival.

On his Freewheelin album he sang Corina Corina,which is an adaptation of a 1928 country blues song.

and for an early folk/blues – I was young when I left home :

and on bootleg 9 comes this blues influenced track -Ballad for a friend,recorded in 1962,when Dylan was just 21 and originally titled Reminiscence Blues:

Even the guitar has reminiscences of John Renbourn or Bert Jansch.

And how about this for a 12 bar blues:

From Bringing it all back home

She Belongs to me:

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat from the album Blonde on Blonde has close affiliations with the blues:

The song melodically and lyrically resembles Lightnin’ Hopkins’s “Automobile Blues”,with Dylan’s opening line of “Well, I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat,” echoing Hopkins’s “I saw you riding ’round in your brand new automobile,” and the repeated line of “…brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat,” melodically descending in the same manner of the Hopkins refrain “…in your brand new fast car”. The Dylan reference to “the garage door” in the final verse of “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” may also be an allusion to the automobile of Hopkins’s song.

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat by Dylan:

Blues guitarist Mike Bloomfield supports Bob on another blues,It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, found on Highway 61 Revisited 

and on the Bootleg Series Volume 12

Another blues, Meet me in the morning, from Blood on the Tracks

And guess which bluesman made a cover? The great Freddy King!

Gotta Serve Somebody -more of a gospel take

Try this cover by Mavis Staples and Johnny Lang:

and Bob’s live version:

And in 1980 Bob released a blues /rock number called The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar:

With Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead.

Try this live version at Farm Aid, of another blues/rock “Seeing the Real You at Last”

With Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Bob in his rocking best.

“I sailed through the storm, strapped to the mast, I’m just thankful and grateful to be seeing the real you at last.”

Everything Is Broken is a blues in the style of Slim Harpo

Broken lines, broken strings,

Broken threads, broken springs,

Broken idols, broken heads,

People sleeping in broken beds

Ain’t no use jiving

Ain’t no use joking

Everything is broken

Broken bottles, broken plates,

Broken switches, broken gates,

Broken dishes, broken parts,

Streets are filled with broken hearts

Broken words never meant to be spoken,

Everything is broken

Seem like every time you stop and turn around

Something else just hit the ground

Broken cutters, broken saws,

Broken buckles, broken laws,

Broken bodies, broken bones,

Broken voices on broken phones

Take a deep breath, feel like you’re chokin’,

Everything is broken

Every time you leave and go off someplace

Things fall to pieces in my face

Broken hands on broken ploughs,

Broken treaties, broken vows,

Broken pipes, broken tools,

People bending broken rules

Hound dog howling, bull frog croaking, Everything is broken

Try this cover from the bluesman R.L.Burnside:

Enjoy the wah wah harp in the middle.

Paying homage to the great Charlie Patton, Bob reminds us on how the floods of the Mississippi often destryed people’s lives (note Charlie Patton’s High water everywhere).

High Water Everywhere (Charlie Patton)

Listen to that percussive beat…..

Well, backwater done rose all around Sumner now,

drove me down the line

Backwater done rose at Sumner,

drove poor Charley down the line

Lord, I’ll tell the world the water,

done crept through this town

Lord, the whole round country,

Lord, river has overflowed

Lord, the whole round country,

man, is overflowed

You know I can’t stay here,

I’ll go where it’s high, boy

I would goto the hilly country,

but, they got me barred

Now, look-a here now at Leland

river was risin’ high

Look-a here boys around Leland tell me,

river was raisin’ high

Boy, it’s risin’ over there, yeah

I’m gonna move to Greenville

fore I leave, goodbye

Look-a here the water now, Lordy,

Levee broke, rose most everywhere

The water at Greenville and Leland,

Lord, it done rose everywhere

Boy, you can’t never stay here

I would go down to Rosedale

but, they tell me there’s water there

Now, the water now, mama,

done took Charley’s town

Well, they tell me the water,

done took Charley’s town

Boy, I’m goin’ to Vicksburg

Well, I’m goin’ to Vicksburg,

for that high of mine

I am goin’ up that water,

where lands don’t never flow

Well, I’m goin’ over the hill where,

water, oh don’t ever flow

Boy, hit Sharkey County and everything was down in Stovall

But, that whole county was leavin’,

over that Tallahatchie shore Boy,

went to Tallahatchie and got it over there

Lord, the water done rushed all over,

down old Jackson road

Lord, the water done raised,

over the Jackson road

Boy, it starched my clothes

I’m goin’ back to the hilly country,

won’t be worried no more.

And Bob’s take on the flooding:

From the Love and Theft album

Another blues -Can’t wait from the album Time out of Mind

World Gone Wrong album gives a good spread of blues covers, for example Stack O’Lee (Mississippi John Hurt) Delia (Rev Gary Davis) and Broke Down Engine from the great 12 string blues artist Blind Willie McTell:

Stack O’Lee Blues from Mississippi John Hurt

and Delia or All my friends are gone:

and Bob’s version:

Broke Down Engine Blues – Blind Willie McTell (nice 12 string guitar playing)

Rollin and Tumblin , on Modern Times, which this time, is a direct copy of a blues with a long history.

Lets hear Muddy Water’s version before Bob:

And a real down home blues -Someday Baby, from the same album, but lets here Sleepy John Estes version, first of all:

and Bob’s gravelly version, really rocking:

From his early days, when blues and other ‘roots’ music had a particular influence on Bob,he covered ‘Fixin to Die’

Lets hear Bukka White’s recording,first

And Bob with Dave Van Ronk :

From the same album -See that my grave is kept clean…

and Bob’s authentic version:

Step it up and go is a Blind Boy Fuller number which Bob covers on Good as I been to you:

Bob pays homage to other Blues great such as Jimmy Reed:

From Rough and Rowdy Ways

Another bluesy song from the same album:

Well,as you can see Bob has certainly taken from and given to the blues tradition and on the way has paid homage to a number of traditional blues artists. There are other songs either direct covers or influenced by blues musical structures or lyrics, but I hope you have enjoyed this starter.

One of my favourite tracks paying homage to a great 12 string player is Blind Willie McTell,which I don’t mind repeating.

I like this other version with Mark Knopfler on guitar and Bob on piano/harmonica

See other posts celebrating Bob Dylan at 80:

Bob Dylan at 80 (2) – by Bob Dylan


, , , , , ,

Robert Allen Zimmerman, Born: May 24, 1941.

From his high school yearbook

Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2916, reminds us that although we maybe more acquainted with him as a singer/musician, it is through his lyrics and quotations that he would prefer to be remembered.

“I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet.”

Below are some quotes from Bob Dylan himself as well as extracts from his songs:

All I can do is be me, whoever that is.

Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.

Chaos is a friend of mine.

To live outside the law, you must be honest.

Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.

No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky.

There is nothing so stable as change.”

A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.

All I can do is be me, whoever that is.

People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.

Yesterday’s just a memory, tomorrow is never what it’s supposed to be.

Democracy don’t rule the world, You’d better get that in your head; This world is ruled by violence, But I guess that’s better left unsaid.”

Probably many of the lines that people recognise are from his songs and one of my favourites is :

Money doesn’t talk, it swears.

and the full lyrics:

It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

Written by: Bob Dylan

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words, proves to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying

Temptation’s page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover that you’d just be one more
Person crying

So don’t fear if you hear
A foreign sound to your ear
It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Make everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged
It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge
And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it

Advertising signs they con
You into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks they really found you

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit
To satisfy, insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something they invest in

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God bless him

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he’s in

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him

Old lady judges watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer’s pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death’s honesty
Won’t fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes must get lonely

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed
Graveyards, false gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough
what else can you show me?

And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only


© 1965 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1993 by Special Rider Music

From Bringing it all back Home 1966

A few more examples of some of his poetry turned song:

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded with hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Copyright © 1963 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991 by Special Rider Music


Mr. Tambourine Man

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

Copyright © 1964, 1965 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1992, 1993 by Special Rider Music

and one more favourite from the freewheeling album

Masters of War

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand o’er your grave
’Til I’m sure that you’re dead


© 1963 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991 by Special Rider Music

Like a Rolling Stone

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You’ve gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out you’re gonna have to get used to it
You said you’d never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He’s not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And ask him do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain’t no good
You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Copyright © 1965 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1993 by Special Rider Music

from the time he moved into his electric revolution:

Chimes of Freedom

Far between sundown’s finish an’ midnight’s broken toll
We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing
As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds
Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing
Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight
Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
An’ for each an’ ev’ry underdog soldier in the night
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

In the city’s melted furnace, unexpectedly we watched
With faces hidden while the walls were tightening
As the echo of the wedding bells before the blowin’ rain
Dissolved into the bells of the lightning
Tolling for the rebel, tolling for the rake
Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned an’ forsaked
Tolling for the outcast, burnin’ constantly at stake
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail
The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder
Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind
Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind
An’ the unpawned painter behind beyond his rightful time
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Through the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales
For the disrobed faceless forms of no position
Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts
All down in taken-for-granted situations
Tolling for the deaf an’ blind, tolling for the mute
Tolling for the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute
For the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an’ cheated by pursuit
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Even though a cloud’s white curtain in a far-off corner flashed
An’ the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting
Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones
Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting
Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail
For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale
An’ for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Starry-eyed an’ laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended
As we listened one last time an’ we watched with one last look
Spellbound an’ swallowed ’til the tolling ended
Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed
For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an’ worse
An’ for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Copyright © 1964 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1992 by Special Rider Music


Moving on in time:

“I Pity The Poor Immigrant”

I pity the poor immigrant
Who wishes he would’ve stayed home
Who uses all his power to do evil
But in the end is always left so alone
That man whom with his fingers cheats
And who lies with ev’ry breath
Who passionately hates his life
And likewise fears his death.

I pity the poor immigrant
Whose strength is spent in vain
Whose heaven is like Ironsides
Whose tears are like rain
Who eats but is not satisfied
Who hears but does not see
Who falls in love with wealth itself
And turns his back on me.

I pity the poor immigrant
Who tramples through the mud
Who fills his mouth with laughing
And who builds his town with blood
Whose visions in the final end
Must shatter like the glass
I pity the poor immigrant
When his gladness comes to pass.

Copyright © 1968 by Dwarf Music; renewed 1996 Dwarf Music

“I Threw It All Away”

I once held her in my arms
She said she would always stay
But I was cruel
I treated her like a fool
I threw it all away.

Once I had mountains in the palm of my hand
And rivers that ran through ev’ry day
I must have been mad
I never knew what I had
Until I threw it all away.

Love is all there is, it makes the world go around
Love and only love it can’t be denied
No matter what you think about it
You just won’t be able to do without it
Take a tip from one who’s tried.

So if you find someone that gives you all of her love
Take it to your heart, don’t let it stray
For one thing that’s certain
You will surely be a-hurtin’
If you throw it all away.

Copyright © 1969 by Big Sky Music; renewed 1997 by Big Sky Music

“New Morning”

Can’t you hear that rooster crowing ?
Rabbit running down across the road
Underneath the bridge where the water flows through
So happy just to see you smile
Underneath the sky of blue
On this new morning, new morning
On this new morning with you.

Can’t you hear that motor turning
Automobile coming into style
Coming down the road for a country mile or two ?
So happy just to see you smile
Underneath the sky of blue
On this new morning, new morning
On this new morning with you.

The night passed away so quickly
It always does when you’re with me.

Can’t you feel that sun a-shinning ?
Ground hog running by the country stream
This must be the day when all of my dreams come true
So happy just to be alive
Underneath the sky of blue
On this new morning, new morning
On this new morning with you.

So happy just to be alive
Underneath the sky of blue
On this new morning, new morning
On this new morning with you
New morning …

Copyright © 1970 by Big Sky Music; renewed 1998 by Big Sky Music

“Forever Young”

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

copyright © 1973 by Ram’s Horn Music; renewed 2001 by Ram’s Horn Music

“Shelter From The Storm”

‘Twas in another lifetime one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue, the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness a creature void of form
“Come in,” she said
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

And if I pass this way again you can rest assured
I’ll always do my best for her on that I give my word
In a world of steel-eyed death and men who are fighting to be warm
“Come in,” she said
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

Not a word was spoke between us there was little risk involved
Everything up to that point had been left unresolved
Try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm
“Come in,” she said
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

I was burned out from exhaustion buried in the hail
Poisoned in the bushes and blown out on the trail
Hunted like a crocodile ravaged in the corn
“Come in,” she said
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

Suddenly I turned around and she was standing there
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns
“Come in,” she said
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

Now there’s a wall between us something there’s been lost
I took too much for granted, I got my signals crossed
Just to think that it all began on an uneventful morn
“Come in,” she said
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

Well the deputy walks on hard nails and the preacher rides a mount
But nothing really matters much it’s doom alone that counts
And the one-eyed undertaker he blows a futile horn
“Come in,” she said
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

I’ve heard newborn babies wailing like a mourning dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without love
Do I understand your question man, is it hopeless and forlorn?
“Come in,” she said
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

In a little hilltop village they gambled for my clothes
I bargained for salvation and she gave me a lethal dose
I offered up my innocence, I got repaid with scorn
“Come in,” she said
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

Well I’m living in a foreign country but I’m bound to cross the line
Beauty walks a razor’s edge someday I’ll make it mine
If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born
“Come in,” she said
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

Copyright © 1974 by Ram’s Horn Music; renewed 2002 by Ram’s Horn Music

“One More Cup Of Coffee”

Your breath is sweet
Your eyes are like two jewels in the sky
Your back is straight your hair is smooth
On the pillow where you lie
But I don’t sense affection
No gratitude or love
Your loyalty is not to me
But to the stars above

One more cup of coffee for the road
One more cup of coffee ‘fore I go.
To the valley below.

Your daddy he’s an outlaw
And a wanderer by trade
He’ll teach you how to pick and choose
And how to throw the blade
He oversees his kingdom
So no stranger does intrude
His voice it trembles as he calls out
For another plate of food.

One more cup of coffee for the road
One more cup of coffee ‘fore I go.
To the valley below.

Your sister sees the future
Like your mama and yourself
You’ve never learned to read or write
There’s no books upon your shelf
And your pleasure knows no limits
Your voice is like a meadowlark
But your heart is like an ocean
Mysterious and dark.

One more cup of coffee for the road
One more cup of coffee ‘fore I go.
To the valley below.

Copyright © 1975, 1976 by Ram’s Horn Music; renewed 2003, 2004 by Ram’s Horn Music

Love sick

I’m walking through streets that are dead
Walking, walking with you in my head
My feet are so tired, my brain is so wired
And the clouds are weeping

Did I hear someone tell a lie?
Did I hear someone’s distant cry?
You thrilled me to my heart, then you ripped it all apart
You went through my pockets when I was sleeping

I’m sick of love…but I’m in the thick of it
This kind of love…I’m so sick of it

I see lovers in the meadow
I see silhouettes in the window
I watch them ’til they’re gone and they leave me hanging on
To a shadow

I’m sick of love…I hear the clock tick
This kind of love…I’m love sick

Sometimes the silence can be like the thunder
Sometimes I feel like I’m being plowed under
Could you ever be true? I think of you
And I wonder

I’m sick of love…I wish I’d never met you
I’m sick of love…I’m trying to forget you

Just don’t know what to do
I’d give anything to be with you

Copyright © 1997 by Special Rider Music

There’s an evening’s haze settling over the town
Starlight by the edge of the creek
The buying power of the proletariat’s gone down
Money’s getting shallow and weak
The place I love best is a sweet memory
It’s a new path that we trod
They say low wages are a reality
If we want to compete abroad

My cruel weapons been laid back on the shelf
Come and sit down on my knee
You are dearer to me than myself
As you yourself can see
I’m listening to the steel rails hum
Got both eyes tight shut
I’m just trying to keep the hunger from
Creepin’ its way into my gut

Meet me at the bottom, don’t lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line
Sing a little bit of these workingman’s blues

I’m sailing on back getting ready for the long haul
Leaving everything behind
If I stay here I’ll lose it all
The bandits will rob me blind
I’m trying to feed my soul with thought
Gonna sleep off the rest of the day
Sometimes nobody wants what you got
Sometimes you can’t give it away

I woke up this morning and sprang to my feet
Went into town on a whim
I saw my father there in the street
At least I think it was him
In the dark I hear the night birds call
The hills are rugged and steep
I sleep in the kitchen with my feet in the hall
If I told you my whole story you’d weep

Meet me at the bottom, don’t lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line
Sing a little bit of these workingman’s blues

They burned my barn and they stole my horse
I can’t save a dime
It’s a long way down and I don’t want to be forced
Into a life of continual crime
I can see for myself that the sun is sinking
O’er the banks of the deep blue sea
Tell me, am I wrong in thinking
That you have forgotten me

Now they worry and they hurry and they fuss and they fret
They waste your nights and days
Them, I will forget
You, I’ll remember always
It’s a cold black night and it’s midsummer’s eve
And the stars are spinning around
I still find it so hard to believe
That someone would kick me when I’m down

Meet me at the bottom, don’t lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line
Sing a little bit of these workingman’s blues

I’ll be back home in a month or two
When the frost is on the vine
I’ll punch my spear right straight through
Half-ways down your spine
I’ll lift up my arms to the starry skies
And pray the fugitive’s prayer
I’m guessing tomorrow the sun will rise
I hope the final judgment’s fair

The battle is over up in the hills
And the mist is closing in
Look at me, with all of my spoils
What did I ever win?
Gotta brand new suit and a brand new wife
I can live on rice and beans
Some people never worked a day in their life
They don’t know what work even means

Meet me at the bottom, don’t lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line Sing a little bit of these workingman’s blues

Copyright© 2006 Special Rider Music

and bringing us up to the present:

Murder most foul

‘Twas a dark day in Dallas – November ‘63
The day that will live on in infamy
President Kennedy was riding high
A good day to be living and a good day to die
Being led to the slaughter like a sacrificial lamb
Say wait a minute boys, do you know who I am?
Of course we do, we know who you are
Then they blew off his head when he was still in the car
Shot down like a dog in broad daylight
‘Twas a matter of timing and the timing was right
You got unpaid debts and we’ve come to collect
We’re gon’ kill you with hatred and without any respect
We’ll mock you and shock you, we’ll grin in your face
We’ve already got someone here to take your place
The day that they blew out the brains of the king
Thousands were watching, no one saw a thing
It happened so quickly – so quick by surprise
Right there in front of everyone’s eyes

Greatest magic trick ever under the sun
Perfectly executed, skillfully done
Wolfman, oh wolfman, oh wolfman, howl
Rub a dub dub – it’s murder most foul

Hush lil children, you’ll soon understand
The Beatles are coming they’re gonna hold your hand
Slide down the banister, go get your coat
Ferry ‘cross the Mersey and go for the throat
There’s three bums comin’ all dressed in rags
Pick up the pieces and lower the flags
I’m going to Woodstock, it’s the Aquarian Age
Then I’ll go over to Altamont and sit near the stage
Put your head out the window, let the good times roll
There’s a party going on behind the grassy knoll
Stack up the bricks and pour the cement
Don’t say Dallas don’t love you, Mr. President
Put your foot in the tank and step on the gas
Try to make it to the triple underpass
Black face singer – white face clown
Better not show your faces after the sun goes down

I’m in the red-light district like a cop on the beat
Living in a nightmare on Elm Street
When you’re down on Deep Ellum put your money in your shoe
Don’t ask what your country can do for you
Cash on the barrel head, money to burn
Dealey Plaza, make a left hand turn
Go down to the crossroads, try to flag a ride
That’s the place where Faith, Hope and Charity died
Shoot ‘em while he runs, boy, shoot ‘em while you can
See if you can shoot the Invisible Man
Goodbye, Charlie, goodbye Uncle Sam
Frankly, Miss Scarlet, I don’t give a damn
What is the truth and where did it go
Ask Oswald and Ruby – they oughta know
Shut your mouth, says the wise old owl
Business is business and it’s murder most foul

Tommy can you hear me, I’m the Acid Queen
I’m ridin’ in a long black Lincoln limousine
Ridin’ in the back seat, next to my wife
Heading straight on into the afterlife
I’m leaning to the left, got my head in her lap
Oh Lord, I’ve been led into some kind of a trap
We ask no quarter, no quarter do we give
We’re right down the street from the street where you live
They mutilated his body and took out his brain
What more could they do, they piled on the pain
But his soul was not there where it was supposed to be at
For the last fifty years they’ve been searching for that
Freedom, oh freedom, freedom over me
Hate to tell you, Mister, but only dead men are free
Send me some loving – tell me no lie
Throw the gun in the gutter and walk on by
Wake up, Little Suzie, let’s go for a drive
Cross the Trinity River, let’s keep hope alive
Turn the radio on, don’t touch the dials
Parkland Hospital’s only six more miles
You got me dizzy Miss Lizzy, you filled me with lead
That magic bullet of yours has gone to my head
I’m just a patsy like Patsy Cline
I never shot anyone from in front or behind
Got blood in my eyes, got blood in my ear
I’m never gonna make it to the New Frontier

Zapruder’s film, I’ve seen that before
Seen it thirty three times, maybe more
It’s vile and deceitful – it’s cruel and it’s mean
Ugliest thing that you ever have seen
They killed him once, they killed him twice
Killed him like a human sacrifice
The day that they killed him, someone said to me, “Son,
The age of the anti-Christ has just only begun.”
Air Force One coming in through the gate
Johnson sworn in at two thirty-eight
Let me know when you decide to throw in the towel
It is what it is and it’s murder most foul

What’s New Pussycat – wha’d I say
I said the soul of a nation been torn away
It’s beginning to go down into a slow decay
And that it’s thirty-six hours past judgment day
Wolfman Jack, he’s speaking in tongues
He’s going on and on at the top of his lungs
Play me a song, Mr. Wolfman Jack
Play it for me in my long Cadillac
Play that Only The Good Die Young
Take me to the place where Tom Dooley was hung
Play St. James Infirmary in the court of King James
If you want to remember, better write down the names
Play Etta James too, play I’d Rather Go Blind
Play it for the man with the telepathic mind
Play John Lee Hooker play Scratch My Back
Play it for that strip club owner named Jack
Guitar Slim – Goin’ Down Slow
Play it for me and for Marilyn Monroe
And please, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
Play it for the First Lady, she ain’t feeling that good
Play Don Henley – play Glenn Frey
Take it to the Limit and let it go by
And play it for Carl Wilson, too
Lookin’ far, far away down Gower Avenue
Play Tragedy, play Twilight Time
Take Me Back to Tulsa to the scene of the crime
Play another one and Another One Bites the Dust
Play the Old Rugged Cross and in G-d We Trust
Ride the Pink Horse down that Long, Lonesome Road
Stand there and wait for his head to explode
Play Mystery Train for Mr. Mystery
The man who fell down dead, like a rootless tree
Play it for the Reverend, play it for the Pastor
Play it for the dog that’s got no master
Play Oscar Peterson and play Stan Getz
Play Blue Sky, play Dickie Betts
Play Art Pepper, play Thelonious Monk
Charlie Parker and all that junk
All that junk and All That Jazz
Play something for The Birdman of Alcatraz
Play Buster Keaton play Harold Lloyd
Play Bugsy Siegel play Pretty Boy Floyd
Play all the numbers, play all the odds
Play Cry Me A River for the Lord of the Gods
Play number nine, play number six
Play it for Lindsey and Stevie Nicks
Play Nat King Cole, play Nature Boy
Play Down in the Boondocks for Terry Malloy
Play It Happened One Night and One Night of Sin
There’s twelve million souls that are listening in
Play the Merchant of Venice, play the merchants of death
Play Stella by Starlight for Lady Macbeth
Don’t worry Mr. President, help’s on the way
Your brothers are comin’, there’ll be hell to pay
Brothers? What brothers? What’s this about hell?
Tell ‘em we’re waitin’- keep coming – we’ll get ‘em as well
Love Field is where his plane touched down
But it never did get back up off of the ground
Was a hard act to follow, second to none
They killed him on the Altar of the Rising Sun
Play Misty for me and that Old Devil Moon
Play Anything Goes and Memphis in June
Play Lonely at the Top and Lonely Are the Brave
Play it for Houdini spinning around in his grave
Play Jelly Roll Morton, play Lucille
Play Deep in a Dream and play Drivin’ Wheel 
Play Moonlight Sonata in F sharp
And Key to the Highway by the king of the harp
Play Marchin’ Through Georgia and Dumbarton’s Drums
Play Darkness and death will come when it comes
Play Love Me or Leave Me by the great Bud Powell
Play the Blood Stained Banner – play Murder Most Foul

Copyright© 2020 by Special Rider Music

Hope you enjoyed tasting the range of lyrics in Bob’s songs -hundred’s more to read and enjoy:

Bob Dylan lyrics 1961-2012

Edward Docx writing in the Guardian, selected 80 tracks that for him illustrated Dylan’s enduring genius in words and music.

1. Song to Woody (1961)

2. Masters of War (1963)

3. Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol (1963)

4. With God on Our Side (1963)

5. Restless Farewell (1963)

6. The Times They Are a-Changin’ (1963)

7. To Ramona (1964)

8. My Back Pages (1964)

9. Subterranean Home Sick Blues (1965)

10. Its All-right Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) (1965)

11. Maggie’s Farm (1965)

12. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (1965)

13. Like a Rolling Stone (1965)

14. Ballad of a Thin Man (1965)

15. Desolation Row (1965)

16. Positively 4th Street (1965)

17. Visions of Johanna (1965)

18. Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again (1966)

19. I Want You (1966)

20. All Along the Watchtower (1967)

21. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine (1967)

22. Tears of Rage (1967)

23. This Wheel’s on Fire (1967)

24. Lay Lady Lay (1969)

25. I Threw it All Away (1969)

26. When I Paint My Masterpiece (1971)

27. Going Going Gone (1973)

28. Forever Young (1973)

29. Dirge (1973)

30. Tangled Up in Blue (1974)

31. Simple Twist of Fate (1974)

32. Idiot Wind (1974)

33. If You See Her, Say Hello (1974)

34. Shelter from the Storm (1974)

35. Abandoned Love (1974)

36. Hurricane (1975)

37. Isis (1975)

38. One More Cup of Coffee (1975)

39. Changing of the Guards (1978)

40. No Time to Think (1978)

41. Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) (1978)

42. Where Are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat) (1978)

43. Gotta Serve Somebody (1979)

44. Slow Train Coming (1979)

45. When He Returns (1979)

46. The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar (1981)

47. Every Grain of Sand (1981)

48. Angelina (1981)

49. Jokerman (1983)

50. I and I (1983)

51. Blind Willie McTell (1983)

52. Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love) (1985)

53. Brownsville Girl (1986)

54. Political World (1989)

55. Everything is Broken (1989)

56. Ring Them Bells (1989)

57. Most of the Time (1989)

58. What Was it You Wanted? (1989)

59. Series of Dreams (1989)

60. Born in Time (1990)

61. Handy Dandy (1990)

62. Not Dark Yet (1997)

63. Make You Feel My Love (1997)

64. Red River Shore (1997)

65. Things Have Changed (1999)

66. Mississippi (2001)

67. Cross The Green Mountain (2002)

68. Tell Ol’ Bill (2005)

69. Spirit On The Water (2006)

70. When the Deal Goes Down (2006)

71. Workingman’s Blues #2 (2006)

72. Ain’t Talkin’ (2006)

73. Huck’s Tune (2006)

74. Beyond Her Lies Nothin’ (2008)

75. Forgetful Heart (2008)

76. Scarlet Town (2012)

77. My Own Version of You (2020)

78. Mother of Muses (2020)

79. Key West (Philosopher Pirate) (2020)

80. Murder Most Foul (2020)

Say Happy Birthday to Bob…..

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and for a look at the Blues and Bob: