This is Jammin’ With Josh. Each week I take a look at one of the bands that I love. Or perhaps it will be a band that I just discovered and think you should check out. Or maybe it will just be a way for me to post music videos. Honestly, no one will ever know.
I have actually posted about Bob Dylan a few times. Or at least mentioned that I am a fan of his music. This is definitely something that was gifted to me by my dad. He loved Bob Dylan and helped pass that on to me as well. I do not think I need to explain who Bob Dylan is (if I do, then you should just stop reading and bash your head against a wall). Nor do I need to do my normal format (I say normal like this is some long-running series) of best known song, my favorite song, and a song everyone should listen to. Instead, I just want to tell some stories about the songs that mean something to me.
One of the things that my dad noticed while listening to lots of Dylan on our way to camp, was that he had a few songs where he mentions similar things. Specifically, he mentions losing someone he loved and he references the color blue. Now before any Bob Dylan scholars hop in here and tell me that he was completely wrong about these songs, remember that this was before the internet and we were doing the best with just our imagination.
The first song is “Tangled Up in Blue.”
Next we have “Brownsville Girl.” Sorry, this is the only video I could find that had the actual song…
So we have these two songs about a guy losing a love, who just sort of disappears from his life. I think there was another song that Dylan refers to a girl as something blue, but maybe I am wrong. Anyways, both of these songs are probably up there as my favorites.
How about we switch gears?
Funny story. My dad and mom decided one night to transcribe the lyrics to this one. The reason? My dad was convinced that it was a true story. Think about how crazy that sounds now? How easy is it to just search “Bob Dylan Hurricane story.” You learn about it in like five seconds. Back before the internet though? I guess he was just hoping to see if he recognized any of the names or if maybe he could look them up somewhere. Anyways, while they are listening to the song over and over in the basement, Adam & I are watching Dazed and Confused. The scene where they walk into the pool hall, guess what song is playing? We thought the music was playing too loud in the basement, but then quickly realized what was happening. Talk about a weird coincidence. And before you say anything, yes the internet existed back then, but we did not have it yet in our household.
The next song I need to mention is “Jokerman.” Dad and my Uncle Mark were going to see Bob Dylan at Pittsburgh, and one night on the way to our camp, those two went out and had a few too many beers. While driving in, they were jammin’ to this song and stopped on one of the dirt roads to take a piss. Apparently they were standing there, singing this song at the top of their lungs, while takin’ a leak.
I wrote about this before, but it would be wrong of me to not mention it again. One of my favorite things about the film Watchmen was the opening, with “The Times They Are A-Changin.”
“Talkin’ World War III Blues” is one of his great songs from his first album that people nowadays probably never heard. It has some very powerful lyrics (“I’ll let you be in my dream, if I can be yours”), but at the same time having some funny lines and an upbeat tune. Sorry, all I could find is this live version, from 1964.
If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend watching the 30th Anniversary Special of Bob Dylan. Some of the stories and bands performing is amazing. One of my favorites is Eddie Vedder doing “Masters of War.” This is probably one of Dylan’s most powerful songs. “And I’ll stand over your grave, ’til I’m sure that you’re dead.” Dylan was not beating around the bush when it came to expressing his dislike for the leaders of our country at the time.
And finally, the last song I have to mention is “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” This was probably my favorite song when I was a kid. I had no clue what it meant, but I just liked singing it. Later dad explained it to me. It is crazy to me how Dylan swears this song is not a drug song. Enjoy Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers performing this at the 30th anniversary concert.
I could probably post another fifty Bob Dylan videos, but I think this is a good place to end it. For fun, go out and search for any Bob Dylan song that you like and then check out the number of great covers. Or sometimes the not so great ones.