Bob Dylan’s “On a rainy afternoon” from the basement not the hotel

by Tony Attwood

As I noted earlier there are two Dylan songs called “On a Rainy Afternoon”.  One comes from 1966 in the the Glasgow hotel rooms series of recordings, and the other from the Basement Tapes – it appears on disc six of the complete set.  Dylan’s official site only acknowledges the Basement Tape version.

The quality of the Basement Tape recording, although far from perfect, is a lot better than many of the recordings on disc six, and listening to the band play it does seem as if everyone had been given a briefing of the chord changes, and there is a good mix of the instruments playing.

The only problem is that the lyrics are really hard to work out as the song bounces along in its jolly way.  The recording of Dylan’s verse is not perfect, but not that bad, so I suspect he was making quite a bit of it up as he went along.

No one that I can find has had a bash at the lyrics so it is down to me to make a total idiot of myself over such things, but that has happened so many times it doesn’t matter any more. Please improve and correct and let’s do the collective thing and try and get a decent set of words.

Here’s my version thus far.  If no one writes in, that’s where it will stand.

Don't imagine, her name or where she's from
High tension but she notes what she's on
I know things and I've told you why
What she wants about the folks they try
But I take now from my ??
I'm rolling on this lazy afternoon

Can't get on it but she's on her head
Well hard money comes by looking for her
Now she comes and oh she goes
But ??? and nobody knows
But if you want it you can only beware
Can't reward you on a lazy afternoon

Keep singing there's something on her mind
But I see you but she still is hard to find
As she goes oh why she hollers
Man oh man but its hard for   dollars
I take you again for a while
Kick the ballroom on a lazy afternoon

The Haiku 61 reads

It sounds like she’s gone,
Leaving Bob hanging around
On a rainy day.

That doesn’t really seem to relate to what I heard, and that’s probably my mistake but for once the Haiku creator didn’t add any lyrics, so I guess he found it hard going too.

But one thing is for sure, this is a lot easier listening than one or two of the recordings presented slightly earlier on disc 6.  Of course we’ve no idea if the order of presentation on the CD is the order of recording, but if it was, Bob seems to have brightened up a bit.

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