Category Archives: Essential Bob Dylan

Just like a woman

By Tony Attwood From as early as 1963 Dylan was highly engaged in writing “lost love” songs with an extra edge. “Lost Love” was defined by the English academic Professor Keith Swanwick of London University Institute of Education as one … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Lay Lady Lay

Here’s a simple thought: “What is Lay Lady Lay” about? There’s an oft-repeated story that when the Everly Brothers heard it they mistook it for a song about lesbians, and turned it down. That was based on a mishearing. With … Continue reading

Posted in At Boudakan, Essential Bob Dylan, Greatest Hits Volume 2, Nashville Skyline, The Songs | 13 Comments

Maggies Farm

By Tony Attwood (revised March 2013) What is it that makes Dylan stay with Maggie’s Farm?  Hardly a tour goes by without it being wheeled out, it has been on over half a dozen albums and it was part of … Continue reading

Posted in At Boudakan, Bringing it all Back Home, Essential Bob Dylan, Greatest Hits Volume 2, Hard Rain, No Direction Home, The Songs | 4 Comments

Subterranean Homesick Blues: the meaning of the music and the lyrics

By Tony Attwood Revised 13 October 2017 This was Dylan’s first successful attempt to integrate the emotions of the Beat Generation which he had understood from Alan Ginsberg and others combining the thoughts of the moment with three minutes of … Continue reading

Posted in Bringing it all Back Home, Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 10 Comments

Love minus Zero / No Limit. Bob Dylan takes a Zen approach to the perfect relationship

 By Tony Attwood This review revised May 2017 The second of the two love songs from the first side of “Bringing it all back home” is infinitely more complex than “She Belongs To Me”. While musically it seems to be … Continue reading

Posted in Bringing it all Back Home, Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 11 Comments

Bob Dylan’s “Dignity”. A work of genius, or neat but unfinished idea?

And what are we to make of Dignity. Raved over by many Dylan fans, it didn’t turn up on the mainstream albums, but appeared on the Essential album, and twice on the 2008 outtakes album.  The Essential Bob Dylan version … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan | 4 Comments

Changing of the Guards: The meanings behind Bob Dylan’s song

By Tony Attwood The original review was written in 2008, and then updated in 2013.  Coming back to it in 2018, I found myself very unhappy with what I had written, and thus decided to start again. Changing of the … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, Street Legal, The Songs | 35 Comments

Things have changed: the meanings behind Bob Dylan’s song

By Tony Attwood Dylan’s commentary on being dislocated from the world, while being within it – here but not here – spreads across a multiplicity of his songs. It wasn’t there at the start – Times they are a-changing dripped … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 6 Comments

Blind Willie McTell: the meaning behind Bob Dylan’s song

Blind Willie McTell This review updated 8 October 2016 including the addition of the link to the Dylan recording of the electric version of this song – see the end of the review, and some further thoughts on the lack … Continue reading

Posted in Bootleg Series volume 3, Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 8 Comments

Not Dark Yet: Bob Dylan as 20th century Keats, and the memories that still linger

by Tony Attwood.  Revised April 2018, with links to recordings by Dylan and other artists.   “I try to live within that line between despondency and hope.”  Bob Dylan 1997.   Not Dark Yet is one of the triumphs of … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs, Time out of mind | 12 Comments

All along the watch tower: Bob Dylan’s eternal masterpiece.

By Tony Attwood According to some the imagery in this song comes from the 21st chapter of the prophet Isaiah when a watchman on the watchtower sees two riders approaching.  Here is the text in the King James Version. 6 For … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 9 Comments

Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” – from “Go way from my window” to “Yeah yeah yeah”

By Tony Attwood This review revised on 10 February 2018 Listening again (in 2018) the Dylan performing It Ain’t Me Babe in 1965 I’m struck by how clear and powerful the performance, and how carefully thought through are the variations … Continue reading

Posted in Another Side, Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 3 Comments

Positively 4th Street: the meaning and the music with an interesting variant

  By Tony Attwood.  This review revised September 2014 and April 2018 with two videos added. Two lines of music – just eight bars long – repeated over and over and over.  And yet it is brilliant, a song one never … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 9 Comments