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 | 3 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 | 6 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 | 3 Comments

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

Subterranean Homesick Blues 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 everything that was happening … Continue reading

Posted in Bringing it all Back Home, Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 7 Comments

Love minus Zero / No Limit

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 straightforward, the lyrics (and indeed the very title, … Continue reading

Posted in Bringing it all Back Home, Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 7 Comments

Dignity (original version)

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 | 3 Comments

Changing of the Guards

Below in the review of this song that I wrote in 2008.  After that is an additional commentary added in March 2013. Changing of the Guards: first track on Street Legal, failed to make it as a single (presumably because … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, Street Legal, The Songs | 14 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 | 2 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 | 4 Comments

Not Dark Yet

    Not Dark Yet is one of the triumphs of Dylan’s later work – a pivotal point on the album, the darkest moment (despite the title) which then leads the way towards light. I’ll consider the album as a … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs, Time out of mind | 4 Comments

All along the watch tower

By Tony Attwood “There must be some way out of here”; a simple but powerful start to this commentary on being controlled by organisations, social mores and responsibility. And as the song progresses the singer does indeed begin to find … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 5 Comments

It Ain’t Me Babe

    Coming back to the songs from the early albums after 40 years or more it is interesting to see how beautifully constructed they are. It is as if Dylan spent far more time on these early pieces, crafting … Continue reading

Posted in Another Side, Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 2 Comments

Positively 4th Street (1965): the meaning of the music and the lyrics of Dylan’s song

By Tony Attwood.  This review revised September 2014 Two lines of music – just eight bars long – repeated over and over and over. And yet it is brilliant, a song one never tires of because the record is so … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 3 Comments