If you’re a musician, we’d like your help recording a lost Dylan song

By Aaron Galbraith

Are you a talented singer or musician? Are you in a band? Then Untold Dylan needs your help! Welcome to “Bob Idol”!

First up, some context, followed by the details of what we are trying to do here.

As the (un)official Untold Dylan missing and lost songs bloodhound I’ve always got my feelers out searching for unknown and rare tracks. One such track I’ve been searching for, for about a year, is “Liverpool Gal”. Dylan wrote the track in December 1962 and performed it once at the home of David Whitaker in  Minneapolis in July 1963. A tape apparently exists but has so far not surfaced officially or on bootleg. It is rumoured the song is about the artist Pauline Boty whom Dylan met in 1962 whilst in the UK to film Madhouse On Castle Street.

The track was performed once on BBC Radio Merseyside n 1992 by Ormskirk duo Lennon & Hyam, introduced by John Bauldie. It has been this version I have been searching for, even reaching out to Radio Merseyside for assistance, but all to no avail. Searching for the track taught me 3 things:

  1. Lennon & Hyam have no internet presence whatsoever
  2. A google search including the words Lennon and Liverpool bring up more than a couple of results!
  3. The football (soccer) team Southend United currently have in their first team players with the last names of Lennon and Hyam!

This is all very interesting but brought me no closer to my goal!

Then a thought struck me, I have the lyrics, the chords and the melody, would this be enough to present to Tony to review for the site? Well, maybe, but isn’t it always better to have something to listen to in order to fully appreciate the track in question? And then a second thought struck me, I bet we have many talented singers and musicians amongst the readers on Untold Dylan who could put something together for us all to listen to!

So here is the offer: record your version of the track “Liverpool Gal” and post it to YouTube and then send the link to Tony at Tony@schools.co.uk and he and I will review any that we get and post them on Untold Dylan. The lyrics, chords and melody are listed at the end of this article.

Whilst we can’t offer any monetary reward, what you will receive is this:

  1. Your version of the track will be included in Tony’s full review of the song
  2. You will have contributed to the goal of the site to list to review every Dylan track
  3. You will showcase your talents to the world and lastly
  4. You will have introduced the world to this extremely rare and unknown Dylan song!

How will you present the song?   That is up to you. It can be solo and acoustic as Dylan would have in 63, or you can use electric instrumentation of indeed have a whole band playing if you are part of such a group.  Perhaps you could make something that would fit perfectly on Time Out Of Mind, or maybe something entirely different. Be as creative as you want to be!

If (and this is highly unlikely) we start to get so many versions we can’t put them all up, we’ll post a note at the top of this article and on the Facebook group.  But normally such requests as this get very little response so the chances of that are slim.

Please remember to include your name and where you are from so we can credit you fully, also if you have a band, give your band’s name and all the musicians involved. It might be good if you also included a small note about your version, why you decided to do it the way you did etc.

Now, here are the lyrics, chords and melody

The melody is based upon The Lakes Of Pontchartrain.   You might find it helpful to listen to a recording of that song – and helpfully Bob has recorded it

And if you want to compare with a more traditional version of the song here’s a link to one.

C   . . /b . .  Am . . F   . .
When first I came to London town

C/g . .  G . . F . G C . .
A stranger I did come

C        /b         Am    F
I’d walk the streets so silently

C/g     G       F   G C
I did not know no-one

Am . .   Em     .  .  F . G    C   . .
I was thinking thoughts and dreaming dreams

C  . .        Em .  F  . . G .
The kind when you roll along

.   C       /b        Am        F
But most of all I was thinking about

C/g      G         Am . . Em . . F . . G .
the land I’d left back home

I’d stand by the river Themes
with the wind blowing through my hair.
And who should come and stand by me
but a London gal so fair.
Her eyes were blue, her hair was brown
Her face was gentle and kind
For a second, well, I clear forgot
The land I left behind

As we began walking and talkin’
All through the English air
I did not know where we’d end up
’til we came to the top of a stair
As we lay round on a worn-out rug
the room it was so cold
And we talked for hours by the inside fire
’bout the outside world so old.

All through our sweet conversation
She thought my ways were so strange
But I know there was one thing about me
That she would try to change
And the night passed on with the drizzling rain
There’s one thing I found out
[A pair of sweet curls] I know too well,
Her love I know not much about *)

And I awoke the next morning
And the rain had turned to snow
I looked out of her window
And I knew that I must go
I did not know how to tell her
I didn’t know if I could
But she smiled a smile I’d never seen
To say she understood.

And thinking of her as I stood in the snow
How strange she appeared to be,
On the reason I was leaving,
she seemed no better than me.
I gazed all up at her window
where the snowy snow-flakes blowed
I put my hands in my pockets
And I walked ‘long down the road.

So it’s now I’m leaving London, boys
Well, the town I’ll soon forget,
Likewise its winds and weather
Likewise some people I met
But there’s one thing that’s for certain
Sure as the sunshine down
I’ll never forget that Liverpool Gal
Who lived in London Town.

Here is a link to the sheet music

http://www.dylanchords.com/00_misc/liverpool_gal.pdf

We both look forward to hearing from you.

Meanwhile you might also enjoy: Dylan’s forgotten songss and lost gems

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6 Responses to If you’re a musician, we’d like your help recording a lost Dylan song

  1. Tim Johnson says:

    Hi, what a great idea, to let fans have a go at singing Liverpool Gal. I’ve been trying but I can’t get your chords to work with the melody for The Lakes of Pontchartrain. Pontchartrain is easy to sing as are all Dylan songs and Liverpool Gal could be sung with Pontchartrain chords easily enough. But I just can’t get the chords you have to work. I assume it’s my deficiency so I’ll keep trying. Another thing, Liverpool Gal reminds me of Joan Baez’s The Lily of the West which was released in 1960 – is there a possible connection there?

  2. TonyAttwood says:

    We’ve got two recordings so far Tim – one from a reader and one that was made elsewhere and we’ll be publishing both. And because of this I am also saying, if anyone would like to send in their own recording of a Dylan song, we’ll be pleased to publish it on line in what might become a whole file of Untold Dylan Readers Sing Dylan. So if you are struggling with this song, choose another, and send the recording to tony@schools.co.uk

  3. Tim Johnson says:

    Okay, thanks Tony, I think I’ll try and figure out Liverpool Gal first, since I’ve made endless versions of Dylan songs. The Dylan cover that I really like is Jim Jones at Botany Bay, since I’m from Sydney.

  4. Aaron G says:

    Hi Tim

    Feel free to play around with the chords if it helps as we don’t have Dylan’s own recording you can do anything you want with it. I agree with you that the words fit nicely with the Lakes of Pontchartrain, so maybe just do that, it would be nice to hear.

    If it helps, I believe the Lennon and Hyam version has the capo at the 6th fret, but play around with it and do what comes naturally to you.

  5. There are also strong similarities between the song Liverpool Gal and songs like My black pages and Shelter from the storm.

  6. We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:
    http://thebobdylanproject.com/Song/id/3267/Lakes-of-Pontchartrain

    If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.

    Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.

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