Stuck in side Mobile

By Larry Fyffe

A number of songs by Bob Dylan are influenced by Memphis, Tennessee – in one way or another:

I went to my window. My window was propped
I went to my door. My door was locked
I stepped right back. I shook my head ….
I shot through the window. I broke the glass
(Memphis Jug Band: On The Road ~ Jones/Shade)

He’s heading out:

Well I took me a woman late last night
I’s three-fourth drunk, she looked all right
‘Till she started peeling off her onion gook
She took off her wig, said, “How do I look?”
I’s high flying, bare naked, out the window
(Bob Dylan: I Shall Be Free)

Down south to Tennessee:

I was thinking about Ma Rainey, wondering where could Ma Rainey be
I’ve been looking for Ma Rainey, even  been in old Tennessee …
She was born in Georgia, travelled all over this world
And she’s the best blues singer, peoples, I ever heard …
When she made Bo Weavil Blues, I’m living way down the line
Every time I hear that record, I just couldn’t keep from crying
(Memphis Minnie: Ma Rainey)

Dylan’s “other” is trying to make it all the way to Memphis:

I was thinking ’bout Alicia Keys, couldn’t keep from crying
When she was born in Hell’s Kitchen, I was living down the line
I’m wondering where in the world Alicia Keys could be
I been looking for her even clear through Tennessee
(Bob Dylan: Thunder On The Mountain)

Could get there by riverboat:

Oh, I thought I heard that steamboat whistle a-blow
And she blowed like she never blowed before ….
I’m afraid my little lover’s on that boat
And it will take her to the Lord knows where
(Shirkey and Harper: Steamboat Man)

Could be by train:

Listen to the Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like she never blowed before ….
Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like my woman’s on board
(Bob Dylan: Duquesne Whistle ~ Dylan/Hunter)

Could be in a souped-up Ford:

Sometimes into Ashville, sometimes Memphis town
The Revenues chased him, but they couldn’t run him down
Each time they thought they had him, his engine would explode
He’d go by like they were standing still on ‘Thunder Road’
(Robert Mitchum: The Ballad Of Thunder Road ~  Mitchum/Raye)

Or in a blue Mustang:

This wheel’s on fire
Rolling down the road
Better notify my next of kin
This wheel shall explode
(Bob Dylan: This Wheel’s On Fire ~ Dylan/Danko)

Maybe he’ll get there, and maybe he don’t:

Mona tried to tell me
To stay away from the train line
She said that all the railroad men
Just drink your blood like wine …
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With The Memphis blues again
(Bob Dylan: Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again)

There’s always the telephone:

Help me, information, get in touch with my Marie
She’s the only one who’d call me from Memphis, Tennessee
Her home is on the south side, high up on a ridge
Just a half a mile from the Mississippi bridge
(Chuck Berry: Memphis Tennessee)

Some people will give you a hand, some won’t:

Long-distance operator
Please place this call, you know it’s not just for fun
I gotta get a message to my baby
You know, she’s not just anyone
(The Band ~ Bob Dylan)

Anyway, if Bobby doesn’t make it to the top of the hill, you know Brucey will:

Climb in back, heaven’s waiting down the tracks
Oh, oh, come take my hand
We’re riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh, oh, Thunder Road
Oh, Thunder Road, oh, Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it’s late, but we can make it if we run ….
So Mary climb in
It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win
(Bruce Springsteen: Thunder Road)

What else is on the site

You’ll find some notes about our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page.  You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.

The index to all the 590 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found on the A to Z page.

We also have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with over 2000 active members.  (Try imagining a place where it is always safe and warm).  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

If you are interested in Dylan’s work from a particular year or era, your best place to start is Bob Dylan year by year.

On the other hand if you would like to write for this website, please do drop me a line with details of your idea, or if you prefer, a whole article.  Email

And please do note   The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, including links to our reviews.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *