By Larry Fyffe
Rob Stoner, bassist who accompanied ‘the song and dance man’ on tour, succinctly describes Bob Dylan’s mixing of personal and artistic motives behind many of his public performances, including those in documentaries and films:
“He’s always trying to put people on, to put people off his trail. He’s busy throwing shade …. It’s all part of him just being a shapeshifter. It’s all intentional, and it’s all in fun.”
Indeed, satirists Lord Buckley and Sheldon Allan Silverstein have a strong influence on the singer, songwriter, and musician Bob Dylan.
The following lyrics are directed at children; nonetheless, like many fairy tales and nursery rhymes, they be not light-hearted in tone, but quite dark-humoured:
He watched till his eyes were frozen wide And his bottom grew into his chair And his chin turned into a tuning dial And antennae grew out of his hair (Shel Silverstein: Jimmy Jet And His TV Set)
(Please note video below takes a few seconds to get going)
The song lyrics below are directed at children, but send a warning to their parents as well:
"The news of the day is on all the time All the latest gossip, all the latest rhyme Your mind is your temple, keep it beautiful and free Don't let an egg get laid in it by something you can't see" (Bob Dylan: TV Talking Song)
The following lyrics, sung by Bob Dylan, appear in the film “Hearts Of Fire”:
I've got a couple of more years on you babe, and that's all I've had more chances to fly, and more places to fall It ain't that I'm wiser It's only that I've spent more time with my back to the wall And I've picked up a couple of more years on you baby, and that's all (Dr. Hook: A Couple of More Years ~ Shel Silverstein)
A shapeshifter Bob Dylan is for sure, but as the following lyrics demonstrate (like those above do), many are not performed just for the fun of it. Though they be not out-right didactic, they contain a message that does not place the blame for anti-social behaviour solely on the inherent nature of human beings:
I saw the headlines on the 'Morning Star' "Mad dope fiend killer behind bars" I was found guilty at the trial Judge said I'm condemned to die (Dope Fiend Robber ~ Bob Dylan)
Another rendition thereof with accompanying music:
They found me guilty at the trial The judge condemned me to die Been on the morphine quite a while But once I was someone's child (Nick Juno: Dope Fiend Robber ~ Dylan/Juno)
(For more information on this Dylan song recreated via Untold Dylan please see here)
The song lyrics below may be rendered rather light-heartedly in tone, but only for the sake of making them more poignant through the incongruity:
He was a clean cut kid And they made a killer out of him Is what they did They say, "Listen up, boy, you're just a pup" They sent him to a napalm health spa to shape up (Bob Dylan: Clean Cut Kid)
Untold Dylan: who we are what we do
Untold Dylan is written by people who want to write for Untold Dylan. It is simply a forum for those interested in the work of the most famous, influential and recognised popular musician and poet of our era, to read about, listen to and express their thoughts on, his lyrics and music.
We welcome articles, contributions and ideas from all our readers. Sadly no one gets paid, but if you are published here, your work will be read by a fairly large number of people across the world, ranging from fans to academics who teach English literature. If you have an idea, or a finished piece send it as a Word file to Tony@schools.co.uk with a subject line saying that it is for publication on Untold Dylan.
We also have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with approaching 6000 active members. Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link
You’ll find some notes about our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page of this site. You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture. Not every index is complete but I do my best.
But what is complete is our index to all the 604 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found, on the A to Z page. I’m proud of that; no one else has found that many songs with that much information. Elsewhere the songs are indexed by theme and by the date of composition. See for example Bob Dylan year by year.