By Tony Attwood
This series giving videos and recordings of songs Bob has only ever performed once or twice or maybe even three times on stage, now has its own index here. The most recent articles are…
- Bob’s live rarities, from a bottle of bread to mountains of Mourne (and rock n roll)
- Bob’s live rarities: As I went out, Billy, Get out of Denver.
- Bob’s once only songs: 12 gates; one morning; Viola Lee
So we start today with Nadine, a song which Jochen has mentioned in some detail in his review of Subterranean Homesick Blues
Setlist.fm has this recording coming from The Muny, St. Louis, MO on June 17, 1988. The video itself has the same year but sets it in New York. Setlist says this is the only time Dylan sang the song, but maybe not… which is exactly why we changed the name of this series from the “Once only file” to “Rarities”.
The song, as of course you will know, comes from Chuck Berry – here’s a latter day recording.
The song was the first that Chuck Berry released after coming out of prison having served a sentence under the Mann Act, which relates to immorality, prostitution and debauchery. He was sentenced to 3 years inside – not the only famous person to be caught by the act (which has long since been amended). Charlie Chaplin and Frank Lloyd Wright were also prosecuted under it.
The track was released in 1964 having been recorded the previous November and is in fact a reworking of of Chuck Berry’s own song, Maybelline.
And at this point I want to turn to Allmusic, because it has two interesting and separate points to make about this song. The first is about the song itself and Allmusic notes its similes, which are not unknown in pop, but still not that common. Such as, “She moves around like a wayward summer breeze; Moving through the traffic like a mounted cavalier; and I was campaign shouting like a Southern diplomat.”
Allmusic also says the song had a “profound influence” on Dylan, particularly with “Bringing it all back home”. Bruce Springsteen, it notes, was also a fan of the lyrics.
So now moving on, we come to Milkcow’s Calf Blues, a Robert Johnson song which Bob recorded in the Freewheelin sessions.
Here is the original…
This is a different song from Milkcow Blues written and originally recorded by Kokomo Arnold in the 1930s. Here are the lyrics…
Tell me, milkcow, what on earth is wrong with you Hoo hoo, milkcow, what on earth is wrong with you Now you have a little new calf, hoo hoo, and your milk is turnin’ blue Your calf is hungry, and I believe he needs a suck Your calf is hungry, hoo hoo, I believe he needs a suck But your milk is turnin’ blue, hoo hoo, I believe he’s outta luck Now I feel like milkin’ and my, cow won’t come I feel like chu’in’ and my, milk won’t turn I’m cryin’ pleease, pleease don’t do me wrong If you can old milkcow, baby now, hoo hoo, drive home My milkcow been ramblin’, hoo hoo, for miles around My milkcow been ramblin’, hoo hoo, for miles around Well, she been troublin’ some other bull cow, hoo hoo, in this man’s town
Now for a bit of sorting out. I found this on the internet….
But that ain’t the Bob Dylan I know. I mean that really is not him at all. In fact I think this is Barbara Dane, although quite a few sites seem to suggest it is Dylan. But take a listen…
However Bob has sung the song as we will soon see.
“Little Maggie with a Dram Glass in Her Hand” is a bluegrass song that originates in the Appalachian song tradition and as ever, appears in many different formats, but invariably in the mixolydian mode (which is a scale that was used prior to the dominance of the major and major scales we have today. Its notes are C D E F G A Bb C.)
The song was recorded by the Stanley Brothers in 1946, when their music was more old-time than bluegrass in style. Here is Bob’s recording of it while in Scotland…
Bob also recorded it for “Good as I’ve been to you.”
Oh, where is little Maggie Over yonder she stands Rifle on her shoulder Six-shooter in her hand How can I ever stand it Just to see them two blue eyes Shining like some diamonds Like some diamonds in the sky Rather be in some lonely hollow Where the sun don't ever shine Than to see you be another man's darling And to know that you'll never be mine Well, it's march me away to the station With my suitcase in my hand Yes, march me away to the station I'm off to some far-distant land Sometimes I have a nickel And sometimes I have a dime Sometimes I have ten dollars Just to pay for little Maggie's wine
Pretty flowers are made for blooming Pretty stars are made to shine Pretty girls are made for boy's love Little Maggie was made for mine Well, yonder stands little Maggie With a dram glass in her hand She's a drinking down her troubles Over courting some other man
Hope you enjoyed one or two of those pieces. Maybe we’ll find some more anon.
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