Selection by Aaron Galbraith, words by Tony Attwood
The Lakes of Pontchartrain
This is a rarity – for we can start with an explanation of how Bob came to learn one of the songs that needs covering in the “Why does Dylan like?” series.
In the film below Paul Brady, singer / songwriter from Northern Ireland explains how he taught Bob how to play the song! If you have a long running interest in folk music and its liaison with popular music you may recall Paul from Planxty. Sorry about the odd width / height disparity – that’s how this video is.
As for the song, it is of 19th century US origin, about a man who is helped by a woman from Louisiana, he falls for her, but she is already promised to a sailor and so turns him down.
Here is Bob with the song.
Bob played the song 18 times between June 1988 and July 1981. As for why he likes it – I think the fact that he sought guidance on how the chords were built up shows – it is in itself a beautiful and interesting song, but beyond that it is a song which has the opportunity to build around it an accompaniment that is only possible once you know about the tuning and the resultant chords.
And here is Paul Brady’s version…
Up next we have “Legend in my time” which was played three times in 1989 and was written by Don Gibson, known sometimes as the “sad poet” as so many of his songs were of “lost love”. He was born in 1928 and died in 2003.
Among many hits that he wrote and performed there was “I can’t stop loving you” and “Oh Lonesome Me”. “Legend” is one of those songs that many performers find a taste for and it has been recorded by talents as diverse as Connie Francis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, BB King and Sammy Davis Jnr.
Don Gibson reported that the song was written on the road to Knoxville, Tennessee, in a car with Mel Foree. “I was reading an article in a magazine I had picked up about an entertainer. He was talking about show business and his career and how he would like to be a legend in his time. I told Mel that that would be a good title for a song, so I started humming.”
This is Don Gibson with two of his most famous songs…
Finally this time around, “Homeward Bound”.
We know Bob and Paul Simon have toured together, and so obviously recognise the value of each other’s music and can get on with each other
The original version of the song was produced by Bob Johnston and released as a single on January 19, 1966.
There is a plaque on Widnes railway station (near Liverpool on the north of the Mersey) stating that this is the place where Paul Simon wrote “Homeward Bound” for his girlfriend, although he has never confirmed that it was that station, as far as I know, and other railway stations have claimed the honour. Paul Simon has been quoted as saying that anyone who has ever been to Widnes will understand why he was so anxious to get back to London.
As we have noted many times Bob has a lifelong interest in songs of moving on, although less so in terms of songs of coming back home. And personally I simply cannot come to terms with Bob’s performance of this song, which takes it from its lyrical origins and turns it into something I really can’t understand at all. But that’s obviously just me, not Bob.
Here’s the Paul Simon singing it live on TV – as ever you will have your own views. For me this one still pulls at the emotions, even after all these years.
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