Bob Dylan: Cooking Up Mythologies (Part XI)

by Larry Fyffe

In mythologies, ancient or personalized, and in folk legends that may be reworked as well, lots of sex there be, often more suggested than explicit:

The author, whoever that might be, of the following biblical verse needs no lessons in double entendres in his day, and when read in modern times there are found Freudian displacement double-entendres sticking out all over:

We will remember thy love more than wine
The upright love thee
(Song Of Solomon 1:4)

The singer/songwriter/musician deliberately dabbles in double-edged song lyrics:

Show me your wisdom, tell me my fate
Put me upright, make me walk straight
(Bob Dylan: Mother Of Muses)

As the ghost of Sigmond Freud might point out, Dylan finds the harder it is, the better the work of art produced.

In the western move “Montana Belle”, Jane Russell plays Belle Starr, bar singer, and business partner with Tom, the saloon owner, and Tom’s love interest to boot; Bob, a member of the Dalton Gang is also interested in Belle.

At the beginning of the film, Belle sings the following lyrics in a sultry voice:

She's got a man on either arm for
She claims there's always room for one more
And if you can't hold a racy filly
Then don't come near the gilded lily
(Jane Russell: The Gilded Lily)

The sharp-shooting Lilith-like Lily is referenced in the song quoted beneath:

When I met you, baby
You didn't show any visible scars
You could ride like Anne Oakley
And shoot like Belle Starr
(Bob Dylan: Seeing The Real You At Last)

The money-hungry female archetype also shows up in the song lyrics below:

It was known all around that Lily had Jim's ring
And nothing  would ever come between Lily and the king
No, nothing ever would except maybe the Jack of Hearts

(Bob Dylan: Lily, Rosemary, And The Jack Of Hearts)

Mythologies and folk lore, often depict explicit violence, as in the lyrics quoted beneath:

Well the chances are against him, and the odds are slim
That he'll live by the rules the world makes for him
'Cause there's a noose at his neck, and a gun at his back
And a licence to kill him is given to every maniac
He's the neighbourhood bully
(Bob Dylan: Neighbourhood Bully)

Harking back to a song of yore:

When I got through with bully, a doctor and a nurse
Wasn't no good to dat ni---- so they put him in a hearse
A cyclone couldn't have torn him up much worse
You don't hear 'bout dat ni---- who treated folks so free
Go down upon the levee, and his face you'll never see
Dere's only one boss bully, and dat one is me
(May Irwin: The Bully Song ~ Trevathan,

Publisher’s note: this historic recording includes language that is today considered highly offensive.  For the historic context please see here.

‘Beyond Here Lies Nothing’, a recorded song by Bob Dylan is accompanied by a choreographed ‘violent’ video which flashes a split-second picture of Bob’s actual face on the TV therein – it’s hard to see.

One comment

Leave a Reply

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