Untold Dylan

Dylan cover of the Day: Desolation Row as never ever before (twice)

By Tony Attwood

Are my choices of cover versions related to how I feel when writing these little pieces?   Most certainly yes.  It is not that I have great mood swings generally, although I am a fairly emotional fellow – but it is that I tend to move around in my way of seeing the world, often changing because of what happened yesterday.

Which leads to the notion of Dylan’s music not being judged by all-time visions of greatness or otherwise, but on the basis of how I feel when I woke up this morning.  And indeed maybe that is how we should see all commentaries.  Heylin sees Dylan as he does because Heylin is a grumpy fellow who believes he is always right.  That seems to fit.

And certainly today I woke up [or should I say, “I woke up this morning”] knowing that I had done something yesterday that I had not done before – a six and a half mile walk in the Nottinghamshire countryside in the afternoon followed by three hours solid jiving in a small town in Northamptonshire.   Such events tend to give one a new vision on life the following morning when trying to get the body moving again.  Especially at my time of life.

So, knowing what was next on the “cover a day” menu I thought the choice would be obvious.   One version of Desolation Row that suits my body’s need to recover before setting out for London to watch my club play football.

A version of Desolation Row that has everything.  It is unexpected, it is beautifully performed, it is brilliantly arranged, and by and large it comes from a set of brains whose working I can only sit back and admire.   The one tragedy is it is only three minutes long and I wanted it to go on and on and on.  But still I can play it again.

And again.

But then I relented and thought, hell, although contemplation and intellectual endeavour are a part of life, surely so is contrast.  So is seeing the world from different angles, getting new visions and new perspectives.  Or at least getting moving because there is another dance to night in another county (Leicestershire this time).

I thus felt I should put in something by way of contrast… just in case you needed something different.  And of course just as you don’t have to read, you don’t have to listen either.

But you can do if you want.


Untold Dylan was created in 2008 and is published daily – currently twice a day, sometimes more, sometimes less.  Details of some of our series are given at the top of the page and in the Recent Posts list, which appears both on the right side of the page and at the very foot of the page (helpful if you are reading on a phone).  Some of our past articles which form part of a series are also included on the home page.

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  1. Check out the cover by Songdog, recorded for Uncut magazine ( for their Highway 61tribute CD).

  2. The quartet version does not have everything…,the lyrics are missing –

    These may help to set the mood:

    They’re selling pancakes at the wedding
    They’re passing cookies around
    The pizza parlor is full of flavours
    The service is in town
    Here comes the deaf and blind minister
    For him, it’s quite a labour
    In one hand he holds a white cane
    In the other a glass of red champagne
    But there are no restrooms
    And the guests need somewhere to go
    As the bride and groom look outside in fright
    From Desolation Row

  3. Songdog’s version is good, but the lyrics are wrong….

    In the movie ‘All About Eve’, threatre critic Romeo (George Sanders) says “you belong to me…,” to Anne Baxter, not to Bette Davis (lol)

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