By Larry Fyffe
A sorrowful ballad by an American Romantic “lieder” writer:
Though battered and old Our hearts are bold Yet oft do we repine For the days of old For the days of gold For the days of forty-nine (Joaquin Miller: Forty Nine)
Over time, the lyrics gallop off in different directions – recorded, for example, by a minstrel cowboy below:
You're gazing now on old Tom Moore A relic of bygone days 'Tis a bummer too they call me now But what care I for praise (Jules Allen: The Days Of Forty-Nine ~ traditional)
Rendered in folk rock:
I'm old Tom Moore from the bummer's shore In the good old golden days They call me a bummer, and a gin sot too But what cares I for praise
(Bob Dylan: Days Of Forty-Nine ~ traditional)
Take what you gather from coincidence – Thomas Moore (prior to the time of the overseas California gold rush) be an Irish writer, a Robbie Burns-like poet who pens the following ballad:
The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone In the ranks of death you'll find him His father's sword he has girded on And his wild harp slung behind him (Thomas Moore: Minstrel Boy)
An obverse, a light-hearted, response to the lyrics above, as those beneath can be taken:
Who's gonna throw that minstrel boy a coin Who's gonna let it roll Who's gonna throw that minstrel boy a coin Who's gonna let it down easy to save his soul (Bob Dylan: Minstrel Boy)
An Irish tenor renders Moore’s song in high burlesque style, giving it operatic surgery:
"Land of song", cried the warrior bard Though all the world betrays thee One sound, at least, thy rights shall guard One faithful heart to praise thee (John McCormack: Ministrel Boy ~ Moore)
The traditional song below is given an obverse treatment in that the traditional lyrics are ~ “to buckle her shoe”:
And what's it to any man, whether or no Whether I'm easy, or whether I'm true And I lifted her petticoat, easy and slow And I rolled up my sleeves to unbuckle her shoe (Bob Dylan: Slow And Easy ~ traditional)
The minstrel boy forgets nought:
I must admit that I felt a little uneasy When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe (Bob Dylan: Tangled Up In Blue)
In the originally recorded song lyrics beneath, the narrator thereof can be understood as addressing an idealized gal with whom he’s looks forward to spending the night:
Throw my ticket out the window Throw my suitcase out there too Throw my troubles out the door I don't need them any more 'Cause tonight I'll be staying here with you (Bob Dylan: Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You)
In the revised lyrics below, the softness of the country tune above turns hard with the change of music to the rhythm pattern of rocknroll, and diction composed of consonance ‘rhymes’ ~ “mattress”, “letters”, “little”, “scattered”, “mattered”.
The song’s now from the perspective of a minstrel performer; he addresses a real audience during a one-night stand on stage:
Throw my ticket in the wind Throw my mattress out there too Throw my letters in the sand 'Cause you got to understand That tonight I'll be staying here with you .... But I'm feeling a little bit scattered And your love was all that mattered (Bob Dylan: Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You, no. II)
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