Bob Dylan And  Patti Page

By Larry Fyffe

Editor’s note: at the time of publishing I couldn’t find a version of Patti’s gone to Laredo freely available to publish here… except this one.  Go to 4 minutes 50 seconds and you should find it.


Metonymy, allusion, ambiguity, paradox, word association, story fragmentation, and the stream of consciousness technique be hallmarks of Post Modernist writing:

Patty gone to Laredo
But she be back soon
(Bob Dylan: Patty's Gone To Laredo)

An allusion made to the following song:

I was rambling through
Through the streets of Laredo
Just another stranger that day
On my way to anywhere
(Patti Page: Streets Of Laredo)

The Dylan song rambles along:

Left Jamaica this morning
On a boat, body blue
(Bob Dylan: Patty's Gone To Laredo)

Referencing song lyrics quoted beneath:

But I'm sad to say I'm on my way
Won't be back for many a day
My heart is down
My head's turning around
I had to leave a girl in Kingston town
(Harry Belafonte: Jamaica Farewell)

On and on, the stream of consciousness flows:

Morning let's take his timber
Up where the eagles fly
(Bob Dylan: Patty's Gone To Laredo)

Bringing to mind the following association:

There she stood in the doorway
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself
"This could he Heaven, or this could be Hell"
(The Eagles: Hotel California)

Paradoxical diction floats on by:

Then make him tell it never
But she don't cry
(Bob Dylan: Patty's Gone To Laredo

Makes an association with the poem below:

Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of: "Never - nevermore"
(Edgar Poe: The Raven)

Fragmentation breaks out all over:

And Laurel's playing for money
On your ribbon wide
(Bob Dylan: Patty's Gone To Laredo)

With metonymy from as far away as Cleopatra’s cataclysm:

The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar's laurel crown
(William Blake: Auguries Of Innocence)

And so it goes:

Get on his side
It's a doorway
(Bob Dylan: Patty's Gone To Laredo)

The doorway leads to a traditional song verse:

My daddy was a miner
And I'm a miner's son
He'll be with you, fellow workers
Until this battle's won
Which side are you on
(Pete Seeger: Which Side Are You On)

Where there’s a key left to unlock the puzzle:

The door is locked
But the key's inside
(Bob Dylan: Patty's Gone To Laredo)

An allusion to the poetic lyrics beneath:

If the doors of perception were cleansed
Everything would appear as it is - Infinite
For man has closed himself up
(William Blake: The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell)

What’s a striving and starving artist to do?

What would Caesar do?

He crosses the Red River, and Dylaneus does too:

I feel the holy spirit inside
See the light that freedom brings
I believe it's in the reach of 
Every man who lives
Keep as far away as possible
It's darkest 'fore the dawn - oh, Lord
I turned the key, I broke it off
And I crossed the Rubicon
(Bob Dylan: Crossing The Rubicon)

And it’s all over now, baby blue; you’re the one that’s got the key.



  1. Corrections:

    On a boat “Bonnie Lou”(not: body blue)

    Delete “Morning let’s take…” (suggested lyrics are not correct)

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