Once or Twice: Talkin New York

 I don’t know what it means either: an index to the current series appearing on this website.


Once or twice: A review of some of the songs that Bob has performed just once or twice on stage, selecting those of which we have a genuine recording of a live event (and “genuine” is important here since I have found a few sites that seem to suggest they are a recording of a live version, but I have my doubts.)  Text and video selection by Tony Attwood.

Previously in this series we have looked at 

According to the official Dylan site Talkin New York was performed twice live, once on 16 April 1962 and once on 12 April 1963.   And of course it also appeared on the album “Bob Dylan”.  This version opens with a harmonica solo.

The 1961 New York live version has no harmonica introduction and has a slightly more relaxed feel, which somehow feels more appropriate given the lyrics.   And of course we have the one or two throwaway lines.

One of the great problems with putting a talking blues on an album, is that one of the key elements of the talking blues is that each performance can be slightly different, with new jokes, and slight variations in the music played between each line.  And indeed a line or two added that is relevant to the local audience.

So putting a talking blues on an album is a bit of a dodgy idea, but maybe it was felt helpful in showing Bob’s new audience the depth of his narrative, or maybe it was to accommodate people who bought the album because they had seen him play in one of those early performances.

Now I have put up the Loudon Waiwright III reply before on this site but I think it deserves a repeat just in case you missed it last time.

Likewise I have also put up Chris Bouchillo’s Talking Blues from 1926 before, but it is worth reminding ourselves perhaps where this form came from.

But having offered two repeats, here is something that I came across in my searching around for any other interesting background to Bob’s talking blues which is a talking blues by Pete Wylie of Wah! (and various other bands with the word Wah in their names).

For me it just shows that even the simplest of forms (for example the talking blues and the 12 bar blues) still have something to say, 100 years after its foundation.  And as I have so often suggested, if you can make it through to the end, it is worth it.

If you have an idea for a series on Untold Dylan, or maybe you would like to write a series, or indeed maybe you just have one article which you think could fit into this site, I’d be really happy to hear from you.    Please do drop me a line at Tony@schools.co.uk and write Untold Dylan article in the subject line, and then either describe the article or series, or attach the article as a word document.    Tony

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