Bob Dylan: Like Every Sparrow Falling
by Larry Fyffe
Fed up with watching the Christian team drink from the Cup of the Golden Baal, singer/singwriter Bob Dylan turns to “Monty Python’s And Sigmund Freud’s Playbook Of Practical Advice” in search of inspiration for the Jewish soccer team in this year’s religious playoffs.
Sport psychologist Dr. Bob dangles a cloak-and-dagger watch-chain in front of the face of Old Testament coach Abraham, and sings to him the lyrics of an auto-suggestive song:
Well, I return to the Queen of Spades
And talk with my chambermaid
She knows that I’m not afraid
To look at her
She is kind to me
And there’s nothing she doesn’t see
She knows where I’d like to be
But it doesn’t matter
(Bob Dylan: I Want You)
The sport psychologist is aware that Abraham’s wife Sarah is a sad-eyed lady of the lowlands because she’s not conceiving; in Freudian terms, she’s a stumbling block to her husband’s creative instincts – her deck of cards dealing the energy-draining Queen of Spades to her football-coach husband.
So sports-adviser Bob, after scanning Monty’s Playbook, hints to Abraham that he ought to mix things up with that groupie slave gal who’s been hanging around the clubhouse – the one wearing the Egyptian ring that sparkles before she speaks.
The coach taketh the advice:
Now, Sarah, Abraham’s wife, bare him no children
And she had a handmaid, an Egyptian
Whose name was Hagar …..
And Abraham called his son’s name
Which Hagar bare, ‘Ishmael’
(Genesis 16: 1,15)
In a Playbook footnote, co-author Sigmund Freud points out that disowning and throwing Ishmael out of the clubhouse into the desert, after Sarah gives birth to Isaac, is likely the subconscious source of the boxing-matches that keep erupting during the never-ending Middle Eastern football match between Abraham’s two sons – with Ishmael coaching the Islamic ‘Lambs’ team and his half-brother Isaac, coaching the Judaic ‘Bullies’.
Forgotten, it seems, is that all the footballers on both sides are supposed to be the Sons of Adam:
What has he done to wear so many scars
Does he change the course of rivers
Does he pollute the moon and the stars
Neighbourhood bully standing on the hill
Running out the clock, time standing still
(Bob Dylan: Neighbourhood Bully)
Computing in the relativity equations of Albert Einstein with the psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud, Dr. Bob concludes that the two ball teams keep kicking the ball of guilt around and fighting, because the time left showing on the clock remains always the same.
In another psychoanalytic song, Dr. Bob argues that it’s actually the fault of the game’s cloven-hoofed referee, sitting as he is over there in his dusty black coat on the sidelines, eating hey and pizza while Hell freezes over.
‘No, it isn’t’, retorts the referee, referencing poet John Milton, ‘It be God Who caused Adam to Fall, not me; the fix was in from the get-go’:
Not I, said the referee
Don’t point your finger at me
I could’ve stopped it in the eighth
An’ maybe kept him from his fate
But the crowd would’ve booed l’m sure
At not gettin’ their money’s worth
It’s too bad he had to go
But there was a pressure on me too, you know
It wasn’t me who made him fall
No, you can’t blame me at all
(Bob Dylan: Who Killed Davey Moore)
But the singer/songwriter’s not that concerned; he’s a CBC lumberjack and he’s okay. He’s more concerned about being ‘let go’ than he is about wondering whether some fallen sparrow or parrot is dead or not:
I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the axe just fell
(Bob Dylan: Tangled Up In Blue)
More to the point, any lumberjack standing around in a Toronto bar while he’s wearing a pair of high-heel shoes knows it can be positively a painful experience:
I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you
(Bob Dylan: Positively 4th Street)
What else is on the site
1: Over 470 reviews of Dylan songs. There is an index to these in alphabetical order on the home page, and an index to the songs in the order they were written in the Chronology Pages.
2: The Chronology. We’ve taken the songs we can find recordings of and put them in the order they were written (as far as possible) not in the order they appeared on albums. The chronology is more or less complete and is now linked to all the reviews on the site. We have also produced overviews of Dylan’s work year by year. The index to the chronologies is here.
3: Bob Dylan’s themes. We publish a wide range of articles about Bob Dylan and his compositions. There is an index here.
4: The Discussion Group We now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook. Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link
5: Bob Dylan’s creativity. We’re fascinated in taking the study of Dylan’s creative approach further. The index is in Dylan’s Creativity.
And please do note The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews