What kind of friend is this? Bob Dylan in the hotel room having fun

By Tony Attwood

The idea for this song’s title could have come from, “What kind of man is this” by Koko Taylor.  Although the feel of the songs is different in each case, they are both 12 bar blues, and it is quite possible Dylan either deliberately or through a half-buried memory, returned to the title for this highly enjoyable improvised piece.

What Dylan does is give the 12 bar format a real bounce and some real light energy – and it is once of those songs I really wish he had been able to finish off and deliver in a recording studio, while keeping the wonderful lighthearted bounce.   It is the sort of song most songwriters would have been proud of, cherished and most certainly put on an album – and played at the gigs.

We have the one recording from the hotel room, of which the first 30 seconds (after whatever advert is served up to you) is a false start.

The lyrics which follow are based as ever on the work of Eyolf Østrem – I have added a couple of elements of my own, but those are probably going to be the ones that are totally wrong in everyone else’s opinion!

But the point about the words here, as in other rough drafts of song, is that they are an approximation.  Bob seems to have some idea of the song’s lyrics in his head, but the others are made up as they go along.

It was around this time that Dylan did an interview saying that the songs he didn’t get to record were just forgotten since he didn’t keep notes.  It is such a shame that he didn’t keep notes of this one because it could not only have become not just a great album song, as I have suggested, but a wonderful song to sing part way through a concert before he got back to the songs we all know.

Starting at 30 seconds into the recording.

Tell me What kind of friend is this?
What kind of friend is this?
Who loves me behind my back
What kind of friend is this
Shows up every place I've been
She act kind of 'lone
but she don't
She making a loan
But you know she won't
She so languid in the morning
And she's making it on my bed
Aw, what kind of friend is this?

What kind of friend is this?
What kind of friend is this?
makin' [...]
What kind of friend is this?
Losing up anything
Back off, boy
When she goes down
[Lay down laid]
She's walking around
Well, she ain't got nothin'
but she's teedle toodle tummin' on a
pack of beans
Tell me what kind of friend is this?

Well she [don't lean if she don't man]
You know she's gonna be her dog.
She [done gone], She no whore
Heart stopped a-beating and she [...]

Well, what kind of friend is this
make me holler to and fro
who wants to go everywhere I wanna go
Back off, she
don't care for me
[...] own lady
if she could only see
I'd give her everything
If she comes back along to this 
Tell me what kind of friend is this?

What else is on the site

1: Over 480 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.

6: You might also like: A classification of Bob Dylan’s songs and partial Index to Dylan’s Best Opening Lines and our articles on various writers’ lists of Dylan’s ten greatest songs.

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



This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What kind of friend is this? Bob Dylan in the hotel room having fun

  1. We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:
    http://thebobdylanproject.com/Song/id/728/What-Kind-of-Friend-Is-This

    If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.

    Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.

  2. Loekie says:

    Why Dylan uses this song:
    What Kind of Man is This – Koko Taylor

    I like it, I like it, I like it this way
    I like it, I like it, I like it this way
    Yeah I like it, I like it, I like it this way

    [Verse 1]
    What kind of man is this?
    That set my soul on fire
    What kind of man is this?
    That almost drive me wild
    He got kind of love you can’t describe-a
    Every time I’m with him I realize-a
    Good things come to those who wait-a
    Hey, daddy don’t make me lay

    [Verse 2]
    What kind of man is this?
    That make my dream come true
    What kind of man is this?
    That make me say “I do”
    Now anytime that I don’t care enough
    It make no difference if my baby is down
    If I’m wrong it’s my mistake-a
    Hey, daddy don’t make me lay

    [Refrain]
    What kind of man is this?
    That make my dream come true
    What kind of man is this?
    That make me say “I do”
    Now anytime I don’t care enough
    It make no difference if my baby is down
    If I’m wrong it’s my mistake-a
    Hey, I like it this way
    [Hook]
    I like it, I like it, I like it this way
    I like it, I like it, I like it this way
    Yeah I like it, I like it, I like it this way

    [Verse 4]
    What kind of man is this?
    That keeps me on the ball
    What kind of man is this?
    He answers every time I call
    Now anytime that I don’t care enough
    It make no difference if my baby is down
    If I’m wrong it’s my mistake-a
    Hey, I like it this way

    [Hook]
    I like it, I like it, I like it this way
    I like it, I like it, I like it this way
    Yeah I like it, I like it, I like it this way

    Because he thinks he is The One for this friend.

    There is always a reason why Dylan uses other songs. Always because of the lyrics.
    In this case, it would seem somewhat arrogant, which is why it probably didn’t end up on the record.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.