Exclusive Untold Interview: Bob Talks About Time Travelling In Canada


By Larry Fyffe

(Interview conducted by Larry Fyffe)

Untold: So, Bob, tell our readers about your visit to Canada in the winter of ’64.

Bob: Well, I was visitin’ my home town in Minnesota when I get this call from the CBC invitin’ me up to record some of my songs for them … so I hitchhike over to Kittson County, on the border – to Hallock, a small town on Two Rivers. … to join up with a Canadian friend of mine.

Untold: What’s his name?

Bob: Joe … Joe Two Rivers … an Ojibway-French guy …Metis, they call them; he’s from the Red River Valley, just across the border in Manitoba … works for the Canadian Forest Service with a bunch of forest rangers.

Untold: You ever mention Joe in any of your songs?

Bob: Kinda …made a joke about Joe in “Bob Dylan’s Blues”:

Well, the Lone Ranger and Tonto
They were walkin’ down the line
Fixin’ everybody’s troubles except mine

Untold: How about in any other songs?

Bob: “Red River Shore” tells the whole tale …. Two Rivers was with me up in
Red River Valley country in a log cabin where the songs were recorded for CBC-TV:

Pretty maids all in a row lined up
Outside my cabin door
I’ve never wanted any of them wantin’ me
‘Cept the girl from the Red River Shore

Untold: The gal from the Red River shore?

Bob: It’s a long story … Joe, he puts on this jacket given him by Chief Floating Cloud … mixes up some Indian herbs in a pipe, and we smoke it … the next thing I know I’m in some strange land.

Untold: Strange land?

Bob: Strange time, too … Joe later informs me that we travelled back to the old Red River Colony in Manitoba, and it’s 1869 all over again – I write about all about that long strange trip in the song:

Well, I sat down by her side
And for a while I tried
To make that girl my wife
She gave me her best advice
She said, ‘Go home, and lead a quiet life’

Unold: You’re kiddin’ … You meet some gal from the North Country … back a century and a half ago?!

Bob: Yeah, I tried mixin’ up some herbs myself after I returned to the present so that I could go back to her, but it didn’t work out:

Well, I went back to see about her once
Went back to straighten it out
Everybody that I talked to had seen us there
Said they didn’t know who I was talkin’ about

Untold: What was her name?

Bob: ‘Rose Marie’ …Metis she was …so Joe tells me … she said ‘adieu’ all the time:

Well, the dream dried up a long time ago
Don’t know where it is anymore
True to life, true to me
Was the girl from the Red River Shore

Untold: So you still miss her?

Bob: You might say that … Even more than Edgar Poe misses his lost Lenore:

Well, I can’t escape from these memories
Of the one that I’ll always adore
All those nights, when I lay in the arms
Of the girl from the Red River Shore

Untold: Did you meet anyone else … back then?

Bob: No, but I was kinda hopin’ Jesus comes along, and brings Rose back to life for me:

Well, I don’t know what kind of language that He used
Or if they do that kind of thing anymore
Sometimes I think nobody ever saw me here at all
‘Cept the girl from the Red River Shore

Untold: What about Joe Two Rivers?

Bob: That’s the funny part ….Turns out his name’s ‘Mike’ …. from the Ukraine.

Untold: Oh …. Anyway, it’s a very beautiful song.

Bob: Yeah, the hills have a way of doin’ that to ya.

(End Of Interview)


You might also enjoy Untold’s earlier exclusive interview with Bob on the roof of the St James Hotel.

And our enquiry: “What did Bob Dylan die of?”

What else is on the site?

You’ll find an index to our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page.  You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.

The index to the 500+ songs reviewed is now on a new page of its own.  You will find it here.  It contains links to reviews of every Dylan composition that we can find a recording of – if you know of anything we have missed please do write in.

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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.

One comment

  1. Wilf Carter: ‘Won’t you ever come back to the Valley
    To a half-breed that’s lonely and blue’
    (Red River Valley Blues)

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