Ugliest girl in the world: co-written by Bob Dylan, and really just a filler on the album

By Tony Attwood

Having claimed that we had reviewed every song that Dylan wrote of which there is a recording, I found I’d missed one.  And it isn’t one that a reader paying attention pointed out to me – I suddenly realised it was missing from the lists when I was updating the review of Silvio.

This song, with lyrics written by Robert Hunter has music by Bob Dylan (which is why it requires to be listed here), and what Dylan has given us is a variant 12 bar blues – it becomes a 12 bar during the instrumental breaks.  In the verses two extra lines are added.

The Bob Dylan official site (bobdylan.com) does have the lyrics up even though they are not by Dylan, so I imagine the song’s royalties are shared 50/50.  It credits both guys as co-writers.

Here’s the opening; it tells you most of what you need to know about the song – but it is somewhat rescued by a perfectly decent melody and accompaniment.  Nothing special, but it is fine.  I think however I could do without these lyrics.

The woman that I love she got a hook in her nose
her eyebrows meet, she wears second hand clothes
She speaks with a stutter and she walks with a hop
I don’t know why I love her but I just can’t stop

You know I love her
Yeah I love her
I’m in love with the Ugliest Girl in the World

If you don’t know it, and don’t have “Down in the Groove” the album is of course on Spotify although given those lyrics I am not sure it is worth the bother of going there.  Musically it is not the most inspiring of songs, but is not that bad; it is just the lyrics that seem to me to be… well, unnecessary  I suppose.  Hardly illuminating, uplifting, or revealing of a deeper truth.

As for finding a version other than the album recording there is a remix that is rather amusing, or at least somewhat droll, although again I am not sure it takes us any further in understanding why the song was written or why it was put on the album.

http://www.positively-bobdylan.com/bob-dylan-news/ugliest-girl-remix/

There is also a live version by a band supposedly doing a Dylan tribute.  It’s actually not very good in my opinion, but if you have never heard the song, don’t have the album and don’t know how to get onto spotify and listen to it for free, then I guess you could try this.  But really I don’t recommend it.

Last, I can’t work out when it was written, so in the chronology files I have taken a guess.  If you have any thoughts on when the guys wrote it, please do write it – ideally with some sort of evidence.

Otherwise I think it is a song we can readily forget, but the aim of this site is to review all the songs Dylan wrote or co-wrote, so I’m adding it.  A bit late, but better late…

What else is on the site?

Untold Dylan contains a review of every Dylan musical composition of which we can find a copy (around 500) and over 300 other articles on Dylan, his work and the impact of his work.

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 alphabetical index to the 552 song reviews can be found here.  If you know of anything we have missed please do write in.  The index of the songs in chronological order can be found here.

We also now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

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.

1 Response to Ugliest girl in the world: co-written by Bob Dylan, and really just a filler on the album

  1. Morten Jonsson says:

    Shakespeare handled the same idea a little less crudely (“My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun”). Compare “I love to hear her speak, yet well I know / That music hath a far more pleasing sound; / I grant I never saw a goddess go; / My mistress when she walks treads on the ground” to “She speaks with a stutter and walks with a hop.” At least Bob’s girl has nicer breath than Bill’s (“the breath that from my mistress reeks”; “Got a five inch smile but her breath is sweet”).

    It’s no sin stealing from the classics, of course. Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart” is a blatant rewrite of Donne’s “The Apparition,” but who cares? Still, you’d hope for more from a song with a pedigree like this one has. There’s nothing in it that isn’t said much better in a single line from “Things Have Changed”: “I’m in love with a woman who don’t even appeal to me.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *