“Fur Slippers” – another Bob Dylan song we missed earlier

By Tony Attwood

Aaron Galbraith has been doing an amazing amount of work uncovering Dylan songs that we have not covered already on this site.  So that will teach me to claim we’ve reviewed every Dylan song of which there is a recording available!   We haven’t.  I think there must be about half a dozen more.  

“Fur Slippers” is mentioned in Heylin’s “Still on the Road” although very dismissively, calling it “an incongruous attempt at a 50s R’n’B single” and he places it as being composed in April 1981.

What I missed (and which Heylin does mention) is that BB King recorded the song in 1999, at which time Tim Drummond, the bass guitarist, was added as co-composer.  That is certainly quite likely as Drummond is often found as the co-composer of songs with artists he worked with, including Dylan’s “Saved”, “Who’s Talking” with J J Cale, “Saddle Up The Palomino” with Neil Young and “Down In Hollywood” with Ry Cooder.

Which part of it Drummond wrote, and which Bob wrote is anyone’s guess, but my take would be that Drummond laid down the basic blues and Bob made up the lyrics as he went along.

There are other versions of the lyrics around, but these are the lyrics I hear from the recording – except one line that I can’t quite hear and as usual I don’t want to make an idiot of myself by guessing.  Larry are you there to help me out?

Ain’t got no radio ain’t got no telephone
Ain’t got not girlfriend ain’t got nowhere to go
She was here yesterday but she’s gone today
And when she left she took my fur slippers away.

Where did she go, where can she be
Maybe at a movie show, maybe she’s watching TV
She was here yesterday, what more can I say
All that I know she took my fur slippers away.

They were so soft they look so fine
They felt so good they were all mine

Can’t go outside the ground is too hard
Where can I go, can’t even go in my backyard
?? This is what I’ll say
You can keep my girlfriend bring back my fur slippers today

It is very much a one idea song: I don’t care about the person, I care about my property.  A complete denigration of the woman, placing an possession above the life of the individual.

In this regard it is typical of the blues, self-centred, disregarding of the feelings of others, and I guess it is intended to be amusing.  Which maybe it is for about 30 seconds, but even then not that amusing.

In essence I see this is a sketch, an idea that is played with, which is never meant to be taken seriously, the sort of thing which any writer in any mode (novels, plays, poems, songs, odes, advertisements…) will either have destroyed, or will have kept in a box in his/her house, amidst hundreds of such sketches that have just popped into one’s mind and not gone anywhere.

Indeed perhaps Bob never wrote those lyrics down, but simply made them up in the studio and forgot about them thereafter.   In fact if this had turned up on the Basement Tapes, it would have been just another case of the guys larking about and no one thinking any more about it.

What we should also remember I guess is that this song was recorded at the end of BB King’s career (a career that began with 3 O’Clock Blues way way back in 1951).   I am sure others can correct me on this, if I am very wide of the mark, but I just wonder if an association with a Bob Dylan song – any Bob Dylan song, no matter how odd – might have helped him out at this time.

So let’s remember a great performer in a better light.  This is the original recording of the very first BB record.  And if nothing else reviewing Fur Slippers gives me a chance to put up this record.  If you don’t know it, please do spend a moment with it.

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

We also 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

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7 Responses to “Fur Slippers” – another Bob Dylan song we missed earlier

  1. Larry fyffe says:

    Gonna post a reward, this is what I’ll say ….

    Ain’t got no fur slippers no more

  2. Aaron G says:

    Strangely enough there was another cover of this song by The Crudup Brothers from the album Franktown Blues and its better than BBs in my opinion…lyrics are easier to understand.

    Dylan’s version was also slated for inclusion on Bootleg Series 1-3 but dropped in favour of something else..not sure what replaced it. I can imagine Bob doing this track now with his current band and it sounding amazing!! Maybe that’s just me!!

    Here is the Crudup version

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9vMWbaIc3AY

  3. Stumpzian Farber says:

    I like the Crudup version. Might the term “fur slipper” have a double meaning?

  4. Aaron G says:

    I make it 27 missing tracks that I sent over the weekend! 🙂 🙂

    I’m just slightly crazy when it comes to these things and love searching out the rare tracks for all my favourite artists… if someone told me about 20 new McCartney or Neil Young songs that i’d never heard of I would be absolutely delighted…it would probably be my best day!! I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep until I had them in my possession!! I hope you feel the same way!

  5. James Bax says:

    Fur slipper is definitely the vagene.

  6. Joe says:

    That missing line, to a Southern ear, is pretty obvious: “Gonna post a reward, this is what I’ll say”

  7. Aaron G says:

    Normally I would agree on the second meaning of fur slippers…but in this case I think he genuinely just wants his nice pair of fur slippers back!!

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