One Eyed Jacks: another missing Dylan track found

By Tony Attwood

With much thanks to Aaron Galbraith for his help in unearthing this, and many of the other more obscure Dylan moments that we’ve added to the site of late.

This article originally appeared with a link to the recording of this song on the internet, but sadly this has now been removed.  If you find another recording on line please do write to me and I’ll add it to the post.  Email Tony@schools.co.uk

In terms of reviewing Bob Dylan’s compositions I think we really are very near the end.  I know there are some instrumentals we haven’t done, and I might get to them, but in many cases there is not too much to be said about them and I’m still considering how to deal with them.

What we have here is one of the remaining few Dylan songs that I’ve been reminded of.  The quality of recording is pretty awful, and I’m not too sure there would be any reason to preserve this if it were not Dylan, but the aim has always been to get all his songs reviewed – or at least all those with lyrics – so here we are.  The recording becomes a little clearer as it progresses.

The song clocks in at 45 minutes – although with a bit of luck it should be just at the right point the first time you play the link above.

I have a feeling I have heard something very akin to this before, but for once my memory of blues songs I played in bands in my teens and 20s lets me down (well, actually not for once, it is always letting me down these days) and I can’t really place it.

The official Dylan site doesn’t seem to list the song in the index but does have a page for it in which they say it was played on 1 May and 1 June 1960 – so presumably Bob did go further and develop the piece a little more.  The location of at least one of these performances would thus be in St Paul Minnesota.

The queen of his diamonds
And the jack his knave
Won't you dig my grave
With a silver spade?
And forget my name.
I'm twenty years old.
That's twenty years gone.
Can't you see me crying,
Can't you see me dying,
I'll never reach twenty-one ...

And that’s about what I have – I don’t really think the music can be reviewed based on this tape, not least because I am not convinced at all this is a completed piece of music.  But if you have more information, or would like to do a musical review, please do be my guest.

What else is here?

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.

There is an alphabetic index to the 550+ Dylan compositions reviewed on the site which you will find it here.  There are also 500+ other articles on different issues relating to Dylan.  The other subject areas are also shown at the top under the picture.

We also have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook which mostly relates to Bob Dylan today.  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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1 Response to One Eyed Jacks: another missing Dylan track found

  1. Aaron G says:

    Agreed – it really just is a fragment. Apparently there is a much better version of this recorded but the owner is unwilling to make it available. What we have here is known as The Armpit Tapes… for good reason, it was recorded on a (very primitive, I’m sure) device held under the owner’s armpit…and the recording bares this out.

    I do wish he had developed this further. I do love the way he sings “and I’ll never reach 21”. It’s a good couple of lines and could have been put to further use.

    Could this be what inspired the Another Side Of sleeve notes… and then the Jack O Diamonds song drawn from those notes? It’s s possibility:

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