By Tony Attwood
This is a rather obscure Dylan song about which different people have written different things (not for the first time!) For example it is stated in some quarters that the first and last performance was at the Parc de Sceaux in Paris on 1 July 1984, but I suspect that is not right.
We do however have a live recording of the song…
But there were various other versions performed and during the various versions of the lyrics. changes were made. And the indefatigable Eyolf Østrem has done this as one of the transcriptions. You can find the others here.
This version comes from Rome in June 1984, and the whole series of versions were put together while Bob was busy re-writing Simple Twist of Fate and Tangled up in Blue. The intention was to have the song released on the “Real Live” album but it was subsequently omitted and the song forgotten.
This is the transcription from Barcelona, June 28, 1984. The chord sequence is unusual, alternating much of the time between G7 and Cm6, before running into the second half of the standard 12 bar blues sequence (C, G, D, C, G)
Hands off your feet, baby, listen to this This is what I can't be Often it hurt me honey, I'm looking at you but You're looking at me too.
Because a dollar is a dollar And the downtown boys play rough Go all the way back, baby Tell 'em enough is enough
Face on the gutter baby which is which but I'd rather be lucky than be rich Off with the money honey that is true, but I'm Satisfied with you.
'cause a dollar is a dollar And the downtown boys play rough Go all the way back, baby Tell 'em enough is enough.
All cities, honey, hard, is soakin' wet, but there's no more gold you can get [...] I'm facin' the wall, but baby you took it all.
Because a dollar is a dollar And the downtown boys play rough You tell 'em baby, That enough is enough.
Got a gold mining fever baby, which is which but I'd rather be lucky than be rich Go off with the money honey, that is true, but I'm Satisfied with you.
I’m not too sure that we can get too much more out of this song – although if you can please do write in…, but what is interesting is to see the song as part of Bob’s evolution in musical terms through the year of 1984:
- I once knew a man
- Who loves you more
- Almost done
- I see you around and around
- Dirty lie
- Enough is Enough.
- Go way little boy
- Drifting too far from shore
- New Danville Girl / Brownsville Girl
Bob is clearly experimenting, trying to find his new approach, and this is something we find time and again. A list of songs out of which suddenly comes something really different, new and memorable.
So it was here. The journey between the superb “I once new a man” and the ground breaking “New Danville Girl” is indeed curious in the extreme.
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