Bob Dylan And Lord Buckley (Part II)

Part one of Bob Dylan and Lord Buckley appears here.

By Larry Fyffe

In the following song lyrics, Bob Dylan pays a direct tribute to pre-Beat, stand-up comedian and recording artist Richard ‘Lord’ Buckley: 

Hey Mr. Tambourine, play a song for me
In the jingle-jangle morning, I'll come following you

(Bob Dylan: Mr. Tambourine Man)

The allusion is to Buckley’s parody of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”:

In came a long angular spook
He looked like seventeen gas-lighter stove pipes
Come together with jingle-jangle bells all over

(Lord Buckley: Scrooge)

Below, another tribute to the comedian by the singer/songwriter:

Go to him, he calls you, you can't refuse
When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose

(Bob Dylan: Like A Rolling Stone)

The re-arranged line comes from:

To know what it means to have nothing
You must have - nothing

(Lord Buckley: The Gasser)

Many of Dylan’s songs (ie, ‘Desolation Row’) are full of Buckley’s absurdist characters who are unbound from time. Lord Buckley be the master of the low burlesque routine whereby some subject or work of art that’s held in high regard is driven into the ground by the use of comically inappropriate language.

Lord Buckley takes on the persona of a preacher dlivering a sermon about Jesus of Nazareth, the son of a carpenter:

But I'm gonna put a cat on you
Was the coolest, grooviest, swinginest, wailinest
Strumminest, swinginest cat that ever stomped on this green sphere
And they called dis here cat - Da Nazz
He was a carpenter kitty

(Lord Buckley: The Nazz)

Dylan makes burlesque of a sermon concerning an Old Testament patriarch:

Oh, God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe said, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
God say, "No"; Abe say, "What?"
God say, "You can do what you want, Abe
But the next time you see me comin', you better run"

(Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited)

Who among us would question that the two works quoted direcly above are low burlesque in nature. 

But what about the lyrics below?:

I was blinded by the devil
Born already ruined
Stone-cold dead
As I stepped out of the womb
By His grace I have been touched
By His word I have been healed
By His hand I have been delivered
By His spirit I have been sealed

(Bob Dylan: Saved ~ Dylan/Drummond)

The hyperbolic language and proudful boasting in the song lyrics give the careful listener pause for thought. The written words of the Holy Bible are subdued in comparison:

Not everyone that saith unto me, "Lord, Lord"
Shall enter into the kingdom of heaven
But he that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven

(Matthew 7:21)

The salvation by ‘faith’ alone or with ‘works’ debate comes to mind. It’s difficult to tell whether Bob Dylan is the jokerman or the thief; only that he certainly doesn’t want to be nailed by a parking meter:

You're a man of the mountains, you can walk on the clouds
Manipulator of crowds, you're a dream twister
You're going to Sodom and Gomorrah
But what do you care?

(Bob Dylan: Jokerman)

Perhaps Dylan is talking about himself.

I can’t think for you; you’ll have to decide.

You might also enjoy If you see her say “hello”.  From Bob Dylan to Buckley, Italy, Californication and that mandolin

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2 Responses to Bob Dylan And Lord Buckley (Part II)

  1. Jochen Markhorst says:

    Perhaps superfluously: a sympathetic acknowledgement of Lord Buckley’s influence Dylan places on the cover of Bringing It All Back Home; Buckley’s Best Of is on the chimney. On that album is “The Nazz”. “Scrooge” (jingle-jangle bells all over) and Buckleys own Tambourine Man, “The Swingin’ Pied Piper”, are not on it.
    It is a nice wink, though.

    Groeten uit Utrecht,
    Jochen

  2. LarryFyffe says:

    Thanks …,I hadn’t noticed that!

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