Author Archives: Tony Attwood

Don’t think twice by Bob Dylan. Looking back to 1962 and a beautiful live version

This article was updated in May 2018. This song is based on the folk song “Who’s gonna buy you ribbons” which has both music and some lyrics that closely resemble Bob’s song. This version recorded in 1960 was made by … Continue reading

Posted in Freewheelin, No Direction Home, The Songs | 5 Comments

What’s going on here?

This web site aims to build up a commentary on the music and lyrics of Bob Dylan. My belief is that most sites on Dylan faithfully record who performed on each record, what Dylan was doing at the time, and … Continue reading

Posted in Editorial | Leave a comment

Lenny Bruce is Dead: Dylan’s eulogy to the man who man fun of religion

by Tony Attwood This article updated 22 June 2018, with the addition of two superb live versions at the end and some additional thoughts. In his interviews Dylan says that he wrote the Lenny Bruce song in about five minutes.   … Continue reading

Posted in Shot of Love, The Songs | 8 Comments

It takes a lot to laugh it takes a train to cry. Bob Dylan works out the Phantom Engineer

By Tony Attwood This is one of the songs that I reviewed twice.   Once in the version below which I wrote very early in the history of the site, and once much later  I’m not trying to suggest this original … Continue reading

Posted in Highway 61 Revisited | Leave a comment

Love Sick. Bob Dylan’s unexpected brilliant masterpiece of decline that surpasses all lost love songs before or since

Revised 14 May 2018. by Tony Attwood You want a masterpiece from the old boy – here it is. Unexpected, it seems to have come out of nowhere after seven years. The opening seconds present a growl of uncertainty, before … Continue reading

Posted in The Songs, Time out of mind | 5 Comments

Desolation Row by Bob Dylan. It doesn’t get more frightening than this.

By Tony Attwood with help from Pat Sludden. This review was one of the first ones I wrote in 2008 not long after conceiving of the idea of this web site, and while I was still trying to work out how … Continue reading

Posted in Highway 61 Revisited, The Songs | 19 Comments

Subterranean Homesick Blues: the meaning of the music and the lyrics

By Tony Attwood Revised 13 October 2017 This was Dylan’s first successful attempt to integrate the emotions of the Beat Generation which he had understood from Alan Ginsberg and others combining the thoughts of the moment with three minutes of … Continue reading

Posted in Bringing it all Back Home, Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 10 Comments

Love minus Zero / No Limit. Bob Dylan takes a Zen approach to the perfect relationship

 By Tony Attwood This review revised May 2017 The second of the two love songs from the first side of “Bringing it all back home” is infinitely more complex than “She Belongs To Me”. While musically it seems to be … Continue reading

Posted in Bringing it all Back Home, Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 11 Comments

Gates of Eden: two revised renditions & the meanings behind Bob Dylan’s masterpiece

At times I think there are no words but these to tell what’s true. If you have never heard this version above, do give it a listen – the differences between this version and the album version are subtle but … Continue reading

Posted in Bringing it all Back Home, The Songs | 3 Comments

Bob Dylan’s “Idiot Wind”: the meaning of the music and the lyrics

There can be few opening chord sequences as distinctive as Dylan’s minor-4th, 5th, Tonic sequence which opens “Idiot Wind”. And there can be few opening lines to a song as distinctive as “Someone’s got it in for me, they’re printing … Continue reading

Posted in Blood on the Tracks, Bootleg Series volume 3, The Songs | 7 Comments

Dylan’s “We better talk this over”: the meaning of the music and the lyrics

We better talk this over is hardly a great song, but it does have a way with words that is unusual even for Dylan. The start does not auger well with the opening lines still jarring after all these years … Continue reading

Posted in Street Legal | 2 Comments

Dylan’s “Where are you tonight?” – the meaning of the music and the lyrics

by Tony Attwood There’s a long-distance train rolling through the rain, tears on the letter I write. There is a set of Dylan songs where each line is a song – you can take the line and it has an … Continue reading

Posted in Street Legal | 8 Comments

Jokerman: the meaning of the lyrics and the music

Numerous reference books suggest that Jokerman is one of Dylan’s masterpieces. A great poetic adventure that encapsulates everyone and everything from Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats (1884) to… well, anything you like. All mixed with a mature and … Continue reading

Posted in Infidels, The Songs | 66 Comments

Dylan’s “She Belongs to Me”: never has a 12 bar blues sounded more beautiful

by Tony Attwood, updated 5 August 2018 with additional video links. Of course you never know with Dylan, but it is hard to put any interpretation on “She Belongs to Me” other than that it is about a child – … Continue reading

Posted in Bringing it all Back Home, No Direction Home, Self Portrait | 31 Comments

Bob Dylan’s “Dignity”. A work of genius, or neat but unfinished idea?

And what are we to make of Dignity. Raved over by many Dylan fans, it didn’t turn up on the mainstream albums, but appeared on the Essential album, and twice on the 2008 outtakes album.  The Essential Bob Dylan version … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan | 5 Comments

Bob Dylan’s Mozambique; a simple, bouncy, jolly tune. What’s wrong with that?

According to Wikipedia “Mozambique” was just a game, based on how many words rhymed with Mozambique. If that is the case the answer is three. More interestingly perhaps, according to Allen Ginsberg writing the sleeve notes, if Dylan can do … Continue reading

Posted in Desire | 1 Comment

Don’t Take Everybody to be your Friend: part of Dylan’s inspiration

The Theme Time radio programmes resulted in at least one album: a double sided affair which includes “Don’t Take Everybody to be your friend” by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the Sam Price Trio. Recorded in 1947 when Dylan must have … Continue reading

Posted in The Songs, Theme Time Radio Hour | Leave a comment

Bob Dylan’s “Isis”: the meaning of the music and the song

By Tony Attwood Isis. A song so revered that the longest running Dylan magazine is named after the song. But why – what is it in Isis that is so powerful, so overwhelmingly important in terms of the Dylan genre? … Continue reading

Posted in Desire, The Songs | 15 Comments

Changing of the Guards: The meanings behind Bob Dylan’s song

By Tony Attwood The original review was written in 2008, and then updated in 2013.  Coming back to it in 2018, I found myself very unhappy with what I had written, and thus decided to start again. Changing of the … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, Street Legal, The Songs | 40 Comments

Things have changed: the meanings behind Bob Dylan’s song

By Tony Attwood Dylan’s commentary on being dislocated from the world, while being within it – here but not here – spreads across a multiplicity of his songs. It wasn’t there at the start – Times they are a-changing dripped … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 14 Comments