Tell Tale Songs: The Ballad Of Bob Dylan

He said 'That guy there used to be a country western star
Who put down his roots and never wandered far
With his Jewish mama and five kids on the farm
It had been too damn long since he'd done any harm.
His wife cut his throat, he had to get born again
I got his job, he's been after me since then.'

I said 'What?'

The image here is drawing given me for my 50th birthday by Lynsey Hutchinson, a talented songwriter who played bass in my band the Innocents for several years. She now draws comics and book illustrations and her work is on display at The Houdini Box.

For a free set of the five pieces of art created for these songs, on 15cm x 10cm card, put your postal address below.

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The Ballad of Bob Dylan (WAV, 65MB)

The Ballad of Bob Dylan (mp3, 12MB)

The Ballad of Bob Dylan (stream)

The Ballad of Bob Dylan lyrics

Well, he flew in from Miami with a bagful of bones
I was singing in the airport bar, just to pay off some loans
Two sleepless eyes in an unmade face
He saw me at the bar, he said "This must be the place!"
Said he was looking for a room for the night
He said his name was Bob Dylan, I said "Ha ha, right!"

He spent the night at my place on a couple of chairs
In the morning he was up and off and down the stairs
I found him in the marketplace, busking for cash
Playing my guitar in a rough and ready kind of fashion
A voice like a hangover looking for a cure
I said you sound like Bob Dylan, he said "Why sure."

Twenty miles away, high security hospital
They were looking for a guy who'd jumped the wall
They were looking in the streets they were looking in the zoo
No way of knowing what this kind of man might do
They only thing they'd got on him while he was away
Was he was into Bob Dylan in a big big way.

My friend with his busking made a couple of pounds
And with a couple of mine that got a couple of rounds
We sat there reminiscing back down the line
To the sixties, how we hadn't recognized them at the time
When this guy burst in, grabbed my friend by the sleeve And says 'I'm Bob Dylan' - I thought Man, time to leave

They got stuck into each other, I never saw the stranger's face
Barman's yelling at me Get these guys outta the place
Spitting out language, they were spitting out blood
It was like watching Cain and Abel, before the flood.
Got out to the street and the stranger was gone
My friend Bob Dylan just picked up his bag of bones

 

(This is what he told me ...)

'That guy there used to be a country western star
Who put down his roots and never wandered far
With his Jewish mama and five kids on the farm
It had been too damn long since he'd done any harm.
His wife cut his throat, he had to get born again
I got his job, he's been after me since then.'

I said 'What?'

What about the bones? He said 'I carry them with me
They remind me of a guy I knew in 63
He could have been a big shot, I told him back then
But he turned into a junkie - well I ain't no judge of men.'
That was his tale, as the evening wore on
When I woke up in the night Bob Dylan had gone.

He'd taken my guitar and my cowboy boots
My country singing tie and my country singing suit
Left me his bones, and some kinda book
It might have been a Bible, I never got time to look
'Cause they kicked down the door, they walked in real slow
They said 'We're looking for Bob Dylan' I said 'Whaddya know?'

These days I don't work much, guess I'm past my prime
I'm growing me a beard, that passes the time
I'm living in the country but I'll get across the wall
When I get a better grip of my short-term recall
Some days I feel bitter, some days I feel worse
I just write another song and play it to the nurse.

Here are a couple of live versions of the song with two very different bands, with eleven years between them.

The Heaven Sent 2015

The Innocents 2004