Virgin Mobile Festival Preview: Bob Dylan


Two out of three Posties think "Visions of Johanna" is the (soy) bomb.

In advance of Bobby Z's Virgin Mobile Festival performance on Sunday, Malitz and I asked various Posties (including each other) to put together annotated lists of their Top 5 Dylan songs.

UPDATE (12:43 p.m., 8/8/08):

Gene Weingarten - humor columnist, Gene Pool lifeguard and host of the greatest weekly Web chat in the history of weekly Web chats - has emerged from his trophy room to deliver his list.

1. "Ballad of a Thin Man." Because it sounds like gibberish but deconstructs into a seamless exegesis on the emptiness and soullessness of critics, and, by extension, on everyone's intellectual self-doubts. Because in doing this, Dylan has made a plausible case for depth in every other one of his seemingly inscrutable songs, whether justified or not. Dylan is a monster.

2. "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)." Because it is a great song, and because it contains not one but two of his greatest lines: "Money doesn't talk, it swears." And "He who isn't busy being born is busy dying." It would probably be Number One if it also has "The sun's not yellow, it's chicken," but that's from Tombstone Blues.

3. "Positively 4th Street." Because I think it's the best and most chilling putdown in all of rock.

4. "Like a Rolling Stone." For all the reasons enumerated by people smarter than I am.

5. "She Belongs to Me." This is a quirky choice, I admit. But I cannot hear that line about looking through her keyhole upon your knees without feeling a chill of recognition.

******
* Amy Argetsinger, Reliable Source columnist, avowed Dylan fanatic

My five favorite Dylan songs? I basically sit around all day waiting for someone to ask me this!

1. "Visions of Johanna." How could Dylan, not yet 25, have created an epic that gazes so piercingly on my life now and the lives of my friends and perhaps the entire human condition? Just guessing, anyway - I still don't have enough life experience to comprehend the last few verses. Maybe when I'm 60. From "Blonde on Blonde," my best friend/therapist when I was 25.

2. "I Don't Believe You." Not the original folkie version; the wild, wailing, electric version he performed in concert with the Band in 1966. Goosebumps every time. Emblematic of both Dylan as rock star and his endless ability to reinterpret his own songs.

3. "Spanish Harlem Incident." Intricate melody, witty lyrics, those great yelping choruses that fill your heart with joy. Also, something about the way he says "babe." (See "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," "It Ain't Me, Babe.")

4. "To Be Alone With You." A representative cut from his most repeatedly listenable, fun and, yes, totally sexy album, "Nashville Skyline." (For more sexy Dylan, see "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down." But that's about it.)

5. "Goin' to Acapulco." Wouldn't have made my list a year ago (instead, "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream": Dylan as stoner comedian). But sometimes it takes another artist to call your attention to one of his overlooked gems - in this case, Jim James and Calexico's cover on the "I'm Not There" soundtrack. Haunting.

(More lists after the jump, from Carolyn Hax, Tom Ricks, Chris Cillizza and others.)

Programming Reminder: Post Rock will be blogging LIVE from Virgin Mobile Festival all weekend. Check in often on Saturday and Sunday for updates.

* Chris Cillizza, author of "The Fix," host of the occasional Bob Dylan-themed chat

1. "Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll." To my mind, Dylan's best "reality" song.

2. "Visions of Johanna." "We sit here stranded, though we're all doin' our best to deny it."

3. "Boots of Spanish Leather." I never really knew how good this was until I was listening to it on my iPod while weeding my garden. And it all clicked.

4. "Ballad of a Thin Man." I once read an interview with Bob in which he was asked whether he knew the Counting Crows song "Mr. Jones" was based on "Ballad." His response? "I don't know nothing about that."

5. "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie." It's not exactly a song and not exactly a poem - just like the best of Dylan. Whatever it is, I tear up every time I listen to the end of it: "You can either go to the church of your choice/ Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital/You'll find God in the church of your choice/ You'll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital/And though it's only my opinion/ I may be right or wrong / You'll find them both/ In the Grand Canyon/ At sundown." AMEN.

******

* Liz Spayd, editor of washingtonpost.com, owner of the best rock-and-roll 'do on any masthead, anywhere

1. "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright." This tops my list, because it coaxes tears every time I hear it. He captures the pain of uncontrolled passion, and of saying fairtheewell.

2. "Mr. Tambourine Man." It's a cliche to pick this, but how could I not? The sweet combination of Dylan's raspy voice and lyrical genius at it's best. It deserves its place in the pantheon.

3. "Just Like A Woman." To me, this captures that electric combination of what anyone surely would want in a woman. Flatteringly so? Not exactly. But dead on, nonetheless.

4. "Dark Eyes." I don't know if this counts technically, but I want it on my list because it represents the fusion of two of my favorites, Dylan and punk star Patti Smith, on the road together in Philadelphia.

5. "Rollin' And Tumblin." This one just gets my heart pumping. Plus it would be wrong not to include more recent work of a rocker who stepped into middle age so effortlessly.

******

* Carolyn Hax, Tell Me About It columnist

1. "Tangled up in Blue." Love it for its own lyrical self, but also because I first heard it on a college roomie's mix tape (date myself much?) and it has been anchored to that emotional time in my life ever since. Dylan is so good for that.

2. "Positively 4th Street." Would that I could dismantle someone like that, just once. I suppose I should include "Like a Rolling Stone" and make it a tie for second, since they're really just a dismantling in two parts. But the last shot in "4th Street" - "what a drag it is to seeeeee youuuu" - puts it over the vicious top.

3. "Lay Lady Lay." Just heard a why-did-you-bother cover of it, and it makes Dylan sound like a vocal genius. So there's that. (Like the love-hate whiplash of this lineup, btw?)

4. "Tambourine Man." Reminds me of mom (see No. 1 about Dylan and emotional anchoring). This was her era of music, and this is one of the songs I vividly remember discovering from exposure to her tastes.

That's all I have time for. Maybe I'll have a no. 5, maybe I won't. [She didn't. Too busy plotting her picks for the World's Simplest Football Pool or something. - Ed.]

******

* Tom Ricks, senior military correspondent, junior rock critic, author of "Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq"

As I thought about this I realized that a lot of my favorite Dylan songs are the cover versions by others - and three of them are on a great Red House Records sampler called "A Nod to Bob":

1. "Like a Rolling Stone." Dylan's version still sounds fresh to me, unlike a lot of Dylan from back then, like "Mr. Tambourine Man." But I think Jimi Hendrix's live version from Monterey feels entirely contemporary. "Napoleon in rags, and the sweet talk that he used."

2. "Percy's Song." As covered by Fairport Convention.

3. "Sweetheart Like You." I heard the version by Guy Davis before I heard Dylan's.

4. "All Along the Watchtower." Another great Hendrix cover, with three guitar breaks that are like a lesson in how to play an electric guitar. "And the wind began to howl."

5. "Boots of Spanish Leather." As covered by Martin Simpson. One of my all-time favorite anythings. Don't die without hearing this.

Bonus: "Avec Dieu Sur Nous Cotes (With God on Our Side)" by Hart Rouge Band. This Dylan song sounds ever angrier in French.

******
* David Malitz, Post Rock captain, washingtonpost.com music producer


1. "I Don't Believe You." I always tell people that it was all downhill after the scorching electric performance of this song at the Royal Albert Hall show in 1966. Not just downhill for Dylan; downhill for everything, ever.

2. "Visions of Johanna." I've got a few dozen versions of this song in my iTunes library and each one is mesmerizing. It doesn't matter if it's solo acoustic, a sped-up shuffle or the standard version on "Blonde on Blonde." Playful, absurd and astounding all at once.

3. "Positively 4th Street." Simply the best kiss-off ever. "I wish that for just one time/You could stand inside my shoes/You'd know what a drag it is/To see you." Ooh, that stings.

4. "Isis." My favorite from his most underrated album, this is his best narrative lyric. The versions from the mid-'70s Rolling Thunder Revue tour are especially fiery, featuring some of his most emotive vocals ever.

5. "Queen Jane Approximately." Sometimes, it's the most minor details that grab me. Besides the obviously stellar lyrics, laidback pop charm and titular reference to one of my favorite historical figures, it's the way the bass holds on the same note during "Won't you ... come see ... Queen Jane" chorus that gets me every time.

******

* Joe Heim, Three Wise Guys columnist

Like many Dylan fans, I'm a sucker for the sound of his words, the cleverness of his rhymes, the obvious delight he takes in crafting lines. So here are sample grabs from five songs (I could've picked 50 favorites) that I love for their lyrical magic.

1. "To Ramona"
But it grieves my heart, love,
To see you tryin' to be a part of
A world that just don't exist.
It's all just a dream, babe,
A vacuum, a scheme, babe,
That sucks you into feelin' like this.

2. "Oxford Town"
Me and my gal, my gal's son
We got met with a tear gas bomb
I don't even know why we come
Goin' back where we come from

3. "Buckets of Rain"
Life is sad
Life is a bust
All ya can do is do what you must.
You do what you must do and ya do it well,
I'll do it for you, honey baby,
Can't you tell?

4. "Highway 61 Revisited"
Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "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"
Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
God says, "Out on Highway 61."

5. "Political World"
We live in a political world,
Love don't have any place.
We're living in times where men commit crimes
And crime don't have a face

Bonus: My five favorite really long Dylan songs/works: "Idiot Wind" (7:47), "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" (11:22), "Desolation Row" (11:25), "Joey" (11:06) and "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie" (7:10).

******

* Yours Truly

I'm going to focus on more modern times - that is: "Modern Times," "Love and Theft" and "Time Out of Mind," Dylan's terrific late-model trilogy. Even into his 60s, he's crafting stone-cold classics.

1. "Cold Irons Bound." Dark and despairing, with Dylan singing of isolation and heartache - of serving a life sentence as a prisoner of love. "I'm beginning to hear voices/There's no one around/I'm all used up/And the fields have turned brown," the craggy old blues poet growls as the band churns out a raw, moody groove. Hazy, pitch-perfect production from Daniel Lanois, but it's the barbed, brooding vocals that make this "Time Out of Mind" song so compelling.

2. "Sugar Baby." Dylan has been pondering love for decades - dismissing it, dissecting it, coveting it, cursing it, etc. No doubt, he'll be philosophizing about it until the bitter end. On the mournful album-ender from "Love and Theft," he observes: "Love is pleasing, love is teasing/Love - not an evil thing." Then again, there is this incisive refrain: "Sugar baby, get on down the road/You ain't got no brains, nohow/You went years without me; might as well keep going now." Bitter!

3. "Not Dark Yet." Years of world-weariness come to a head on this bleak but beautiful "Time Out of Mind" song, a slow death march in which Dylan declares that the end is nigh. "It's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there," he sings flatly over eerie echoing instrumentation. A riveting (and chilling) rumination on mortality.

4. "Ain't Talkin'." Dylan is incomparable when he's articulating his observations about the human condition in an artful, meaningful way, as he's been doing lately. Here, he reprises the familiar role of Weary Man in a stark, apocalyptic "Modern Times" track, which finds him on a long and lonesome road, at the world's end, "walkin' with a toothache in my heel."

5. "Rollin' and Tumblin'." "The landscape is glowing, gleaming in the golden light of day"? Like Kanye says: Bow in the presence of greatness.

By J. Freedom du Lac |  August 7, 2008; 11:59 PM ET Lists , Virgin Festival
Previous: Virgin Mobile Festival Preview: Shudder To Think | Next: Virgin Mobile Festival Preview: Vital Albums

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Five favorite songs nobody has mentioned yet:

1. Love Minus Zero / No Limit
2. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
3. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Live 1966)
4. Most of the Time
5. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum

Will the Virgin Bloggers track how many of the Postie favorites Bob actually plays?

Posted by: SSMD | August 8, 2008 9:07 AM

Although my Top 5 have been covered by the rest of you folks, I am going to throw in 2 more:
"Blind Willie McTell" (I really enjoy the piano work in this one)
"Ballad of Hollis Brown" (talk about a sad narrative..)

Posted by: sacklunch | August 8, 2008 9:41 AM

I'm curious, why no Weingarten? Was he too busy polishing his Pulitzer or something?

Posted by: shf | August 8, 2008 11:11 AM

@shf: He was too busy singing "The Ballad of a Thin Man" in the shower. Does a mean version, I'm told.

Actually, he's probably still working on his list. Said something about it being an impossible assignment. I'll update the post if he ever gets it done!

Posted by: J. Freedom | August 8, 2008 11:15 AM

obviously all classics, but nothing gets me going like "the hurricane."

Posted by: ann arbor | August 8, 2008 11:24 AM

Like Amy, i wait for the day when people ask me questions like these. so without further ado, here are some of my favs (which haven't been mentioned already):

1. 4th Time Around - Trying to get over a relationship that just ended and all the emotions that go along with it. It always brings me down and yet heartens me somehow.

2. Tombstone Blues -
"And dropping a barbell
He points to the sky saying
The sun's not yellow, it's chicken!"

3. Subterranean Homesick Blues - I can't believe no one has said this one yet! it's the first rap song! "Johnny's in the basement/Mixing up the medicine/I'm on the pavement/Thinking about the government"

4. "Girl from the North Country" (with Johnny Cash) - It gets an A because...well because it's a great duet with Johnny Cash! How much better does it get?

5. "Desolation Row" - I admit it, Highway 61 is simply one of my favorite albums. This song is so melancholy and ethereal. Musically, it stands in start contrast to the rollicking "Like a Rolling Stone" but the lyrics all fall under Dylan's biting rhetoric.

And yes, i will be at Virgin Fest and i will definitely be there for Dylan's set.

Posted by: around | August 8, 2008 11:41 AM

I can't believe nobody's said:

"One Of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)" (favorite line: "When you whispered in my ear / And asked me if I was leavin' with you or her / I didn't realize just what I did hear / I didn't realize how young you were")

"It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" ("Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you / Forget the dead you've left, they will not follow you")

"I Want You" (well...this one has borderline indecipherable lyrics, but it's awesome nonetheless)

Also, Weingarten, for my money, the best line of "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" is "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked." Come on, man. You just can't beat that.

Posted by: Rockville | August 8, 2008 1:29 PM

So, just curious if there are any other Posties out there that you enlisted for this Dylan exercise but blew your deadline?

Posted by: bigtum | August 8, 2008 2:20 PM

How about Wicked Messenger or Senor?

Posted by: NM Moderate | August 8, 2008 2:22 PM

Masters of War
Mr Tambourine Man
Like a R/S

Sweetheart Like You - Jimmy Lafave's cover version

Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again - Ever notice how the riff just before the bridge in Pickin Up The Signal by Son Volt is lifted directly from this song?

Posted by: americana | August 8, 2008 2:26 PM

so hard to choose only 5, but if we're going to delve into the late ones, "Standing in the Doorway" from "Time Out of Mind" is one of the most haunting blues performances I've ever heard, in fact it turned a couple of folks I know who are professional blues musicians but not Dylan fans, into Dylan fans.

Posted by: fendertweed | August 8, 2008 2:31 PM

Bob makes it so easy to pick 5
plausible top picks; can't imagine
why/who picked "Senor" for tops,
for instance, but have to say,
i love that tune!

OK, here's the greatest Dylan song
there ever was, really:

Blind Willie McTell.

It's a great American tragic opera,
in under 6 minutes.

Posted by: paulsahib | August 8, 2008 2:57 PM

"everything's broken"
"it takes a lot to laugh it takes a train to cry"
"black crow blues"
"hard rain's a gonna fall"
that clip of him playing the harmonica ("mr.tambourine man") at the end of "I'm Not There"

Posted by: jamie baldwin | August 8, 2008 3:02 PM

If You See Her Say Hello

Posted by: jstodge | August 8, 2008 3:23 PM

1) 4th Time Around. Heartbreaking, beautiful, wistful portrait of love.
2) Tell Me Momma. Wicked loud live version from the 66 show. Snarling. The way he howls Tell Me MAHHHHMAAAAAHHH!!! And the Hawks destroy it behind him.
3) Boots Of Spanish Leather/Girl From the North Country. Makes me cry.
4) Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat - Vicious, punk, loud.
5) Highway 61 Revisted -- Unhinged, clowning, absurd.

Posted by: Chad | August 8, 2008 3:41 PM


Hate to admit it, but Gene got it right.

Posted by: Adams Morgan | August 8, 2008 3:44 PM

Five more favorites:
Simple Twist of Fate
Forever Young
Something There Is About You
Ring Them Bells
Slow Train Coming

Posted by: seattle sam | August 8, 2008 3:53 PM

Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
Wedding Song
It's Not Dark Yet
Visions of Johanna
Don't Think Twice

Posted by: louisville | August 8, 2008 4:01 PM

@bigtum: Since this was an attendance-optional exercise, I won't call anybody else out for having bailed on us. We only kid Weingarten 'cause we love - and also because we really, really wanted that list, even if it was late!

Among those who turned us down outright:
* Fisher (says he's holding out until we ask for a list of Top 5 George Clinton songs)

* Steinberg (the DC Sports Bogger is Dylan-illiterate)

* Millbank (like Steinberg, but with more hair and less cheese knowledge)

* Kornheiser (played phone tag with our intermediary, WaPo sports editor Jon Denunzio, and actually started a list in voicemail form but never finished it)

* washingtonpost.com editor Jim Brady (I think he's waiting for us to ask for Top 5 Neal Peart solos).

Posted by: J. Freedom | August 8, 2008 4:02 PM

Gates of Eden, of course, should be on "the" list.

"The motorcycle black madonna
Two-wheeled gypsy queen
And her silver-studded phantom cause
The gray flannel dwarf to scream
As he weeps to wicked birds of prey
Who pick up on his bread crumb sins"

Posted by: Jumper | August 8, 2008 4:19 PM

"My back pages" - "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now" - reflecting on the certainty of youth

"Bob Dylan's Dream" - how we wish life could still be like it was in our youth, how those friendships that were so close have fallen away. And the touching "Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat, I'd give it gladly if our lives could be like that", at a time when ten thousand dollars WAS probably a lot of money to Bob Dylan.

Posted by: dnfree | August 8, 2008 4:28 PM

Of those not mentioned:

Shelter from the Storm
Knockin on Heaven's Door
Tryin to Get to Heaven (Before they Close the door)
Lilly Rosemary & the Jack of Hearts

. . . but my all time favorite is:
Tangled Up In blue

Posted by: NYer | August 8, 2008 4:35 PM

I'd rather see a list of top 5 songs, period. Seriously is Bob Dylan the second coming of Jesus Christ or what?

Posted by: Common Sense | August 8, 2008 4:39 PM

Stuck Inside Of Mobile
(With the Memphis blues again)

An' I say, "Aw come on now,
You must know about my debutante."
An' she says, "Your debutante just knows what you NEED, but I know what you WANT."
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

-------------------------------------

Love Minus Zero (No Limit)

In the dime stores and bus stations,
People talk of situations,
Read books, repeat quotations,
Draw conclusions on the wall.
Some speak of the future,
My love she speaks softly,
She knows there's no success like failure
And that failure's no success at all.

------------------------------------------
Masters Of War

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

-----------------------------------------
Dignity

Someone showed me a picture and I just laughed
Dignity never been photographed
I went into the red, went into the black
Into the valley of dry bone dreams

-----------------------------------------
Forever Young

May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

Posted by: Mr. Interlocutor | August 8, 2008 4:42 PM

My "Picks"

Desolation Row - A Surreal Masterpiece, the lyrics mean nothing and the song means everything

Blowin in the Wind - Simple and profound, like the Gettysburg Address

Mozambique - Sweet and Sexy

Masters of War - You angry yet?

I Shall Be Free #10 - It's silly and that's a good thing.

Posted by: Jeff | August 8, 2008 4:57 PM

Please add me to the list of people who spend most of their time waiting to be asked for this top five list! But top five songs is just too hard so i will go with top five ALBUMS:

Blood on the Tracks - for the 6 minute mini movie that you get from 'Tangled Up in Blue'; for "i'm going out of my mind with a pain that stops and starts / like a corkscrew to my heart" from 'You're a Big Girl Now'; and for all the bitterness unloaded in 'Idiot Wind' like "i noticed at the CEREmony that your corrupt ways had finally made you blind" and "I can't even touch the books you've read / every time I crawl past your door, I been wishin' I was somebody else instead" which is all finally accepted (forgiven?) at the end with "You'll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above / And I'll never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love / And it makes me feel so sorry."

Desire - because if you can hear Dylan and Emmylou Harris together, well then you are at least half way to heaven.

Oh Mercy - cause it sounds like New Orleans and includes the song 'Shooting Star'

The Basement Tapes - for this prophetic shout out to Dick Cheney from Clothes Line Saga's -

"Have you heard the news?" he said, with a grin /
"The Vice-President's gone mad!" /
"Where?" "Downtown." "When?" "Last night." /
"Hmm, that's too bad."

and

Love & Theft - for the song 'Moonlight', which was the first song my wife and i danced to at our wedding...

The trailing moss and mystic glow /
Purple blossoms soft as snow/
My tears keep flowing to the sea/
Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief/
It takes a thief to catch a thief/
For whom does the bell toll for, love? It tolls for you and me.

Posted by: Brent | August 8, 2008 5:02 PM

5 nobody mentioned:
new pony
million dollar bash
every grain of sand
heart of mine
mississippi

Posted by: joe sabbagh | August 8, 2008 5:08 PM

All Along the Watchtower

Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again

Desolation Row

Blind Willie McTell

When the Deal Goes Down

Posted by: ARK | August 8, 2008 6:04 PM

Every damn' song he wrote is one of the top five!

Posted by: fyreflye | August 8, 2008 6:46 PM

I'd rather see a list of top 5 songs, period. Seriously is Bob Dylan the second coming of Jesus Christ or what?
-------------------------------------

No--he's much much better.

1) Anything from Highway 61 Revisited

2) When I Paint my Masterpiece

3) Maggie's Farm

4) Everything's Broken

5) The Mighty Quinn

Posted by: William Jones | August 8, 2008 7:13 PM

Only A Pawn In Their Game

The Times They Are A Changin'

Boots Of Spanish Leather

Shelter From The Storm

Forever Young (sung at my wedding)

Posted by: Seamus | August 8, 2008 7:18 PM

I'd rather see a list of top 5 songs, period. Seriously is Bob Dylan the second coming of Jesus Christ or what?
-------------------------------------

No--he's much much better.

1) Anything from Highway 61 Revisited

2) When I Paint my Masterpiece

3) Maggie's Farm

4) Everything's Broken

5) The Mighty Quinn

Posted by: William Jones | August 8, 2008 7:28 PM

1. Don't think twice
2. Desolation Row
3. Blowing in the Wind
4. You ain't goin' nowhere
5. Farewell Angelina

Posted by: Oregon John | August 8, 2008 7:53 PM

1. Idiot Wind
2. Tangled Up in Blue
3. Hurricane
4. Just Like a Woman
5. Desolation Row

Posted by: Steve | August 8, 2008 8:23 PM

there's a long distance train
rolling through the rain
tears on the letter i write
theres a woman i long to touch
and i'm missing her so much
but shes drifting like a satellite

a few minutes later the speakers explode with

'WHERE ARE YOU TONIGHT"

oh my god

and: brownsville girl, clean cut kid, i want you, things have changed

Posted by: scott | August 8, 2008 8:35 PM

Tangled Up In Blue tops my list too, but here's 5 more that haven't been mentioned:

Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?
Million Dollar Bash
Jokerman
Series of Dreams
Absolutely Sweet Marie (the version by Jason & the Scorchers is even wilder).

Posted by: Cosmo | August 8, 2008 10:05 PM

1. Like a Roling Stone
2. Shelter from the Storm
3. My Back Pages
4. Forever Young
5. Mr. Tamborine Man

Posted by: gordy from Redding | August 8, 2008 11:07 PM

HELLO?- what about dylan's "howl"- IDIOT WIND...

Posted by: Alias | August 9, 2008 11:42 AM

1. Senor- It's not even so much the lyrics, it's the sound and feel of the song

2. It's Alright Ma-The blistering hard-rock version from the '78 tour

3. Mr. Tambourine Man-The song does NOT remain the same. From Bruce Langhorne's beautiful electric guitar on the original to the solo live 1964 to the torch-song ballad of some 1978 shows to the pedal steel countrified version in the 1990's, Dylan has worked and reworked this gem. Anyone who heard the version Dylan did at Towson University will never forget the inspired mid-song tempo change Dylan stumbled into.

4. What Can I Do For You?-Born-again Bob was a turn-off to many fans, but this modern day psalm features Dylan's most open, passionate vocal as well the best harmonica solo of his career.

5. Carribbean Wind- Both versions, including the one with the line, "Was she a child or a woman, I couldn't say which/one to the other she could easily switch."

Posted by: Rick | August 9, 2008 1:18 PM

Sometimes the least remembered, least discussed songs will, without any rational reason, just captivate me on some particular day, as if I wasn't fully hearing them until that moment. Those are the Cinderella songs as I perceive them, once almost lost and forgotten they emerge from the audio ashes and become as well-loved as many of the favorites mentioned above. I truly believe that if I didn't have these I would become bored of the conventional Dylan catalogue; but these red-headed step-children bring joy and an offbeat beauty into the family collecton of the better known pedigreed thoroughbreads.
THE TOP FIVE CINDERELLA SONGS:
God Knows
Floater
Solid Rock
Clothes Line Saga
Tough Mama

Posted by: Tom K. | August 9, 2008 5:17 PM

how come nobody mentioned 'Sign on the Cross' from the genuine basement tapes? the tune, the lyrics and the way it is sung - simply wonderful!

Posted by: monika | August 9, 2008 6:58 PM

1. isis- its such a powerful song [especially the live rtr version]

2. ugliest girl in the world- a super sweet song that you can rock out to

3.meet me in the morning- one of his best i think.

4.thunder on the mountain- its edgy and appeals to a wide audience

5.just like a woman- just a great note to end with

Posted by: Gabbriele | August 9, 2008 7:42 PM

1. isis - specifically the rtr version. just so powerful. it's everything thats right with music.
2. rita may - most love songs are about the physical aspect, but bobby found someone's mind he's in love with.
3. if you gotta go, go now - a silly do or die love song. it grooves really well.
4. bob dylan's 115th dream - amazing story telling. silly but true at times.
5. grand coulee dam (w. guthrie cover) - it just soars. "that king columbia river and great GRAND COOOULEEE DAAAAM!". some years later dylan commented that his live music in the 60's was just a bunch of screaming. it was, but it was so awesome.

take note that all these songs are blues song except isis. but its arguable.

Posted by: garreth | August 10, 2008 1:09 AM

How about:

To Ramona
Shelter From The Storm
Nettie Moore
Covenant Woman
One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)

Different songs hit you at different times. Tomorrow my list will change.

Posted by: two cents worth | August 10, 2008 10:55 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company