"Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again"

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Tone, Jun 21, 2011.

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  1. Tone

    Tone Forum Resident Thread Starter

    A poetic masterpiece by Dylan. A Flannery O'Connor Novella in the a song.


    Oh, the ragman draws circles
    Up and down the block
    I'd ask him what the matter was
    But I know that he don't talk
    And the ladies treat me kindly
    And furnish me with tape
    But deep inside my heart
    I know I can't escape
    Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again.

    Well Shakespeare he's in the alley
    With his pointed shoes and his bells
    Speaking to some French girl
    Who says she knows me well
    And I would send a message
    To find out if she's talked
    But the post office has been stolen
    And the mailbox is locked
    Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again.

    Mona tried to tell me
    To stay away from the train line
    She said that all the railroad men
    Just drink up your blood like wine
    And I said "Oh I didn't know that
    But then again there's only one I've met
    And he just smoked my eyelids
    And punched my cigarette"
    Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again.
    Grandpa died last week
    And now he's buried in the rocks
    But everybody still talks about
    How badly they were shocked
    But me, I expected it to happen
    I knew he'd lost control
    When he built a fire on Main Street
    And shot it full of holes
    Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again.

    Now the senator came down here
    Showing ev'ryone his gun
    Handing out free tickets
    To the wedding of his son
    And me, I nearly get bursted
    And wouldn't it be my luck
    To get caught without a ticket
    And be discovered beneath a truck
    Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again.

    Now the preacher looked so baffled
    When I asked him why he dressed
    With twenty pounds of headlines
    Stapled to his chest
    But he cursed me when I proved it to him
    Then I whispered, "Not even you can hide
    You see, you're just like me
    I hope you're satisfied"
    Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again.
    Now the rainman gave me two cures
    Then he said, "Jump right in"
    The one was Texas medicine
    The other was just railroad gin
    And like a fool I mixed them
    And it strangled up my mind
    And now, people just get uglier
    And I have no sense of time
    Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again.

    When Ruthie says come see her
    In her honky-tonk lagoon
    Where I can watch her waltz for free
    'Neath her Panamanian moon
    And I say, "Aw come on now
    You know you know about my debutante"
    And 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.

    Now the bricks lay on Grand Street
    Where the neon madmen climb
    They all fall there so perfectly
    It all seems so well timed
    And here I sit so patiently
    Waiting to find out what price
    You have to pay to get out of
    Going through all these things twice
    Oh, Mama, is this really the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again.
     
  2. Robert Campion

    Robert Campion New Member

    Location:
    Thailand
    One of the best from 'Blonde On Blonde'!
     
  3. Baz P

    Baz P Active Member

    It's another one of Mr Dylan's which makes me wonder what was going on in his head when he sat down and wrote it. Genius.

    For something more "earthly" but just as clever lyrically and easier to understand, at least on the surface, I think "Black Diamond Bay" from "Desire" is also great.
     
  4. carrolls

    carrolls Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin
    Dylan certainly had his finger on the pulse in 1966.
    Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands is another great song.
     
  5. Steel Horse

    Steel Horse Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uppsala, SWEDEN
    Dylan for Prez........ :cool:
     
  6. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    It goes like this: A, A7, D, Dmin, A, E, A, D, A, E repeat

    Well a hobo got too hi----igh,
    He came to me naturaleeeee . . .

    He Stole my baby,
    now he's trying to steal meeeee . . .
     
  7. mikestar

    mikestar Friendly Optimist

    Location:
    South Central MA
    I just love this song!
     
  8. Scope J

    Scope J Senior Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    What do you reckon these lyrics mean ?
     
  9. Jackson

    Jackson Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    Only Dylan could have written this song.
     
  10. BobbyS

    BobbyS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Delaware OH USA
    Hey Tone!

    For my own amusement I've been recording a cover version of It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry.

    Love Mr. Zimmerman!

    Bobby Sutliff
     
  11. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    I Guess You Had To Be There

    Now the bricks lay on Grand Street
    Where the neon madmen climb
    They all fall there so perfectly
    It all seems so well timed
    And here I sit so patiently
    Waiting to find out what price
    You have to pay to get out of
    Going through all these things twice

    Clear as glass to me.
     
  12. Robert Campion

    Robert Campion New Member

    Location:
    Thailand
    Errr . . . something about stardom???
     
  13. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    The wheel is turning and you can't slow down

    Everything about ego.

    Witnessing ego's rise and fall and rise and fall, and wondering if he'll ever get off the wheel.
     
  14. Scope J

    Scope J Senior Member

    Location:
    Michigan
  15. bluesbro

    bluesbro Forum Hall of Shame

    Location:
    DC
    Blonde on Blonde may be my favorite album of all time. One home run after another.
     
  16. Hot Ptah

    Hot Ptah Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    I have read that the verse about smoke my eyelids and punch my cigarette is a literal reference to Dylan's manager Albert Grossman, who had a habit of holding a cigarette in his hand and punching it toward you in the air next to his head, as he talked. Dylan's dissatisfaction with Grossman has been written about often, and the reference to "drink up your blood like wine" and "smoke my eyelids" is supposed to refer to Grossman tricking and cheating Dylan.

    I find the lines "like a fool I mixed them
    And it strangled up my mind
    And now, people just get uglier
    And I have no sense of time" to be an apt description of an anxious LSD trip.

    The TV preacher verse was such a great prophecy of what we became innundated with in the evangelical preacher era.

    I love the verse:

    "here I sit so patiently
    Waiting to find out what price
    You have to pay to get out of
    Going through all these things twice"

    I have thought of this verse during the times in which I had to decide what to do about relationships, jobs, etc., which had painful moments--do you repeat the pain again and again because it is just a necessary part of he situation and you have to live with it, or do you end the situation--but then what significant negative consequences will come from that? Anyway, that is what the verse says to me.

    The verse about Grandpa, and what he did on Main Street, reminds me of my own grandfather and the things he would do when we tried to keep him at home in the 1960s, when he was suffering from Alzheimer's--it was before there were so many assisted living homes. He never built a fire or shot a gun, but he did some unusual things.
     
  17. Gentle Giant

    Gentle Giant Active Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    True dat.
     
  18. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Senior Member

    Location:
    New York, NY
    Except that the line about the railroad men drinking your blood like wine is a direct quote from the folk song "I Wish I Was A Mole In A Hole". Maybe that one was about Grossman too. :)

    Besides, if Bob was mad at Albert at the time of "Blonde On Blonde", why did he put Albert's picture in the inside cover spread? I think much of Dylan's dissatisfaction with Grossman came after "Blonde On Blonde".
     
  19. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage

    Little typo:

    Should be "An’ me, I nearly got busted", not bursted.

    Anyone know what this means?:

    "And furnish me with tape"
     
  20. Love this song, a real gem.
     
  21. jamesmaya

    jamesmaya Senior Member

    Location:
    Mudwest, SoCal
    I have no idea what the song means, but a long time ago, I had a summer high school job scooping ice cream cones at a local drug store. While making one of my creations for a customer, a kid's voice sang out from the vicinity of the cash register aisles...."Ohhh, maama...." almost exactly like the record (except in kid's voice). It was uncanny. I had to do a double-take. :D
     
  22. kazzard

    kazzard Forum Resident

    Location:
    Somerset, England
    So many great lines in this song.
    These always make me a smile and remind me of my teen drinking exploits:

    The one was Texas medicine
    The other was just railroad gin
    And like a fool I mixed them
     
  23. Tone

    Tone Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Awesome Bobby ........ I want to hear it!

    I really love the sound of Dylan's band on this cut.
     
  24. pinkrudy

    pinkrudy Forum Resident

    the fear and loathing in las vegas song...its pretty awesome.
     
  25. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    "Pledging My Time" also borrows a lot from Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen".
    It doesn't take away anything from Dylan's songwriting but rather by cementing his work to the great American blues tradition Dylan makes it more authentic or meaningful or whatever you want to call it.
    Johnson and other blues artists borrowed lines pretty freely from each other also.
     
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