Music I’m Listening To


   Brenda Lee was only 15 when this song was recorded and released, in 1960. It reached Number One on the Billboard singles chart in July of that year:

   Even though I’ve been a devout Bob Dylan fan ever since I bought his first album way back in 1963, I think this version of “Highway 61 Revisited” may be even better than Dylan’s own, first released on his 1965 LP of the same title:

   And in case you’d like to compare:


   

Oh, God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe said, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
God said, “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 said, “Where d’you want this killin’ done?”
God said, “Out on Highway 61”
Well, Georgia Sam, he had a bloody nose
Welfare department, they wouldn’t give him no clothes
He asked poor Howard, “Where can I go?”
Howard said, “There’s only one place I know”
Sam said, “Tell me quick, man, I got to run”
Oh, Howard just pointed with his gun
And said, “That way, down Highway 61”
Well, Mack the Finger said to Louie the King
“I got forty red-white-and-blue shoestrings
And a thousand telephones that don’t ring
Do you know where I can get rid of these things?”
And Louie the King said, “Let me think for a minute, son”
Then he said, “Yes, I think it can be easily done
Just take everything down to Highway 61”
Now, the fifth daughter on the twelfth night
Told the first father that things weren’t right
“My complexion, ” she says, “is much too white”
He said, “Come here and step into the light”
He said, “Hmm, you’re right, let me tell the second mother this has been done”
But the second mother was with the seventh son
And they were both out on Highway 61
Now, the roving gambler he was very bored
Trying to create a next world war
He found a promoter who nearly fell off the floor
He said, “I never engaged in this kind of thing before
But yes, I think it can be very easily done
We’ll just put some bleachers out in the sun
And have it on Highway 61”

   There are times when you hear a song for the first time and it just sticks in your head. And I mean all day long. That’s what happened to me with this one:

      Played by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra:

   

   Among things I didn’t know until now is that in 2015 (according to Wikipedia) Grammy winner John Mayer joined three former members of the Grateful Dead and two other musicians to form the band Dead & Company. It is the latest of several reunions of the band’s surviving members since Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995.

   This song was recorded live at Boston’s TD Garden on 19 November 2017:

   To my mind, Judy Roderick was one of the finest blues/acoustic folk singers of her time. From her LP of the same title, released in 1965, this song has been recorded by many artists since, including The Grateful Dead, usually as “I Know You Rider.”

   A song I think we can all identify with:

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