Thursday, November 29, 2007

One Last Note on The Bob Dylan Playlist

So, as I'm still a little obsessed with Bob Dylan after seeing Todd Hayne's "I'm Not There," I've been playing and thinking about Bob Dylan a ton. This got my thinking about "The Bob Dylan playlist" and it occured to me that I'd really be remiss if I left the song Positively 4th Street entirely off the list.

Positively 4th Street is one of those great angry Dylan songs, kind of like Idiot Wind, where he just throws the words right out there and dispenses with anything in the way of subtlety or metaphor. Here are the opening lines:
You got a lotta nerve 
To say you are my friend
When I was down
You just stood there grinning

You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on
The side that's winning
Pretty strong words, and most likely addressed to the people in the folk scene in Greenwich Village area (centered around West 4th St.) who turned their back on him and called him "Judas" after he made the switch to an electric, less political sound. Who knows though-maybe it's just about a girl?

Anyway, the song also has one of my favorite (and one of the meanest) closing lines ever. Really great stuff to listen to if you're feeling jilted or let down:
I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you

Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
Then you'd know what a
drag it is to see you
All the while, the song is dominated by the distinctive electric guitar/organ sound and the snarling Dylan voice that constitutes his best, most distinctive sound.

Not everyone is all that familiar with this tune, though, as it was a single-only release and can only be found on greatest hits collections or on the insanely great box set Biograph (which is where I originally heard it). Unfortunately, my discs of Biograph have long since been ruined by overplay and carelessness with my cds when I was younger, which is why I'm unfortunately not able to post this song for you. However, I can't recommend highly enough that you do what I did and spend the 99 cents to get this song off itunes. Trust me, you won't be disappointed if you do (Ok, fine, maybe you will. But for 99 cents at least you aren't out to much).


Megan said...

That's one of my favorite Dylan songs. But i think that anyone who listens to Oldies radio will be perfectly familiar with it- i feel like it's in pretty regular rotation.

Howard said...

I love that tune and did wonder where it was on the masta playlist. For that opening organ alone!

Good save there.

Josh said...

Yeah, it's one of those weird songs that everyone knows but often forgets about because it was originally a single-only release and this isn't on any of the more famous albums. Its the same way with The Rolling Stones and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and the Beatles with "Hey Jude."