Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jolene, Nadine, Tulane and Maybellene

Several reviewers said that Dylan's new song "Jolene" sounds like a Chuck Berry number.  It sure starts that way:

Well you're comin' down High Street, walkin' in the sun
You make the dead man rise, and holler she's the one
Jolene, Jolene

Compare that to:

As I got on a city bus and found a vacant seat
I thought I saw my future bride walking up the street
I shouted to the driver "'Hey conductor you must
Slow down I think I see her, please, let me off this bus!

But the similarity falls apart with Dylan's next line:

"Baby, I am the king and you're the queen"

On Nadine and Maybellene the narrator is anything but a king-- he's (almost) always one step behind, watching that bad girl disappear over the hill or into a Caddie.  And in Tulane he falls flat on his face and winds up in jail as the girl makes it over and runs.  At least half the time Chuck Berry's hero's are lagging behind, frustrated, or standing on the sidelines dreaming.

I got a chance, I ought to take it...

In a wee little room, I sit alone and think of you...

Can you imagine the way I felt?
I couldn't unfasten her safety belt

The only real "king" (other than Johnny) is the Brown Eyed Handsome Man.  He gets alllllll the girls and smacks the home runs, too.

Milo Venus was a beautiful lass

She had the world in the palm of her hand
But she lost both her arms in a wrestling match
To get brown eyed handsome man
She fought and won herself a brown eyed handsome man

Two, three count with nobody on
He hit a high fly into the stand
Rounding third he was headed for home
It was a brown eyed handsome man
That won the game; it was a brown eyed handsome man

Anyway, here's "Jolene."  I might get to hear it live October five!

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