Sunday, June 7, 2015

Highway 61 Revisited

We know just the place
For sacrificing sons and
Other strange requests.

"Highway 61 Revisited" is a dense, wacky little song that appears on the 1965 album of the same name. Dylan makes Highway 61 the location for a number of symbolic acts by inhospitable, greedy and opportunistic people. The real Highway 61, like Highway 51, is a north-south road that runs from Duluth, Minnesota to NeW Orleans. It travels along the mighty Mississippi River for most of its nearly 1,407 miles (2,264 kilometers). It was a major transportation route for the African-American migrations from south to north after the abolition of slavery, and carries with it a mystical association with blues music. That Dylan added a "Revisited" to the name of the song and the album at a time when he was tearing down and rebuilding the blues and rock music speaks to his overt intent as a radical musician. The police whistle sound throughout the song adds a nice touch of crazy to the proceedings:

Things to do on Highway 61:

- Be like Abraham and sacrifice your son Isaac because God says so.
- Look for new clothes: Howard tells Georgia Sam where to go.
- If you're Mack the Finger and you have 40 red/white/blue shoestrings and 1,000 telephones that don't ring, Louie the King suggests a place to stash them.
- The second mother and the seventh son go there when they should be hanging out with the first father of the fifth daughter on the 12th night. (She's much too white)
- Start a world war and sell tickets if you're a roving gambler with the right promoter.





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