Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)

Quinn the Eskimo
Makes people doze, run and jump.
He attracts pigeons.

"Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)" is the bizarre breakout hit from the Basement Tapes sessions, though not for Bob Dylan. Manfred Mann scored a big hit with it in 1968. Dylan's versions appeared on the Self Portrait album (a live version recorded at the Isle of Wight festival with the Band), his Greatest Hits Volume II album (same version) and on his 1975 album of overdubbed sessions from the Basement Tapes days (not true). There are more takes on volume 11 of the Bootleg Series. The song is about as silly as they come, but that's part of the charm:

Ev’rybody’s building the big ships and the boats
Some are building monuments
Others, jotting down notes
Ev’rybody’s in despair
Ev’ry girl and boy
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
Ev’rybody’s gonna jump for joy
Come all without, come all within
You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn

I like to do just like the rest, I like my sugar sweet
But guarding fumes and making haste
It ain’t my cup of meat
Ev’rybody’s ’neath the trees
Feeding pigeons on a limb
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
All the pigeons gonna run to him
Come all without, come all within
You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn

A cat’s meow and a cow’s moo, I can recite ’em all
Just tell me where it hurts yuh, honey
And I’ll tell you who to call
Nobody can get no sleep
There’s someone on ev’ryone’s toes
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
Ev’rybody’s gonna wanna doze
Come all without, come all within
You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn






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