He's looking for sex,
But he's too drunk and he's broke.
Mrs. Henry knows.
This is one of my favorite songs from the Basement Tapes sessions of 1967, and was one that apparently pleased Dylan and Robbie Robertson enough that they chose it for inclusion on the 1975 album that culled the best tracks from those sessions for one double-LP. There's been plenty of commentary on what's going on in this ribald singalong, but my suspicion is that the singer is looking for some paid company with a lady of the night named Mrs. Henry, but he doesn't have any money so he would like a freebie. Complicating matters is his clearly drunken state, one that the singer is all too aware of. It's undetermined whether he's even able to perform.
A confession to Mrs. Henry:
- I've had two beers, and a broom could sweep me up right about now.
- Will you take me to my room?
- I'm a good boy, but I've had too many eggs and kegs and socializing.
- I'm on my knees, but I don't even have a dime.
- I'm groaning in the hallway and I'm going mad.
- Maybe you should take me to your dad.
- I can: drink life a fish, crawl like a snake, bite like a turkey and slam like a drake.
- I'm a sweet bourbon daddy, but if you crowd me, I'll fill up your shoe (By peeing in it, one might surmise)
- "I'm a thousand years old, And I'm a generous bomb, I'm T-boned and punctured, But I'm known to be calm."
- I'm starting to drain, and my crane might leak (uh huh).
- Perhaps you might look my way and "pump me a few."