Sunday, August 9, 2015

Outlaw Blues

Bob needs some good luck.
He feels like Jesse James, but
Looks like Robert Ford.

This is a hard-rocking song from the 1965 album "Bringing It All Back Home." Considering the big hits on this album, this song and "On the Road Again" tend to be forgotten. It's hard to measure up to songs like "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "She Belongs to Me" and "Mr. Tambourine Man." Still, it deserves a little more attention. This song has some terrific, raucous, noisy playing, and it produced that great line, "Especially when it's nine below zero and three o'clock in the afternoon." That's when it is, as Dylan says, "hard to stumble and land in some funny lagoon." I wasn't quite sure what to do about that lyric, as well as the other verses about wishing he were on some Australian mountain range just for the change, and wearing his dark sunglasses and lucky black tooth, not to mention the brown-skinned woman who he's keeping anonymously in Jackson. I focused on the second verse:

Ain’t gonna hang no picture
Ain’t gonna hang no picture frame
Ain’t gonna hang no picture
Ain’t gonna hang no picture frame
Well, I might look like Robert Ford
But I feel just like a Jesse James

The picture frame, I would guess, refers to the picture that James decided to dust as it hung over his mantle in the living room of his home. It was while he was doing this that Robert Ford shot him in the back of the head, killing him. Ford already was in cahoots with the governor of Minnesota to betray his fellow outlaw, so was immediately pardoned after he and his brother Charley were sentenced to death by hanging for first-degree murder.

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