Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Syd Barrett Bob Dylan Blues Lyrical Analysis


Syd Barrett Bob Dylan Blues Lyrical Analysis (by Bearmail)

Like "Effervescing Elephant" (recorded for the BBC three days earlier), "Bob Dylan Blues" was most likely written during Syd's teenage years in Cambridge. It's unique in the Barrett canon in that it satirizes an icon of the '60s cultural revolution with which Syd himself is associated. The song's early origins are indicated by its reactions to the album The Freewheeling' Bob Dylan, released on May 27, 1963 when Syd was 17 years old.

The recitation of Dylan's full name twice in the song's opening line pokes fun at the egoism of two titles on Freewheeling': "Bob Dylan's Blues" [not to be confused with Syd's song] and "Bob Dylan's Dream." In fairness to Dylan, eponymous song-titling dates back (at least) to early blues records like "Ma Rainey's Mystery Record" (1924) and Blind Willie McTell's "Mr. McTell Got The Blues" (1927). Steeped in the folk and blues tradition, Dylan probably associated this practice with unimpeachable artists like these (not to mention Woody Guthrie).

In the chorus lyric "the wind you can blow it," Barrett cites the "blowing wind" motif in "Girl From The North Country," "Bob Dylan's Blues" and of course "Blowin' In The Wind." Syd's self-referring rhyme of "dreams" and "seems" occurs in "Talking World War III Blues," while the reference to singing about "war in the cold" comes from "Masters Of War." The "shoes" in Syd's song appear in Dylan's "Down the Highway," while the "hat" appears in both "Bob Dylan's Blues" and "Bob Dylan's Dream," from which Dylan's mention of "a thousand dollars at the drop of a hat" becomes Barrett's jibe at the fan who "buys all my discs and a hat/and when I'm in town go see that" (he did).


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