Thursday, February 16, 2012

Musical Countdown - Twenty-two Weeks till BIFF

In looking at possibilities for inclusion in this Countdown list, it's strongly evident that 'end of the world scenarios' have been the focus of songs and songwriters for a long, long time - - and there is no sign that that will change in the future. Unless, we truly would get wiped ....

This week's entry on the BIFF musical countdown is vintage
Bob Dylan from almost six decades ago. A young Dylan delivered a light, humorous, whimsical song on the dark subject of devastation by a nuclear war.

The "
talking blues" is a style of spontaneous improvised songwriting. Twenty-two-year-old Dylan created some of this song beforehand and about half in the studio during the final recording session for the album: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. He made five takes and the fifth version was selected. The format of the "talkin' blues" allowed Dylan to address the serious subject of nuclear annihilation with humor, and "without resorting to his finger-pointing or apocalyptical-prophetic persona".

If you would like to learn more about the talking blues, you can listen to an NPR program "
Listen To The Story" (6:13 minutes) from All Things Considered.

Talkin' World War III Blues

Lyrics to Talkin' World War III Blues (1963) by Bob Dylan:

One time a crazy dream came to me
I dreamt I was walkin’ into World War Three
I went to the doctor the very next day
To see what he had to say
He said it was a bad dream

I said, “Hold it, Doc, a World War passed through my brain”
He said, “Nurse, get your pad, the boy’s insane”
He grabbed my arm, I said, “Ouch!”
As I landed on the psychiatric couch
Tell me about it, dream-wise

Well, the whole thing started at 3 o’clock fast
It was all over by quarter past
I was down in the sewer with some little lover
When I peeked out from a manhole cover
Wondering who turned the lights on

Well, I got up and walked around
And up and down the lonesome town
Just a-wondering which way to go
I lit a cigarette on a parking meter and walked on down the road
It was a normal day

Well, I rung me a fallout shelter bell
And I leaned my head and I give a big yell
“Give me a TV dinner, I’m a hungry man”
A shotgun fired and away I ran
I don’t blame them much though, I didn't know any body there

Down the corner I seen another man
turning around by the hot dog stand
I said, “Howdy friend, I guess there’s just us two”
He screamed, down the road he flew
Scared, thought I was a Communist

I spied me a girl, before she could leave
“Let’s go and play Adam and Eve”
I took her by the hand and my heart was thumpin’
She said, “Hey man, you crazy or sumpin’
You seen what happened last time they started"

I remember seein’ some newspaper ad
So I turned on to Conelrad
But I didn’t pay my Con Ed bill
So the radio didn’t work so well
Turned on my record player —
It was Fabian singin’, “Tell our Ma, Tell Your Pa
Our Love’s A-gonna Grow Ooh-wah, Ooh-wah”

I seen me a Cadillac window uptown
There was nobody around
I got into the driver’s seat
And I drove down 42nd Street
In my Cadillac. Good car to drive after a war

By this time I was feeling blue
Needed somebody to talk to
So I called up the operator of time
Just to hear a voice of some kind
“When you hear the beep it will be three o’clock”
She said that for over an hour
And I hung up

Well, the doctor interrupted me just about then
Sayin’, “I’ve havin’ the same old dream
But mine's a little different, don't you see
I dreamt that the only person left after the war was me
I didn’t see you around”

Time passes and now it seems
Everybody’s having them dreams
Everybody sees its self
Walkin’ around with nobody else
All the people can be part right some of the time
And some of the people can be all right part of the time
All of the people can’t be all right all of the time

Abraham Lincoln said that
“I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours”
I said that

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