Dylan’s ballads and blues

Dylan has written moving love ballads that avoid all clichés. Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased, 1989-2006 is now available for free online listening. (Thanks, Eamonn.)

Here are gorgeous Red River Shore and Mississippi, a perfect blues song, with the lyrics and a few translations (mouseover the blue words):


Every step of the way we walk the line
Your days are numbered, so are mine
Time is pilin’ up, we struggle and we scrape
We’re all boxed in, nowhere to escape

City’s just a jungle, more games to play
Trapped in the heart of it, trying to get away
I was raised in the country, I been workin’ in the town
I been in trouble ever since I set my suitcase down

Got nothing for you, I had nothing before
Don’t even have anything for myself anymore
Sky full of fire, pain pourin’ down
Nothing you can sell me, I’ll see you around

All my powers of expression and thoughts so sublime
Could never do you justice in reason or rhyme
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Well, the devil’s in the alley, mule’s in the stall
Say anything you wanna, I have heard it all
I was thinkin’ about the things that Rosie said
I was dreaming I was sleeping in Rosie’s bed

Walking through the leaves, falling from the trees
Feeling like a stranger nobody sees
So many things that we never will undo
I know you’re sorry, I’m sorry too

Some people will offer you their hand and some won’t
Last night I knew you, tonight I don’t
I need somethin’ strong to distract my mind
I’m gonna look at you ’til my eyes go blind

Well I got here following the southern star
I crossed that river just to be where you are
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Well my ship’s been split to splinters and it’s sinking fast
I’m drownin’ in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it’s light and it’s free
I’ve got nothin’ but affection for all those who’ve sailed with me

Everybody movin’ if they ain’t already there
Everybody got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now

My clothes are wet, tight on my skin
Not as tight as the corner that I painted myself in
I know that fortune is waitin’ to be kind
So give me your hand and say you’ll be mine

Well, the emptiness is endless, cold as the clay
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Copyright ©1997 Special Rider Music

Red River Shore

Some of us turn off the lights and we live
In the moonlight shooting by
Some of us scare ourselves to death in the dark
To be where the angels fly
Pretty maids all in a row lined up
Outside my cabin door
I’ve never wanted any of them wanting me
‘Cept the girl from the Red River shore

Well, I sat by her side and for a while I tried
To make that girl my wife
She gave me her best advice and she said
“Go home and lead a quiet life.”
Well, I’ve been to the east and I’ve been to the west
And I’ve been out where the black winds roar
Somehow, though, I never did get that far
With the girl from the Red River shore

Well, I knew when I first laid eyes on her
I could never be free
One look at her and I knew right away
She should always be with me
Well, the dream dried up a long time ago
Don’t know where it is anymore
True to life, true to me
Was the girl from the Red River shore

Now I’m wearing the cloak of misery
And I’ve tasted jilted love
And the frozen smile upon my face
Fits me like a glove
But I can’t escape from the memory
Of the one that I’ll always adore
All those nights when I lay in the arms
Of the girl from the Red River shore

Well, we’re living in the shadows of a fading past
Trapped in the fires of time
I’ve tried not to ever hurt anybody
And to stay out of a life of crime
And when it’s all been said and done
I never did know the score
One more day is another day away
From the girl from the Red River shore

Well, I’m a stranger here in a strange land
But I know this is where I belong
I’ll ramble and gamble for the one I love
And the hills will give me a song
Though nothing looks familiar to me
I know I’ve stayed here before
Once, a thousand nights ago
With the girl from the Red River shore

Well, I went back to see about it once
Went back to straighten it out
Everybody that I talked to had seen us there
Said they didn’t know who I was talking about
Well, the sun went down on me a long time ago
I’ve had to fall back from the door
I wish I could have spent every hour of my life
With the girl from the Red River shore

Now, I’ve heard of a guy who lived a long time ago
A man full of sorrow and strife
Whenever someone around him died and was dead
He knew how to bring ’em on back to life
Well, I don’t know what kind of language he used
Or if they do that kind of thing anymore
Sometimes I think nobody ever saw me here at all
‘Cept the girl from the Red River shore

Copyright ©1997 Special Rider Music

Bob Dylan

Lima calling

Nice to hear you, how are you?
Not bad, thanks, I’m muddling through.
And how are things at your end?

Very busy, bills to send.

Is your boss at work today?
Can I help in any way?
Could I leave a message, then?
Sure, hang on, I’ll get a pen.

I’m with Löwe in Peru
Is that with a “w”?
Yes, it is, and Mark can reach me
here in Lima until 3.

May I ask what it’s about?
Sure, I need his business clout
at a meeting with a fat cat.

I’m afraid I didn’t catch that.

Can he call me back by 3?
Sure, no problem, let me see.
Can you give me your phone number?
511’s the code for Lima

and my number’s 68 52.
Let me read that back to you.
I’ll make sure he gets your message.
Thanks. Phone dead… Have got to recharge…

I wrote this for a telephoning course about two years ago. Read it out loud to warm up your voice before a phone call.


Halloween is a wonderful celebration for young people. But in Ireland, where it originated, and in the States, guys, not here in Germany. Here, it sucks. There is no tradition, and it just doesn’t work.

My mother sewed me my first costume at age two, and I went as a green Peter Pan. At four I got another fairy costume, this time with pink lacy wings made from a clothes hanger. It took me until puberty to cross over to the Dark Side. The routine was easy: I got together with friends, usually under the guidance of a parent or older brother or sister, and we would go from door to door saying “Trick or Treat.” Then we’d collect candy bars and get incredibly sick from all the sweets. Heaven. My father, on the other hand, would stand at our door and hand children apples, which they would accept more or less politely and then throw into the bushes (of course). It’s amazing that our garden didn’t turn into an orchard.

Thinking back, the best party I ever gave was a Halloween Party at age 17. We lived in a very big house, and my parents hid upstairs in bed and pulled the pillows over their heads, like good little parents. Downstairs I moved all of the furniture out, set up a large keg of beer, a huge pot of chili and tons of chips, a record player and my extensive record collection …  and the whole neighborhood came. Costumes included a boy wearing his mother’s wedding gown, two guys in golf clothes who putted across the dance floor without speaking to anyone, a boy and a girl who arrived separately from one another in 50s clothes and promptly fell in love, assorted vampires and zombies and monsters, of course, and a man in a gorilla costume. I never did figure out who he was. I think 70 people came, and we had a blast.

These days not everyone goes in for my brand of minimalist fun. More money is spent on Halloween, with its decorations and costumes, than on any other celebration except Christmas.

But Halloween in Germany? No way. Forget it. Boycott it. Down with German Halloween!

Alicia Keys/Jack White: Another Way To Die

Minimalist raconteur Jack White (White Stripes, Raconteurs) wrote this for the new James Bond, A Quantum of Solace and teamed up with Alicia Keys for a surprising duet. This Bond is all about emotional ambiguity, whom you can trust and whom you can’t. Bang, bang, bang, bang!

Helmut, we’re going, OK? I’ve also reserved 3 extra tickets for Sunday, 9 November, 5.10pm @ Cinema, and there are still more tickets left. Any takers?

Another ringer with the slick trigger finger for Her Majesty
Another one with the golden tongue poisoning your fantasy
Another bill from a killer turned a thriller to a tragedy

A door left open
A woman walking by
A drop in the water
A look in the eye
A phone on the table
A man on your side
Oh, someone that you think that you can trust
Is just
Another way to die

Another tricky little gun giving solace to the one that will never see the sunshine
Another inch of your life sacrificed for your brother in the nick of time
Another dirty money heaven-sent honey turning on a dime


Another girl with her finger on the world singing to you what you wanna hear
Another gun thrown down and surrendered took away your fear
Hey, another man that stands right behind you looking in the mirror


englischlernen mit liedern :-) learning english with songs