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Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?

DigiTrad:
TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING
YOU AIN'T GOING NOWHERE


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BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 07:18 PM
Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 12 May 06 - 07:32 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 07:39 PM
Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 07:39 PM
Ferrara 12 May 06 - 07:40 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 07:42 PM
Elmer Fudd 12 May 06 - 07:42 PM
Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 07:43 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 07:44 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 07:47 PM
Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 07:47 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 07:49 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 07:49 PM
Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 07:52 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 07:54 PM
Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 08:01 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 08:06 PM
Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,Enzo B. 12 May 06 - 08:14 PM
Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 08:14 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 08:15 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 08:18 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 08:22 PM
catspaw49 12 May 06 - 08:26 PM
Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 08:26 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 08:32 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,Enzo B. 12 May 06 - 08:41 PM
catspaw49 12 May 06 - 08:42 PM
Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 08:48 PM
BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 08:48 PM
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Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 08:54 PM
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Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 09:14 PM
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BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 09:23 PM
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Little Hawk 12 May 06 - 09:30 PM
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BuckMulligan 12 May 06 - 09:35 PM
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Subject: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:18 PM

I haven't performed in many years, but when I did, and now whenever I practice, I do Don't Think Twice (It's All Right). It is probably my favorite song. How do you hear the lyric? (And, implicitly, how do you perform the song, if you do?) Is the speaker being snide and sarcastic, and telling the hearer that "you've devastated my life and I don't expect you to give a shit (you asshole)" or is the speaker sincere, and it's really "all right?"

(I've been perseverating on Max' "State" thread, fascinating, but y'know what? Bupkis about folk music in there)


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:30 PM

It's an amazing song, both lyrically and musically. Young Bob was writing, actually, about his girlfriend Suze Rotolo leaving him but he camouflaged it by turning it the other way around in the lyrics to make it sound like he was the one who had to be moving on for his own needs.

I wouldn't call the song snide at all...unless it is deliberately delivered in a snide manner, and I've never heard that done. It's bittersweet, regretful, and fatalistic, all at the same time.

That was an extremely important relationship for both of them, it was a serious relationship, and it was doomed not to last.

Who among us has not felt at times, following the breakup of am important relationship, that the other person had not "kind of wasted our precious time"? It's a universal reaction. Bob's brilliance was to have enough guts to put those universal reactions in plain language, and yet still with real poetic poignancy.

It's a song, in my opinion, that only offends people who subconsciously are looking for offence, whether they know it or not.

It may well have been Bob who was wasting Suze's precious time. ;-) She was a creative girl, and was definitely feeling somewhat smothered by the relationship...but it's crystal clear that they loved one another dearly. It's a tender song, to my ears, but the singer pretends to be a lot less hurt than he actually is by the whole thing.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:32 PM

Wow, what a question. Makes me wonder how I could've sung the sung for all these years without ever really asking it, but I have to admit that it never occurred to me.

I guess my answer would be that the song is of a piece with Donovan's "Catch the Wind," Stan Rogers' "Bits and Pieces," and Richard Thompson's "Bee's Wing" -- more a comment on the inevitability of a breakup (and maybe an acknowledgment of mutual responsibility for it) than an accusation. Not quite sarcastic, but not quite "all right" either. Just a statement of reality with an undercurrent of wishing it were different...

So, how do you see it?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:39 PM

Little Hawk - interesting stuff, but irrelevant (oops, betraying my age here) - the state of the artist's life isn't really something to tak into account when looking at a piece as a piece of art (as opposed to a biogrpahical artefact, which of course you can do, bu tthen it isn't a song, is it?)

ClaireBear - I do the song as completely sincere - the speaker really is saying "it's all right" in a rather cosmic sense; "you hurt me, I wish it had been better, but it wasn't your fault, shit happens."


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:39 PM

Having a good sense of the personal histories behind that song, and loving both Bob and Suze for what they were at the time, it always feels magical to me. You're right, Claire, he was just wishing it could be different. Don't we all?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Ferrara
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:40 PM

Little Hawk, thank you for the background on the song. It has always sounded bitter to me, I guess you could call that sarcastic but I don't think of it that way. Bitter though. I've always felt that the singer is not a happy camper and feels resentment over the other person's part in the breakup.

I like singing it all the same. Somehow I see it as being related to It Ain't Me Babe which I also like to sing. Maybe the sense of "I can't love you like you want to be loved" in IAMB did come from the bitterness of having lost a deep love relationship. (?) Which was written earlier?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:42 PM

Let me extend it - where does Paxton's "Last Thing on My Mind" fit with this song, thematically? (My second favorite song, first song I ever learned to play on the guitar - when it was new).


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:42 PM

Funny that you should mention it. Lately I've been singing the lyrics to myself with a Yiddish accent. They can really come off as a Jewish guilt trip, given the right emphasis. Not sayin' that's the final word on the song, but it's a hoot to do it that way (at least, for some of us without much of a life.)

I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind,
You coulda done better but I don't mind.
You just sorta wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right.


Elmer


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:43 PM

Ah, well, irrelevant to you maybe, Buck, but not to those of us who were growing up at the time! ;-) The connection of the writer's life to the work of art is very important if you feel you sort of personally know and care about the writer. In a later era that aspect tends to fade away for most people, naturally.

As a pure piece of art, aside from personal history, I think the song stands up extremely well.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:44 PM

Ferrara - I agree the speaker ain't a hppay camper, that's for sure. I believe DTT preceded IAMB (which, I think, had more to do with Baez? Could be off the mark on that, not big on the artist gossip)(smirk)

IAMB is WAY bitterer; it speaks nasty things to the target, DTT doesn't.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:47 PM

LH - yeah, the song does indeed stand up. I was growing up at the time meself (16 or so?). I betray myself because my academic training is based in TS Eliot - treat the piece as the piece, the artist is NOT present. What would you think of the song if you didn't know who wrote it? (I would think it's a fabulous song)


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:47 PM

"Don't Think Twice" came earlier, Ferrara. You're right, Bob was not a happy camper at all. He was desperate about it. He wrote a lot of songs about Suze Rotolo. "Boots of Spanish Leather" is one. "Ballad in Plain D" is another, and in that one he attacks Suze's sister Carla in a vicious manner, quite unjustified, making her the villain in the piece. Oh yeah, he was hurting all right. "Don't Think Twice" sounds to me like Bob trying to pretend that everything's basically "all right" just to make himself feel better about it.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:49 PM

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SONG, Little Hawk? FORGET about Dylan, and his chicks; they don't compute. Pretend you know nothing about them, and tell us about the SONG?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:49 PM

oops, sorry, too many caps. didn't mean to shout.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:52 PM

I don't think IAMB was aimed at Baez, because they were getting along famously at the time he was first singing that song, and they did duets on it at some shows then, and Baez recorded it around that same time. It was a couple of years later that their relationship was really on the skids.

It may have had to do with Suze, or it may have had nothing to do with her. I don't know.

I think DTT is among maybe the best 10 folk ballads of its general category of all time...regardless who wrote it.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:54 PM

Maybe, (WRT Baez) I dunno. What about Last Thing on My Mind? Quality? How do you do it - dismissive or pained?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:01 PM

"Last Thing on My Mind" to me is a moderately likeable song...but only that. I think it's unremarkable...fair to middlin'. It bores me, and it always did, frankly.

I think Donovan's "Catch The Wind", on the other hand, is quite a striking song...some great phrases in it.

Ian Tyson's "Four Strong Winds" is a classic song...another on the list of 10 greatest.

Dylan's "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" is an absolutely incredibly beautiful song.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:06 PM

Interesting - I feel about Catch the Wind the way you feel about "Last Thing" - but the same way you do about 4 Strong Winds. And Love Minus Zero has never done diddly for me.

So what's going on here? Obviously we share something (and I'm speaking purely from a theoretical, "let's mess with this" point of view here) but it's showing up in somewhat different ways. Why, I wonder (and yeah, all the psycho/socio/emotional hoohah are givens) - but what's going on in the songs?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:11 PM

Hard to say. It's a mysterious business why a song can "speak" to one person, yet not to another. There are probably at least 50 million good reasons why... ;-)

I haven't got a clue about it.

Perhaps it all happens on the basis of the very first impression of the song, and what one's expectations were of both the song and the singer at the time? First impressions can be very powerful. I disliked all rock music up to a certain age, because I was such a folk purist...but that changed later on, and I got to like a lot of the songs I would have instantly dismissed before.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: GUEST,Enzo B.
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:14 PM

Little Hawk is wrong. "Don't Think Twice" was not written about Dylan's breakup with Suze Rotolo. The song was written long before they broke up and is probably not based on any particular person or relationship. Suze and Bob were involved from April 1961 to March 1964. The song was on an LP released in 1963 that featured a picture of Suze and Bob on the cover.

Enzo


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:14 PM

Well, here's a beauty of a poignant lovesong looking back to an ended relationship: Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust" (written about her and Bob Dylan in their glorious youth).

Whaddya think of that one?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:15 PM

Good points - where were you when you first heard "Catch The Wind?" What was happening? Context? How did that differ from context of first exposure (or extended exposure) to "Last Thing?" I was in college when I heard & learned "Last Thing" and it certainly has tones of reverberations from that chunk of my life. No similar associations with Catch The Wind though - are our "artistic" evaluations so totally subjective?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:18 PM

I love "Diamonds & Rust" (in spite of the fact that it isn't really a terribly good song, IMO) - factors involved have more to do with the fact that when I hear JB's voice I go all mooshy and don't really CARE what she's singing. But the song itself is worthless without her performance, IMO. I sure wouldn't attempt it, and I doubt many others would either. It's not a song, it's a "Joan Baez artefact." But I sure love it, of course, "as performed by...."


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:22 PM

Enzo - thanks for that; it reinforces my point of view that we need to remove the artist from an evaluation of a piece.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:26 PM

RE: Don't Think Twice.......Try THIS OLDER THREAD Its out of order because of the crash, but read it for some really good viewpoints. A really fine thread.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:26 PM

That's correct on the dates, Enzo, but Bob and Suze did not break up just once. They had more than one separation over the period of their relationship. I believe the song is about her, written following such a separation. I also recall reading in one of the biographies that Joan Baez performed the song at an outdoor concert...this was when Bob and Joan were beginning to get involved...and Baez said in introducing the song something like, "This is a song about a relationship that has reached its conclusion..."

Suze, who was in the audience, reacted by flushing deeply and walking off, quite angry about it. She knew that Joan was referring to her and Bob, and she didn't like it one bit.

I'm just about 100% sure it was about Suze, and yes, I'm fully aware of the album cover in '63, and that she and Bob were together some time after that song was sung and recorded. But...I am willing to be proven wrong...let's investigate further.

Buck - I think that's a big part of it. I wasn't interested in Tom Paxton (did he write LTOMM?), as it happened, and my exposure to the song was hearing it played live by every Tom, Dick, and Harriet here there and everywhere...and I just was not that impressed for whatever reason. It was part of the scene that seemed to be taken for granted.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:32 PM

Yeah - in fact when Paxton performs, Last Thing and Ramblin' Boy are his standard encores; you can look around and all the old farts like me in the audience get all misty. I suspect that it was overdone by the time you got around to it. It was a new (or at least current) thing when I learned it, all the Folk Scare artists were hustling to get their takes on it out. In the days before it was bad to sing something you hadn't written.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:37 PM

Catspaw, thanks for reminding us of that thread; lots of good stuff in there.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: GUEST,Enzo B.
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:41 PM

Sorry Little Hawk, but you don't really know as much about the Suze/Bob relationship as I do. TRUST ME on that, I know of where I speak on this issue.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:42 PM

Its okay Buck......I've been around here since Hector was a pup and my memory still hasn't gone too far south.......I hate to link things sometimes as folks think I'm trying to stifle new conversation. Nothing could be less true. I just hate to see some voices left out of any new conversations.....especially those who won't be posting here again. THAT is really one of the real beauties of this place.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:48 PM

Okay, I have consulted the very thick book "Keys to the Rain - The definitive Bob Dylan Encyclopedia" written by Oliver Trager in 2004. It's the ultimate reference on every song Dylan ever wrote and recorded and even all the song he has covered in live performance or on album. It says:

"Dylan wrote 'Don't Think Twice, It's All Right', a subtle but devastating kiss-off classic and his earliest released anti-love song, about Suze Rotolo, his first true New York love, after she had travelled to Italy in early 1963. Suze is the woman clutching his arm on the cover of 'The Freewheelin'...etc.'

"The tempestuous, on-and-off-again nature of their relationship evidently inspired Dylan to pen this wry exercise in simmering catharsis..."

"Reportedly, Suze was initially flattered that a song about her had become so popular."
(Later she changed her mind about that, got the message, and distanced herself from Bob. They broke up for the final time in 1964)

Here are Dylan's own words on the song from Freewheelin's liner notes:

"A lot of people make it a sort of a love song....slow and easy-going. But it isn't a love song. It's a statement that maybe you can say to make yourself feel better. It's as if you were talking to yourself. It's a hard song to sing. I can sing it sometimes, but I ain't that good yet."


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:48 PM

Zackly - but I still think I'm not making my query entirely clear: has to do with how we perform the song, not what "whoever" had in mind when he or she wrote it. As ifm in fact it were really a "folk song." Forget about Dylan and Suze and whosomever, and focus purely on this song that we all know, and probably all sing, and what does it feel like to us - what do we try to convey - when we sing it.

And you're right, that thread (conceptually, not literally) is what makes Mudcat a place to keep coming back to.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:51 PM

Little Hawk - (WRT your 8:48 post) - forget it. Forget who wrote it. Forget Dylan and Suze and whoever. Look at the frickin song. Pretend I wrote it (gawd don't I wish) - someone you know ZILCH about, and care even less. Look at the song, don't look at the writer (who cares,m really, and that's my point, I wanted to ask about a song, not about Dylan, I don't really CARE all that much about Dylan - read his book, eh, so what?) But the SONG is wonderful.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:54 PM

Enzo: So, I don't know what you know about it, Enzo... Are you really Bob Dylan himself under a psuedonym? ;-D If so, I bow to your certainty on the matter! What about this book "Keys To The Rain"? What say? Is Trager completely wrong then? If so, why? He seems to have gone to a lot of trouble researching this book to get things right.

Buck - "it was overdone by the time you got around to it" Yup. That's it exactly. I was not so fortunate as to be aware of it when it was a brand new song.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:58 PM

Yeah, Buck, I agree the song is wonderful, both lyrically and musically.

I'm just talking about Bob because I'm interested in him, that's all. ;-) I like to know all I can about him as well as the songs, and about the whole scene and what happened back then. It's like my own blood to me...I feel connected to it.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 09:04 PM

I'm a little jaundiced about Dylan. I see him as kind of a savant, and frankly I think he does too. I read "Chronicles" (my son gave me a copy) and wasn't impressed with much beyond his name-dropping capability. But one could say the same about Hemingway's "Moveable Feast" I suppose (and I would, in a heartbeat). Always fascinated about how so-so people can turn out great art. I suspect I would have run screaming from the room in short order if I'd had to sit long with Vincent, but damn his painting was fine, no?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 09:14 PM

"savant" - a man of great erudition

Dylan is erudite when it comes to musical history and that sort of thing. I'm intrigued by your reaction to "Chronicles". I was just downright stunned by what a good piece of writing it was. I had expected something from him only a quarter that good, and I still would have been satisfied. ;-)

Given where Bob has been and what he has done...how could he not seem like a name-dropper if you wish to see it that way?

I would love to just have a casual talk with him about the music...if he wanted to. I had a couple of dreams about talking to him, but not all that much was said in those. Just a few brief remarks he made about quite ordinary, practical stuff that was happening at the time. (kind of like real life, eh?)


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 09:19 PM

C'mon, Enzo. Let's hear your word on Oliver Trager's book...I know who he is, but I have no idea who you are. You understand that that somewhat weakens your ability to convince me?

PM me, if you can, and tell me more. I've got a hat here that Dylan reputedly left at a folk club in Toronto in the early 60's. I think it may have been "The Purple Onion". At any rate, the owner, Mike Cavendish, lives in Newmarket, Ontario, and he gave me the hat a few years back. He swears it was Dylan's. I'd like to know what you think. You PM me...give me your email address...I'll send you a picture of the hat. Deal?

(it's NOT the famous little hat seen on all those early photos)


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 09:23 PM

I suspect I meant "savant" in a slightly more specialized sense; someone who performs prodigious feats without knowing how. But you're right about the name-dropping thing, how could such a roll call not sound like namedropping? Unfair of me.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 09:24 PM

Sorry - what about Chornicles struck you as good writing?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 09:30 PM

Huh? Well, the whole damn thing, I guess. I particularly liked the sections about the early days. His memory for the details was downright incredible...either that or he's awfully good at composing them by judicious use of imagination. I also loved the sense I got of how much he loved the music back then, and how excited he was about the whole scene. I can remember feeling like that...half a lifetime ago.

One other thing I liked was, he had a lot of appreciation for other people's talents and what they did...and he was generous in what he said about people.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 09:32 PM

We seem to have our own little conversation going here, Buck. Pity we don't live in the same town, we could have it over a restaurant table instead. That would be better than digital communication.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 09:35 PM

Odd - I found the writing pretty pedestrian and uninspired. Yeah, you'll have to make it down to New Hampster some time and I'll stand a round, for sure.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 09:45 PM

Again, it may be because of how I feel about him. One naturally gives far greater attention to the words of someone one cares deeply about...and that means you really focus in strongly, and you get more back accordingly. You shine a brighter light on the picture, in other words, and see nuances you would not have seen otherwise.

If Dylan was just "another musician" to me, I might not have liked the book nearly as well...but I probably would not even have read it then in the first place. ;-)

I loved Joan Baez book for perhaps the same reason...because I love her.

She and Bob were like my patron saints of music. Them and Buffy Sainte-Marie. They were my "holy trinity" of folk music. I also liked Ian & Sylvia, Judy Collins, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell...and many others after that.

Did you mean "New Hampshire"?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 May 06 - 10:03 PM

New Hampster is a little joke amongst a great many of us transplants to the Granite State - especially those of us who first saw the light of day in Massachusetts; yeah, New Hampshire.

I tend to be somewhat grumpier about writing, disregarding who the writer might be (Eliot again) and treating the text as an entity of its own, rather than as an artefact of a personality.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 10:48 PM

That's perfectly understandable. I'm that way about most writers too.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 06 - 10:55 PM

Hamsters, by the way, have been a frequent topic on this forum. They're cute little devils. If you are going to name your state after an animal, then why not a hamster? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 13 May 06 - 05:40 AM

Well it's a song I've been singing for many years, and I see it as a bitter song that blames the other party for the ending of the relationship.
This is personified by my all time favourite lines in any song anywhere.

I ain't saying you treated me unkind,
You coulda done better, but I don't mind.
You just kinda wasted, my precious time,
But don't think twice, it's all right.

It just hits me where I live those lines, I've felt JUST like that, and while I don't have anybody in mind when I sing the lines, I sing them with feeling.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 06 - 06:12 AM

It ain't no use to sit and sigh now, darlin,
And it ain't no use to sit and cry now,
T'ain't no use to sit and wonder why, darlin,
Just wonder who's gonna buy you ribbons when I'm gone.

So times on the railroad gettin' hard, babe,
I woke up last night and saw it snow,
Remember what you said to me last summer
When you saw me walkin' down that road.

So I'm walkin' down that long, lonesome road,
You're the one that made me travel on,
But still-I-can't-help wonderin' on my way,
Who's gonna buy you ribbons when I'm gone?

Paul Clayton recorded that in 1960.
Bob Dylan wrote Don't Think Twice It's Alright in 1962, to the same tune.
Makes's you think,eh?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 May 06 - 10:22 AM

No....Not much anyway.....Except that Clayton and a boatload of others including Woody were not above dipping into the past for both inspiration and tunes. We have had this discussion before but there is a good little section on DTT at the "Expecting Rain website which I like:

Original song: Scarlet Ribbons For Her Hair (trad),
Who'll Buy You Ribbons When I'm Gone (Paul Clayton)
Dylan song: Don't Think Twice, It's Alright (October 1962)
Paul Clayton based his own composition on the traditional song "Scarlet Ribbons For Her Hair," and Dylan's song could have been based on either or both. Clayton obviously felt that his song was where Dylan had got it, and had his lawyers make inquiries. According to Robert Shelton, "Clayton and Dylan had an amicable legal tiff, settling without rancor out of court." (No Direction Home by Robert Shelton, page 156).
Johnny Cash's "Understand Your Man" is sometimes cited as an influence on "Don't Think Twice," but actually that song was also based on "Scarlet Ribbons For Her Hair," hence the similarities.

It ain't no use to sit and sigh now, darlin, And it ain't no use to sit and cry now, T'ain't no use to sit and wonder why, darlin, Just wonder who's gonna buy you ribbons when I'm gone.
Who's Goin' Buy You Ribbons When I'm Gone?

It ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe It don't matter, anyhow An' it ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe If you don't know by now
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright

So I'm walkin' down that long, lonesome road, You're the one that made me travel on, But still-I-can't-help wonderin' on my way, Who's gonna buy you ribbons when I'm gone?
Who's Goin' Buy You Ribbons When I'm Gone?

I'm walkin' down that long, lonesome road, babe Where I'm bound, I can't tell But good-bye's too good a word, gal So I'll just say fare thee well
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright

While Dylan's debt is clear here, the actual achievement of "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" far outstrips its precursors. This is one of the finest examples of the kind of song in which the narrator is lying to himself and unknowingly telling far more of his emotional struggles than he himself is aware of. Other notable examples of this type of song would include Hoagy Carmichael's "I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)," Loudon Waiwright III's "I'm Alright," Dylan's own "Most of the Time," and almost the entire output of Randy Newman.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 May 06 - 10:27 AM

Or, as we used to sing...
"Don't sing twice, Bob
That's all right"


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 May 06 - 10:43 AM

I still prefer the abridged version of this song, appropriate for those of us who don't have a lot of time to mull such things over. It's called "Don't Think Once!"

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Cruiser
Date: 13 May 06 - 10:54 AM

Interestingly, as I was reading this informative thread I heard (on an Oldies Internet radio station) 'Just Like A Woman', my favorite Dylan song, sung by MANFRED MANN...not near as good as Dylan's original.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 06 - 11:24 AM

Don't steal twice, one's alright.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 13 May 06 - 11:39 AM

GUEST seems unaware of "the folk process." Or TS Eliot's "Good poets borrow; great poets steal." If we were to delve into Guthrie's (either/any of them) oeuvre how many really original works would we find? Or anyone else's? It's a distraction from a consideration of the value of the song.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 May 06 - 11:52 AM

If this discussion was conducted in a restaurant, across the table, the rest of us would have missed out on it--so thank God for the Internet, and for Mudcat--

At any rate,BuckMulligan, I appreciate the literary perspective, which tends toward the idea that great a work must speak on its own(even though the people who say that also tend toward writing huge annotated biographies)--

However, I think your question is not fundamentally a literary question, it's a performance question--and as a peformer, it isn't enough to find meaning in a work, you have to find your own emotional position , so that you can make the piece work for you in front of an audience.

For this reason, it can help a lot to have a more concrete idea of where the song came from, in terms of defining the emotions in it, than the author might have written into the lyrics--

However performer can do just as well to come up with their own idea of where a song comes from-and sometimes, the performer can find a deeper meaning than had been expressed before-this happens a lot with Dylan songs--"All Along the Watchtower" didn't stand out until Jimmy Hendrix did it, and, for those of us who pondered Dylan for hours at a time in our youth, "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" was a weak throwaway, til Bob Marley, Guns and Roses, et al turned it into a Rock Anthem--

For me, Elmer Fudd's "Yiddish Accent" is a great way to understand the verbal irony--though I'd suggest keeping the actual accent "inside"--

The Suzy Rotolo story gives a new perspective though, and that is the idea that the singer is pondering words that were spoken to him, and is, as we all do, finding self-serving rationalizations,logical inconsistancies, self-martyrdom, and a bit of hypocrisy in them-


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 06 - 12:00 PM

OK, so Dylan is a great poet and he steals. I have noticed that all three songs by Clayton, Dylan and Cash use the same traditional song 'Scarlet Ribbons for her Hair'. This must be a different melody from that made famous by Harry Belafonte as I can't hear any resemblance, either melodically or structually. Can someone point me to a midi of this trad tune used by these three writers?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 06 - 12:01 PM

Sorry, I should have said two good writers and a thief.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Cruiser
Date: 13 May 06 - 12:06 PM

M.Ted wrote:

"Knockin' On Heaven's Door" was a weak throwaway"

You must not have seen the movie and listened to the soundtrack of Sam Peckinpah's 'Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid'

The song Knockin' On Heaven's Door' played over one of the most poignant scenes of any movie where the character, played by Slim Pickens, dies from a gunshot wound next to a small body of water in the desert.

Dylan is also in the movie, which I highly recommend.

Cruiser


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 13 May 06 - 01:37 PM

M.Ted - quite right, the original point was indeed a performance question; I didn't mean to sound dismissive of "context" as a legit foundation for an individual interpretation - just meant to be mulling my own POV out loud. the more I think about it the more I like Elmer Fudd's Yiddish take myself, and it may well convey my own feelings about the topic in the lyric.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 13 May 06 - 02:33 PM

"Stan Rogers' "Bits and Pieces,"

One assumes you mean the song "Turnaround"?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 May 06 - 02:48 PM

The best version of "Knockin' On Heaven's" Door is the original version, in my opinion. It is deep in feeling, not overblown or exaggerated, and totally appropriate. It's in a western movie, and it sounds like a western song. The Guns 'n Roses version is a travesty in comparison.

But I guess that all depends on what you're looking for in the song.

The folk process involves dipping into past tradition, getting inspiration from it, and coming up with a new expression of it, hopefully a better one. Dylan did that with many trad and popular songs. So did thousands of other songwriters. People who call him a "thief" for so doing wouldn't care a hoot about it except for one thing...he succeeded and became very famous. That is why they don't like it.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 13 May 06 - 02:58 PM

The best version of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door"

Partial to Eric Claptons cover for one of the Lethal Weapon movies myself....


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 May 06 - 03:08 PM

Perhaps. I haven't heard that one, but I figure that Clapton would most likely do a great job on that song.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 13 May 06 - 03:16 PM

I don't sing the song. It's bitter and self-pitying.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 13 May 06 - 04:16 PM

Thanks Frank. I guess that blows my notion that it might have another interpretation right outta the water.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 May 06 - 04:54 PM

I saw the movie. Not one of Sam's best--and, even if it worked in the movie(which is open to debate), it underscored the visual, which is what movie music does, that doesn't mean that it speaks in any other context--

Frank's point is well taken--I plead guilty to having performed it many times, in my youth, and didn't necessarily see it that way(it wouldn't occur to me to sing this song nowdays)--still, bitterness and self-pity work rather well on stage--


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 06 - 04:55 PM

Little hawk, you can't have it both ways. The rationalisation of Dylan's 'borrowings' from the likes of Paul Clayton that great poets steal (see Buck Milligan) is something artists do although Paul Clayton wasn't happy. Dylan's arrogance in stealing someone else's song and making out it was his own by changing a few lines is unacceptable, Why didn't he write a new song?


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 May 06 - 05:05 PM

May answer to you is entirely taken care of by Catspaw49's post of 13 May 06 - 10:22 AM . I agree with his take on it. I'm not much impressed by the Paul Clayton lyric. I am impressed by what Dylan did with his version. He came up with some very memorable lines. You wonldn't care about the resemblance if his version had never become famous, would you? His very success is the indication, first, of his talent...and secondly, it's the only real reason why people pick on stuff like this endlessly and get worked up about it.

To be famous is to be everybody's football and get kicked all over the place because they're got their eye on you. It's a drag. I bet most people who are famous reach a point when they wish to God it had never happened.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 May 06 - 05:29 PM

Had another look at the Paul Clayton lyric. It's a very slender piece of writing indeed. It's verse structure is nothing like DTT, considerably less interesting and considerably less well developed. It's clearly borrowed from "Scarlet Ribbons". I've heard recordings of "Scarlet Ribbons" by both the Kingston Trio and Joan Baez...it doesn't sound anything like "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right", so how can the one be a copy of the other?

Looks to me like Mr Dylan DID write a whole new song, to all intents and purposes, and one that left the other two (which probably influenced it to some degree) in the dust.

We all use past songs to inspire and kick off ideas for new songs. To borrow a phrase or two out of a past song is as much homage to the song and to a well loved tradition as it is anything else. I've done it with exactly that in mind...paying homage to the songs I love. I've borrowed lines form Dylan's songs for that very purpose. In such cases, I didn't think I was going to "fool" anyone into thinking I thought of it first! ;-) That was not my purpose. Dylan's songs are absolutely full of lyrical links to the trad and other songs he absorbed like a sponge in his late teens and early 20's.   In that respect he was doing what practically every enthusiastic young folksong writer does. That is the folk process.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 06 - 05:38 PM

Oh Little Hawk, there are none so deaf as those that do not hear. Did you not read catspaw49 and see any indication that Dylan nicked the song from Clayton? And what about the Johnny Cash song which has the same tune as Clayton's and Dylan's? We are not talking about the folk process here, we are talking about sheer theft for commercial purposes.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Teribus
Date: 13 May 06 - 06:00 PM

Well damn me Little hawk and myself in full agreement on something!!!

"Love Minus Zero, No Limit"

Unfortunately no bastard over here knows it, I keep raving about it, guess I'll just ahve to record a cover version of it.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 May 06 - 06:19 PM

GUEST--Lots of songs use the same melodies--even more use variations of melodies, and most consist of bits that have been used over and over, mixed and matched--if you want something that's not strongly derived from something else, you pretty much have to invent your own musical system, like Shoenberg, or Harry Partch--don't expect it to go over big, though--it's called "folk music" and "traditional music" for a reason--


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 May 06 - 06:41 PM

To quote from Catspaw49's post: "While Dylan's debt is clear here, the actual achievement of "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" far outstrips its precursors." That's what I'm saying.

I don't give a holy toot if Dylan got ideas from Clayton's song and Clayton and Cash and Dylan all got ideas from "Scarlet Ribbons"! If he did, well, he came up with a far better song in the process.

You apparently have some personal emotional need to get angry at Dylan over this...and probably over various other stuff...and to call him a "thief"? Okay, that's fine. You can do that if you want to. I have no such need.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 May 06 - 06:59 PM

Oh, Teribus...I'm glad you like that song too.

People can always find plenty to agree about, as long as they don't get on the wrong foot over something else first! ;-) I've noticed that all my life. People usually get along badly with one another because they've already decided to for some reason...


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Joybell
Date: 13 May 06 - 07:34 PM

My first impression was that it was bitter. Later I found myself hearing pain and hurt covered by youthful bravado.

"Love Minus Zero, No Limit" wasn't known well here in Australia either. Hearing True-love sing it back when we first met (not to me -- he was performing at the time) left me stunned for days. I still get lost in the beauty of that song.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 May 06 - 07:37 PM

"pain and hurt covered by youthful bravado"

Exactly.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Ferrara
Date: 13 May 06 - 08:21 PM

Missed this thread for a couple of days. Disagree with Buck M's opinions on "Diamonds & Rust." (I do sing it, both at home & occasionally in public, know others who do and it comes across fine.) Agree with Joybell's succinct "youthful bravado" comment.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 May 06 - 08:26 PM

Sign me up as another Love-0NL fan......Nice piece of work.

Also, you need a different Scarlett Ribbons tune and there is a previous thread or half a dozen about that somewhere.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 May 06 - 08:28 PM

Oh, I see. I wasn't aware that "Scarlet Ribbons" has 2 different tunes.


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Subject: RE: Don't Think Twice - snide or sincere?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 May 06 - 05:13 AM

I posted a while back that I could see no resemblance to the Scarlet Ribbon tune sung by Harry Belafonte (also sung by Joab Baez et al) and asked if someone could point me to the tune used for Clayton's, Dylan's and Johnny Cash's. It's obviuos that if Dylan had written the tune, he (or his publishers) would have sued Cash.


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