THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG

parte terza






LET ME DIE IN MY FOOTSTEPS: Let me die in my footsteps è un brano che parla della costruzione di rifugi antinucleari, una delle migliori tra le prime canzoni di protesta di Dylan.

Dylan: "Stavo passando per una città dove stavano costruendo questo rifugio antiaereo appena fuori città, un edificio che assomigliava al Colosseo, e c'erano macchine e operai dappertutto. Rimasi ad osservarli lavorare per circa un'ora e nella mia mente la canzone prese forma già allora anche se poi ho impiegato due anni per metterla su carta. Mentre osservavo gli operai lavorare mi sembrò strano che perdessero tanto tempo a scavare una buca in terra quando ci sarebbero state tante cose più importanti che avrebbero potuto fare nella vita. Se non altro avrebbero potuto per lo meno osservare il cielo o farsi una passeggiata e vivere un pò la propria vita anzichè perdere tempo a costruire questa cosa immorale" (1963)
 

LET ME DIE IN MY FOOTSTEPS
words and music Bob Dylan

I will not go down under the ground
"Cause somebody tells me that death's comin' 'round
An' I will not carry myself down to die
When I go to my grave my head will be high,
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

There's been rumors of war and wars that have been
The meaning of the life has been lost in the wind
And some people thinkin' that the end is close by
"Stead of learnin' to live they are learning to die.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

I don't know if I'm smart but I think I can see
When someone is pullin' the wool over me
And if this war comes and death's all around
Let me die on this land 'fore I die underground.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

There's always been people that have to cause fear
They've been talking of the war now for many long years
I have read all their statements and I've not said a word
But now Lawd God, let my poor voice be heard.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

If I had rubies and riches and crowns
I'd buy the whole world and change things around
I'd throw all the guns and the tanks in the sea
For they are mistakes of a past history.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

Let me drink from the waters where the mountain streams flood
Let me smell of wildflowers flow free through my blood
Let me sleep in your meadows with the green grassy leaves
Let me walk down the highway with my brother in peace.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

Go out in your country where the land meets the sun
See the craters and the canyons where the waterfalls run
Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho
Let every state in this union seep in your souls.
And you'll die in your footsteps
Before you go down under the ground



 

LILY, ROSEMARY AND THE JACK OF HEARTS: Secondo alcuni questa canzone può essere interpretata utilizzando una duplice chiave di lettura.
O come un vivace racconto in stile vecchio West oppure, cambiando i nomi dei protagonisti e spostando lo scenario negli anni '60, come una specie di parabola della carriera e della vita di Dylan.
Ecco di seguito gli ipotetici accoppiamenti tra i nomi fittizi usati da Dylan nel suo "teatrino" e quelli reali:
Big Jim = Albert Grossman (manager di Dylan per lungo tempo)
Jack of Hearts/Fante di cuori = Bob Dylan
Lily = Joan Baez
Rosemary = Sara Lowndes-Dylan
Il giudice = ??
Per la traduzione in italiano vedi la sezione "Testi in italiano" di "Maggie's Farm"

LILY, ROSEMARY AND THE JACK OF HEARTS
words and music Bob Dylan

The festival was over, the boys were all plannin' for a fall,
The cabaret was quiet except for the drillin' in the wall.
The curfew had been lifted and the gamblin' wheel shut down,
Anyone with any sense had already left town.
He was standin' in the doorway lookin' like the Jack of Hearts.

He moved across the mirrored room, "Set it up for everyone," he said,
Then everyone commenced to do what they were doin' before he turned their
heads. Then he walked up to a stranger and he asked him with a grin,
"Could you kindly tell me, friend, what time the show begins?"
Then he moved into the corner, face down like the Jack of Hearts.

Backstage the girls were playin' five-card stud by the stairs,
Lily had two queens, she was hopin' for a third to match her pair.
Outside the streets were fillin' up, the window was open wide,
A gentle breeze was blowin', you could feel it from inside.
Lily called another bet and drew up the Jack of Hearts.

Big Jim was no one's fool, he owned the town's only diamond mine,
He made his usual entrance lookin' so dandy and so fine.
With his bodyguards and silver cane and every hair in place,
He took whatever he wanted to and he laid it all to waste.
But his bodyguards and silver cane were no match for the Jack of Hearts.

Rosemary combed her hair and took a carriage into town,
She slipped in through the side door lookin' like a queen without a crown.
She fluttered her false eyelashes and whispered in his ear,
"Sorry, darlin', that I'm late," but he didn't seem to hear.
He was starin' into space over at the Jack of Hearts.

"I know I've seen that face before," Big Jim was thinkin' to himself,
"Maybe down in Mexico or a picture up on somebody's shelf."
But then the crowd began to stamp their feet and the house lights did dim
And in the darkness of the room there was only Jim and him,
Starin' at the butterfly who just drew the Jack of Hearts.

Lily was a princess, she was fair-skinned and precious as a child,
She did whatever she had to do, she had that certain flash every time she
smiled.
She'd come away from a broken home, had lots of strange affairs
With men in every walk of life which took her everywhere.
But she'd never met anyone quite like the Jack of Hearts.

The hangin' judge came in unnoticed and was being wined and dined,
The drillin' in the wall kept up but no one seemed to pay it any mind.
It was known all around that Lily had Jim's ring
And nothing would ever come between Lily and the king.
No, nothin' ever would except maybe the Jack of Hearts.

Rosemary started drinkin' hard and seein' her reflection in the knife,
She was tired of the attention, tired of playin' the role of Big Jim's wife.
She had done a lot of bad things, even once tried suicide,
Was lookin' to do just one good deed before she died.
She was gazin' to the future, riding on the Jack of Hearts.

Lily washed her face, took her dress off and buried it away.
"Has your luck run out?" she laughed at him, "Well, I guess you must
have known it would someday.
Be careful not to touch the wall, there's a brand-new coat of paint,
I'm glad to see you're still alive, you're lookin' like a saint."
Down the hallway footsteps were comin' for the Jack of Hearts.

The backstage manager was pacing all around by his chair.
"There's something funny going on," he said, "I can just feel it in the air."
He went to get the hangin' judge, but the hangin' judge was drunk,
As the leading actor hurried by in the costume of a monk.
There was no actor anywhere better than the Jack of Hearts.

Lily's arms were locked around the man that she dearly loved to touch,
She forgot all about the man she couldn't stand who hounded her so much.
"I've missed you so," she said to him, and he felt she was sincere,
But just beyond the door he felt jealousy and fear.
Just another night in the life of the Jack of Hearts.

No one knew the circumstance but they say that it happened pretty quick,
The door to the dressing room burst open and a cold revolver clicked.
And Big Jim was standin' there, ya couldn't say surprised,
Rosemary right beside him, steady in her eyes.
She was with Big Jim but she was leanin' to the Jack of Hearts.

Two doors down the boys finally made it through the wall
And cleaned out the bank safe, it's said that they got off with quite a haul.
In the darkness by the riverbed they waited on the ground
For one more member who had business back in town.
But they couldn't go no further without the Jack of Hearts.

The next day was hangin' day, the sky was overcast and black,
Big Jim lay covered up, killed by a penknife in the back.
And Rosemary on the gallows, she didn't even blink,
The hangin' judge was sober, he hadn't had a drink.
The only person on the scene missin' was the Jack of Hearts.

The cabaret was empty now, a sign said, "Closed for repair,"
Lily had already taken all of the dye out of her hair.
She was thinkin' 'bout her father, who she very rarely saw,
Thinkin' 'bout Rosemary and thinkin' about the law.
But, most of all she was thinkin' 'bout the Jack of Hearts.



 

MOTORPSYCHO NIGHTMARE: Divertente brano pubblicato sull'album "Another side of Bob Dylan" a metà strada tra il talkin' blues ed il rag.
Fa parte di una serie di canzoni tipiche del Dylan di quel periodo ricche di giochi di parole, di battute comiche, di frasi ironiche e di variopinte situazioni surreali. Può essere in questo accomunata a canzoni come "Bob Dylan's 115th dream", "Bob Dylan New Orleans rag", "I shall be free", "I shall be free no.10" etc. e dimostra la grande duttilità di Dylan come scrittore oltre che la sua incredibile bravura nell'utilizzo delle parole e delle rime.
In questo "Incubo motopsichico" Bob si ispira al celebre thriller di Alfred Hitchcock "Psycho" interpretato dal grande Anthony Perkins, attore che viene addirittura citato nel testo.

MOTORPSYCHO NIGHTMARE
words and music Bob Dylan

I pounded on a farmhouse
Lookin' for a place to stay.
I was mighty, mighty tired,
I had gone a long, long way.
I said, "Hey, hey, in there,
Is there anybody home?"
I was standin' on the steps
Feelin' most alone.
Well, out comes a farmer,
He must have thought that I was nuts.
He immediately looked at me

And stuck a gun into my guts.

I fell down
To my bended knees,
Saying, "I dig farmers,
Don't shoot me, please!"
He cocked his rifle
And began to shout,
"You're that travelin' salesman
That I have heard about."
I said, "No! No! No!
I'm a doctor and it's true,
I'm a clean-cut kid
And I been to college, too."

Then in comes his daughter
Whose name was Rita.
She looked like she stepped out of
La Dolce Vita.
I immediately tried to cool it
With her dad,
And told him what a
Nice, pretty farm he had.
He said, "What do doctors
Know about farms, pray tell?"
I said, "I was born
At the bottom of a wishing well."

Well, by the dirt 'neath my nails
I guess he knew I wouldn't lie.
"I guess you're tired,"
He said, kinda sly.
I said, "Yes, ten thousand miles
Today I drove."
He said, "I got a bed for you
Underneath the stove.
Just one condition
And you go to sleep right now,
That you don't touch my daughter
And in the morning, milk the cow."

I was sleepin' like a rat
When I heard something jerkin'.
There stood Rita
Lookin' just like Tony Perkins.
She said, "Would you like to take a shower?
I'll show you up to the door."
I said, "Oh, no! no!
I've been through this movie before."
I knew I had to split
But I didn't know how,
When she said,
"Would you like to take that shower, now?"

Well, I couldn't leave
Unless the old man chased me out,
'Cause I'd already promised
That I'd milk his cows.
I had to say something
To strike him very weird,
So I yelled out,
"I like Fidel Castro and his beard."
Rita looked offended
But she got out of the way,
As he came charging down the stairs
Sayin', "What's that I heard you say?"

I said, "I like Fidel Castro,
I think you heard me right,"
And ducked as he swung
At me with all his might.
Rita mumbled something
'Bout her mother on the hill,
As his fist hit the icebox,
He said he's going to kill me
If I don't get out the door
In two seconds flat,
"You unpatriotic, Rotten doctor Commie rat."

Well, he threw a Reader's Digest
At my head and I did run,
I did a somersault
As I seen him get his gun
And crashed through the window
At a hundred miles an hour,
And landed fully blast
In his garden flowers.
Rita said, "Come back!"
As he started to load
The sun was comin' up
And I was runnin' down the road.

Well, I don't figure I'll be back
There for a spell,
Even though Rita moved away
And got a job in a motel.
He still waits for me,
Constant, on the sly.
He wants to turn me in
To the F.B.I.
Me, I romp and stomp,
Thankful as I romp,
Without freedom of speech,
I might be in the swamp.


NEIGHBORHOOD BULLY: Il bullo del vicinato in questione è Israele.

NEIGHBORHOOD BULLY
words and music Bob Dylan

Well, the neighborhood bully, he's just one man,
His enemies say he's on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He's the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He's criticized and condemned for being alive.
He's not supposed to fight back, he's supposed to have thick skin,
He's supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He's the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He's wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He's always on trial for just being born.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him.
He was supposed to feel bad.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he'll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
'Cause there's a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.
He's the neighborhood bully.

He got no allies to really speak of.
What he gets he must pay for, he don't get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won't be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, he's surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn't hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Every empire that's enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He's made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under no one's command.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.
He's the neighborhood bully.

What's anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin', they say.
He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He's the neighborhood bully.

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers?
Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,
Running out the clock, time standing still,
Neighborhood bully.



 
 

CONTINUA



 
 

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sito italiano di Bob Dylan

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