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Author: Subject: Do You Mr. Jones?

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 07:57 AM





Ballad of a Thin Man

First Release

Highway 61 Revisited
1965
{ RealAudio }
WindowsMedia { 56 }

Live

Before the Flood
1974
{ RealAudio }
WindowsMedia { 56 }

Live

At Budokan
1979
{ RealAudio }
WindowsMedia { 56 }

Live

Real Live
1984
{ RealAudio }
WindowsMedia { 56 }

Live

Live 1966
1998
{ RealAudio }
WindowsMedia { 56 }


You walk into the room
With your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked
And you say, "Who is that man?"
You try so hard
But you don't understand
Just what you'll say
When you get home

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

You raise up your head
And you ask, "Is this where it is?"
And somebody points to you and says
"It's his"
And you say, "What's mine?"
And somebody else says, "Where what is?"
And you say, "Oh my God
Am I here all alone?"

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

You hand in your ticket
And you go watch the geek
Who immediately walks up to you
When he hears you speak
And says, "How does it feel
To be such a freak?"
And you say, "Impossible"
As he hands you a bone

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

You have many contacts
Among the lumberjacks
To get you facts
When someone attacks your imagination
But nobody has any respect
Anyway they already expect you
To just give a check
To tax-deductible charity organizations

You've been with the professors
And they've all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You've been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald's books
You're very well read
It's well known

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Well, the sword swallower, he comes up to you
And then he kneels
He crosses himself
And then he clicks his high heels
And without further notice
He asks you how it feels
And he says, "Here is your throat back
Thanks for the loan"

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting the word "NOW"
And you say, "For what reason?"
And he says, "How?"
And you say, "What does this mean?"
And he screams back, "You're a cow
Give me some milk
Or else go home"

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Well, you walk into the room
Like a camel and then you frown
You put your eyes in your pocket
And your nose on the ground
There ought to be a law
Against you comin' around
You should be made
To wear earphones

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?


Copyright 1965; renewed 1993 Special Rider Music






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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 08:17 AM
How the hell do you write a song like that!

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 08:24 AM
can't--but i like to read old poems...& this one has some good wear & tear on it

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 08:31 AM
I remember on 60 minutes Ed Bradley asked Dylan, "How do you write like that/"
Dylan said "I dont know,cant do it anymore"

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 08:32 AM
he was lying!!!

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 08:53 AM
Thanks so much for that Dose of Dylan Effie! For the record, I am a certified Dylan freak...Damn, what a talent. A word-painter in the highest magnitude. Make no mistake, Dylan is in a league all his own. No one is better, no one is even close. He has influenced more musicians than anyone in history and continues to do so...


A great clip..."Ballad of a Thin Man 1966"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNJ7d52llic&mode=related&search=



Ballad of a Thin Man
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Ballad of a Thin Man" is a song written by Bob Dylan, originally released in 1965 on Highway 61 Revisited, with live versions released on Before the Flood (1974), Bob Dylan at Budokan (1979), Real Live (1984), Hard to Handle (video, 1986), The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert (1998) and on The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack (2005). "Ballad of a Thin Man" has been extensively performed live throughout Dylan's career, up to this day.

A dark and menacing sounding song, "Ballad of a Thin Man" addresses a certain "Mr. Jones", telling him that he simply doesn't know what's "happening." The song's lyrics have Mr. Jones facing a wild, nonsensical, and hallucinatory, circus-like or carnival-like world and the character is portrayed as a clueless poser who cannot deal with it all.

The "identity" of Mr. Jones has long been in dispute. When asked about it in an interview in 1965, Dylan responded:

"He's a pinboy. He also wears suspenders. He's a real person. You know him, but not by that name... I saw him come into the room one night and he looked like a camel. He proceeded to put his eyes in his pocket. I asked this guy who he was and he said, "That's Mr. Jones." Then I asked this cat, "Doesn't he do anything but put his eyes in his pocket?" And he told me, "He puts his nose on the ground." It's all there, it's a true story."

In a mid-1980s interview with Q magazine, Dylan appeared to identify Mr. Jones as Max Jones, a former Melody Maker critic, supporting the theory that "Mr. Jones" was simply one of the many music critics who didn't "get" Dylan's songs, especially the more surreal ones he wrote in the mid-1960s.[citation needed]

It has also been speculated that the song is about Brian Jones, founder and guitarist of The Rolling Stones. Dylan was a friend of Brian Jones and watched Brian's lengthy downfall.

Songs by other artists that allude to "Ballad of a Thin Man" include Yer Blues from The Beatles' White Album (I feel so suicidal, just like Dylan's Mr. Jones...) and Mr. Jones from Counting Crows' album August and Everything After (I want to be Bob Dylan/Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky...). Additionally, the Cold War Kids track We Used to Vacation includes the lyric "just give a check to tax-deductible charity organizations".

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 09:03 AM
Eddie--thanks for the added comments on the song--yup--i LOVE BOB!!!--his lyrics,we all know are superb,but his tunes are quite masterful as well...just never try a sing a long---BOB will make it a point to change directions---i actually had the special & rare opportunity to work at a friend's studio & for a couple of years in the mid 80's we actually got to spend a great deal of time with the genius & to sit around for hours listening to him & his band rehearsing...many great stories & fun times--we got to celebrate his 46th birthday with him...

[Edited on 10/2/2007 by dadof2boys]

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 09:24 AM
quote:
Eddie--thanks for the added comments on the song--yup--i LOVE BOB!!!--his lyrics,we all know are superb,but his tunes are quite masterful as well...just never try a sing a long---BOB will make it a point to change directions---i actually had the special & rare opportunity to work at a friend's studio & for a couple of years in the mid 80's we actually got to spend a great deal of time with the genius & to sit around for hours listening to him & his band rehearsing...many great stories & fun times--we got to celebrate his 46th birthday with him...

[Edited on 10/2/2007 by dadof2boys]


I love Bob too and even if his voice is not what it was, I look at his concerts as a chance to hear from the author. His new songs seem composed to suit his voice, or maybe it's that I've never heard them w/ his younger voice. Please relate some of the stories of your time w/ Bob! Songlyrics I can find myself.

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 09:41 AM
well...gotta be discreet,but here's some general stuff:
BOB is a very funny guy,particularly after the first few weeks,as he got comfortable & removed his hooded sweatshirt.
BOB is a VERY involved family guy.
BOB gives no instruction,verbally to his musicians---he just plays & expects the band to "get it".
BOB fired a bass player.
BOB is hassled by by lots of difficult people.
BOB was very nice to us & we enjoyed our time with the late great VICTOR(read the Scaduto bio or others--VICTOR was with BOB since around 62-63 & did the cross country trip with him in 63.)
BOB did Springstein imitations.Very funny stuff.
BOB liked hot red roasted peppers.
Alot of big time rockers & musicians came by to play or hang with BOB.
TONY GARNIER,BOB's long time bass player is a sweet guy,leads the band,follows BOB's lead,& does it all with great chops & a sense of humor.
good times.....

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 09:48 AM
Good stuff Effie. What a treat your time w/ him must have been. I can't imagine who would, or could, hassle him. Does he not like Springsteen?

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 10:00 AM
I bet it was about the music critics or label representatives. 90 % of them can't sing or play a note.

[Edited on 10/2/2007 by Angelemerald]

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 10:00 AM
He wasn't poking fun at Bruce--but playin around...anyone who could get near him wanted to get something from him....an autograph on the way in or out...other musicians using other studios wanted face time,famous guests worshipping him while he tried to gather a new band & work,etc....our jobs were to do what we were told & not even talk to him until he felt ready...if ever---there was also some post LENNON murder fears...once comfort set in,BOB was fine & at ease but we had to show him we weren't gonna hassle him in any way...& we didn't & things went quite nicely...but,i still feel a sense of moral obligation to keep this as general as i put it to protect his privacy...he will do & say anything to throw the public off what's really going on in his life & what he's saying...thus,a lifetime of public evasiveness only revealed to him in his music & words,except his autobiography,CHRONICLES,where he sheds some light on his past...you'll see his immediate committment to & involvement in his family....one thing i learned during those 3 short 2 month sesssions over 3 years was....never try to figure out what he intends or the meaning of the song...he does mean it when he says that his intent & our read of it may be 2 very different things!!!

[Edited on 10/2/2007 by dadof2boys]

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 10:29 AM
Did this song come before or after him going electric at the Folk fest?

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 10:50 AM
good question Angel,
the newport folk festival was held July 25, 1965.


i have always loved this song, "Because something is happening here and you don't know what it is...."


oh, and this part always makes me blush...

"Well, the sword swallower, he comes up to you
And then he kneels
He crosses himself
And then he clicks his high heels
And without further notice
He asks you how it feels
And he says, "Here is your throat back
Thanks for the loan"

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 01:13 PM
Great tune, going to see Dylan and Elvis Monday and would love to hear this live.

Btw, there's a great version of this song by The Jamie Saft Trio on their Dylan tribute cd Trouble.

http://tzadik.com/volume.php?VolumeID=437

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 01:37 PM
Not sure if this helps identify the Mysterious Mr. Jones.

but maybe this song about his wife might help? or probably ex-wife by now.


Me and Mrs. Jones
We got a thing going on
We both know that it's wrong
But it's much too strong
To let it go now

We meet every day at the same cafe
Six-thirty and no one knows she'll be there
Holding hands, making all kinds of plans
While the juke box plays our favorite songs

Me and Mrs. Jones
We got a thing going on
We both know that it's wrong
But it's much too strong
To let it go now

We gotta be extra careful
That we don't build our hopes up too high
'Cause she's got her own obligations
And so do I

 

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  posted on 10/2/2007 at 03:16 PM

Here's another take on Mr. Jones, courtesy of the Psychedelic Furs:

Mrs. Jones is 17 and 6 and 24
moderately pretty she is all the girls you know
we are going far away
we're going for a ride
Mr. Jones has got a plan if you just come inside

so good so far
slow down ha ha
movie stars and ads
and radio define romance
don't turn it on
I don't want to dance

Mr. Jones is beautiful
your eyes are made of glass
looking through the window you can see the world go past
here's another 9 o'clock and here's another day
wonder how the weather is and what the people say

so good so far
slow down ha ha
movie stars and ads
and radio define romance
don't turn it on
I don't want to dance

Mr. Jones can turn you on and turn you off again
Mr. Jones is all of you who live inside a plan
put your head upon the pillow, never put it down
that would only wake you up and turn your head around

so good so far
slow down ha ha
movie stars and ads
and radio define romance
don't turn it on
I don't want to dance

 

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  posted on 10/3/2007 at 12:57 PM
Effie - thanks for the Dylan Dose! I'm with you ... LOVE BD - love his lyrics, love the music, love his voice and delivery (which yes - can be so different from the last). This is my 1st year in I don't know how long where I don't have a Dylan concert (reluctantly passing on this tour with Costello because of other things I have going on). I've got Bob Dylan: Lyrics at home and often read through it even without the music because he's just that good and I do love poetry.

 

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  posted on 10/3/2007 at 01:38 PM
Thanks,Deb--i'm into a heavy DYLAN thing now...the last 40 years or so LOL...& i'm also copying you & reading more & more with & without his music--all a matter of taste,of course,but i love his writing & find it compelling & almost prophetic--he kinda sees the big picture more than most...& his songs never lose touch with where we're headed...& even often criticized periods of his work are,when reread,quite profound & telling...& his recent stuff---Time Out Of Mind,Love & Theft,Modern times...will if not now,be seen in the future as awesome songwriting---musically,lyrically, & with a diverse range of styles.

 

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  posted on 10/9/2007 at 10:12 AM
Ballad of a Thin Man Syracuse, NY 10.8.07

http://youtube.com/watch?v=GdI6I3-otJM

 

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  posted on 10/9/2007 at 11:57 AM
I saw a documentary within the last few years which had an interesting take on the song, and it made sense to me. I think it may have been the Dylan documentary by Martin Scorsese a few years ago. It said that Mr. Jones stands for a 60's establishment type who really thinks he's hip but is starting to realize that the new, hip, youth culture along with it's music has really passed him by.

 

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  posted on 10/9/2007 at 12:23 PM
I always liked "Ain't gonna work on MAGGIE'S FARM no more"

I saw him at a theater with about 2000 capacity. The acoustics were good but he sort of just stood there and mumbled. I didn't understand one word he sang. We had great center seats maybe 5 rows from the stage. The other three people I was with didn't understand him either. That was early 90's. But his band was fantastic. Worth the price to hear them. Best live music since I heard the US Marine Corp Band mid 60's. I only recently heard the ABB live and they are the best.

 
 


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