Here I Sit So Patiently

This Bob Dylan song ‘Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again’ which appeared on his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde is a bit long and it could be used to satisfy a lot of prompts, but it does not make a lot of sense and I don’t think that there is any connection with Mobile or the Memphis Blues, that is unless the “bricks lay on Grand Street” are in Mobile.  In this song, Dylan weaves a story that is impossible to understand or interpret possibly comparable to an abstract landscape which you might see in a Jackson Pollock paining, something that is not coherent, but something that is very interesting and can be marveled at.

In 1909, W. C. Handy wrote an instrumental piece called ‘Memphis Blues’, that was published 1912 and this song is responsible for bringing the blues to a wider audience and starting the blues craze.  Handy’s song was the first to feature the twelve-bar blues, which is a repeated twelve-bar chord progression that became one of the most prominent chord progressions in modern music.  It is usually made up of 3 parts, each 4 measures or “bars” long and this series of two or more chords forms the foundation of harmony and determines how a piece of music unfolds over time in popular music. The blues progression (referring to the order in which chords are played) has a distinctive form in lyrics, phrase, chord structure, and duration and Dylan most likely wrote this song as a tribute to WC Handy.

John Lennon actually made fun of this Bob Dylan song saying that he used obscure lyrics too extensively and he wrote a spoof titled ‘Stuck Inside of Lexicon with the Roget’s Thesaurus Blues Again’.  There are several interesting characters in this song starting off with the ragman, who Dylan said is the devil.  The ragman silently draws circles up and down the block and some ladies keep him from escaping with their tape.  Dylan asks his mama if this can really be the end and this compassionate plea to his mother also appears later in the Queen song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, where Freddie Mercury questions if this is real life, or just fantasy and he tells his mama that he doesn’t want to die after he killed a man. Shakespeare is speaking to some French girl, which is something that Bob often likes to use, as ‘The French Girl’ is a song that was written by Ian Tyson and was recorded by Bob Dylan and The Band 1967 during The Basement Tapes sessions. In his 1965 song ‘115th Dream’ he says, “They asked me for some collateral and I pulled down my pants. They threw me in the alley, when up comes this girl from France”.

Grandpa dies after building a fire on Main Street and shooting it full of holes, but it was not sad as it was expected.  A senator shows everyone his gun then gives out free tickets for his son’s wedding.  Dylan doesn’t seem to have a ticket and he is worried about being discovered beneath a truck.  A preacher enters the story and curses at Dylan, but Bob tells him that they are alike and he hopes that he is satisfied.  The rainman gives Bob some Texas medicine, which is slang for mescaline along with some railroad gin, which I suspect is nasty and might taste like brake fluid and Dylan mixed them together and lost his sense of time.

Ruthie is a performer in a honky-tonk lagoon, where she does the waltz for free beneath her Panamanian moon.  Ruthie knows about Bob’s debutante, and she says, “Your debutante just knows what you need but I know what you want”.  I have no idea why Dylan mentions the bricks that lay on Grand Street, but there is actually a brick at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Lexington, NC that has my name on it, because I helped them out with a project.  Crazy things are going on and Dylan sits patiently, hoping that he won’t have to go through this again.

Oh, the ragman draws circles
Up and down the block
I’d ask him what the matter was
But I know that he don’t talk
And the ladies treat me kindly
And they furnish me with tape
But deep inside my heart
I know I can’t escape
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile with the
Memphis blues again
Well, Shakespeare, he’s in the alley
With his pointed shoes and his bells
Speaking to some French girl
Who says she knows me well
And I would send a message
To find out if she’s talked
But the post office has been stolen
And the mailbox is locked
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again
Mona tried to tell me
To stay away from the train line
She said that all the railroad men
Just drink up your blood like wine
An’ I said, “Oh, I didn’t know that
But then again, there’s only one I’ve met
An’ he just smoked my eyelids
An’ punched my cigarette”
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again
Grandpa died last week
And now he’s buried in the rocks
But everybody still talks about how
Badly they were shocked
But me, I expected it to happen
I knew he’d lost control
When I speed built a fire on Main Street
And shot it full of holes
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again
Now the senator came down here
Showing ev’ryone his gun
Handing out free tickets
To the wedding of his son
An’ me, I nearly got busted
An’ wouldn’t it be my luck
To get caught without a ticket
And be discovered beneath a truck
Oh, Mama, is this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again
Now the tea preacher looked so baffled
When I asked him why he dressed
With twenty pounds of headlines
Stapled to his chest
But he cursed me when I proved it to him
Then I whispered and said, “Not even you can hide
You see, you’re just like me
I hope you’re satisfied”
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again
Now the rainman gave me two cures
Then he said, “Jump right in”
The one was Texas medicine
The other was just railroad gin
An’ like a fool I mixed them
An’ it strangled up my mind
An’ now people just get uglier
An’ I have no sense of time
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again
And when Ruthie says come see her
In her honky-tonk lagoon
Where I can watch her waltz for free
‘neath her Panamanian moon
An’ I say, “Aw come on now
You know you knew about my debutante”
An’ she says, “Your debutante just knows what you need
But I know what you want”
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again
Now the bricks lay on Grand Street
Where the neon madmen climb
They all fall there so perfectly
It all seems so well timed
An’ here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of
Going through all these things twice
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the theme this week is Lean/Sit/Stand.

25 thoughts on “Here I Sit So Patiently

    1. Thanks Felicia. When I first started listening to Dylan, I was just like you, not understanding much of what he said. Over the years, I have gotten more used to his voice. I still can’t understand Bruce Springsteen.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Now that is something, seeing Zimmy with The GD. I think Dylan feels most comfortable in a circus atmosphere, as it is a reflection is the circus inside of his head. The man knows how to write fun songs that may or may not make sense. It’s one of those things where you throw sense out of the window and just enjoy the images floating by…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Scarlett79
    1. I found some of the lyrics:
      a postage system that never fails
      to land me in jail
      And look through my mail
      Perhaps have a garage sale
      And you know, go save the whale
      and, you know, get a boat and go for a sail
      and, and, oh, oh, oh, oh, how do you get out of this hell?
      Stuck inside of a lexicon with the Roget’s thesaurus blues again
      Sometimes I wish I was just George Harrison –
      you know all the answers, oh my god, oh my god.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. John was funny. Some of his parodies and ramblings have been released… I heard one where he read a newspaper while playing a guitar in a Dylan voice.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a good song because, well … Dylan! Have no idea what he’s singing, but who cares!
    My daughter & son-in-law just saw him in concert in Kansas City over the week end. Said he’s really showing his age, but were glad they did get to see him. They said someone sitting near them said they couldn’t understand what he was singing, and my son-in-law laughed to himself – have you never heard a Dylan song! haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jim

    The Memphis Blues are really epic

    especially the part at the beginning.

    I’ll quote up to the part about the Senator and the gun:

    “Well, Shakespeare, he’s in the alley
    With his pointed shoes and his bells
    Speaking to some French girl
    Who says she knows me well
    And I would send a message
    To find out if she’s talked
    But the post office has been stolen
    And the mailbox is locked
    Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again
    Mona tried to tell me
    To stay away from the train line
    She said that all the railroad men
    Just drink up your blood like wine
    An’ I said, “Oh, I didn’t know that
    But then again, there’s only one I’ve met
    An’ he just smoked my eyelids
    An’ punched my cigarette”
    Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again
    Grandpa died last week
    And now he’s buried in the rocks
    But everybody still talks about how
    Badly they were shocked
    But me, I expected it to happen
    I knew he’d lost control
    When I speed built a fire on Main Street
    And shot it full of holes
    Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again
    Now the senator came down here
    Showing ev’ryone his gun
    Handing out free tickets
    To the wedding of his son
    An’ me, I nearly got busted
    An’ wouldn’t it be my luck
    To get caught without a ticket
    And be discovered beneath a truck
    Oh, Mama, is this really be the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again”[…]

    Dylan makes you see; hear; feel.

    This is why he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.

    And the chorus is easy to get into – I fell in love with it sometime around 2000 to 2003.

    Yes; my Dylan love affair was a slow burn – and it had begun some 10 years before [1993] with some pointed literary references.

    Oh – that Lennon was a cheeky one! And my aunt told of some Lennon memories while we were walking.

    Liked by 1 person

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