‘Boots of Spanish Leather’ was recorded in 1963 and released on Bob Dylan’s album The Times They Are a-Changin’. This song may be about Susie Rotolo Dylan’s girlfriend and muse in the early 60s, who left New York in 1962 to study art, but the lyrics say this girl is going to Spain. The song is a bittersweet ballad takes the form of a dialogue between two lovers. It encompasses the guilty feelings of leaving someone, along with the fear of being left behind.
Dylan is in a relationship with this woman and she decides to take a trip. She asks him if there is anything that he wants her to send back to him, to remember her by (symbolizing that she may not be coming home). Bob, doesn’t want anything except for her to come back to him. She continues to ask him mentioning silver and gold, Madrid and Barcelona, but he tells her that he wants nothing more than her sweet kiss. She continues asking him what she can bring back for him and now she is getting on his nerves and since she is leaving him, he feels that her thoughts are not really with him. He tells her to take care of herself, accepting that she is most likely not coming back. Then he finally says that she can send him some Spanish boots of Spanish leather, so that he can take up his restless ways again, and find another girl. By accepting a parting gift, he is letting her know that he understands that she is moving on because she just doesn’t really love him the way he loved her and he is now able to move on.
Oh, I’m sailin’ away, my own true love
I’m sailin’ away in the morning
Is there something I can send you from across the sea
From the place that I’ll be landing?
No, there’s nothin’ you can send me, my own true love
There’s nothin’ I’m wishin’ to be ownin’
Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled
From across that lonesome ocean
Oh, but I just thought you might want something fine
Made of silver or of golden
Either from the mountains of Madrid
Or from the coast of Barcelona
But if I had the stars of the darkest night
And the diamonds from the deepest ocean
I’d forsake them all for your sweet kiss
For that’s all I’m wishin’ to be ownin’
But I might be gone a long old time
And it’s only that I’m askin’
Is there something I can send you to remember me by?
To make your time more easy-passin’
Oh, how can, how can you ask me again?
It only brings me sorrow
The same thing I would want today
I would want again tomorrow
Oh, I got a letter on a lonesome day
It was from her ship a-sailin’
Saying I don’t know when I’ll be comin’ back again
It depends on how I’m a-feelin’
If you, my love, must think that-a-way
I’m sure your mind is roamin’
I’m sure your thoughts are not with me
But with the country to where you’re goin’
So take heed, take heed of the western winds
Take heed of the stormy weather
And yes, there’s something you can send back to me
Spanish boots of Spanish leather
Written for Paula’s Thursday Inspiration 39 where this week’s theme is boots.