Happy birthday to signore Bob. This one happens to be my favourite of him. It cracks me up and open every time. Enjoy.
And since Dylan’s work is fiercely protected and gets deleted from YouTube on a daily basis and all my links stop working sooner or later, I’ll let Sarah Huber sing it with a hilarious dog cameo. Good luck in tracking down the original.
Man Gave Names To All The Animals by Bob Dylan
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago.
He saw an animal that liked to growl
Big furry paws and he liked to howl
Great big furry back and furry hair
“Ah, think I’ll call it a bear”.
He saw an animal up on a hill
Chewing up so much grass until she was filled
He saw milk coming out but he didn’t know how
“Ah, think I’ll call it a cow”.
He saw an animal that liked to snort
Horns on his head and they weren’t too short
It looked like there wasn’t nothing that he couldn’t pull
“Ah, I’ll think I’ll call it a bull”.
He saw an animal leaving a muddy trail
Real dirty face and a curly trail
He wasn’t too small and he wasn’t too big
“Ah, think I’ll call it a pig”.
Next animal that he did meet
Had wool on his back and hooves on his feet
Eating grass on a mountainside so steep
“Ah, think I’ll call it a sheep”.
He saw an animal as smooth as glass
Slithering his way through the grass
Saw him disappear by a tree near a lake …
Assorted animals + the one who gave me my name, in Orbetello. Photo: MM
The three songs in this post are quite possibly my favourite Joan Baez songs. It was my hitch-hiking, poetry-writing friend who introduced her to me, in the times of road travels down the Adriatic. I remember the time when I had five days to come back so that I could go back in the same direction on holidays with my family. Me and my friend made it all the way to Split, I could have stayed right there.
The hitch-hiking axiom #1: If we were flying, the car was tight on the inside and the driver was complaining all the time of rough times but then bought us dinner and cigarettes, the car was Yugo and the driver was from Kosovo.
Another time we were spreading the word around Postojna that everybody should go and VOTE. It seemed that it was the first time there were actually two candidates. “Vote for the young one,” we kept saying to everybody who had five minutes to spare. “He is the future.” We were right, he was the surprising winner and went straight to Belgrade to head the Presidency of Yugoslavia in the name of Slovenia. It was 1989. His name was Janez Drnovšek. When Bill Clinton was visiting Slovenia years later when we were already independent, Chelsea was not in the mood to take part in the festivities, and Drnovšek was our president. His son wrote in a book for Chelsea that he had bought himself new clothes for her and now she was a no-show. Rumours have it that she showed up after reading this.
As it goes, we made it back home too late to cast our votes ourselves.
Anyway, that was the hitch-hiking time with a tape I made from my friend’s records, and we kept offering it to the drivers to have our own soundtrack. Joan Baez was heavily represented.
I saw her live two times, the last time was seven years ago, and just now I saw she is coming back to Slovenia this October. I bet she looks even better now, after having hit 70 a few years ago.
Diamonds and Rust is a knickers-ripping song, as my friend Grega once said. The chorus goes like this:
…and if you’re offering me diamonds and rust, I’ve already paid.
At the concert in 2007, she sang her heart out, it was a good night, and she was her usual joking self. Then there came the part …and if you’re offering me diamonds and rust…
and to my immeasurable grin this grey-haired hippie icon continued: I take the diamonds.
Well I’ll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that’s not unusual
It’s just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I’d known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall
As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin’s eggs
My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the midwest
Ten years ago
I bought you some cufflinks
You brought me something
We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust
Well you burst on the scene
Already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond
You strayed into my arms
And there you stayed
Temporarily lost at sea
The Madonna was yours for free
Yes the girl on the half-shell
Would keep you unharmed
Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Now you’re smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there
Now you’re telling me
You’re not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
Because I need some of that vagueness now
It’s all come back too clearly
Yes I loved you dearly
And if you’re offering me diamonds and rust
I’ve already paid