“I investigated all the books at the library, ninety percent of ’em gotta be burned away”

If, on the off chance, you aren’t very familiar with Bob Dylan, that sarcastic quote is from a saucy song of his, “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues“.  I just thought it was fitting, our being a library and all…


Bob Dylan is the best songwriter, or at least the best lyricist of all time (in my opinion).  Not just my opinion, of course, as over 3,000 artists have covered his songs.  I personally have a special place in my heart for Bob.  I have so many favorite songs of his, I could not pick just one.  Some make me laugh, some wrench my heart out, some just resound in my soul.  My top two albums of his are Blonde on Blonde (isn’t that everyone’s favorite?) and Another Side of Bob Dylan.  The reason Another Side of Bob Dylan ties for my top favorite is because it has three of my all-time favorite songs:  the song a friend of ours sang at our wedding All I Really Wanna Do, To Ramona which I pretend was written especially for me, and Motorpsycho Nitemare which is really funny.  Blonde on Blonde is chock full of masterpieces like Visions of Johanna, Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands and Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again…  See?  Once I get started I can’t stop.    So I’ll just highlight some things we have here at the library:

Don’t Look Back:  This documentary was filmed on a 1965 three-week tour of England that Bob took with The Band & Joan Baez.  It chronicles his change of acoustic to electric.  This one kind of makes me sad because a lot of the fans don’t like the change and Bob seems so obviously unhappy throughout the film. 

No Direction Home:  This is the 2005 documentary by Martin Scorcese, who is the only one who could get Bob to talk.  He has some old footage but the interview is with a more mature Bob Dylan.  It’s truly worth seeing. 

Tarantula:  You have to be totally obsessed with Bob (ahem) to read this book cover to cover because it is basically just 137 pages of his stream-of-consciousness. 

Chronicles:  I must admit that he’s a much better songwriter than he is an author of books, but when you love someone you forgive these things…  there are some interesting excerpts though.  One piece of trivia for you:  I noticed that he mentions Bono coming over to visit and interestingly Bono mentions the same meeting in Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas (which is also very good by the way).

The Bob Dylan Scrapbook:  This is a scrapbook of mainly the years 1956-1966.  One of the most interesting things I found in this scrapbook are the handwritten lyrics of several of his songs, accompanied by scribbles and cigarette burns. 

Of his 47 albums, we currently have 7 here at OWL:

Blonde on Blonde, Bringing it All Back Home, The Basement Tapes, Greatest Hits, Before the Flood, Modern Times and Live 1964.

 I’ll leave you with a quote from yet another one of my favorites, “Restless Farewell“:

“Oh a false clock tries to tick out my time
To disgrace, distract, and bother me.
And the dirt of gossip blows into my face,
And the dust of rumors covers me.
But if the arrow is straight
And the point is slick,
It can pierce through dust no matter how thick.
So I’ll make my stand
And remain as I am
And bid farewell and not give a damn.”


guitar.jpg  Jesse Lee Harmon is the bookkeeper/library assistant at the Oliver Wolcott Library and loves playing guitar & singing her songs, cooking, a walk through dewey New England woods & a glass of pinot noir.

2 thoughts on ““I investigated all the books at the library, ninety percent of ’em gotta be burned away”

  1. Jesse- Thanks for this Bob Dylan post. We have liked him since the 60’s(1960) Now, we have a daughter-in-law named Johanna, and I was especially interested to have the words to the song. It’s now added to my “favorites”

  2. Hey Jesse,
    I was just reading some blogs to get a feel for what people write, and surprise! A blog on one of my favorite singers/songwriters.
    I agree with you that it’s so hard to pick a favorite album/song. He is such a genius, and each song that he has written captures a special emotion for me. Ramona is among my favs. also. Great blog!

    ~Your fellow Dylan “fan”atic,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s