Expecting Rain
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Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather
http://www.expectingrain.com/discussions/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=79242
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Author:  The Killer Snark [ Sun February 16th, 2014, 12:23 GMT ]
Post subject:  Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

It is not just among the very greatest songs that Dylan has ever wrote, but is one of the most beautiful love ballads ever written. I have loved this song since falling in love with its precursor Girl from the North Country for the first time, in a very similar version to the one I've posted a link for re: Boots, then hearing the same arrangement for Boots and realising Boots is even better, both in terms of its lyric sheet, which is flawless, and the fact it is also longer. Dylan admitted that Girl was rearranged from Marty Carthy's guitar arrangement on his version of Scarborough Fair, but actually it's only in the lyrics to Scarborough that there's any similarity. He seems to have been making a nod to Carthy with his admittance, out of convivial generosity; there is nothing musically similar between the Dylan song and its supposed source. With the dropping of the lyrical Scarborough nods, Boots wears its uniqueness even more openly. It is possibly my favourite Dylan song, or at least among my top five moments, and I hope it's one of yours as well.

Note: A friend of mine says this version, once available on a limited Columbia EP, was recorded from a show in Glasgow. The Youtube thread posits otherwise. What does anyone else here think?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32G4wn13LxU

Author:  smoke [ Sun February 16th, 2014, 13:25 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

Some good conversation about this on a previous track talk, I quoted your post there (used the search button at the top to find the thread). I agree it's a marvelous song.

Author:  quantumBob [ Sun February 16th, 2014, 23:01 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

One of my favorite early Dylan compositions. Such a gorgeous melody and such a moving dialogue.

This one contains one of my favorite Dylan lyrical touches, when he sings 'Spanish boots of Spanish leather.' The inclusion of that seemingly superfluous first 'Spanish', to me, makes all the difference. (In fact, if my memory serves me well there's at least one version where he leaves it out, just singing 'Boots of Spanish leather'. I'm too lazy to look right now. Perhaps someone else can corroborate?) He may have just thrown it in there for the sake of the meter, but it worked out splendidly.

Author:  mjeff [ Sun February 16th, 2014, 23:27 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

Great song... he sings so well that you don't know it was a live version. Stunning.

Author:  The Killer Snark [ Sun February 16th, 2014, 23:32 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

I think the 'Spanish boots of Spanish leather' works pefectly fine as well. After all, there's nothing saying the leather you might buy in Spain is necessarily Spanish. Joan Baez did a truly rotten version of this song, where she turns it into a jaunty country-pop track. There's a Richie Havens version I'm gonna check on Youtube that I think should be a better cover version. Bob's phrasing on this live version is faultless; when you hear songs of his done live like this, you kind of wish these were the versions that were out first time around.

Author:  raging_glory [ Sun February 16th, 2014, 23:49 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

quantumBob wrote:
One of my favorite early Dylan compositions. Such a gorgeous melody and such a moving dialogue.

This one contains one of my favorite Dylan lyrical touches, when he sings 'Spanish boots of Spanish leather.' The inclusion of that seemingly superfluous first 'Spanish', to me, makes all the difference. (In fact, if my memory serves me well there's at least one version where he leaves it out, just singing 'Boots of Spanish leather'. I'm too lazy to look right now. Perhaps someone else can corroborate?) He may have just thrown it in there for the sake of the meter, but it worked out splendidly.


The Town Hall version he sings 'send me boots of Spanish leather'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ij6BjS3VqwE

Author:  NE-1 [ Mon February 17th, 2014, 01:29 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

Boots of Spanish Leather along with Mama You've Been On My Mind, Tomorrow is a Long Time and One Too Many Morings to me comprise the Suze Love Song Cycle.

Revolutionary in their perspective on love and heartbreaking in their passion.

the color of the sun cut flat!!! whu???????

Author:  NE-1 [ Mon February 17th, 2014, 01:33 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

The Killer Snark wrote:
I think the 'Spanish boots of Spanish leather' works pefectly fine as well. After all, there's nothing saying the leather you might buy in Spain is necessarily Spanish. Joan Baez did a truly rotten version of this song, where she turns it into a jaunty country-pop track. There's a Richie Havens version I'm gonna check on Youtube that I think should be a better cover version. Bob's phrasing on this live version is faultless; when you hear songs of his done live like this, you kind of wish these were the versions that were out first time around.



bob backs up nanci griffith on harmonica on her fine version of this

Author:  NE-1 [ Mon February 17th, 2014, 01:42 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

The Killer Snark wrote:
I think the 'Spanish boots of Spanish leather' works pefectly fine as well. After all, there's nothing saying the leather you might buy in Spain is necessarily Spanish. Joan Baez did a truly rotten version of this song, where she turns it into a jaunty country-pop track. There's a Richie Havens version I'm gonna check on Youtube that I think should be a better cover version. Bob's phrasing on this live version is faultless; when you hear songs of his done live like this, you kind of wish these were the versions that were out first time around.



bob backs up nanci griffith on harmonica on her fine version of this

Author:  The Killer Snark [ Mon February 17th, 2014, 14:30 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

The Nanci Griffiths version is about the best cover I've found on Youtube, though Bob's versions of it are definitive. The rest of the Youtube versions, including unfortunately the Richie Havens one, are absolutely awful. You'd never think it would be so easy for people to slaughter such a beautiful song.

Author:  ForeignSun [ Tue February 18th, 2014, 03:38 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

I like "Boots", but it feels like a weaker version of "Girl From the North Country". They're thematically and musically similar, but "Girl From the North Country" is more poetic and heart wrenching. It's a far more beautiful song than "Boots", in my opinion. I suspect it's because I like the second-person format of "North Country" more than the dialogue format of "Boots".

Author:  The Killer Snark [ Tue February 18th, 2014, 04:33 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

I can understand a preference, but Boots does have the richer lyrics. Girl is a wonderful song, but as I've already mentioned, the lyrics are largely taken from Scarborough Fair.

Author:  theunwavedhand [ Fri February 21st, 2014, 20:48 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

Incredibly, I think Rod Stewart has the best non-Bob version on YouTube.

Author:  Trev [ Fri February 21st, 2014, 22:59 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

I've read that "Spanish boots of Spanish leather" refers to the Spanish boot, a torture device : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boot_%28torture%29


Anyway, this is so beautifully sung. I really like the way he rewrites an already lovely love song, and deepens and enriches it, by making it sadder and more yearning, giving the loved one a voice, and then he puts it on the very next album.

Author:  Mickvet [ Sat February 22nd, 2014, 14:19 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

Trev wrote:
I've read that "Spanish boots of Spanish leather" refers to the Spanish boot, a torture device : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boot_%28torture%29


Anyway, this is so beautifully sung. I really like the way he rewrites an already lovely love song, and deepens and enriches it, by making it sadder and more yearning, giving the loved one a voice, and then he puts it on the very next album.


For me, the torture reference alters the perspective of the song somewhat.

Author:  summerteeth [ Sat February 22nd, 2014, 16:59 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

I always thought this song would be perfect for a duet and am surprised
that no country music duo has ever attempted it (to my knowledge).

Naturally, we were never going to hear Bob perform it with Joanie
(or anyone else for that matter), so I went searching for a nice version.

Mandolin Orange is a North Carolina duo who have put out a few solid
albums over the last few years, and this performance seems to capture
the heartbreak and longing as well as any I've heard:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgLDAUds_EI

Author:  Trev [ Sat February 22nd, 2014, 17:16 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

Mickvet wrote:
Trev wrote:
I've read that "Spanish boots of Spanish leather" refers to the Spanish boot, a torture device : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boot_%28torture%29


Anyway, this is so beautifully sung. I really like the way he rewrites an already lovely love song, and deepens and enriches it, by making it sadder and more yearning, giving the loved one a voice, and then he puts it on the very next album.


For me, the torture reference alters the perspective of the song somewhat.


I'm not wholly sold on it, but I can see why the boots would become (not physically) tortuorous.

Author:  Still Go Barefoot [ Sat February 22nd, 2014, 18:12 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

Trev wrote:
I've read that "Spanish boots of Spanish leather" refers to the Spanish boot, a torture device : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boot_%28torture%29


Anyway, this is so beautifully sung. I really like the way he rewrites an already lovely love song, and deepens and enriches it, by making it sadder and more yearning, giving the loved one a voice, and then he puts it on the very next album.

I must be living under rock...never heard about this reference.
Makes perfect sense if true.
Because it must've been torture to hear that his loved one, Suze, was skee-daddling..

"Well, if you, my love, must think that-a-way
I’m sure your mind is roamin’
I’m sure your heart is not with me
But with the country to where you’re goin’ "

Author:  theunwavedhand [ Sat February 22nd, 2014, 21:30 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

theunwavedhand wrote:
Incredibly, I think Rod Stewart has the best non-Bob version on YouTube.

Sorry, that was Love Minus Zero. A bit soupy but I think it's a fine version, nevertheless.

Author:  theunwavedhand [ Sat February 22nd, 2014, 21:49 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

I love this sensitive version

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC9cxMT0Rro

Author:  WrittenInMySoul [ Sun February 23rd, 2014, 07:45 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

I didn't know about these torture devices either. Nice find, trev.
But I guess Bob wasn't thinking about that ( if he knew about it).
" There is something you can send back to me
Spanish Boots of spanish leather"

But who knows?

Any way, it's a good song, one of my favorites from the Times album.

Author:  Jal015 [ Sun February 23rd, 2014, 07:57 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

theunwavedhand wrote:
I love this sensitive version

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC9cxMT0Rro


Eh. I'm watched a lot of her videos. She isn't bad or anything, I just sort of find her style boring.

Author:  The Killer Snark [ Sun February 23rd, 2014, 11:39 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

summerteeth - I like that version as well. You know who would have done a perfect duet of this, though: Bob and Johnny Cash; if a version of this song had been stuck on at the end of Nashville Skyline, what a much better album it could have been.

The version theunwavedhand has linked to I have seen/heard before. She's a beautiful girl, but something about her 'sensitive singer-songwriter' physical persona I found offputting at first so I expected feigned over-emotion. It is, however, a very decent version of the song.

Patti Smith almost did a good version of this, or actually did perform it live but the proper version's not on Youtube. You can Youtube her singing it at a soundcheck, but the sonic quality's quite poor.

Author:  oldmanemu [ Sun February 23rd, 2014, 12:17 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

summerteeth wrote:
I always thought this song would be perfect for a duet and am surprised
that no country music duo has ever attempted it (to my knowledge[/url]

I have always thought that too.

Author:  oldmanemu [ Sun February 23rd, 2014, 12:21 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Track Talk: Boots of Spanish Leather

WrittenInMySoul wrote:
I didn't know about these torture devices either. Nice find, trev.
But I guess Bob wasn't thinking about that ( if he knew about it).
" There is something you can send back to me
Spanish Boots of spanish leather"

But who knows?

Any way, it's a good song, one of my favorites from the Times album.

I thought he requested Spanish boots of Spanish of Spanish leather to emphasize how she had walked all over him by offering so many material things to him , when all he wanted was her to come back just as she was , and in the end she found someone else while he was waiting for just her.

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