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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 03:48 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 11th, 2007, 04:15 GMT
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Location: City of Angels
'Bob went away to...Italy and in the time he was away...he wrote 'Girl From The North Country', cause he came back and he said "I've got a song to play you." It was at the Troubadour, and he started to play, and he had that little guitar thing that I play in "Scarborough Fair". He was singing the song and he went into this figure and he just burst out laughing...and he wouldn't do the rest of it. He went all red.'

Martin Carthy

Bob's first love song and maybe his finest. The song may have been written for a number of women in Bob's life and that mystery may never be solved, but what remains is the strength and beauty of this magnificent song.

Well, if you’re travelin’ in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

Well, if you go when the snowflakes storm
When the rivers freeze and summer ends
Please see if she’s wearing a coat so warm
To keep her from the howlin’ winds

Please see for me if her hair hangs long,
If it rolls and flows all down her breast.
Please see for me if her hair hangs long,
That’s the way I remember her best.

I’m a-wonderin’ if she remembers me at all
Many times I’ve often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day

So if you’re travelin’ in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

Scarborough Fair, the original song it is derived from, written by Martin Carthy, is a song of magnitude as well.
Here's Simon & Garfunkel's timeless rendition:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWu6ney5hYQ

Bob's performed this song all throughout his career and there are so many great ones, both officially and un-officially, to talk about.
There's Freewheelin' of course which could never be topped.

Here's a 1964 television version of that original:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xtcxn_ ... ry-1_music

Johnny Cash once gave his daughter Roseanne a list of 100 essential songs to cover and this was of course on there. Of course there's Bob & Johnny's lovely duet from Nashville Skyline and of course later on The Johnny Cash Show:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 450371966#

Johnny performed it again on his show with Joni Mitchell and it was even better IMO:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1QO0jQ0PB0

Of course there's also Bob's wistful version on 1984's Real Live & the oh so forgettable version from 1992's 30th Anniversary Celebration.

And for me personally, I have many favorites from the NET, so many lovely, powerful version all throughout the years, but one stands a hair above the rest for me and it's from that golden year of 1998.
In a rare year of only 5 performances of the song, I think the first from Madison Square Garden is the loveliest, most breathtaking version I've ever heard from the man...

New York City
January 20 1998
http://www.sendspace.com/file/2v0bw1

Does anyone else have some great favorite versions? Any thoughts or stories about the song? Anyone care to possibly comment on who the "Girl" just may be??
Regardless, let's hear some love for this gorgeous gem of a song:)


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 04:17 GMT 

Joined: Thu August 30th, 2007, 22:44 GMT
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It was indeed Martin Carthy's arrangement of SCARBOROUGH FAIR that Dylan was inspired by, but just to be clear it's a very old traditional song, Carthy didn't write it.

Here's a favorite version, from one of the excellent shows of his 1980 Musical Retrospective tour. A really great arrangement. How 'bout that piano!

1980-12-03 Portland, OR
http://www.sendspace.com/file/z6reim (FLAC)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/todi9c (Apple Lossless)


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 06:08 GMT 
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Location: Maybe it isn't a tour, maybe he's just lost.
Don't forget this updating of it by Pete Townshend, really lovely with a great ending.

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

When you travel to the green hills of Ayr
Where the sea breaks windows on the border line.
Remember me to a girl who lives there,
For she once was a true love of mine.
Please see for me that her red hair is long,
And flows and curls down her back and breast.
Please see for me that her red hair is long,
For that's the way I remember her the best.
See that she's warm when the summer ends
When the trees are bare and the rivers freeze
She washes clothes where the river bends
She's working on her knees.
See for me that her coat's pulled up close,
And her beret frames her sweet pretty face.
See that she's warm and drink her a toast
For I am exiled in a lonely place.
Please let me know if she remembers me at all,
A hundred times I've hoped and prayed
That way up there near the Roman wall
She didn't suffer when the fall-out sprayed.
North Country girl.


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 07:12 GMT 
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Always loved how Bob, a 'poet' lest we forget, can sing 'many times I've often prayed' and not make you cringe.

Probably one of Bob's most perfect little songs, to go with 'I Threw It All Away'

Eels do a beautiful cover of the song on 'Eels With Strings - Live At Town Hall'.


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 07:50 GMT 

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81 piano version! STAT!


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 08:52 GMT 
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Girl From The North Country is a beautiful song... a masterpiece of americana writing... it is a wonderfully woeful plaintive ballad that captures the essence and vunerability of love drifting apart.

I believe that this song and the song 'To Ramona' are related to each other... per se... they are twinned together... I consider them to be the same song but with different words and tunes... other than that they are the same... and I believe that the woman in both songs is the same woman. It is my opinion that these heartfelt songs where penned for Drew Barrymore.

When you watch Drew Barrymore in a movie she oozes all the qualities that Dylan sings about in both songs... she is vunerable, yet beautiful... lovely, yet erotical... I would dearly love to find out more about Dylan and Drew but I have not read anything that can substantiate my theory.


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 08:57 GMT 
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Here I am learning to play this song off Dylanchords, I log in to Expectingrain and find it's today's track talk. Wonderful. One of my favourite Dylan love songs - interchangeable with Love Minus Zero in my top 10 I think. Only problem is the harmonica is a little piercing when you listen to it with headphones. Aside from that it's amazing, as is its (I like to think) spiritual successor Boots of Spanish Leather.


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 09:03 GMT 
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thickboy wrote:
Girl From The North Country is a beautiful song... a masterpiece of americana writing... it is a wonderfully woeful plaintive ballad that captures the essence and vunerability of love drifting apart.

I believe that this song and the song 'To Ramona' are related to each other... per se... they are twinned together... I consider them to be the same song but with different words and tunes... other than that they are the same... and I believe that the woman in both songs is the same woman. It is my opinion that these heartfelt songs where penned for Drew Barrymore.

When you watch Drew Barrymore in a movie she oozes all the qualities that Dylan sings about in both songs... she is vunerable, yet beautiful... lovely, yet erotical... I would dearly love to find out more about Dylan and Drew but I have not read anything that can substantiate my theory.


From what I can find out, Bob was romantically linked to Ms Barrymore a few years ago, but she left him when his drug ravaged body couldn't, um, 'rise to the occasion'. Subsequently, Bob published a colleciton of nude drawings he had made of the actress, which were all tinged with the regretful melancholia of impotence. It was called 'Drew Blank'.


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 15:40 GMT 

Joined: Wed July 30th, 2008, 01:43 GMT
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If it's about any member of that illustrious family, it's surely about Drew's uncle, the controversial British entertainer Michael Barrymore. Girl from the North Country apparently has two sequels - Boots of Spanish Leather and If You See Her, Say Hello. So very lovely.


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 16:42 GMT 

Joined: Tue June 22nd, 2010, 15:04 GMT
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Bennyboy wrote:
Always loved how Bob, a 'poet' lest we forget, can sing 'many times I've often prayed' and not make you cringe.


There's nothing wrong with that line. Maybe there have been a number of periods in his life that's he's prayed regularly. Say, over the past two decades, once every two years he's prayed three times a day for a two month period.


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 16:53 GMT 
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Kevin Bass wrote:
Bennyboy wrote:
Always loved how Bob, a 'poet' lest we forget, can sing 'many times I've often prayed' and not make you cringe.


There's nothing wrong with that line. Maybe there have been a number of periods in his life that's he's prayed regularly. Say, over the past two decades, once every two years he's prayed three times a day for a two month period.


Nah, he just needed the line to scan and used the same word twice. Dont over intellectualise it. Early Bob was moving too fast to sharpen his pencil much.


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 17:00 GMT 

Joined: Tue June 22nd, 2010, 15:04 GMT
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"Many" and "often" are not the same word. They don't even mean the same thing.

I don't see how my reading of the line is over-intellectualizing.


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 17:01 GMT 

Joined: Sun September 21st, 2008, 14:03 GMT
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This is getting weirder, anyone remember that incident in Manchester 95 when Bob demanded that the hotel people throw out Michael Barrymore because Bob wanted the deluxe suite that Barrymore was staying in? Bob said to the hotel clerk, "who is this barrymore" in an allegedly angry tone, Bob ended up storming out and just sleeping it out on his bus, this was after a 50 mile bid to find a suitable hotel.


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 17:06 GMT 

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Kevin Bass wrote:
"Many" and "often" are not the same word. They don't even mean the same thing.

I don't see how my reading of the line is over-intellectualizing.


Many soldiers came down from the hill

Often the captain would offer me a slug from his whiskey

Now this would work:

Often the soldiers came down from the hill

But this would not work:

Many the captain would offer me a slug from his whiskey.

It depends on the context but in the context of Girl of the North Country it does not work at all, unless of course he means many periods in his life he often prayed, like he prayed often (every day) for periods of up to 4 months over a span of 20 years???????? :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 18:10 GMT 

Joined: Thu December 9th, 2004, 16:38 GMT
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What I want to know is, how come when the Dylan of 1962 writes new lyrics to an old folk song and accompaniment, he is universally praised as brilliant, but when he does the same thing on L & T or MT, he is attacked in many quarters as a fraud and a plagiarist?

(This gets to the longstanding critical double-standard whereby things the young Bob is praised as genius for doing the older Bob is criticized for. It's like when Michael Gray dismisses 'Angelina' as a failed masterpiece because it doesn't hang logically together. Right. Unlike all his mid-60s stuff!! :lol: ).


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 18:17 GMT 
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Kevin Bass wrote:
"Many" and "often" are not the same word. They don't even mean the same thing.

I don't see how my reading of the line is over-intellectualizing.



They mean the same thing in the context of Dylan's use - as a way of reinforcing the number of times he's prayed. One of the words is technically redundant (he doesnt mean it in the sense you speculate, I'd stick a tenner on it), but Bob's colloquialisms and conversational writing style in the early sixties played fast and loose with grammar in favour of meaning and spirit.


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 18:18 GMT 

Joined: Fri March 6th, 2009, 01:56 GMT
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The internet. Obviously.

EDIT: @ Lone Pilgrim


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 19:51 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 11th, 2007, 04:15 GMT
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Location: City of Angels
The Mighty Monkey Of Mim wrote:
It was indeed Martin Carthy's arrangement of SCARBOROUGH FAIR that Dylan was inspired by, but just to be clear it's a very old traditional song, Carthy didn't write it.

Here's a favorite version, from one of the excellent shows of his 1980 Musical Retrospective tour. A really great arrangement. How 'bout that piano!

1980-12-03 Portland, OR
http://www.sendspace.com/file/z6reim (FLAC)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/todi9c (Apple Lossless)


Thanks for the clarification Mighty Monkey and that unbelievable performance..never heard that before:)
That piano is just gorgeous. Is that Bob??


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 20:00 GMT 

Joined: Thu August 30th, 2007, 22:44 GMT
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marker wrote:
That piano is just gorgeous. Is that Bob??

Most assuredly not! :lol:

The fellow's name is Willie Smith. Bob is on acoustic guitar.

(Not knocking Bob's playing of the keys, I am actually a fan of it, but I don't think he's really up to this level.)


also @ Lone Pilgrim: SERIOUSLY, MAN, YOU SAID IT! I have long been puzzled by the reaction to the "discovery" of Bob's patchwork technique on recent albums, since he's pretty much been working that way for his entire career. Pick a decade, any decade, and you'll find it at work. And I agree that to try to argue that something like, say, CHANGING OF THE GUARDS (just to pick a common example) is somehow less "logical" or more disjointed than DESOLATION ROW or GATES OF EDEN is ridiculous.


Last edited by The Mighty Monkey Of Mim on Tue July 13th, 2010, 20:08 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 20:08 GMT 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NasdMy9638A


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 20:17 GMT 
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Bennyboy wrote:
Always loved how Bob, a 'poet' lest we forget, can sing 'many times I've often prayed' and not make you cringe.

Aw, that's the line? I always thought it was "many times I hoped and prayed."


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PostPosted: Tue July 13th, 2010, 22:13 GMT 
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feet_of_a_harlot wrote:
This is getting weirder, anyone remember that incident in Manchester 95 when Bob demanded that the hotel people throw out Michael Barrymore because Bob wanted the deluxe suite that Barrymore was staying in? Bob said to the hotel clerk, "who is this barrymore" in an allegedly angry tone, Bob ended up storming out and just sleeping it out on his bus, this was after a 50 mile bid to find a suitable hotel.


I remember this, Feetie, babes... it was actually the Holiday Inn in Manchester... I know because I was working in the Holiday Inn in Leicester at the time... and that news spread like shite-outta-a-hens-ass... thanks for the trip down memory lane, Harlotty.


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PostPosted: Fri August 6th, 2010, 17:45 GMT 
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I wonder why people pick certain songs and debate whom they're about? Girl from the North Country, Baby Blue, Sad-Eyed Lady ...

I definitely understand wanting to know whom they're about, and having an opinion, but why these particular songs?

Girl from the North Country is definitely the funniest debate of them all.

Oh, and I vote for the Johnny Cash version on Nashville Skyline. Has that been mentioned? Sorry to be lazy.


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PostPosted: Fri August 6th, 2010, 21:05 GMT 

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my favorite lately 2/3/99 new orleans ...... (would post but not sure how) ....should be in the A-Z


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PostPosted: Fri August 6th, 2010, 23:38 GMT 

Joined: Sat February 23rd, 2008, 09:34 GMT
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My favorite version is the one of the Rundown Rehearsal or any version he did on the 78' tour. I also love the version he did with Johnny Cash.


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