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PostPosted: Sun December 1st, 2013, 21:42 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 11th, 2007, 04:15 GMT
Posts: 1519
Location: City of Angels
All the early Roman kings
In their sharkskin suits
Bow ties and buttons
High top boots
Drivin' the spikes in
Blazin' the rails
Nailed in their coffins
In top hats and tails
Fly away, little bird
Fly away, flap your wings
Fly by night
Like the early Roman kings

All the early roman kings
In the early early morn
Coming down the mountain
Distributing the corn
Speeding through the forest
Racing down the track
You try to get away
They drag you back
Tomorrow is Friday
We'll see what it brings
Everybody's talking
Bout the early roman kings

They're peddlers and they're meddlers
They buy and they sell
They destroyed your city
They'll destroy you as well
They're lecherous and treacherous
Hell-bent for leather
Each of 'em bigger
Than all them put together
Sluggers and muggers
Wearing fancy gold rings
All the women goin' crazy
For the early Roman kings

I can dress up your wounds
With a blood-clotted rag
I ain't afraid to make love
To a bitch or a hag
If you see me comin'
And you're standing there
Wave your handkerchief
In the air
I ain't dead yet
Ma Bell still rings
I keep my fingers crossed
Like them early roman kings

I can strip you of life
Strip you of breath
Ship you down
To the house of death
One day
You will ask for me
There'll be no one else
That you'll wanna see
Bring down my fiddle
Tune up my strings
I'm gonna break it wide open
Like the early roman kings

I was up on black mountain
The day Detroit fell
They killed 'em all off
And they sent 'em to hell
Ding dong daddy
You're coming up short
Gonna put you on trial
In a Sicilian court
I've had my fun
I've had my flings
Gonna shake em all down
Like the early roman kings


'The thing about it is that there is the old and the new, and you have to connect with them both. The old goes out and the new comes in, but there is no sharp borderline. The old is still happening while the new enters the scene, sometimes unnoticed. The new is overlapping at the same time the old is weakening its hold. It goes on and on like that. Forever through the centuries.'
Bob Dylan 2012

Early Roman Kings is a great song that connects this tissue Bob talks about. These Kings are also Mafia gangsters as well as fat cat business tycoons, Wall St. executives & corrupt politicians.
They are the elite.
And by connecting them all into one bad-ass blues song, Dylan is saying that so long as power and greed rule this planet through this 'royalty', nothing can ever change.
And thus, this song cuts into the heart of that beast like no other....

I've only heard a handful of shows from this year. When I saw him in Camden, this was good but not near as effective as the one rendition that I've repeatedly returned to since I heard it late last year....

A truly monstrous version in the belly of the beast...

Washington D.C. USA
November 20 2012
http://www.sendspace.com/file/w9gghy

How do we feel about ERK, ER???


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PostPosted: Sun December 1st, 2013, 22:29 GMT 

Joined: Tue October 22nd, 2013, 10:03 GMT
Posts: 766
I don't really mean this to sound like faint praise, because I like it, but out of the many, many songs to take the riff from Muddy Waters' Mannish Boy, this is one of the only ones I don't consider completely lazy, though it's mainly because the lyrics in it are good.


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PostPosted: Sun December 1st, 2013, 22:35 GMT 

Joined: Sat September 22nd, 2007, 15:19 GMT
Posts: 1295
Lyrics are great. Ding dong daddy! It has a dark coolness to it, a hard edge. Suits the old reheat riff immaculately...


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PostPosted: Sun December 1st, 2013, 23:18 GMT 
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The lyrics are lazy. The theme has been done in a thousand other songs. And I don't really care one way or the other about the music appropriation.

It's Dylan drive-thru 2 dollar special.


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PostPosted: Sun December 1st, 2013, 23:27 GMT 
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Nicely placed on tour as a shake up just before the majestic five-song suite of Heart, Spirit, Scarlet, Midnight, Years.


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PostPosted: Sun December 1st, 2013, 23:54 GMT 

Joined: Thu December 9th, 2004, 16:38 GMT
Posts: 1539
Location: Canadee-i-o
It's necessary light relief between the darkness of 'Tin Angel' the wry epic that is the title track. I really enjoy his vocal on the recorded version, the band is popping, and there's a lot of fun stuff on here ('Ding Dong Daddy!!' and 'I ain't dead yet - muh bell still rings" being prominent examples :lol: ). Works much, much better in the context of the album than as the single release that Columbia bafflingly selected it to be. This is an enjoyable throwaway - similar in spirit but vastly better in substance relative dreck like "My Wife's Hometown" and "Jolene" from TTL.


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PostPosted: Mon December 2nd, 2013, 01:25 GMT 
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Would make a good opener.


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PostPosted: Mon December 2nd, 2013, 02:19 GMT 

Joined: Fri January 2nd, 2009, 17:52 GMT
Posts: 614
So much better live than on the album! On the album it's good but in no way great, but the last few weeks live have seen the song take off to another level. Bob seems to really like riff songs. It's a good one, but the accordion is not helpful. Play it like Muddy; hard, loud, and with attention to detail. I love the lyrics too. But what the heck is "ding dong daddy?" Does anyone know this?


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PostPosted: Mon December 2nd, 2013, 02:44 GMT 
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storiesinthepress wrote:
But what the heck is "ding dong daddy?" Does anyone know this?

Louis, Baby!
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=W671d5w3zH ... 671d5w3zHU


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PostPosted: Mon December 2nd, 2013, 03:51 GMT 
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The Benny Goodman Quartet

http://youtu.be/x3xpppeRQ9g


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PostPosted: Mon December 2nd, 2013, 06:37 GMT 
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Fly by night
Like the early roman kings


I love that...


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PostPosted: Mon December 2nd, 2013, 09:07 GMT 
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Quote:
I can dress up your wounds
With a blood-clotted rag
I ain't afraid to make love
To a bitch or a hag


This :D

I think the live version is a lot better though. Good piano improvisations.


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PostPosted: Mon December 2nd, 2013, 09:18 GMT 

Joined: Mon June 5th, 2006, 18:41 GMT
Posts: 1993
It fits 'Tempest' better than I thought it would, even if it's pretty slight on an album that contains a lot of heavy hitters. The accordion isn't as grating as it is on 'Together Through Life.' I guess what I'm saying is that I'm glad it isn't "If You Ever Go to Houston."


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PostPosted: Sat February 14th, 2015, 19:38 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 11th, 2007, 04:15 GMT
Posts: 1519
Location: City of Angels
Maybe the quiet highlight of 'The Set' for me, this is the one pure Chicago blues in the entire
set and Bob and the boys have slowly worked their way into this song and by the end of this past year,
Bob really started to let the guys tear loose on this song, especially Charlie....

Check this one from Chicago:
http://youtu.be/HkJx2wiB88w

But I also maintain that the residency at The Beacon closing the 2014 tour were not only the finest shows of
the year but his best closing NYC shows in many years....

Here's a superb rendition of ERK from the 28th:

New York City NY
November 28 2014
http://www.mediafire.com/download/0atmq ... _(11-28-14).aiff


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PostPosted: Sun February 15th, 2015, 02:33 GMT 
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Nice! The Minneapolis 2014 version is worth checking too!


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PostPosted: Tue April 28th, 2015, 18:48 GMT 
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marker wrote:
Maybe the quiet highlight of 'The Set' for me, this is the one pure Chicago blues in the entire
set and Bob and the boys have slowly worked their way into this song and by the end of this past year,
Bob really started to let the guys tear loose on this song, especially Charlie....

Check this one from Chicago:
http://youtu.be/HkJx2wiB88w

But I also maintain that the residency at The Beacon closing the 2014 tour were not only the finest shows of
the year but his best closing NYC shows in many years....

Here's a superb rendition of ERK from the 28th:

New York City NY
November 28 2014
http://www.mediafire.com/download/0atmq ... _(11-28-14).aiff


Was particularly good that night.
On record, I feel Dylan has sacrificed a lot of coherence with his borrowings. Others sense the richness of the palimpsest, and peer into the depths of unearthed musicological revelations, then look out across a sweeping breadth of literary allusion forty miles wide. Ah, but I so often see the random flat assemblage of the scrapbook. Still, live, on stage, there’s this tremendous compression of time, or suspension of disbelief. Theatre. The effective but loose historical layering on Early Roman Kings live at The Beacon becomes as densely packed as the geological sediment that keeps the molten core of the earth secret. The weight of history has been calibrated by Dylan himself, not the whims of public fame and caprices of cultural currency, and Early Roman Kings works better than a better song like Blowin’ in the Wind.


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PostPosted: Tue April 28th, 2015, 19:40 GMT 
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Posts: 1818
Ain't Talkin' wrote:
The lyrics are lazy. The theme has been done in a thousand other songs. And I don't really care one way or the other about the music appropriation.

It's Dylan drive-thru 2 dollar special.


Which is still better than 90% of the music out there.


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PostPosted: Tue April 28th, 2015, 19:53 GMT 
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Location: Workin' as a postal clerk
marker wrote:
All the early Roman kings
In their sharkskin suits
Bow ties and buttons
High top boots
Drivin' the spikes in
Blazin' the rails
Nailed in their coffins
In top hats and tails
Fly away, little bird
Fly away, flap your wings
Fly by night
Like the early Roman kings

All the early roman kings
In the early early morn
Coming down the mountain
Distributing the corn
Speeding through the forest
Racing down the track
You try to get away
They drag you back
Tomorrow is Friday
We'll see what it brings
Everybody's talking
Bout the early roman kings

They're peddlers and they're meddlers
They buy and they sell
They destroyed your city
They'll destroy you as well
They're lecherous and treacherous
Hell-bent for leather
Each of 'em bigger
Than all them put together
Sluggers and muggers
Wearing fancy gold rings
All the women goin' crazy
For the early Roman kings

I can dress up your wounds
With a blood-clotted rag
I ain't afraid to make love
To a bitch or a hag
If you see me comin'
And you're standing there
Wave your handkerchief
In the air
I ain't dead yet
Ma Bell still rings
I keep my fingers crossed
Like them early roman kings

I can strip you of life
Strip you of breath
Ship you down
To the house of death
One day
You will ask for me
There'll be no one else
That you'll wanna see
Bring down my fiddle
Tune up my strings
I'm gonna break it wide open
Like the early roman kings

I was up on black mountain
The day Detroit fell
They killed 'em all off
And they sent 'em to hell
Ding dong daddy
You're coming up short
Gonna put you on trial
In a Sicilian court
I've had my fun
I've had my flings
Gonna shake em all down
Like the early roman kings



What do folks make of the 1st person parts? As so many Dylan songs do, to me it begs the question of who the "I" is supposed to be. Has Dylan assumed the persona of an Early Roman King? Is it some sort of revenge fantasy? Is it just a by-product of randomly assembled quotes? Dylan's been teasing us in this way for so many years it's easy not to get too worked up about it...yet, I still find myself asking the question...


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PostPosted: Wed April 29th, 2015, 18:02 GMT 

Joined: Fri September 27th, 2013, 18:56 GMT
Posts: 5
smoke wrote:
What do folks make of the 1st person parts? As so many Dylan songs do, to me it begs the question of who the "I" is supposed to be. Has Dylan assumed the persona of an Early Roman King? Is it some sort of revenge fantasy? Is it just a by-product of randomly assembled quotes? Dylan's been teasing us in this way for so many years it's easy not to get too worked up about it...yet, I still find myself asking the question...


I had been thinking about that, and I thought that the first person part was the Christian Church: the blood-clotted rag for dressing up your wounds; the willingness to love the most lowly ('a bitch or a hag'); the bell still ringing - contra Nietzsche, God 'ain't dead yet'. I wasn't sure about the hankie bit though, but the rest made sense like that (including the next verse, with the power to strip you of life and breath).

It also provides a contrast to the kings who rule the earthly realm (the 'muggers and sluggers').

I think that the distinction between heavenly ideals, and earthly imperfections runs through the album. Tempest strikes as the first time that Dylan has used his late period intertextual (if that's the right term) style to develop conceptually coherent ideas, rather than to merely provide a mood and rhythm.


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PostPosted: Thu April 30th, 2015, 13:50 GMT 
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Location: Somewhere in the Piedmont
"A-levelin' up the road bed ain't no fun,
Nor a-drivin' down the spikes in the boiling sun.

Heat boils down, and shakes along the blazing rails,
Hangs around your head until your mind nearly fails."

-'Mike' American Ballads and Folk Songs, Alan Lomax


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PostPosted: Fri May 1st, 2015, 07:16 GMT 

Joined: Fri January 5th, 2007, 23:38 GMT
Posts: 2124
Location: Ireland
carbonblack wrote:

I had been thinking about that, and I thought that the first person part was the Christian Church: the blood-clotted rag for dressing up your wounds; the willingness to love the most lowly ('a bitch or a hag'); the bell still ringing - contra Nietzsche, God 'ain't dead yet'. I wasn't sure about the hankie bit though, but the rest made sense like that (including the next verse, with the power to strip you of life and breath).

It also provides a contrast to the kings who rule the earthly realm (the 'muggers and sluggers').

I think that the distinction between heavenly ideals, and earthly imperfections runs through the album. Tempest strikes as the first time that Dylan has used his late period intertextual (if that's the right term) style to develop conceptually coherent ideas, rather than to merely provide a mood and rhythm.


Carbonblack,
I am very grateful to you for finally providing an interpretation that opens up this song for me, which I had been baffled by. Your other ideas in the final paragraph are also pure gold-I hope you post early and often in the future.


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PostPosted: Fri May 1st, 2015, 17:35 GMT 

Joined: Thu March 27th, 2014, 18:42 GMT
Posts: 27
This is a great song, cunningly written and sung with revelatory glee.

Vatic power and bathed in crawling king snake midnight blue intensity.
( nobody sings the blues like blind boy grunt )

Bob knows the devil was a murderer from the very beginning and that he calls his own to him.

Cain slew Abel and murder becomes a career opportunity for all those who want to take heaven by force.

From the first time a club smashes down on some gentle skull, through to the cane that batters Hattie Caroll to death, someone is getting it in the neck even in this vicious minute.

The Early Roman Kings morph into vampire mafioso, made powerful by the blood that they shed, in the same way rotting meat is powerful.

But what on this earth can overcome all this violence and it's attendant glamour?

So here we go then gentlemen and women, sicilian accordian underpinning Bob's defcom vocal ( he knows ) nailing these walking cadavers and their search for immortality.

But only the devil is waiting for them and one day they will meet him when they are shipped down to the house of death.

Their time hangs suspended and they die in the webs that they spin, Jokermen to the last.

And Bob also knows that a blood clotted rag irradiated by love has more true, lasting power than all the violence this bizarre world has ever generated in the name of whatever cause there is or has ever been, be it venal, political or religious. ( sorry Stephan, no matter what he said to appease his Mum, his songs speak volumes )

When he played communist China and the Ancient Chinese Kings wanted to vet his set list for "political" songs, what did he do? He sang an overtly Christian song and the dumb f*cks didn't get it!
But the people did.
I was there and he nearly piss*d himself laughing.

Ding Dong Daddy, his bell still rings.

For the blind and the deaf, and for ALL of us who are left...


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PostPosted: Fri May 1st, 2015, 17:45 GMT 
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Goin' to Acapulco wrote:
This is a great song, cunningly written and sung with revelatory glee.

Vatic power and bathed in crawling king snake midnight blue intensity.
( nobody sings the blues like blind boy grunt )

Bob knows the devil was a murderer from the very beginning and that he calls his own to him.

Cain slew Abel and murder becomes a career opportunity for all those who want to take heaven by force.

From the first time a club smashes down on some gentle skull, through to the cane that batters Hattie Caroll to death, someone is getting it in the neck even in this vicious minute.

The Early Roman Kings morph into vampire mafioso, made powerful by the blood that they shed, in the same way rotting meat is powerful.

But what on this earth can overcome all this violence and it's attendant glamour?

So here we go then gentlemen and women, sicilian accordian underpinning Bob's defcom vocal ( he knows ) nailing these walking cadavers and their search for immortality.

But only the devil is waiting for them and one day they will meet him when they are shipped down to the house of death.

Their time hangs suspended and they die in the webs that they spin, Jokermen to the last.

And Bob also knows that a blood clotted rag irradiated by love has more true, lasting power than all the violence this bizarre world has ever generated in the name of whatever cause there is or has ever been, be it venal, political or religious. ( sorry Stephan, no matter what he said to appease his Mum, his songs speak volumes )

When he played communist China and the Ancient Chinese Kings wanted to vet his set list for "political" songs, what did he do? He sang an overtly Christian song and the dumb f*cks didn't get it!
But the people did.
I was there and he nearly piss*d himself laughing.

Ding Dong Daddy, his bell still rings.

For the blind and the deaf, and for ALL of us who are left...


Excellent post, thank you very much.


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PostPosted: Fri May 1st, 2015, 17:59 GMT 
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Goin' to Acapulco wrote:
When he played communist China and the Ancient Chinese Kings wanted to vet his set list for "political" songs, what did he do? He sang an overtly Christian song and the dumb f*cks didn't get it!
But the people did.
I was there and he nearly piss*d himself laughing.



hey cool that you were there and caught that! great to know


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PostPosted: Fri May 1st, 2015, 18:07 GMT 

Joined: Fri January 5th, 2007, 23:38 GMT
Posts: 2124
Location: Ireland
Goin' to Acapulco wrote:
This is a great song, cunningly written and sung with revelatory glee.

Vatic power and bathed in crawling king snake midnight blue intensity.
( nobody sings the blues like blind boy grunt )

Bob knows the devil was a murderer from the very beginning and that he calls his own to him.

Cain slew Abel and murder becomes a career opportunity for all those who want to take heaven by force.

From the first time a club smashes down on some gentle skull, through to the cane that batters Hattie Caroll to death, someone is getting it in the neck even in this vicious minute.

The Early Roman Kings morph into vampire mafioso, made powerful by the blood that they shed, in the same way rotting meat is powerful.

But what on this earth can overcome all this violence and it's attendant glamour?

So here we go then gentlemen and women, sicilian accordian underpinning Bob's defcom vocal ( he knows ) nailing these walking cadavers and their search for immortality.

But only the devil is waiting for them and one day they will meet him when they are shipped down to the house of death.

Their time hangs suspended and they die in the webs that they spin, Jokermen to the last.

And Bob also knows that a blood clotted rag irradiated by love has more true, lasting power than all the violence this bizarre world has ever generated in the name of whatever cause there is or has ever been, be it venal, political or religious. ( sorry Stephan, no matter what he said to appease his Mum, his songs speak volumes )

When he played communist China and the Ancient Chinese Kings wanted to vet his set list for "political" songs, what did he do? He sang an overtly Christian song and the dumb f*cks didn't get it!
But the people did.
I was there and he nearly piss*d himself laughing.

Ding Dong Daddy, his bell still rings.

For the blind and the deaf, and for ALL of us who are left...


The best bloody post I've read here, ever; and that is saying quite something-there are many very perceptive people here. You have caught the spirit of Bob Dylan, at least as I interpret him, in just a few paragraphs. I've read a lot of very big books about him, none of which have captured him so succinctly. And the sweetest thing of all is that marvellous piece of witness testimony. After Carbonblack's shrewd insight, you have really made my day and I must also thank you bountifully.

P.S. "Goin' to Acapulco" is a great song-a paean of hopeful despair (or is it despairing hope?) that only Dylan could come up with. Keep up the good work.


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