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Another track from Dylan's latest LP

Bob Dylan

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

Released: August 29th, 1965

Tracks Bob Dylan

The events we write about at Gaslight Records happened in some form or another 50 years ago to the day. Roll along with us and imagine you are back in 1970.

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I was fourteen years old when I first consciously listened to Bob Dylan. It was 1974. I had heard him on the radio a time or two, knowing him as the smooth­voiced crooner of a song that I kept hearing called "Lay Lady Lay". I also knew that he lived nearby, in my home county, in upstate New York. At some point in 1973, my dad started getting these bootleg 8 ­track tapes with minimal labelling ­ usually just the artist's name, album title and song list ­ very basic and covert. One of these tapes was Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits; a pretty straightforward collection of fairly normal sounding acoustic songs and a few with a band. I wore that tape out, amazed at the way the guy could change styles, genres and even his voice. The lyrics started to make sense to my developing mind.

Another track from Dylan's latest LP
"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" was first released on Dylan's 1965 album - Highway 61 Revisited

It was "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" that really changed the way I saw Dylan, though. The rather silly title, for a song that had nothing to do with Tom Thumb and was not even close to being a blues number, gave me insight into Dylan's sense of humor, in a vein that continued in his novel from the same era, Tarantula.

Not enough credit is given to Dylan for his melodies on his mid-­60's albums. Unlike the early folk stuff, where melodies were borrowed from old traditionalise or obscure songs, there was no template for the music to go with lines like "When you're lost in the rain in Juarez and it's Easter time too." In fact ­ and it's only taken me 55 years to recognise this ­there was no template for Dylan, period.

Be sure to listen to a range of covers of "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" below.

Other versions of this track

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