Track 9. Desolation Row
Track ten on disc one better be ridiculous if it actually follows Desolation Row. I had a real real hard time with what song to use off of Highway 61 Revisited. From my earlier favorite ten albums of all time blog you will find Highway 61 at numero uno. This album is the big cheese, the trifecta of where the sound met the songwriting met the meteoric Dylan. It came down to Like A Rolling Stone, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues and Desolation Row. In the mixing and matching with the one per album rule Desolation Row came out of the wash.
I have over the last year been waste deep in learning the ins and outs of playing guitar. So being a Dylan fan it lead me (of course) to the incredible dylanchords site run by Eyolf Østrem. To my surprise this most epic song is only three simple chords, so I started strumming and singing the song entertaining myself and then, abruptly, I stopped.
I laughed all by myself, who the hell did I think I was to play Desolation Row? This has always been for me the most mind-boggling song of them all. In the song I Walk the Line Revisited, Rodney Crowell sings about hearing, for the first time, I Walk the Line and he says:
“Sounded like the whole thing came right down from outer space.”
I know exactly how he feels. I mean seriously, some guy mixed the final of Desolation Row and then a group of guys listened to the final cut before releasing it for the record.
Record Producer: “I think that’s a keeper Bob.”
Bob: “I’m happy with it.”
Record Producer: “Let’s go get some Chinese take out.”
Bob: “I’m gonna head back to the hotel for a swim.”
The accenting guitar that Charlie McCoy plays throughout absolutely sets Desolation Row. Desolation Row, arguably Bob Dylan’s greatest song on what is my all time favorite album. Yikes!!! Should I just stop here?