I’ve been a-reading (that is, “audio reading,” as in audiobooks; not a-reading like “I’m a-fixin’ to read me some books”) Bob Dylan in America written and read by Sean Wilentz. I haven’t a-read too many books, but I usually like when the author reads. This book is no exception. Wilentz is a fantastic writer, and his passion for his subject is clear in this reading.
One of the songs Wilentz discusses at length is Dylan’s “Idiot Wind.” I’d never heard the song, and admittedly I wasn’t paying too much attention to the book when Wilentz talked about it (which I now regret). I need to know more about Dylan; just look at these lyrics:
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads headin’ south
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe
It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage but it just wasn’t enough to change my heart
Now everything’s a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped
What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good, you’ll find out when you reach the top
You’re on the bottom
Idiot wind, blowing through the buttons of our coats
Blowing through the letters that we wrote
Idiot wind, blowing through the dust upon our shelves
We’re idiots, babe
It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves
Find the lyrics to the whole song here.
Man oh man.
Though this song is from 1974, the best recording of it I could find is from a performance in 1992. Here it is.
Songwriting is such a talent. I might play around with the question-and-answer form of folk. Perhaps one day I might finish a song I start.
How do you approach songwriting? What is your experience with this Dylan song?