This is one of my favorite early Dylan tunes, as it still echoes Woody Guthrie, but establishes Dylan's own perspective on the world he was looking at in 1962. The song was left off The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in place of "Masters of War," though Dylan did ultimately release another version under a pseudonym on a Pete Seeger project in 1963.
This song came back into my mind in 2017/2018 when rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea started to heat up, and after working it into a few shows, I decided to record it for what eventually became Reflectere.
Dylan doesn't often go into too many details about what inspires many of his songs, but for this tune, there's a great quote:
"I was going through some town and they were making this bomb shelter right outside of town, one of these sort of Coliseum-type things and there were construction workers and everything. I was there for about an hour, just looking at them build, and I just wrote the song in my head back then, but I carried it with me for two years until I finally wrote it down. As I watched them building, it struck me sort of funny that they would concentrate so much on digging a hole underground when there were so many other things they should do in life. If nothing else, they could look at the sky, and walk around and live a little bit, instead of doing this immoral thing."
[Quote taken from an interview with Nat Hentoff from the liner notes of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan]
The song has a different feel in these times of social distancing, but I've always loved the message of resilience it contains.
Thanks for listening/downloading! This Sunday, May 3rd, I'll be releasing the 9th song on Reflectere, "Happenstance." More on that tune in a few days...