have managed to go an entire year without writing about Bob Dylan. I managed to go 40 years without hearing Blonde on Blonde, other than the bits played on the radio.
I’ve written about Dylan’s word play in an earlier post. The lyrics of Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat aren’t as disorienting as, for instance, Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again (on the same album, but ooh I love the live version on Hard Rain.) But it’s still Dylan. Not quite nonsense, but certainly not sensible.
I can’t hear the second verse without laughing:
Well, you look so pretty in it Honey, can I jump on it sometime? Yes, I just wanna see If it's really that expensive kind You know it balances on your head Just like a mattress balances On a bottle of wine Your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat
A traditional 12-bar blues, it opens with Dylan himself playing a lead of sorts. It reminds me why Robbie Robertson played all the other leads on the song. Kenny Buttrey’s drumming is very non-traditional; cymbal accents in jazzy places a straight blues player might not have thought of, and an almost burlesque kick drum roll at the end of each chorus-less verse. The Wikipedia article talks about the near-agony of getting a final version recorded.
It all finishes up, lyrically, with a poke at her new boyfriend:
You might think he loves you for your money But I know what he really loves you for It's your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat
Makes me want one of my very own.