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Bob Dylan – Minneapolis 1992 – Boots Of Spanish Leather



So take heed, take heed of the western wind,
Take heed of the stormy weather.
And yes, there’s something you can send back to me,
Spanish boots of Spanish leather.

After the Pretenders new punk pop great Boots Of Chinese Plastic, here’s the real fucking deal, Bob Dylan‘s classic Boots Of Spanish Leather !

A great live performance from a haunt familiar to Bob from his earliest days, the badlands of Minneapolis !

Album cover
Album The Times They Are a-Changin’
Released January 13, 1964
Recorded August 7, 1963
Genre Folk
Length 4:40
Label Columbia
Writer Bob Dylan
Producer Tom Wilson

“Boots of Spanish Leather” was first released on Dylan’s great 1964 album The Times They Are A-Changin’.

Musically, this song consists of Dylan alone on the acoustic guitar as he plays in his idiosyncratic “fingerpicking” style!

Musically this song is quite similar to his earlier amazing composition “Girl from the North Country“, a wonderful song we’ve already written extensively about!

Lyrically, “Boots of Spanish Leather” is “a restless, forlorn ballad for the ages and sages – a classic Dylan tale of two lovers, a crossroads, and the open sea…” (Trager 80).

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Many critics have said that this song was written about and may relate to , Dylan’s New York City girlfriend in the early ’60s, who in 1964 left him to travel to Italy.

Rotolo confirmed this interpretation in a 2008 NPR interview. Of course she did! There was book to flog with nothing of interest therein aside from the period when Bob was fucking her!!

The song is written as a dialogue, with the first six verses alternating between the man and woman; however, the last three verses are all given by the one who has been left, presumably the man (Dylan). Within these nine verses, the woman goes across the sea.

She writes, asking whether the man would like any gift, and he refuses, poetically saying he only wants her back. Towards the end it becomes clear that she is not returning, and she finally writes saying she may never come back, “It depends on how I’m a-feelin’.”

The man comes to realize what has happened and finally gives her a material request: “Spanish boots of Spanish leather.”

Michael Gray has pointed out a strong parallel between this line and the traditional folk song “Blackjack Davey,” which Dylan arranged and recorded for his 1992 album Good as I Been to You, and in which footwear of Spanish leather also plays a significant role (Gray 657).

We take particular note of this song’s inclusion in the Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th edition, in the section titled “Popular Ballads of the 20th Century.


It’s about fucking time Dylan’s magnificent poetry gets widely recognised in the cobwebbed corridors of academia.

Same goes for the greatest poet of recent times, Even moreso!

Though performed live only sporadically since its composition, Dylan did not start performing “Boots of Spanish Leather” regularly until his Never Ending Tour began in 1988.

However, after that Suze Rotolo cash-in book recently, methinks his taste for performing this great song will dwindle!

Oh, I’m sailin’ away my own true love,
I’m sailin’ away in the morning.
Is there something I can send you from across the sea,
From the place that I’ll be landing?

No, there’s nothin’ you can send me, my own true love,
There’s nothin’ I wish to be ownin’.
Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled,
From across that lonesome ocean.

Oh, but I just thought you might want something fine
Made of silver or of golden,
Either from the mountains of Madrid
Or from the coast of Barcelona.

Oh, but if I had the stars from the darkest night
And the diamonds from the deepest ocean,
I’d forsake them all for your sweet kiss,
For that’s all I’m wishin’ to be ownin’.

That I might be gone a long time
And it’s only that I’m askin’,
Is there something I can send you to remember me by,
To make your time more easy passin’.

Oh, how can, how can you ask me again,
It only brings me sorrow.
The same thing I want from you today,
I would want again tomorrow.

I got a letter on a lonesome day,
It was from her ship a-sailin’,
Saying I don’t know when I’ll be comin’ back again,
It depends on how I’m a-feelin’.

Well, if you, my love, must think that-a-way,
I’m sure your mind is roamin’.
I’m sure your heart is not with me,
But with the country to where you’re goin’.

So take heed, take heed of the western wind,
Take heed of the stormy weather.
And yes, there’s something you can send back to me,
Spanish boots of Spanish leather.


Copyright ©1963; renewed 1991
Special Rider Music

Bob Dylan – Minneapolis 1992 – Boots Of Spanish Leather

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October 2, 2008 Posted by | Music_ClassicRock, Suze Rotolo, The Pretenders, _BOB DYLAN, _MUSIC, _POETRY | Leave a comment

The Pretenders – “Boots of Chinese Plastic”


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Illusion fills my head like an empty can
spent a million lifetimes loving the same man

So, Chrissie Hynde is a Yeah Yeah Yeahs wannabe?

Fucking hell … Chrissie Hynde could be, and maybe is, the granny of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs !

This is an amazing punk pop classic from granny Chrissie and the band!

It’s The Pretenders’ wonderful “Boots of Chinese Plastic”, which kicks off their great new comeback album, “Break Up the Concrete”!

We’ve always liked The Pretenders! But we fucking love this!

They sound so reinvigorated! So fucking real! So crucial!

“Boots of Chinese Plastic” is Dylan’s wonderful “Tombstone Blues” wrung through the wringer. And then some!

Of course the title “Boots of Chinese Plastic” is a tribute to and/or piss-take on Dylan’s classic “Boots of Spanish Leather” !

The music is a punked up “Tombstone Blues”, while the lyrics are, let’s say “influenced“, by Bob’s most recent original meisterwerk , 2006’s sublime “Modern Times“! (You could also say “ripped off”! …. but I won’t! … oops, maybe I did!)

Anyway, it’s excellent! We fucking love it!

Check a great Dylan performance of “Boots of Spanish Leather” here!

1,2,3,4 Nam Myoho Renge Kyo Buddha please
can you help a little peasant that’s begging on her knees
illusion fills my head like an empty can
spent a million lifetimes loving the same man

Whoa! Every drop that run through the vein
always makes it’s way back to the heart again
and by the way you look fantastic
in your boots of chinese plastic

Hare Krishna, Hare Rama too,
Govinda I am still in love with you
I see you in the birds and in the trees
that’s why they call me Krishna Mayee

Whoa! Every drop that run through the vein
always makes it’s way back to the heart again
and by the way you look fantastic
in your boots of chinese plastic

Hofra told us we should tolerate
the people and the things that make me wanna hate
oh have a little mixed mercy on me,
this seasoned beauty in this human pageantry
Jesus Christ came down here as a living man
if he can live a life of virtue then I hope I can
unto others as you would have a turn
back here and repeat until you learn, learn, learn

Whoa! Every drop that run through the vein
always makes it’s way back to the heart again
every dog that lived his life on a chain
knows what it’s like WAITING FOR NOTHING!

and by the way you look fantastic
in your boots of chinese plastic

Check it here;

from www.newyorker.com

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The title of “Boots of Chinese Plastic,” which leads off the Pretenders’ new album, “Break Up the Concrete” (Shangri-La), alludes to Bob Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Leather,” but the song’s propulsive rhythm and surreal lyrics mark it as a close cousin to another Dylan song, “Tombstone Blues.” In just over two and a half minutes, the lead singer and songwriter, Chrissie Hynde, touches on everything from reincarnation to the global marketplace to the difficulties of ethical living. The next song, “The Nothing Maker,” supplies some yin to go with the yang: it’s a ballad about a lover whose greatest asset seems to be his lack of creative ambitions, sung with a dreaminess that may be concealing a deeper venom.

“Break Up the Concrete” is the first album of new material from the Pretenders since “Loose Screw,” in 2002, and while that record found the band going for a seductive reggae vibe, this time the charge is straightforward roots rock. For years, the Pretenders have been a band in name only, consisting of a bunch of young hired hands doing the bidding of Hynde and, usually, the founding drummer, Martin Chambers. This time, Chambers is absent, though his replacement—the session veteran Jim Keltner—is a great deal more than capable. That’s true of the entire band, in fact: the English guitarist James Walbourne, the pedal-steel player Eric Heywood, and the bassist Nick Wilkinson. The punky “Don’t Cut Your Hair” blasts first and asks questions later; “Almost Perfect” steals along with a lovely tiptoe movement.

The band’s enthusiasm is easy to understand; Hynde has written a superb set of songs here. Her persona is largely the same as it was on the band’s 1979 début, which is to say that it is tough and smart and confident and questioning and vulgar and philosophical and energetic and weary all at once. The songs gain immediacy through direct address (“Don’t Cut Your Hair,” “You Didn’t Have To,” “Rosalee”), and the exceptions tend to be irresistible pop songs like “Love’s a Mystery,” in which Hynde employs a slightly elevated class of moon-June-spoon rhymes (morning/warning, mystery/history), but with the added benefit of context, sensibility, wisdom, and her nearly undiminished upper register. The title song, a rough sequel to “My City Was Gone,” is an environmental anthem that doesn’t see conservation as passive, or even particularly nonviolent: Hynde’s idea of caring for the planet involves destroying what’s been built by industry, with impunity (“thwack it, crack it, lineback it / break up the concrete”), and chronicling the assault with a Bo Diddley beat.

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October 2, 2008 Posted by | Music_ClassicRock, The Pretenders, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, _BOB DYLAN, _MUSIC, _VIDEO | Leave a comment