Monday, January 31, 2011

Should Roy and I Revisit 161 West Fourth Street?

My old friend Roy Herschaft brought this article in the Village Voice to my attention.  We reminisced about the time in 1966 or 1967 when we made a special trip to Greenwich Village to find 161 West Fourth Street where Bob Dylan lived when he moved to NYC in 1961.  The article  written by Rob Trucks commemorates the 50th anniversary of his arrival.  He states how unfortunate it is that so few of the landmarks integral to the Dylan legend still exist.  There is now a sex shop below the apartment that he shared with Suze Rotolo at 161 West 4th Street.

I remember walking around the Village in the late 1960s during the era of the Hippie.  I loved looking around the House of Oldies for rare records.  Back in 1966 they had a copy of the Butcher album for sale for only $20.  I could not afford it back then, but now it must be worth thousands.  After my last final exam in January 1968 at CCNY I bought the eagerly awaited Dylan album John Wesley Harding at the House of Oldies.

When I think back to Dylan and Greenwich Village I recall his Positively Fourth Street which was the followup hit to Like a Rolling Stone.  It is such a bitter song.

You got a lotta nerve
To say you are my friend
When I was down
You just stood there grinning

You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on
The side that’s winning

You say I let you down
You know it’s not like that
If you’re so hurt
Why then don’t you show it

You say you lost your faith
But that’s not where it’s at
You had no faith to lose
And you know it

I know the reason
That you talk behind my back
I used to be among the crowd
You’re in with

Do you take me for such a fool
To think I’d make contact
With the one who tries to hide
What he don’t know to begin with

You see me on the street
You always act surprised
You say, “How are you?” “Good luck”
But you don’t mean it

When you know as well as me
You’d rather see me paralyzed
Why don’t you just come out once
And scream it

No, I do not feel that good
When I see the heartbreaks you embrace
If I was a master thief
Perhaps I’d rob them

And now I know you’re dissatisfied
With your position and your place
Don’t you understand
It’s not my problem

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you

Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you

Copyright © 1965 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1993 by Special Rider Music

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