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Saturday, November 27, 2010

254. "Visions of Johanna" by Bob Dylan

In addition to being simply one of my favorite songs of all time, "Visions of Johanna" was a major breakthrough for me in terms of performing songs all the way through, if for no other reason than learning to memorize lyrics. It was probably the centerpiece of all the songs I learned to sing for baby Miranda to help her go to sleep, and I took it on for her partly because it had so many verses. The idea was twofold. On the one hand, I thought that if I were going to start memorizing lyrics to sing, I ought to really, really memorized some lyrics to sing: if I could get this one down, I shouldn't have many problems with an average three-verse pop song. The other impetus behind it was a sort of odd responsibility I felt toward Miranda herself. She often needed a long stretch of singing and playing to get to sleep, and it seemed somehow just not good enough to sing the same two or three verses of something over and over again for her. That's just how it felt to me. So a long song was called for.

The other fun part was that it was an easy hop to substitute the name "Miranda" for "Johanna", and I imagined that would be comforting and identity-building for her. What she might make of the jelly-faced women and the ghost electricity were another matter entirely.

In a departure from the recent acoustic malaise, there are a few overdubs on this one. I quite like the deep dub sound on the bass bouncing off all of the wooden stuff around it... might do more of that in the future.

Personnel: Rex


  1. That is some quite stunning, percussive picking.

  2. This is just a really, really nice version of this song, Rex. Congrats.

  3. You just like it ' cause it mentions Cylons.