You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go

14 Oct



We’re having dinner at the Molong pub on our way to Canberra, and then to the Snowy Mountains for a month.

We’ve been driving for nine hours on the back roads, avoiding motorways and highways and listening to Bob Dylan because today he won the Nobel Prize for Literature and we’re stoked, and we need to revisit everything he’s ever sung, which you can’t actually do in nine hours but we’ve given it our best shot.

There’s an entertainer at the pub, he’s a little stout and red-faced with silver chains round his neck and he’s singing stuff like The Proclaimers I’m on My Way, and Elvis’s Suspicious Minds, and Joan Jett’s I love Rock n’ Roll, and there’s a woman wrapped around the verandah post, leaning over the singer and going “uh huh” every now and then in relation to pretty much nothing. She’s a little pissed and pretty happy and the singer’s trying to pretend she isn’t there. The sun’s gone down, it’s getting chilly in the beer garden and I wrap myself in a woollen shawl, drink another glass of wine, and consider asking the act if he’ll sing some Dylan.

As stoked as I am by Bob’s win, I’m also sad because if there’s one thing my beloved husband would have wanted to live long enough to hear, it’s that Dylan won the Nobel prize. Babe, if you can hear me, you were right.

Dylan was part of the soundtrack of our decades-long love affair, and Arnie’s knowledge of the man was encyclopaedic. He did a radio show on Sunday afternoons on 2SER just about Dylan. We went to every concert we could, and we only ever walked out of one, at the State Theatre in Sydney when Bob’s performance was so excruciatingly late and then so excruciatingly bad, even we couldn’t hack it. Something to do with drugs in the dunny, I don’t know.

I don’t ask the performer at the Molong pub to sing some Dylan, instead we walk back to our motel and eat chocolate and drink green tea in bed. I’m trying to think of which song was ours, Arnie’s and mine, but that’s the thing about Dylan: there was a song for every shifting phase, even the dark ones, maybe especially the dark ones.

Arnie always came back to You’re going to make me lonesome when you go as his song to me. Which is ironic, because in the end he went and I’m still here and still singing:

I’ll look for you in old Honolul-a
San Francisco, Ashtabula
You’re gonna have to leave me now, I know
But I’ll see you in the sky above
In the tall grass, in the ones I love
You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go

I know there’s all kinds of arguments against the Nobel prize for Bob Dylan. Some of them I probably even agree with. But I don’t care. What he wrote decades ago, personal and political, is as applicable today as it was then, his body of work is vast and varied, and I’ve never anywhere come across images of the kind Dylan comes up with.

As Mick Jagger said, Thank you Bob.



75 Responses to “You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go”

  1. doug quixote October 14, 2016 at 11:37 pm #

    Dylan loved this version of his classic

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindacairnes2 October 15, 2016 at 12:14 am #

      Have a fine time in the mountains …..I elected to have Jimi’s version of Dylan’s Watchtower play at my funeral a long time ago. Do you think the offspring will understand? It’s a shame you didn’t do a Dylan sing along in in Molong..a great little town.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. AnnODyne October 15, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    oh yes.
    1963 my high school music teacher was a Boston man who moved to Australia after his 1956 Olympics experience and he played us the Dylan LP and it changed my life. completely. After that, every thing my mother didn’t like about me [black stockings, shaggy hair etc] she’d say “I blame that Bob Dylan”. yes indeed and at 68 my hair is still hanging in my eyes. I am sorry Ms Suze Rotolo did not live to see his Nobel. She was really something to his development.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

      I don’t think Dylan has responded to the honour yet. He played in Vegas last night at the Cosmopolitan 🙂


  3. helvityni October 15, 2016 at 9:04 am #

    Got to love those Swedes! I just hope our man Leonard gets one before he ‘disappears’…

    Have a good holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • helvityni October 15, 2016 at 9:20 am #

      PS. I’m feeling all nostalgic as I read ” BOB ELLIS in his own words” (compiled by Anne Brooksbank)…and then to add to the sadness, Leonard confesses that he’s ready to dye….

      Liked by 1 person

      • helvityni October 15, 2016 at 10:28 am #

        oops, ready to die


      • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

        When I first heard Dylan’s name about the prize, I thought he’d died. My heart sank. I’m not ready to deal with another one of them carking just yet.


    • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

      Well, of course Leonard should get one! He’s just as good a poet. He’s my man


  4. October 15, 2016 at 10:03 am #

    I agree his lyrics are timeless and as applicable today as it was then,and that his body of work is vast and varied – but Nobel Prize for LITERATURE? Hmmm. Also regarding the previous comment about Leonard Cohen – there is a meme on social media recommending Leonard for the Nobel Prize for Chemistry!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

      I’ll have to look at that meme, I’m a huge Leonard fan.
      He did/does like to experiment with mind altering substances, though I think he gave most of it up when he went into that monastery for fifteen years.


  5. diannaart October 15, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    Not so sure about such work classified as literature – when it is soooooo much more. Would rather have seen Bob acknowledged for all his work not just an aspect.

    If it is just for lyrics; Leonard Cohen, Sam Cook, Otis Redding. Art Garfunkel, Nick Cave?

    I do believe that certain genres of pop music are up there with other great creative works – but as Literature?

    Liked by 1 person

    • allthumbs October 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

      Art Garfunkel?

      Liked by 1 person

      • diannaart October 15, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

        To some people Art Garfunkel is very poetic (not me) – am trying to be inclusive here – did you not get my point?


        • diannaart October 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

          Both Sam Cook and Otis Redding are dead which means they would not even qualify for a Nobel – being already dead help the Nobel bozos narrow down recipients.



          • Marilyn October 15, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

            Bee Gees, greatest writers of beautiful songs over more than 50 years.

            And anyone who thinks their songs Do not have poetry listen to this timeless tune.

            And their first ever anti-racism song written when Barry was just 18.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

              We’re having a culture war on Sheep.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

              I always loved the Bee Gees, but differently from Dylan & Cohen, & one of my children nicked all the Bee Gees CDs


            • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

              I love the Bee Gees, but not like I love Dylan & Cohen. They are sweet, and melodic, but they don’t have the edginess for mine.


              • helvityni October 15, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

                Like the Bee Gees, but LOVE Bob and Leonard.


              • Marilyn October 15, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

                I agree but they are also very political, very authentic and versatile – they have won awards across ever genre of music.

                Joan Baez though takes my major award for activism, along with Phil Ochs and his Bobness.

                Liked by 1 person

                • diannaart October 15, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

                  I cannot process the contradiction of the Bee Gees AND Nick Cave.

                  Live for the edge

                  …and try to understand there are people who really get into soft melodies, too…

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Marilyn October 15, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

                    I love the Boss and Nick Cave too.

                    Liked by 2 people

          • helvityni October 15, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

            Nobel bozos, que? When /if Oz scientists get the prize, are they still, well, bozos…


            • diannaart October 16, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

              The bozos are those who pick the winners, Helvi.


            • AnnODyne October 17, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

              the loathesome Livvy NewtonJohn has a Nobel recipient grandfather which has to be good for a trivia quiz question somewhere.

              Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

        I’m not a great fan. Isn’t he a bit soppy?


        • diannaart October 15, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

          Worse than soppy, Art Garfunkel is exploitative.

          That Gracelands Album? Cultural appropriation of South African musos or promotion?

          I never meant this to be a debate about singer/songwriters – I just wanted to make the point that I believe there needs to be a new category in the Nobel art awards.

          For the likes of Cohen, Dylan, Cave and not forgetting Joan Baez, Carol King, PJ Harvey, Cyndi Lauper – the ones who endure, the ones who continue to create, entertain and inspire us.

          Liked by 1 person

          • FigMince October 16, 2016 at 8:35 am #

            Yeah. Even worse than cultural appropriation, Art Garfunkel was so gutless he passed the Gracelands album off as the work of Paul Simon.

            Liked by 1 person

            • diannaart October 16, 2016 at 1:02 pm #


              OFM My bad – apologies for onset of getting older.

              You’re right – proves how much of a fan I am….. not.

              Art was just the, er, back up vocalist. Now I feel kinda stupid – but maybe that will endear me to my detractors….. probably not. Don’t really care.

              At least I can admit when I am wrong.


          • allthumbs October 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

            The “cultural appropriation” ogre raises it head once more. Simon, a songwriter of immense talent, and along with just about everybody else at the time heavily influenced by Dylan, like all talented artists, has been influenced by all sorts of musical traditions.

            Simon’s Graceland album was seminal in making “world music” a thing and along with Peter Gabriel (the cultural appropriator who gave us “Biko”) who also used a variety of African musical influences, helped to open up the ears of West. A good thing I would have thought.

            Simon recorded with paid African musicians, went on to produce the likes of Lady Smith Black Mambazo and through the Graceland album gave an exceptionally brilliant group a much wider international recognition. He also did Rhythm of the Saints using South American musical influences.

            I wonder Diannaart how you would tolerate the likes of

            Nana Vasconcelos
            Ry Cooder
            John McLaughlan
            Stan Getz
            The sitar playing George Harrison
            John Surman
            whole musical genres played by the non indigenous such as Jazz, R&B, Bossa Nova, The Blues, Klezmer, Shabate. Tex-Mex, Indian musics.

            One can only imagine what a dreary world, dreary western world it would be without “cultural appropriation”.

            Liked by 1 person

            • diannaart October 18, 2016 at 3:24 pm #


              I have this tendency towards flippancy. Which means tossing off a comment swiftly rather than thoughtfully spending due time. There are 2 reasons – 1) I have ME and must conserve my energy no matter what and 2) sometimes I am lazy, if I can’t write straight off the top of my head, I don’t bother.

              I have personal reasons for not being so adoring of Graceland as many other music fans are – mainly because when Graceland was released in 1986 I was heavily into alternative – Birthday Party, Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, Blue Oyster Cult, The Cure, The Saints, Happy Mondays and way more – bands which may sound rather mainstream now, but back then were very exciting indeed. I have remain tuned out of Paul Simon’s music. 🙂

              Now. I am fully grateful for the influence of any musical genre – just as I believe a novelist can write outside her/his cultural background.

              However, I do have zero respect for exploitation – finding the harmonious balance between exploitation and homage difficult and frequently to be in the eye of the beholder.

              Probably the South African musicians who collaborated with Paul Simon are all doing well (if old age has not tired them) – I do wonder how much recompense came their way compared to Paul Simon. I believe it is fair to ponder whether the roots of any musical genre are fully acknowledged.

              The above is unusually verbose for yours truly – if you want a debate, apologies, I have other things requiring my energy.


              • allthumbs October 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

                Nah, no debate. At some stage though we will have to talk about Joni Mitchell when she used to do blackface, and do a quick audit of how many of Jennifer’s correspondents still have her albums.

                Liked by 1 person

                • diannaart October 18, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

                  “we will have to talk about Joni Mitchell when she used to do blackface”

                  Maybe. Not making promises. My head is hurting already.



                • Jennifer Wilson October 19, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

                  Well, allthumbs, there’s a fact I didn’t know.


            • Jennifer Wilson October 19, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

              Yes, all thumbs, there’s a fine line between cultural exchange & cultural appropriation. I’m not sure where it is, except that it must be in individual situations


    • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

      I think the Nobel committee have just smashed through all the genres with this one!


      • helvityni October 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

        Spot on, Jennifer !!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • diannaart October 15, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

        You go ahead and think that. Many other people are thinking a bunch of ageing Swedish Dylan tragics got very confused about genre.


        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

          Well, they’re idots LOL


          • diannaart October 15, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

            The ageing Swedish Dylan tragics?


            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson October 16, 2016 at 7:59 am #

              No, diannart, the many other people 🙂


              • diannaart October 16, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

                I KNEW you would day that 🙂

                I still feel the Bob’s award was for only half of his work.

                While, I remain more of a Cohen than Dylan fan, I don’t believe any song & lyric writer should win the prize for Literature (using capital ‘L’ deliberately). Writing novels or books of poems is not the same as crafting music along with it.

                I am quite surprised that die-hard Dylan fans would rather he win a prize for anything, but not all his work.

                Speaking of Nobel-Bozos – are they all male? Just curious.

                How many women won Nobels this year?


                • diannaart October 16, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

                  Along with a maverick internet connection since the high winds last week end – I have to deal with my own typos, should read:

                  “I KNEW you would say that.”



  6. townsvilleblog October 15, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    Oh please Jen, not another Dylan fan, the vocalist without a voice, he drives me insane, sorry I beg to differ. All good, if we all liked the same thing it would be far too easy for business wouldn’t it lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote October 15, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

      The Prize is for literature – ie the poetic content. That he is not a great vocalist isn’t relevant.

      Try this one:

      Liked by 1 person

      • diannaart October 16, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

        Many singer/song writers aren’t great vocalists…. his music, therefore, remains extremely relevant.


        • doug quixote October 16, 2016 at 10:47 pm #

          The Prize is restricted by the terms of Nobel’s will – hence the specific categories: Peace, Physics, Literature, Chemistry and Medicine.

          I like your new avatar, by the way. 🙂


          • diannaart October 17, 2016 at 10:22 am #


            I had forgotten the terms of Nobel’s will, you are correct.

            Perhaps this award to Dylan will cause a reconsideration of the intent of Nobel rather than a black and white interpretation. Or was Nobel completely against the genius of music?

            Liking my new avatar too,

            Thank you



    • Marilyn October 15, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

      He has the right voice for the songs he writes, no-one can sing The Hurricane like he does, or Lily, rosemary and the Jack of Hearts, or ISIS, or hundreds of others.

      But the award was for his poetry.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

        Yes, I agree Marilyn, especially when he sings love songs in that voice.


      • diannaart October 15, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

        But the award was for his poetry.

        …and that is my problem – Dylan and those who preceded him and who have learned from him, are as much about the music as they are about the lyrics.


        Favourite Dylan song is “The Hurricane”, Marilyn.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

      Sorry, Shaun, I’m a total fan, I even love his terrible voice. 🙂


  7. paul walter. October 15, 2016 at 6:05 pm #

    Honours the Beats, the first post ww2/ post Macarthyite attempt in modernism to regain some sort of location within reality; some sort of Big Picture overview of real western society.

    Draws on the likes of Woody Guthrie from the previous hard pressed Depression /War generations and influences the hippies and Brit realists in no longer being prepared to just accept at face- value the contention that capitalism is an earthly paradise. Some how, this also honours people like Silvia Plath, who were a little before their time and began questioning the Illusion also.


    • Jennifer Wilson October 15, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

      Also walks the talk. Nobody can pour mockery and scorn on pretentiousness like Dylan. Those interviews when he didn’t feel like talking, and I don’t think he’s said anything about the Nobel yet, has he?


      • Marilyn October 15, 2016 at 7:53 pm # This one was banned for years.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson October 16, 2016 at 8:05 am #

          It was banned? I didn’t know that.


          • Marilyn October 16, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

            The Nixon arsehole thought it was bad for the morale of the Vietnam vets and fighters.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson October 17, 2016 at 8:08 am #

              I recently re-watched the Frost Nixon interviews, the movie not the actual ones.
              Why has all this been forgotten? It’s so relevant to current situations, a precursor


              • Marilyn October 17, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

                I have watched them too, truly extraordinary considering the week before Frost was interviewing the Bee Gees on a fluff piece – I didn’t know Frost had it in him.

                Liked by 1 person

  8. Marilyn October 15, 2016 at 7:55 pm # For majesty and beauty this is hard to go past.


  9. sam jandwich October 15, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

    Being a public servant, naturally my theme song is…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. paul walter. October 16, 2016 at 12:49 am #

    Just stumbled across this to flavour the conversation a little more because I think it fits with the direction everyone has moved that.

    I think it points to where it went right and went wrong with Dylan, a thoughtful observer who became caught up the constant battle between exploitation and music as people-oriented at a time when when big money played on the novelty of electric music and pastiche against the awareness of brighter people such as Dylan himself, Baez, his resolute muse, girding her loins for the fight as to Civil Rights and Vietnam, dark Nina Simone and melancholy McCartney, quirky Joni Mitchell and fiery Neil Young, people who remembered their roots and saw music and poetry as a Commons rather than just a false consciousness type of misappropriation of the stuff of life as commodification mechanism.

    I think some were critical of Simon and Garfunkle but i think these, when young, added a conscious comment as educated people as to existentialism that belled the crass pop culture cat and awoke people to the beginnings of a sensibility we think of post modern.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson October 16, 2016 at 8:08 am #

      There was such a furious row when Dylan moved from acoustic to electric, he was suddenly seen as a traitor, a sellout.
      But for mine, he’s an artist who wants to try everything, even covering Gerswhin and Berlin. Bit like Cohen.


      • doug quixote October 17, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

        He does what he likes, and always has. If we like it too, that is our good luck.

        It is the same with most great artists, composers and poets.


  11. Arthur Baker October 16, 2016 at 6:54 am #

    Yep. I was there at that Sydney State Theatre concert. Never saw an audience treated with more contempt by an artist in my life. Nevertheless, I still regard Dylan as the number one musical influence in my lifetime. And I’m 68.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson October 16, 2016 at 7:55 am #

      You were?!
      Yes, we quickly forgave him for that horrible exhibition of his dark side.
      Dylan, (and Cohen) continue to be huge influences on my life & creativity
      in ways that literature can’t be, lacking
      the music.


    • Marilyn October 17, 2016 at 7:13 pm #

      Saw him at Adelaide oval in 1986, he was frigging awesome and no-one was leaving.

      Liked by 1 person

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