Talkin' New York

Bob Dylan

About Talkin' New York

"Talkin' New York" is the second song on Bob Dylan's eponymous first album. A talking blues, it describes his feelings on arriving in New York City, his time playing coffee houses in Greenwich Village and his life up to getting a record deal. The lyrics express the difficulty he had finding gigs as a result of his unique sound, "You sound like a hillbilly; We want folk singers here." The song is the first of the two Dylan-penned songs to be heard on the album, the other being "Song To Woody. " This early example of Dylan's songwriting exhibits many traits which later became synonymous with his work. For example, the line A lot of people don't have much food on their table/But they got a lot of forks n' knives/And they gotta cut somethin'. has been cited by many as an early example of Dylan's lyrical wit. The lines Now, a very great man once said/That some people rob you with a fountain pen. make specific reference to Woody Guthrie's "Pretty Boy Floyd". The song's structure and theme also bear similarities to Guthrie's "Talkin' Columbia", which Dylan had covered at least once in 1961, and "Talkin' Subway", with which one Dylan cataloguer drew an explicit connection. Both Guthrie and Dylan were both highly influenced by late 1920s country recording artist Chris Bouchillon, who first coined the term Talkin' Blues. US singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III, one of a small group of artists labelled 'new Bob Dylans' in their early career, recorded a critically acclaimed parody/tribute song called 'Talkin' New Bob Dylan' on his 1992 album 'History', to coincide with Dylan's 50th birthday. 


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Rambling out of the wild west
Leaving the towns I love best
Thought I'd seen some ups and down 
'Till I come into New York town
People going down to the ground
Building going up to the sky

Wintertime in New York town
The wind blowing snow around
Walk around with nowhere to go 
Somebody could freeze right to the bone
I froze right to the bone 
New York Times said it was the coldest winter in seventeen years 
I didn't feel so cold then

I swung on to my old guitar 
Grabbed hold of a subway car
And after a rocking, reeling, rolling ride
I landed up on the downtown side 
Greenwich Village

I walked down there and ended up 
In one of them coffee-houses on the block
Got on the stage to sing and play 
Man there said, come back some other day
You sound like a hillbilly 
We want folksingers here

Well, I got a harmonica job, begun to play 
Blowing my lungs out for a dollar a day
I blowed inside out and upside down 
The man there said he loved my sound
He was raving about he loved my sound 
Dollar a day's worth

After weeks and weeks of hanging around 
I finally got a job in New York town
In a bigger place, bigger money too 
Even joined the union and paid my dues

Now, a very great man once said 
That some people rob you with a fountain pen
It don't take too long to find out 
Just what he was talking about
A lot of people don't have much food on their table
But they got a lot of forks and knives 
And they gotta cut something

So one morning when the sun was warm 
I rambled out of New York town
Pulled my cap down over my eyes 
And heated out for the western skies
So long New York 
Howdy, East Orange

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Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan ( /ˈdɪlən/; born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, author, poet and artist. He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of Dylan's early songs, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'", became anthems for the US civil rights and anti-war movements. Leaving his initial base in the culture of folk music behind, Dylan's six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone" has been described as radically altering the parameters of popular music in … more »

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Written by: BOB DYLAN

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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