Oh a false clock tries to tick out my time To disgrace, distract, and bother me. And the dirt of gossip blows into my face, And the dust of rumors covers me. But if the arrow is straight And the point is slick, It can pierce through dust no matter how thick. So I'll make my stand And remain as I am And bid farewell and not give a damn. --Bob Dylan, "Restless Farewell" (1963)(As several rmders have noted in posts past, "Restless Farewell" is based on "The Parting Glass," a traditional Irish song.)
"'Restless Farewell' was Dylan's immediate reaction to the 'dust of rumors'
a Newsweek reporter had attempted to bury him in the previous week and
was probably written at the same time as the eighth and ninth outlined
(Clinton Heylin, Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions [1960-1994] [New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995]), pp. 26-27).
According to Olof Björner's 1963 Chronicle Before the Hurricane begins:
October 23, 24 Dylan is interviewed by Andrea Svedburg for Newsweek. October 25 Philadelphia Town Hall October 26 Carnegie Hall, New York. Audience includes Dylan's parents. This show is also recorded by CBS for a possible live album. October 31 Last recording session for THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN' [Session arranged just for "Restless Farewell"] December 27 Chicago Orchestra Hall. Set includes the new song "Restless Farewell"I just returned from the library with the relevant Newsweek article (transcribed below).
"He popped up out of nowhere, another unknown, unscrubbed face in Greenwich Village, and now, only two years later, he sits in the pantheon of the folk-music movement. His name is Bob Dylan, he is 22 years old, and his bewildered brown-blond hair trails off into uneven sideburns. He sticks his skinny frame into blue jeans and wrinkled shirts, and he talks hip talk, punctuated with obscenities. His singing voice scratches and shouts so jarringly that his success, at first, seems incredible. Yet his knack for stirring audiences, is unmistakable, and it stems, mainly, from the words of the some 200 songs he has written, simple words that pounce upon the obvious - the inequalities, dangers, and deceits of the 1960s - and hammer them home.*
How many years can some people exist Before they're allowed to be free?... The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, The answer is blowin' in the wind ..."His 'Blowin' in the Wind' is a huge hit, and his concerts - last week at Town Hall in Philadelphia and at Carnegie Hall - draw sellout crowds, mostly high school and college students to whom Dylan is practically a religion. He has suffered; he has been hung up, man, without bread, without a chick, with twisted wires growing inside him. His audiences share his pain, and seem jealous because they grew up in conventional homes and conventional schools.
"The ironic thing is that Bob Dylan, too, grew up in a conventional home, and went to conventional schools. He shrouds his past in contradictions, but he is the elder son of a Hibbing, Minn., appliance dealer named Abe Zimmerman, and, as Bobby Zimmerman, he attended Hibbing High School, then briefly the University of Minnesota.
"'DIG IT, MAN': Dylan admits he was born in Duluth and raised in Hibbing, but as he sat in a New York restaurant one day last week, after a recording session with Columbia Records, he denied that Bob Dylan was ever Bobby Zimmerman. 'Dig my draft card, man,' he said. 'Bob Dylan.' (He changed his name legally on Aug. 9, 1962.)
"His parents? 'I don't know my parents,' he said. 'They don't know me. I've lost contact with them for years.'
"A few blocks away, in one of New York's motor inns, Mr. and Mrs. Abe Zimmerman of Hibbing, Minn., were looking forward to seeing their son sing at Carnegie Hall. Bobby had paid their way east and had sent them tickets, they had told friends in Minnesota. 'He was home a few days in August,' said David Zimmerman, Bobby's 17-year-old brother. 'We were kind of close. We're both kind of ambitious. When we set out to do something, we usually get it done. He set out to become what he is.'
"'My past is so complicated you wouldn't believe it, man,' said Dylan.
"'Bobby is hard to understand,' said David Zimmerman.
"THE IMAGE: Why Dylan - he picked the name in admiration for Dylan Thomas - should bother to deny his past is a mystery. Perhaps he feels it would spoil the image he works so hard to cultivate - with his dress, with his talk, with the deliberately atrocious grammar and pronunciation in his songs. He says he hates the commercial side of folk music, but he has two agents who hover about him, guarding his words and fattening his contracts. He scorns the press's interest in him, but he wants to know how long a story about him will run and if there will be a photograph. He is a complicated young man, surrounded now by complicated rumors.
"There is even a rumor circulating that Dylan did not write 'Blowin' in the Wind,' that it was written by a Millburn (N.J.) High student named Lorre Wyatt, who sold it to the singer. Dylan says he did write the song and Wyatt denies authorship, but several Millburn students claim they heard the song from Wyatt before Dylan ever sang it.
"Dylan says he is writing a book that will explain everything. But, he insists, the explanations are irrelevant. 'I am my words,' he says. Maybe this is enough. 'There's a lot about Bobby I don't understand,' says Joan Baez, who plays princess to his prince among young folk fans. 'But I don't care. I understand his words. That's all that matters.'"
(The article is illustrated with a Tony Rollo photo of Dylan in a plaid shirt, playing harmonica and strumming his guitar.)
"The article was true enough, of course; Dylan was an image maker who wanted to be a pop star. But the writer made it clear he was interested only in a hatchet job on Dylan when he repeated ... a rumor that was clearly untrue-that Blowin' In the Wind had been written by a New Jersey High School student who had sold it to Dylan... "In a sense, however, Dylan and Grossman had it coming to them. As had happened to so many others before him, the writer for Newsweek had been promised Dylan's cooperation in an interview, but then at the last moment either Dylan or Grossman (there are several versions but most credit Grossman) told the writer there would be no interview. The writer then went out to Minneapolis and Hibbing and dug up Dylan's background. On his return he threatened to publish all the gossip, and Grossman backed down and set up an interview. It was brief: Dylan became nasty and broke it off, and the hatchet job was printed. "Dylan was deeply hurt by the Newsweek article. 'Why did they do that?' he asked Chris Welles who, after trying for eight months had finally got Dylan to sit still for a Life feature interview. 'Man, they're out to kill me. What've they got against me?'"
So all you newsy people, that spread the news around. You c'n listen to m' story, listen to m' song. You c'n step on my name, you c'n try 'n' get me beat, When I leave New York, I'll be standin' on my feet. And it's hard times from the country, Livin' down in New York town.--Bob Dylan, "Hard Times in New York Town" (1961)
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 1995 14:32:38 GMT From: CHRISTOPHER ROLLASON (rollason at DIALUP.FRANCENET.FR) Subject: Re: Lyrics/ "Restless Farewell" firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Gonnerman) wrote: >Restless Farewell [>The Times They Are A-Changin'< (1964)] >/ Bob Dylan >When finally located, its working title turned out to be 'Bob Dylan's Restless >Epitaph" evidently Dylan was already looking to write his farewell to >song." >"Restless Farewell" was recorded on October 31, 1963. The song is actually quite similar to a traditional Irish song called 'The Parting Glass', which it resembles in tune, general structure and details of the lyrics. The Irish song too represents the narrator looking back on his life so far, bringing in the subjects of money, love relationships and friendships. Chorus is: 'So fill to me the parting glass - Goodnight, and joy be to you all.' 'Restless Farewell' seems to be another case of the early Dylan appropriating and rewriting a traditional song for his own purposes. The last verse, about the 'false clock' etc., is completely his own, and relates to the theme of personal integrity as against society's expectations, as in 'Maggie's Farm', 'To Ramona', etc. 'The Parting Song', recorded acapella by the Voice Squad, is available on the double various-artists CD of Irish music 'Bringing It All Back Home' released by BBC Records in 1991. Note the title! - in fact it was originally hoped to include Dylan in the project. He isn't there, but it does have contributions by the likes of Richard Thompson, Emmylou Harris, the Waterboys, the Everly Brothers, Mary Black, Paul Brady...
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 1995 01:16:01 GMT From: Ben Taylor (bptaylor at LAGUNA.DEMON.CO.UK) Subject: Re: Lyrics/ "Restless Farewell" email@example.com "CHRISTOPHER ROLLASON" writes: > >"Restless Farewell" was recorded on October 31, 1963. > > The song is actually quite similar to a traditional Irish song called > 'The Parting Glass', which it resembles in tune, general structure and >From Digital Tradition (see FAQ for more details): THE PARTING GLASS Recorded by Tommy Makem on "The Best of The Clancy Bros. and Tommy Makem"; also recorded by Robin Roberts, Patrick Galvin @parting @drink (E) C Am C Am G / G C - - / C Am C Am G / G C F C Am / C F C F C / C F C G C - / C Am C Am G / G C F C Am Of all the money that e'er I spent I've spent it in good company And all the harm that ever I did Alas it was to none but me And all I've done for want of wit To memory now I can't recall So fill to me the parting glass Good night and joy be with you all If I had money enough to spend And leisure to sit awhile There is a fair maid in the town That sorely has my heart beguiled Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips I own she has my heart enthralled So fill to me the parting glass Good night and joy be with you all Oh, all the comrades that e'er I had They're sorry for my going away And all the sweethearts that e'er I had They'd wish me one more day to stay But since it falls unto my lot That I should rise and you should not I'll gently rise and softly call Good night and joy be with you all -- Ben Taylor -- Leeds, England firstname.lastname@example.org
And in 1995, Bob resurrected the song for Frank Sinatra's birthday tribute.