Album: Blonde on Blonde
With Al Kooper & Kenny Buttrey rocking it up in one channel and Charlie McCoy and Joe South laying back in the other, all votes for “Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” as Dylan’s greatest song will be considered by our elite panel of judges.
First off, it’s got that short, brilliant and endlessly singable chorus, which like “Like a Rolling Stone,” posits a question with an infinite amount of answers:
Oh, mama, can this really be the end?
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again?
Not to mention that I’ve used “Stuck Inside of [PLACE] with the [THING] Blues Again” as a joke framework for decades now.
I think that this song was also one of the key turning points for my appreciation of Bob Dylan turning into full-blown love, because I have a memory of scrawling the words of this verse on my high school textbooks and maybe even a desk or two:
Now the rainman gave me two cures
Then he said, “Jump right in”
The one was Texas medicine
The other was just railroad gin
An’ like a fool I mixed them
An’ it strangled up my mind
An’ now people just get uglier
An’ I have no sense of time
And finally – especially since “Absolutely Sweet Marie” won’t make the cut here – let me give it up for Kenny Buttrey’s utterly amazing drumming. Driving hard through the verses, putting weird rolls everywhere, almost disappearing during “Oh, mama, can this really be end?” before roaring back during “To be stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again?” and finally dueting with the acoustic guitar with his ride cymbal before the next verse starts.
“(Stuck Inside of Mobile With The) Memphis Blues Again”
My Certain Songs Spotify Playlist: