Another Basement Tape Track from Bob Dylan: “Dress It Up, Better Have It All”
Good morning, everyone. If you go to the website of Esquire magazine, you can listen to another new-and-old track from The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: Bob Dylan and The Band, The Basement Tapes Complete. The article by Jeff Slate accompanying the song’s premiere includes some nice quotes from Mike Scott of the Waterboys, and Sid Griffin, author of Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, The Band and The Basement Tapes.
“Dress It Up, Better Have It All” is a jolly, rollicky tangle between boogie-woogie and rockabilly. A small snip of it was available earlier this summer via iTunes with purchase of the record, but waiting for the whole song was a good idea. The lyrics aren’t published at bobdylan.com, and should give listeners hours of pleasure as they try to figure out what Dylan is alternately yelling, cooing and crowing.
There’s a problematic, attractive lady involved here, at least at first: “Cantcha see I crawl?” the singer petitions her at the start, and soon he’s “a-howlin to my baby, yellin’ please, please please don’t.” Rick Danko’s thumpy, happy bass line sounds against the plinky piano as Dylan directs, “aw, let’s shake it up,” and they do, with a blazing little guitar riff that can only be Robbie Robertson’s spurring them on. [The musicians are not identified by instrument on the forthcoming album as “all involved were multi-instrumentalists and vocalists, and no records remain,” but one can make a heartfelt guess].
The music takes over whatever the lyrics might be saying; “Please little girl, I hope ya don’t interrupt” is a clear directive as the instruments start to really mix it up together. “I’m skippin’….yea yea yea yea,” Dylan chants, and you believe it. “Oh, sounds so sweet.” He’s right. As things fade into a shuffly drumbeat and a snicker, you purely love the sound of musicians, and friends, having fun.