Bob Dylan Countdown #193: “Po’ Boy”

There’s a picture of Bob Dylan on the back cover of “Love And Theft” showing him with his hand to his hat at if he’s ready to doff it. While not smiling, he still has a genial look on his face, every bit the country gentlemen. I always associate that picture with this song, as they both share the same gentleness and goodwill.

With the delicate acoustic guitars guiding the way on this shuffle, Dylan croons out a melody as lovely as it is timeless. The lyrics contain a little it of everything:  Woeful tales, allusions to Shakespeare, and some of the hammiest jokes you’ll ever hear.

All of these disjointed segments seem to work together to forge the kind spirit at the heart of the song. I don’t know if there’s any good to be had in trying to parse it all out. It’s better just to let this one wash over you as you hum along, or maybe even whistle.

I can’t guarantee that “Po’ Boy” will give you a rush like some of Dylan’s other headier compositions. That said, I wouldn’t be too surprised if, at the song’s conclusion, you had a peaceful look on your face much like the song’s author in the aforementioned picture. And that’s a nifty little accomplishment for any song.


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