Bob Dylan Countdown #152: “All Over You”

It seems like the general consensus within the Dylan community is that The Witmark Demos release did not have the same impact on his fans as did the other Bootleg Series albums. I was a tad underwhelmed myself. I had a chance to review it and it was pleasant, but I heard it as more of  an important historical document than something that I would want on repeat play. It’s a lot of similar-sounding songs because of the nature of the demos, and, after a while, one sort of blends into another. Even the songs that graced his albums and became classics are a bit muted and not different enough from the famous versions to make them all that essential.

That said, “All Over You” is so vigorous that it practically leaps out in contrast to the rest of the Witmark songs. Of course, that pep may come from the fact that Dylan is singing about the imminent prospect of getting lucky. The song turns a shade darker when Bob seems to be hinting at possible revenge against the girl in the song, but the rollicking tone of the music wins out.

This is a family blog, so I’m not going to elaborate on the innuendo suggested by “I’ll do it all over you.” I will say that it’s a subversive ploy for Dylan to compare himself anticipating sex to the nobler exploits of Biblical figures. He even twists fairy tales to his liking:  “And I grab me a pint, you know that I’m a giant/When you hear me yellin’, ‘Fee-fi-fo-fum.'”

It’s a ribald little tale, flashing the sense of humor that is perennially underrated when discussing Dylan’s many gifts. As anyone who’s anticipating a big night that is taking forever to arrive can tell you, “All Over You” is so funny it hurts.


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