Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

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Notes on Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan. This set of Tower Notes is 141 pages long and is sold as a fully illustrated PDF file with footnotes. An e-book of these notes as also available for purchase here and a paperback is available here.

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I started school one Monday mo'ning
Lord, I throwed my books away.
I started school one Monday mo'ning
Lord, I throwed my books away.
I wrote a note to my teacher, Lord
I gonna try 61, today.

-61 Highway Blues, Mississippi Fred McDowell

In January 1961, an acquaintance of Bob Dylan gave him a lift from Madison, WI to New York City. On arrival, Dylan began establishing himself as a performer of folk songs in several Greenwich Village coffee houses and, before the end of the year, he had acquired a recording contract with Columbia Records. Highway 61 Revisited was released four years later (his sixth album), and he named the record not after the road, or roads, which brought him to New York, but after the arterial route running south from Duluth, Minnesota (where he was born in 1941) to St Louis, Memphis and the Mississippi Delta, finally terminating in New Orleans. Highway 61 was known colloquially as the ‘Blues Highway’ long before Dylan was born: the crossroads of Highways 49 and 61 in Clarksdale is believed to be where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil, receiving his guitar-playing skills in return, and years before that, Bessie Smith died as a result of a car accident on the same stretch of road. In a press interview from 1965, Dylan recalled being limited to a diet of ‘Country and Western, rock and roll and polka music’ in and around Hibbing, Minnesota, the town where he was brought up, and the state’s great southbound road must have seemed to him full of enticement and promise: ‘I always felt like I'd started on it,’ Dylan writes of Highway 61 in his autobiography Chronicles, Volume One, ‘always had been on it and could go anywhere, even down in to the deep Delta country [...] It was my place in the universe, always felt like it was in my blood.’

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the Unkindness of Ravens If you have found our critical notes helpful, why not try the first Tower Notes novel, a historical fantasy set in the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions.

Available HERE where you can read the opening chapters.

The Unkindness of Ravens by Anthony Paul