On the Road Again (Bob Dylan song)
|"On the Road Again"|
|Song by Bob Dylan from the album Bringing It All Back Home|
|Released||March 22, 1965|
|Recorded||Columbia Recording Studios, New York City January 1965|
|Bringing It All Back Home track listing|
"On the Road Again" is a song written and recorded by Bob Dylan for his album Bringing It All Back Home. The song appears on the album's electric first side, between "Outlaw Blues" and "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream". Like the rest of Bringing It All Back Home, "On the Road Again" was recorded in January, 1965 and produced by Tom Wilson.
The song's lyrics continue to address the myth of sensitive artist versus venal society that informs several other songs from side one of the album, such as "Maggie's Farm", "Outlaw Blues", and "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream". The song also reflects other songs on the album, such as "Maggie's Farm" in that resistance to society is enacted through self-exile, removal and denial. This is particularly reflected in the lyrics:
- You ask why I don't live here
- Honey, how come you don't move?
The song also previews the comic grotesques that will become more prominent on songs in later albums. The song reflects a paranoid version of dread of dealing with in-laws. The narrator wakes up in the morning and has to face a surreal world where his mother-in-law hides in the refrigerator, his father-in-law wears a mask of Napoleon and the grandfather-in-law's cane turns into a sword, the grandmother-in-law prays to pictures and an uncle-in-law steals from the narrator's pockets, in lyrics such as:
- Your mama, she's a-hidin' /
- Inside the icebox /
- Your daddy walks in wearin' Napoleon Bonaparte mask
The song's title echoes the title of Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road, which was a defining work of the Beat Generation. Dylan has acknowledged being influenced by Kerouac. However, it seems more likely that the title, and the song in itself, is a response to the song 'On The Road', a traditional blues performed by the Memphis Jug Band with more serious lyrical content concerning an unfaithful woman. As befitting the album in general, Dylan has taken an old influence and turned it on its head.
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- Memphis Jug Band