Boots of Spanish Leather
|"Boots of Spanish Leather"|
|Song by Bob Dylan|
|from the album The Times They Are a-Changin'|
|Released||January 13, 1964|
|Recorded||August 7, 1963|
|Genre||American folk music|
|The Times They Are a-Changin' track listing|
Lyrically, "Boots of Spanish Leather" is a "restless, forlorn ballad for the ages and sages—a classic Dylan tale of two lovers, a crossroads, and the open sea." The song is written as a dialogue, with the first six verses alternating between the two lovers; however, the last three verses are all given by the lover who has been left behind. Within these nine verses, one of the lovers - a woman - goes across the sea. She writes, asking whether her lover would like any gift and he refuses, stating that he only wants her back. Towards the end it becomes clear that she is not returning, and she finally writes saying she may never come back. Her lover comes to realize what has happened and finally gives her a material request: "Spanish boots of Spanish leather."
Michael Gray says there is a strong parallel between this line and the traditional folk song "Blackjack Davey," which Dylan arranged and recorded for his 1992 album Good as I Been to You, and in which footwear of Spanish leather also plays a significant role. However, more often a parallel between this song and the traditional ballad "Scarborough Fair," which Dylan also used for his "Girl from the North Country," is drawn, both regarding melody and lyrics, as it also consists of an alternation between a man and a woman .
Though occasionally performed live in Dylan's early career -- for example at a New York City concert during the spring preceding the song's studio recording, as heard on Live 1962-1966: Rare Performances from the Copyright Collections -- Dylan did not start performing "Boots of Spanish Leather" regularly until his Never Ending Tour began in 1988.
"Boots of Spanish Leather" has been covered by many musicians, including:
- Joan Baez: Any Day Now
- Sebastian Cabot: Sebastian Cabot, Actor-Bob Dylan, Poet (1967)
- Dervish: Spirit (2003)
- The Dubliners: 30 Years A-Greying (1992) (with De Dannan)
- Nanci Griffith: Other Voices, Other Rooms (1993), Winter Marquee (2002), Putumayo Presents American Folk (2005)
- Nic Jones: Unearthed (2001)
- Richie Havens: Electric Haven (1966)
- Various Artists (performed by Ida): A Tribute to Bob Dylan, Volume 3: The Times They Are A-Changin' (2000)
- Linda Mason: How Many Seas Must a White Dove Sail (1964)
- Dan McCafferty: Dan McCafferty (1975)
- Ronnie Drew and Eleanor Shanley on their live album A Couple More Years (2000)
- Michael Moore: Jewels and Binoculars (2000)
- Seldom Scene: Scene It All (2000)
- Martin Simpson: Bootleg USA
- Various Artists (performed by Martin Simpson): A Nod to Bob (2001)
- T. Duggins: T. Duggens:Undone (2006)
- Rebecca Barnard: "Everlasting" (2010)
- Patti Smith: "Bowery Ballroom" (12/30/2010)
- Ewan McLellan: Younger Than That Now (2011)
- The Airborne Toxic Event: Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International (1/24/2012)
- Wesley Schultz: from The Lumineers: "Look Sessions" (2013)
- Amos Lee: Played in the opening scene on Episode 10 of the final season of the FX series Sons Of Anarchy.
- Mandolin Orange: Audiotree Live (2014)
- The Lumineers: "Cleopatra" Target Exclulsive Edition (2016)
- Guido Belcanto: Dutch translation titled "Laarzen Van Spaans Leder" on CD "Liefde & Devotie" (2017)
- "Boots of Spanish Leather | The Official Bob Dylan Site". Sony Music. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
- Trager, Oliver (2004). Keys to the rain: the definitive Bob Dylan encyclopedia. New York: Billboard Books. p. 80. ISBN 978-0823079742.
- Gray, Michael (2002). Song & dance man III : the art of Bob Dylan. London: Continuum. p. 857. ISBN 978-0826463821.
- Sheehy, Colleen Josephine; Thomas Swiss (2009). Highway 61 revisited: Bob Dylan's road from Minnesota to the world. U of Minnesota Press. p. 85. ISBN 9780816661008.
- Ferguson, Margaret, ed. (2005). The Norton anthology of poetry (5. ed.). New York: Norton. ISBN 978-0393979206.
- "Search results for: "Boots of Spanish Leather" The Official Bob Dylan Site". Sony Music Corporation. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013.