Talkin' New York

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"Talkin' New York"
Song by Bob Dylan
from the album Bob Dylan
Released March 19, 1962
Recorded November 1961
Genre Folk, talking blues
Length 3:20
Label Columbia/Capitol (US)
Songwriter(s) Bob Dylan
Producer(s) John Hammond
Bob Dylan track listing

Talkin' New York is the second song on Bob Dylan's eponymous first album. A talking blues, it describes his feelings on arriving in New York City, his time playing coffee houses in Greenwich Village and his life up to getting a record deal. The lyrics express the difficulty he had finding gigs as a result of his unique sound, "You sound like a hillbilly; We want folk singers here."

The song is the first of the two Dylan-penned songs to be heard on the album, the other being "Song To Woody." This early example of Dylan's songwriting exhibits many traits which later became synonymous with his work. For example, the line A lot of people don't have much food on their table/But they got a lot of forks n' knives/And they gotta cut somethin'.[1] has been cited by many as an early example of Dylan's lyrical wit.[2]

The lines Now, a very great man once said/That some people rob you with a fountain pen.[1] make specific reference to Woody Guthrie's "Pretty Boy Floyd". The song's structure and theme also bear similarities to Guthrie's "Talkin' Columbia", which Dylan had covered at least once in 1961, and "Talkin' Subway", with which one Dylan cataloguer drew an explicit connection. Both Guthrie and Dylan were both highly influenced by late 1920s country recording artist Chris Bouchillon, who first coined the term Talkin' Blues. [3]

US singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III, one of a small group of artists labelled 'new Bob Dylans' in their early career, recorded a critically acclaimed parody/tribute song called 'Talkin' New Bob Dylan' on his 1992 album 'History', to coincide with Dylan's 50th birthday.


  1. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 31 - Ballad in Plain D: An introduction to the Bob Dylan era. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.  Track 2.
  2. ^ Williams, P., (2004). Bob Dylan: performing artist. Omnibus Press. pp.32
  3. ^ "Roots of Bob Dylan: Woody Guthrie". Manfred Helfert. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 

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