I Ain’t Gonna Work on Maggie’s Farm No More

11 Apr

6 things about Dylan’s seminal song Maggie’s Farm

1.   A t the Newport Folk Festival he sang this song, and the audience booed him.  Some of the people say they weren’t booing the electric guitar,  but the fact that they couldn’t hear him.  What they don’t say is that they couldn’t hear him because they were distracted by the electric guitar–which yeah, they hated.  They also said it was because Dylan’s concert was too short, and a million other reasons.  The truth?  They hated him going electric.

2  Pete Seeger, father of the folkies:  I couldn’t understand the words. I wanted to hear the words. It was a great song, “Maggie’s Farm,” and the sound was distorted. I ran over to the guy at the controls and shouted, “Fix the sound so you can hear the words.” He hollered back, “This is the way they want it.” I said “Damn it, if I had an axe, I’d cut the cable right now.” 

3.  Oddly enough, today if you read a review of Bringing it all Back Home reviewers tend to slide right over Maggie’s Farm, relegating it as a simple complaint about the folk scene.  Yeah, it was, but it was more than that.

4.  Many Dylan haters complain about his voice.  His voice is intentionally not polished.  If you want to hear something smooth and easy he is just damn straight the wrong place to go.  However, his words–which is what matters more than anything with him–are the best of any recorded music and his intonations are part of that.  I’m not saying people have to like him, but at the same time, give him a second listen.  His tone is always always always part of it.

5.  Maggie’s Farm is EXACTLY how I feel like at work right now.  I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
No, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
Well, I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
They sing while you slave and I just get bored
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.

6.  I looked online to see what other people thought of this song.  The weirdest?  A contingent of people who thought it was about Margaret Thatcher.  Has time moved on to the point where kids confuse the 80’s and the 60’s?  In my head it’s like confusing  socks and a hat.  When Dylan wrote this song Thatcher was nowhere on the radar in America.  I’m not saying that one decade is better than the other (some will) but the eighties was MTV mall-culture with alternative music protesting the mall-culture, the 60’s was a movement of rock music being kid’s music, to something that can make a serious statement.  Whether that movement was ultimately successful is certainly questionable, but they’re very different.

 

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