This unheralded later day mystical tune from Dylan was released on the movie Lucky You directed by Curtis Hansen and also appeared on the above Tell Tell Signs (1989 – 2006). Dylan and Hurtis had previously worked together for the soundtrack of the Wonder Boys (2000) film which was reviewed here at Friday’s Finest. I find today’s featured song Huck’s Tune one of the hidden gems of this post 2000 creative resurgence. One could argue this period began with the 2000 Oscar-winning track “Things Have Changed” from Wonder Boys.
In the last 2 decades Dylan seems to wholly embody the persona of the character in the given song. As Allen Ginsberg masterly described it (but decades earlier) – ‘Dylan had become a column of air, so to speak, at certain moments, where his total physical and mental focus was this single breath coming out of his body. He had found a way in public to be almost like a shaman, with all of his intelligence and consciousness focused on his breath”
Well I wandered alone through a desert of stone
And I dreamt of my future wife
My sword’s in my hand and I’m next in command
In this version of death called life
My plate and my cup are right straight up
I took a rose from the hand of a child
When I kiss your lips, the honey drips
But I’m gonna have to put you down for a while
Personally, I am nowhere near that level of poetic enlightenment of someone like Ginsberg or a Dylan scholar with a Ph.D. with a vast array of musical knowledge to break down a Dylan song and allude it to pre-1960’s works of literature and music. Every so often I pick up on the odd fine allusion here and there, but for the most part, I judge a Dylan song by how it makes me feel and the way I can identify myself. Quite simply Huck’s Tune knocked me on my backside. I don’t grow tired of it. It has a bare bones Americana sound and transports my mind to scenes from movies like Paris, Texas and Crazy Heart and the images of breezy air, terrain, culture and music history.
Huck’s Tune is musically grounded in Dylan’s current period but is lyrically reminiscent of some of his best songs, and dare I say it, catchy as hell. This song is like a good vintage wine and will grow in stature and gain more devotees as it ages.
Someone wrote below: “The river is wider than a mile” is a line that always plays in my head when I stand at the shore of the Mississippi. Which is pretty often.
1. Review: “Huck’s Tune” by Bob Dylan – Cosmic Vibrations