Workingman’s blues #2 stripped

Due to the mind map search for Name dropping in Dylan songs, I more or less accidentally found out that the line I can live on rice and beans from Workingman’s blues is actually taken from Grapes of Wrath. Combined with everything that is written on the Internet about the various sources of this song, I decided to mind map a. an overview and b. a search for further connections. Workingman’s Blues #2 can be conclusively linked to Merle Haggard, Howlin’ Wolf (thanks to Patrick), John Steinbeck, Henry Timrod, Ovid, Robert Johnson and possibly as well to William Faulkner (to his short story Burning Bar). Don’t get me wrong, I like Workingman’s blues and I think it is one of Dylan’s top 10 songs. Still like it even now I know the song is probably sampled for the major part. Or, to put it stronger: I would not be surprised that there is – if you look hard enough – not one single original Dylan line in this song.

About Hans Buskes

I am a professional mindmapper, I help companies map their business, I am author of two mindmap books. My clients are law firms, municipalities, banks, consultancies and high-tech companies.
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8 Responses to Workingman’s blues #2 stripped

  1. Pingback: Copying or enriching, that’s the question | mastermindmaps

  2. Patrick says:

    You are forgetting an obvious source of this song – Howlin Wolf – Meet me In the Bottom

  3. Darkeyez says:

    Great map! It amazes me still the sponge that is Dylans mind, his ability to remember lines and passages from stuff he’s read, then I remember one thing about Bob that has always stood out, he LOVES to read and is always doing so. He’s already proved he has the memory of an elephant do I would almost bet my reputation on the fact that he does not search books for lines to put in songs, he’s too true a poet for that. My wife can literally read a novel in two days then tell me all about it…and she does this constantly…there must be something in peoples heads, maybe he has literally a photographic memory that he’s never told anyone about. From the sheer amount of material he’s written he has to be something extremely special mentally, to be able to put forth such massive content in a relatively short period of time.

  4. Duncan says:

    It does beg the question: how does he write them? The words don’t just fall together into a song without some effort – but is he half-remembering thing’s he’s read, or is he sitting there with a pile of books on the side, looking for quotes?

    Either way – nice map: makes it all very clear.

    • It’s puzzles me as well. Also how can you write a coherent song if all the lines are from completely different books, songs, settings? Is he intentionally copying this lines (the enormous amount of lines from Ovid does suggest that) or is it accidentally (the line from Steinbeck would suggest that). Beats me.

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