As it happens, a few of those songs are by Bob Dylan, & I also found out that yesterday was Bob Dylan’s birthday. So perhaps you could consider this posting a belated birthday tribute to a musician/songwriter who’s been important to me both as a musician & as a poet for many years—but in all honesty, I didn’t originally conceive it as such.
“Ballad of a Thin Man” is from Dylan’s 1965 Highway 61 Revisited album, which I’ve mined for material in the past—at various times I’ve performed & recorded “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” “From a Buick 6” & the title track from this record, & I’ve also played around extensively with “Queen Jane Approximately” & “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.” I certainly consider this album one of Dylan’s very best—interestingly enough, he did too. He told biographer Anthony Scaduto:
"I'm not gonna to be able to make a record better than that one. Highway 61 is just too good. There's a lot of stuff on there that I would listen to."
I’ve always been drawn to “Ballad of a Thin Man” not only by the quality of the lyrics, but also by the music—keyboardist Al Kooper, who played organ & piano on the album (organ on this song), called it "musically more sophisticated than anything else on the album." I love the descending bass line, & played in E minor as I’m doing, the bass line is also a lay down on a guitar fretboard. The guitar in this case is my Regal single cone resonator.
So here’s my humble version—it has its moments, I think—hope you enjoy it!