Ballad of a Thin Man

Bob Dylan’s wonderful “Ballad of a Thin Man” in two delightful versions. First, from the movie, Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There. Dylan is played by (the female) Cate Blanchett. I really like this film, as a film.

Now a Dylan performance,  one of many, from his 1966 tour, this time in Copenhagen. Note Al Kooper’s organ — he’s the signature of this-period Dylan arrangement. (Update: Actually Garth Hudson per comment below by Fred Allen; Kooper-style organ though.)

The original “thin man” was likely a reporter — “You walk into the room, with a pencil in your hand” — but I have a different employee thin-man in mind. Sadly, he doesn’t know what’s happening either.



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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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  • GaiusPublius

    Thanks, Fred. Yes.


  • Thomas J. Herling

    That’s the Hawks playing backup, with Mickey Jones temporarily filling in for the missing Levon Helm. For sheer brilliance that shows how Garth Hudson is rock’s greatest keyboardist, listen to his work on “Thin Man” on the ’74 tour album “Before the Flood.”

  • Fred Allen

    The organ player is obviously Garth Hudson, sans beard.

  • J.D. Rhoades

    “Dylan is played by (the female) Cate Blanchett.”

    Wait, there’s a male one?

    On second thought, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know.

  • The Todd Haynes film was brilliant. I saw it in a little theater in Brive-la-Gaillarde when it came out. My wife and I were the only people in the theater at a mid day showing. Kate was absolutely brilliant, but so was Charlotte Gainsbourg. Charlotte as the meme for Dylans different relationships was pretty cool, but her portrayal of Suze Rotollo was absolutely uncanny. I’ve spoken about the film with many people and either you loved it or hated it…I think that’s a very good definition of great art.

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