They Say I Shot A Man Named Gray

Completion Date: 22 Jan 2019
Medium: Paint & ink on cardboard
Dimensions: 16 X 20 inches

Line from “Idiot Wind”, a song by Bob Dylan, which appeared on his album Blood on the Tracks. The song is likely to have been written, or at least begun, in the summer of 1974, after Dylan’s comeback tour with The Band that year.

Dylan first recorded “Idiot Wind” in New York City in September 1974 during the initial Blood on the Tracks sessions. That December, working on a suggestion from his brother, Dylan re-recorded half the songs on Blood on the Tracks, including “Idiot Wind”, in Minneapolis. The re-recorded versions were radical departures from the original recordings, and “Idiot Wind” saw a tremendous change, including the adding of a full band backing from an essentially solo acoustic recording. The sessions in which he re-recorded these songs took place after the initial test pressing of Blood on the Tracks, however, and the session musicians Dylan used were not given credit for their work on the album sleeve.

The standard studio version of “Idiot Wind”, re-recorded in December 1974 and issued on Blood on the Tracks, is listed as 7:48 in duration. One of the original September 1974 studio recordings of the song, eventually released in 1991 on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3, runs 8:52 long.

A raucous live version from May 23, 1976, listed as 10:21 long, is included as the closing track to Hard Rain.

The song was #16 on American Songwriter magazine’s The 30 Greatest Dylan Songs.

Source: Wikipedia

Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out but when they will I can only guess
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
I can’t help it if I’m lucky

People see me all the time and they just can’t remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts
Even you, yesterday you had to ask me where it was at
I couldn’t believe after all these years, you didn’t know me better than that
Sweet lady

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads headin’ south
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe

I ran into the fortune-teller, who said beware of lightning that might strike
I haven’t known peace and quiet for so long I can’t remember what it’s like
There’s a lone soldier on the cross, smoke pourin’ out of a boxcar door
You didn’t know it, you didn’t think it could be done, in the final end he won the wars
After losin’ every battle

I woke up on the roadside, daydreamin’ ’bout the way things sometimes are
Visions of your chestnut mare shoot through my head and are makin’ me see stars
You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies
One day you’ll be in the ditch, flies buzzin’ around your eyes
Blood on your saddle

Idiot wind, blowing through the flowers on your tomb
Blowing through the curtains in your room
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe

It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage but it just wasn’t enough to change my heart
Now everything’s a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped
What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good, you’ll find out when you reach the top
You’re on the bottom

I noticed at the ceremony, your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I can’t remember your face anymore, your mouth has changed, your eyes
don’t look into mine
The priest wore black on the seventh day and sat stone-faced while the
building burned
I waited for you on the running boards, near the cypress trees, while the
springtime turned
Slowly into Autumn

Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe

I can’t feel you anymore, I can’t even touch the books you’ve read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishin’ I was somebody else instead
Down the highway, down the tracks, down the road to ecstasy
I followed you beneath the stars, hounded by your memory
And all your ragin’ glory

I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I’m finally free
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me
You’ll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above
And I’ll never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love
And it makes me feel so sorry

Idiot wind, blowing through the buttons of our coats
Blowing through the letters that we wrote
Idiot wind, blowing through the dust upon our shelves
We’re idiots, babe
It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves