One of my favorite things about Dan Bern/Bernstein is that he talks the blues. Although I think Bob Dylan first brought this traditional combination of spoken word, guitar, and harmonica into pop(ular) music, I feel like Dan/Bernstein's taking it one step further, and that he does so very well. This talking blues song is particularly humorous because Bernstein does really piercing, satirical Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen impersonations (check out the shameless "Born in the U.S.A."/"Song to Woody" parody in italics in the 5th stanza).
Track 11 of Smartie Mine.
Lyrics (reproduced here by permisssion):
Well, when Woody Guthrie was sick and dying
Bob Dylan visited him as he was lying
In a hospital bed. Bob sang him songs
Woody smiled and said "I'm glad you come
You belong here ---
Go forth and be the voice of your generation"
Well, above Beverly Hills one night real late
I snuck past a security gate
Parked by a Mercedes Benz
Climbed up a barbed wire fence and over
Couple of scratches, but I'd made it
To the home of Bruce Springsteen
Well, I found the Boss asleep in bed
Pillows piled up round his head
I turned on the light, took off my coat
Stuck a theromometer down his throat
Said, "Don't talk.
You look pale, Boss ---
Not at all well."
I said, "You look bad" and I asked him could he
Think of us as Bob and Woody
I said, "You just rest your pretty head
As I sing to you in your hospital bed."
He said "What the hell you talking about?
I ain't sick ---
This ain't a hospital ---
And how'd you get past the security gate?
I said "I wrote you a song called 'Song To Bruce'
With a tune I stole from one of yours"
To his platinum records next I pointed
Said "I just want to be annointed"
Springsteen, I wrote you a song
'Bout a funny ol' world that's a coming along
Seems sick and it's tired it's hard and it's torn
It looks like it's dying and it's hardly been born
He started really looking sick
And I stopped singing
Then Patty his wife came in I said, "Jeez,
I'm sorry about your husband's incurable disease
I'm here to help any way I can
You know, Woody and Bob, Bruce and Dan"
She said "Honey, what am I hearing?"
He said "Baby, you know I'm in the prime of life"
I said "Down to two million in sales last time out?
Read the signs, Patty."
He said "Some people think this record's my best"
I said "Shhhhh, you need your rest"
He said "There's a madman on the loose"
I said "Woody and Bob, Dan and Bruce"
He sprang out of his bed and said,
"All right, I've heard enough of this stuff"
He grabbed my throat and dragged me hard
Down the hall and through the yard
Suprising strength for a dying man
Well, he threw me out the way I come
Barbed wire scraped my face and thumbs
I've been thinking ever since
Bob and Woody
Dan and the artist formerly known as Prince
Dan and Madonna
Bob and Woody ---
Dan and Bob
So long, Bel Air