“Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?”

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Since we’re on the subject of non-album Dylan singles from 1965, there’s also “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?”. Released at the end of November 1965 as a single, although not faring nearly as well as “Like A Rolling Stone” or “Positively 4th Street”, this is almost a forgotten Dylan single like “Mixed Up Confusion” – his website indicates that he played it only once in concert.

Musically, the best part of the song is the drumming. The backing band is The Hawks (later to be known as The Band), and it sounds a bit more like a precursor to Blonde on Blonde than a song for Highway 61. Apparently they did twenty-two takes of this one trying to get it right. Here’s an alternate version (the drumming is slightly different, as is the guitar):

The whole thing is a bit forgettable, really. An inessential single. Nick Hornby wrote about it in his book 31 Songs. While saying that he isn’t a Dylan fan (though he owns twenty of his CDs), he notes that “Can You Please” is “a minor Dylan track, one of his snarly (and less than poetic) put-downs, but it is from my favourite period (electric, with that crisp, clean organ sound), and I haven’t heard it a million times times before, so it sneaks its way on to car tapes now”. I can’t really improve on that.

Jimi Hendrix also recorded this for the BBC, before he’d make “All Along the Watchtower” his very own. It’s worth a listen.

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