“Lo and Behold” (1967)

“Lo and Behold” off The Basement Tapes starts with a story to tell–a looking for my woman who’s waiting for me plot.  And by stanza two, it seems this woman is met, somewhere in Pittsburgh, and her name is Molly.  But by stanza three Molly is looking to see where her herd of moose, a gift from the speaker, has flown to, and our speaker heads to Tennessee.  From there, the storyline descends into complete farce, or ascends depending on your admiration for farce.

The rhyming goes this way as well, meaning we’re introduced to a pattern to follow, but it becomes unreliable by verse three.  The pattern in verse one and two is abcbdefe. One terminal rhyme appears in verse three: “own”/”flown”, and the last verse stresses internal rhyming over terminal rhymes:

Now, I come in on a Ferris wheel
An’ boys, I sure was slick
I come in like a ton of bricks
Laid a few tricks on ’em
Goin’ back to Pittsburgh
Count up to thirty
Round that horn and ride that herd
Gonna thread up!
Lo and behold! Lo and behold!
Lookin’ for my lo and behold
Get me outa here, my dear man!

the words “in,” “Ferris,” “slick,” “bricks,” “tricks,” “Pittsburgh,” thrashing around the ‘I” assonance.

I’ve just always admired how Dylan sings “Lo and BEhold” instead Lo and BeHOLD.  It seems he didn’t want to be beholding to the usual way of saying the phrase, but then again he turned it into a noun, something to be looked for, so why not pronounce it different, too?

The original off The Basement Tapes:

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