“Went To See The Gypsy” (1970)

The rhyming in “Went To See The Gypsy” is varied, but there is a consistent pattern of abcb to begin each of the four verses.  It’s a mysterious, surreal, dreamlike song.  A man meets with a gypsy apparently to have his fortune told.  A meeting is had, but only an exchange of greetings happen, or so we’re told. A dancing girl advises the man to return to the gypsy but the gypsy is not there when he tries to return to him.  And then the dancing girl is missing as well, leaving the man to reflect, meditate:

So I watched that sun come rising
From that little Minnesota town

It’s a vignette, a small piece of a character’s life.  The song glides and the tune is catchy.  Perhaps the most pleasing part is in the third verse when Dylan sings a litany of rhyming words from the c rhyme position that starts with “there” (albeit a bit forced with it):

He can move you from the rear
Drive you from your fear
Bring you through the mirror
He did it in Las Vegas
And he can do it here”

It’s a good song, easy to listen to, and that final image, with one of the few if any direct references to his home state, lingers.  We get to reflect with the singer on what just happened or rather what didn’t happen.  We are left with more of a gap.  What happened between the exchange of “How are you’s” and why does he take the dancer’s advice to go back?  The story has a pattern but the questions make us realize how little of a pattern there is, as with the rhyming.

Here’s the original studio version

And here’s the latest from the recently released Bootleg Basement Tapes cuts:

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