“If You Ever Go To Houston (2009)

Daniel Mark Epstein calls “If You Ever Go to Houston,” his personal favorite” off of Together Through Life.  He sees it as “a hip lecture on how to handle yourself in the hot towns of the Lone Star State.”

When I first heard “If You Ever Go To Houston,” I thought, too, ah, yes, one of Bob’s familiar advice giving songs a la “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” but then I thought why Houston?  He could have picked anywhere, but not if you’re looking for a city in the U.S. that has the sound “you” in it, Youston! And this song is about you and me, as it is with most of Dylan’s songs, and the rhymes with “me” in the next to last verse demonstrate the you/me relationship that I think Dylan wants going on or at least going on for our ears to hear:

Mr. Policeman
Can you help me find my gal
Last time I saw her
Was at the Magnolia Hotel
If you help me find her
You can be my pal
Mr. Policeman
Can you help me find my gal

The verse ends with the teasingly pleasing double rhyme “be my pal”/”me find my gal.”

Advice? Yes, if you ever go to Houston, but in Youston expect to find me.

My article in this Dylan anthology of articles on millennium Dylan songs on the Together Through Life album includes discussion of this song.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/my-new-dylan-anthology-tearing-world-apart-bob-21st-nina-goss-phd

 

Here’s the first live version Dylan every played, Dublin, May 5, 2009:

 

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