Song Details

Chuck Charles

"Like A Maggie's Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues"

from the album: Hiya



Used to sing folk songs - now those days are long gone
People wanted sing alongs - even though it felt wrong
At the Royal Albert Hall - started turning it on
Some would yawn, some would fawn - Made you withdrawn
You looked around, and turned them onto the news
With lyrics that go for pages long
Like Maggie's Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues

All of it was brand new - Made you a guru
Knew it was untrue - thought they were kiddin you
Wished they knew what you knew - what you saw through
Cronkite covered you - then it all became a zoo
A hired clown, singing what they would choose
They'd all yell out what song to do
Play Maggie's Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues

Ballad Of A Thin Man - into Memphis Blues Again
You became the spokesman - of a generation
A funny situation - the whole population
Showed their admiration - and their fascination
They were thinking, they were just like you
You'd done it once, you could do it again
Another Maggie's Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues

Then came the incident - on your bike you went
Lying on the pavement - motorpsycho accident
Life-changing event - Wonder what it all meant
Found a house for rent - The Band in the basement
Hung it all up except your rock and roll shoes
But all of the fans they wanted you back
Do Maggie's Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues

You went down to Tennessee - Sang bout Frankie Lee
I'll Be Your Baby - From The North Country
You and Johnny - did it so simply
Sung so differently - people didn't wanna see
What they'd need, the lines that you used to use
C'mon sing Queen Jane Approximately
Or Maggie's Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues

Crowds they still came in - you couldn't shake them
They'd go where you'd take them - they been complainin'
Self portrait paintin' - when the 60s had to end
Even those remainin' - Highway 61 again
Like a Rolling Stone, who trashed you in their reviews
"You oughta be like you were back then"
Like Maggie's Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues"

Don't react to that trash they say about second acts
After you and Sara packed - made Blood On The Tracks
Talk about how Bobby's back - I don’t know about that
Said you wore the black hat - Regardless of the facts ...
And the Hurricane - put you into the news
Still all your fans they'd like to crack,
"It's good, just not Positively Leopard-Skin Blues"

After Rolling Thunder - cast your God asunder
Found a different drummer - took Jesus like a lover
Folks start to wonder - if you made a blunder
Blasphemy or dumber - would you recover
Your take on God, just so odd and confused
They didn't think you could write another
Maggie's Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues

They gave you farewells - didn't get Infidels
Silvio, "Ring Them Bells" - nothing really did sell
Reputation kind of fell - though you played really well
Was it fine or was it hell - I couldn't really tell
I gotta say, I love the way you'd refuse
To take requests when they would yell,
"Sing Maggie's Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues"

Everything disappears - outlasted all your peers
Jeers have turned to cheers - they praise your whole career
Your music to their ears - People want souvenirs
It's another atmosphere - now that you're a pioneer
And the Hall of Fame, a place that makes you a-muse(d)
And after 40 years it took to get here
They still want Maggie's Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues

Now your back where you began - kind of a bluesman
A 300-night stand - In front of old and new fans
Always in demand and - always with a new band
Always follow your hand - never with a master plan
And the Nobel Prize couldn’t get a hold of you
But now you’ll sing it cause you finally can
Play Maggie's Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues

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Charlie Recksieck: piano, harmonica, lead vocals
Kevin Walker: drums
Jeff Johnson: bass
Mike Mannion: electric guitar
Andy Machin: electric guitar
Spud Davenport: organ

Story Behind The Song

11 verses telling the story of public perception of Bob Dylan, whom I obviously love. People love to describe artists as "iconoclastic" and none are more so than Bob Dylan. All of the "spokesman of his generation" BS from the 60s about Dylan obviously were tough. He insisted on reinventing himself instead of spending his career just playing his hits and phoning it in. Finally finished writing this one in 2017 which is just after when Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature, but the Nobel Committee famously had a hard time actually reaching Dylan to let him know. So I got to stick that in there.

We recorded this one live with the band and you can really tell. I love the energy of recording live with five guys in a studio. I want to do that more. Then again, there's no more bullet-proof situation than trying to sound like a 1960's Bob Dylan recording, with warts and all.

- Charlie Recksieck

Like A Maggie's Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues - Video