Little Red Bike

“The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia” (Michael Gray)

From Michael Gray’s excellent book, the Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, about Buckets of Rain (from Blood on the Tracks):

The closing track on the Blood on the Tracks album, this is an immensely likeable, modest song of barbed sanity. A blues- structured work, it also neatly conflates other old song titles within its lyric, as when Dylan sings

‘Little red wagon, little red bike / I ain’t no monkey but I know what I like’.

In a genre so riddled with sexual innuendo and double entendre as the blues, it’s sometimes hard to know whether a phrase or a line belongs in the nursery or the porn shop, and this is a good example. One long-term Dylan collector was told years ago that the phrase ‘little red bike’ was a blues term for anal sex: which certainly puts a different perspective on Dylan’s lyric. But it is not a common blues term: there isn’t a single ‘little red wagon’ in Michael Taft’s Blues Lyric Poetry: A Concordance.

‘Little Red Wagon’ is, however, a recording by the pre-war blues artist Georgia White, and by a happy coincidence the very next track she laid down at the same session is called ‘Dan the Back Door Man’.

I’ll never hear that song quite the same again.

From the official Bob Dylan lyric site:

Little red wagon
Little red bike
I ain’t no monkey but I know what I like.
I like the way you love me strong and slow,
I’m takin’ you with me, honey baby,
When I go.

2 thoughts on “Little Red Bike

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