Bob Dylan – Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues – lyrics that satirise an unpleasant right-wing bunch of fanatics.

Bob Dylan – Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues – lyrics that satirise an unpleasant right-wing bunch of fanatics.

john birch John Birch jesus_saves_kkk

The John Birch society are a right-wing organisation that is paranoid about a commie take-over. They hunt out un-American activity.

I thought it was hilarious when John Lennon was asked about the Beatles being a danger to American youth. The presenter said to him that they had been called ‘UnAmerican’, to which Lennon replied – ‘That’s very observant of them. We’re not American.’

This was Bob in his humorous, Chaplinesque manner, with a Woody Guthrie inspired talking blues and a bit of barbed wit. Instead of an all-out attack on the right-wingers paranoid rabidity he chose to deploy humour and satirise their stupidity.

It went down brilliantly live. He recorded it for the first album but the powers-that-be thought it too political and risky. They thought it might elicit a backlash that would hit sales.
There was controversy at the time but in the end it was left off. That’s a shame as it is a great song.

I love the humour and can’t think of a better way to lampoon fanatics. Perhaps that’s what we should be doing with ISIS and the Creationists?

Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues Lyrics

  • Well, I was feelin’ sad and kind of blue
    I didn’t know what I was gonna do
    The Communists were comin’ around
    They was in the air, they were on the ground
    They were all over

So I ran down most hurriedly
And joined the John Birch Society
I got me a secret membership card
Went back to my backyard
And started looking on the sidewalk
‘Neath the rose bush

Well, I was lookin’ everywhere for them gold darned Reds
I got up in the mornin’ and looked under my bed
Looked behind the kitchen, behind the door
Even tore loose the kitchen floor, couldn’t find any

I looked beneath the sofa, beneath the chair
Looking for them Reds everywhere
I looked way up my chimney hole
Even looked deep inside my toilet bowl
They got away

I heard some footsteps by the front porch door
So I grabbed my shotgun from the floor
I snuck around the house with a huff and hiss and
“Hands up, you Communist” it was a mail man
He punched me out

Well, I quit my job so I could work alone
I got a magnifying glass like Sherlock Holmes
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they was red stripes on the American flag
Did you know about Betsy Ross

Well, I was sittin’ home alone and I started to sweat
I figured they was in my television set
I peeked behind the picture frame
And got a shock from my feet that hit my brain
Them Reds did it, no one’s on the hootin’ nanny

Well, I finally started thinkin’ straight
When I run outta things to investigate
I couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else
So now I’m at home investigatin’ myself
Hope, I don’t find out too much, good God

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