The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan You’re no good

You’re No Good

Appears on Bob Dylan’s eponymous debut album. Dylan’s take is a bit faster and with some small differences to the lyrics.

Jesse Fuller was an acoustic blues singer that Dylan claims to have met in Denver, Colorado in 1959. Fuller, was born in 1896 in Jonesboro, Georgia, and spent the majority of his life working at a variety of blue-collar jobs and playing music on the side.

He played at the Monterrey Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival, and had concerts with The Animals and The Rolling Stones.

A spoken introduction (referred to as “Connecticut Cowboy”) was recorded but not used on the released version (listed as “She’s No Good”) on the album Bob Dylan, 1962.

Todd Harvey (The Formative Dylan) writes that Fuller did not actually record You’re No Good until 18 months after Dylan’s recording. He also suggests that Dylan learned the song from Ramblin’ Jack Elliott who knew Fuller’s work very well.

I think Dylan’s singing style on the song (the whole album actually) is  close to  Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s way of singing.

The lyrics are “angry” but the way he sing is quite humorous in tone.

Bob Dylan also performed the song on the East Orange Tape, Feb/Mar 1961, Minnesota Party Tape, May 1961, First McKenzie Tape, Nov-Dec 1961.

Well, I don’t know why I love you like I do —
Nobody in the world can get along with you.
You got the ways of a devil sleepin’ in a lion’s den;
I come home last night you wouldn’t even let me in.
Oh, sometimes you’re as sweet as anybody wanna agree,
When you get a crazy notion jumpin’ all over me —
When you give me the blues, I guess you’re satisfied,
When you give me the blues I wanna lay down and die.

I helped you when you had no shoes on your feet, pretty momma,
I helped you when you had no food to eat.
You’re a kinda woman I just don’t understand —
You’re takin’ all my money, give it to another man.

Well, you’re that kind of woman makes a man lose his brains,
You’re that kind of woman drives a man insane.
You give me the blues, I guess you’re satisfied,
You give me the blues, I wanna lay down and die —
Well, you give me the blues, I wanna lay down and die.

  • Hallgeir

6 thoughts on “The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan You’re no good”

  1. I was in both Denver and the Village in those days and was friends with both Bobby and Ramblin’ Jack . I know that Bobby admired Jack and took on some of Jack’s mannerisms. I was singing at a coffee house in Denver when Jesse Fuller played at the Exodus in 1959 and that was about the time Bobby made a hegira to the west before he hit the scene in NYC in 1961, so he could have heard it there and then got the words from Ramblin’ Jack later. Jesse’s big hit was San Francisco Bay Blues. Bobby’s closest friend in the village was Dave Van Ronk, whom we all revered as “The Mayor of MacDougal Street.” Here’s a video of a song that is a tribute to Davids influence in those days. It includes a great candid shot of Bobby. Suze Rotolo, Terri Thall and David walking together in the Village.

    1. Thank you John for this beautiful song about Dave.
      I saw recently Bob in Paris : he’s like usual, different each time, but still great (even if “Sinatra” it’s not my favorite, but I’ve learned to respect Bob’s relation to different sources of american music, and his work about it.
      Thank you once again for your song, John.
      Stéphane (Mantes-la-Jolie, near Paris)

      1. Thank you Stephane, the first time I sat and had coffee with Bobby and listened to his wild tales I was a bit dubious , but hey, they were great story’s and his talent was undeniable.

Comments are closed.