Monday, February 20, 2006

Bob Dylan Tied to Cheney Shooting!

"The New York Times has tied Bob Dylan to the Cheney shooting, and no wonder.

In the opening of its major article in its Sunday 'Week in Review' section, the Times explained the history of the Armstrong Ranch in Texas, scene of the incident just over a week ago when Vice President Dick Cheney shot fellow hunter Harry Whittington.

The Armstrong property, the Times said, owes its origins to an 1877 incident, when 'a hard-bitten Texas ranger named John B. Armstrong captured the notorious outlaw John Wesley Hardin after what the officer later described in a telegram back home as a 'lively shooting' aboard a train in Florida.'

The capture, the paper observed, made a hero of Armstrong, 'who bought a 50,000-acre plot from the owners of an old Spanish land grant using, according to one account, the $4,000 reward from the capture of the notorious gunman. When Mr. Armstrong died there in 1913, the land passed down to his heirs and soon was known by the family name.'

What the newspaper fails to mention, however, is that one of Bob Dylan's famed 1960s albums was called (after one song on the record) 'John Wesley Harding.' In that case, Dylan added a 'g' rather than his usual practice of dropping a 'g.'

Dylan writes that Hardin/Harding was 'a friend to the poor/He traveled with a gun in every hand' but 'was never known to hurt an honest man.' Then, in the final two stanzas, Dylan describes, believe it or not, an incident 'down in Chaynee County.'

The song concludes as follows.

Twas down in Chaynee County,
A time they talk about,
With a lady by his side
He stook a stand.
And soon the situation there
Was all but straightened out,
For he was always known
To lend a helping hand.

All across the telegraph
His name it did resound.
But no charge held against him
Could they prove....
He was never known
To make a foolish move."

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