You know that old story of a two-bit, hustling-and-still-scuffling young Dylan hitching to NewYork from Minnesota, in the depths of winter, so that he could sleep on couches in cold-water flats, scounge-up nickels at pass-the-basket, barely-above-busking gigs at the Cafe Wha? and then, in the midst of it all, walk across the barren wastelands of New Jersey in the sleet-slush to get to that psychiatric hospital that was holding a failing, but now famously "Not dead yet", Woody Guthrie?
A couple of months later Dylan was back in Minneapolis and everyone in what was the 'scene' there, including kinghell harp player Tony Glover, whose records Dylan had 'borrowed' to first hear the scratchy tunes of a fascist killer, knew he was not the same musician.
Or maybe even the same guy.
And soon thereafter the tidal-waving torrent that was no longer scuffling, and which may or may not have been 'channeling', of words and chords and wailing harmonica over a biting vocal ferocity that would not quit began in earnest.
Much later Dylan himself laughed the wryest, dryest laugh I have ever seen when he told Martin Scorcese:
Given all that.
How the heck am I, a guy who can barely string together three chords, and who can't sing worth a damn, but who can fiddle with words a little (in a two-bit, tin-plated sort of way), supposed to take this?
Better get to work.
(on the harmonica, I mean)