Textual sources to the "Love and Theft" songs

Submitted by Chris Johnson


Here are some phrases that Dylan apparently lifted from the English translation of Junichi Saga's Confessions of a Yakuza translated by John Bester) and used on Love and Theft:

Original "Love and Theft"
My old man would sit there like a feudal lord (6) "My old man, he's like some feudal lord, Got more lives than a cat" (Floater)
"If it bothers you so much," she'd say, " why don't you just shove off?" (9) Juliet said back to Romeo, "Why don't you just shove off if it bothers you so much." (Floater)
My mother...was the daughter of a wealthy farmer...(she) died when I was eleven...my father was a traveling salesman...I never met him. (my uncle) was a nice man, I won't forget him...After my mother died, I decided it'd be best to go and try my luck there. (57-58) My mother was a daughter of a wealthy farmer, / My father was a travelin' salesman, I never met him. / When my mother died, my uncle took me and he ran a funeral parlor. / He did a lot of nice things for me and I won't forget him. (Po' Boy)
"Break the roof in!" ...splashed kerosene over the floor and led a fuse from it outside (63) I’m leavin’ in the mornin’ just as soon as the dark clouds lift, / Gonn' break in the roof, set fire to the place as a parting gift (Summer Days)
I won't come anymore if it bothers you (139) Some things are too terrible to be true, / I won't come here no more if it bothers you. (Honest With Me)
"D'you think I could call myself a yakuza if I couldn't stand up to some old businessman?" (141) What good are you anyway if you can’t stand up to some old businessman. (Summer Days)
...some kind of trouble that put him on bad terms with the younger men... it's up to him whether a session comes alive or falls flat...even kicking him out wasn't as easy as that... I decided to wait a while and see how it worked out... age doesn't matter...Age by itself just doesn't carry any weight. (155) Well, the old men 'round here sometimes they get on
bad terms with the younger men,
Old, young - age don't carry weight
It doesn't matter in the end  (Floater)

Things come alive or they fall flat. (Floater)

Not always easy kicking someone out,
Got to wait awhile, it can be an unpleasant task. (Floater)

I'm not as cool or forgiving as I might have sounded (158) I'm not quite as cool or forgiving as I sound,
I've seen enough heartache and strife (Floater)
Tears or not, though, that was too much to ask (182) Sometimes somebody wants you to give something up
And, tears or not, it's too much to ask (Floater)
Just because she was in the same house didn't mean we were living together as man and wife...I don't know how it looked to other people, but I never even slept with her--not once. (208) Samantha Brown lived in my house for about four or five months. / Don't know how it looked to other people, I never slept with her even once. (Lonesome Day Blues)
They were big, those trees--a good four feet across the trunk. (241) There's a new grove of trees on the outskirts of town
The old one - long gone.
Timber, two foot six across,
Burns with the bark still on. (Floater)
There was nothing sentimental about him--it didn't bother him at all that some of his pals had been killed. (243) My captain he's decorated, he's well-schooled and he's skilled, / He's not sentimental, it don't bother him at all how many of his pals have been killed (Lonesome Day Blues)

Well, there you have it! It's a fascinating read in it's own right, and obviously Dylan liked it. What more recommendation could you possibly need?! It's available quite cheap in paperback from amazon.

Cheers! Chris Johnson Kitakyushu, Japan