Song of the Day #4,013: ‘Handy Dandy’ – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s 27th album, 1990’s Under the Red Sky, isn’t likely to warrant a mention among either his best or his worst work.

The album was met with tepid sales and critical shrugs, in part because it followed 1989’s celebrated Oh Mercy, which had been rightly heralded as a solid return to form. Under the Red Sky was nothing like its sonically and thematically rich predecessor.

Instead, it was a rather slickly produced collection of lightweight pop songs, including a few that doubled as nursery rhymes.

I remember buying this album at the time and being disappointed, expecting something as good as Oh Mercy. But time sands down those edges and I find the album perfectly listenable now, even if I never listen to it. Like I said, it’s far from his best or his worst.

‘Handy Dandy’ is among the songs I like best on this album, so the Random iTunes Fairy knows the score.

Handy Dandy, controversy surrounds him
He been around the world and back again
Something in the moonlight still hounds him
Handy Dandy, just like sugar and candy

[Verse 1]
Handy Dandy, if every bone in his body was broken he would never admit it
He got an all-girl orchestra and when he says
“Strike up the band,” they hit it
Handy Dandy, Handy Dandy

[Verse 2]
You say, “What are ya made of?”
He says, “Can you repeat what you said?”
You’ll say, “What are you afraid of?”
He’ll say, “Nothin’! Neither ’live nor dead.”

[Verse 3]
Handy Dandy, he got a stick in his hand and a pocket full of money
He says, “Darling, tell me the truth, how much time I got?”
She says, “You got all the time in the world, honey”
Handy Dandy, Handy Dandy

[Verse 4]
He’s got that clear crystal fountain
He’s got that soft silky skin
He’s got that fortress on the mountain
With no doors, no windows, no thieves can break in

[Verse 5]
Handy Dandy, sitting with a girl named Nancy in a garden feeling kind of lazy
He says, “Ya want a gun? I’ll give ya one.” She says, “Boy, you talking crazy”
Handy Dandy, just like sugar and candy
Handy Dandy, pour him another brandy

[Verse 6]
Handy Dandy, he got a basket of flowers and a bag full of sorrow
He finishes his drink, he gets up from the table, he says
“Okay, boys, I’ll see you tomorrow”
Handy Dandy, Handy Dandy, just like sugar and candy
Handy Dandy, just like sugar and candy

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,013: ‘Handy Dandy’ – Bob Dylan

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    This feels like a throwaway song.

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