What's in a name? Cowboy Angel Sings

What's in a name?

Back in '96, after deciding upon a name for this website, I decided to look up "Cowboy Angel" in the HWY61-L Search Archives. ("Cowboy Angel Sings" came back with no results.) Here's what other rec.music.dylan'ers had to say:

Date: Wed, 15 Nov 1995
From: Patricia Jungwirth (tricia.j@AARDVARK.APANA.ORG.AU)
Subject: Poetry

Reading a new Robert Adamson poem with a Dylan reference, reminded me of some others I'd read. Here they are:

I light the fire and wait for my life's details
To dry out - buckled paperbacks,
The sleeve of an early Dylan record
(Young jew-angel's face, cowboy mystery,
Holding his guitar's neck like a flowering tree)
A man could die waiting between these hills.

One day, too late for insects, bleak with peace,
After a month of my turning stones by the moon,
The hills will hear the brash harmonica
And send a patly scored reply in gusts.
And in that instant as the axis tilts
Someone will cross the sags, his clothes blown dry.

from "High Country - The Hut"
by Tim Thorne

Date: Fri, 8 Dec 1995
From: nate (nates@LL.MIT.EDU)
Subject: Re: Cowboy angels

>Fools rush in
>Where angels fear to tread

ah yes. nice references along this line. :-)

bear with me a moment while the brain richochets around a bit: along a different line, you may want to consider what he does with the Elvis Presley line (he actually gets around to the song in the 1970 DYLAN album himself*)

Wise men say only fools [love/fall in?] love,
but i cant help falling in love....

*Dylan actually sings "Wise men say only fools rush in"!!!

instead of transplanting it wholesale, it gets referred to obliquely:

And though the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools,
I got nothin', ma, to live up to.

and later he tips his hat to lenny bruce:

they just said he was sick 'cause he didnt play by the rules he just showed the wise men of his day to be nothing more than fools

but to return to angels & fools, we could bounce off Dirge:

I hate that FOOLISH game we played and the need that was expressed
And the mercy that you showed to me, who ever would have guessed?
I went out on Lower Broadway and I felt that place within,
That hollow place where martyrs weep and ANGELS play with sin.

landing back down where the vultures feed. angels might be afraid to tread there, but then some of them might be confident enough because they are well-saddled upon 4-legged forest clouds with black-glowing candles.

then not again, perhaps angels go into anaphylactic shock within magnetic fields and wouldnt be caught dead (so to speak) with that trainload of bogged down fools.

we might indeed surmise that things dont always turn out well even still, because

...all the authorities - they just stand around & boast
how they blackmailed the Sergeant at Arms into leaving his post
and picking up Angel, who just arrived here from the coast,
who looked so fine at first, but left looking like a ghost...

(...or was that Jim Rockford's little buddy?? hmm-nevermind)

and then ultimately

the farmers and the business men - they all did decide
to show you where the dead angels are that they used to hide....

tongue firmly planted in cheek,

- nate
"if you dont believe i love ya - look what a fool i been..."