Pod Dylan #23 – Man in the Long Black Coat


Episode 23 - The Man in the Long Black Coat

Rob welcomes back fellow Dylan obsessive Jon Glyn to talk about "Man in the Long Black Coat", a spooky track from 1989's OH MERCY.

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5 responses to “Pod Dylan #23 – Man in the Long Black Coat

  1. I remember when I released Secret Origins episode 10, you said I should have included this song among the many musical cues included on that episode. I listened to the song again after that and became very disappointed in myself. One of precious few regrets I have about the show; this song is the perfect Phantom Stranger theme.

    Terrific episode talking about an awesome song. I appreciated Jon’s reference to IT. I knew where he was going with it even before he said it.

  2. TIME OUT OF MIND and OH MERCY are probably my two favorite Bob Dylan albums and the thing they have in common, aside from Dylan, is Daniel Lanois. I love the way you describe his contribution to the production of OH MERCY in capturing an soundscape that feels like an autumn nocturne.

    Even though I’ve only listened to the album on CD and digital, I would say Side B slightly edges out Side A. While I love “Man in the Long Black Coat”, “Most of the Time” is in my Top 5 favorite Dylan songs.

  3. I was aware that this was a Dylan song, but prior to the podcast, I’d only ever heard it as performed by Joan Osborn on her underrated but over-consumed album “Relish” (seemingly universally available among heavily discounted used CDs before all such digital coasters were potential dollar bin fodder. Long Live the New Flesh!) I doubt I’ll ever be able to hear it past my personal prejudice toward the Osborne version, and it doesn’t hurt that she does my favorite version of “Make You Feel My Love” on her follow-up album, “Righteous Love.” This tune always makes me think of Bob Mitchum in “Night of the Hunter,” because I (erroneously) conflate the preacher with the mystery man. The “face like a mask” is the false grinning appearance of loving kindness that hides his true intentions. In my head cannon, the Osborne version speaks as the “she” who’s gone, reflecting on the warnings unheeded and desperation for escape that led to her demise (either by accident or murder or suicide as the weight of circumstance came down upon her.)

  4. If you listen to shows starting in 1991 when he plays this song live, you’ll hear the last verse begin “The beach is deserted…” a line from “Sara”! He’s done this numerous times over the years for it to just be a one-time mistake. And, if you play the songs back-to-back, it almost sounds like a (very) spooky sequel. Keep up the great work!

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