You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere


The other day, while motoring in the Mottmobile, Sirius Radio’s Classic Vinyl channel was playing a little ditty called “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” by The Byrds. When I awoke the very next morning, this song was still playing in my head.


It was then that I had an epiphany… this song describes exactly what most of us have been (or should have been) going through ever since the advent of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic: that being the mandated sheltering in place that most of us have (or should have been) experiencing. As such, this song has been nominated (by me) to become the official anthem of 2020.


“Clouds so swift, rain won’t lift, gate won’t close, railing’s froze, get your mind off wintertime, you ain’t goin’ nowhere. Whoo-ee, ride me high, tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna’ come. Oh, oh, are we gonna’ fly, down in the easy chair. Buy me a flute and a gun that shoots, tailgate some substitutes. Strap yourself to the tree with roots, you ain’t goin’ nowhere.” (“You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – The Byrds – 1968 – Penned by Bob Dylan)


Not exactly sure where Dylan was going with the “Buy me a flute and a gun that shoots, tailgate some substitutes” lyric. Was he saying some substitute teachers got “tailgated” by another driver, or did he mean “tailgate,” as in a tailgate party before a football game, or a tailgate party before, during and after a Grateful Dead concert? Only time will tell; who knows what he was smoking at the time? Confusing lyrics are not unusual, coming from this Nobel Prize-winning poet.


To make a long explanation even longer, even though Dylan wrote this song in 1967 following a July 1966 motorcycle accident near Woodstock, N.Y., after which he was self-isolated in a neck brace for six weeks, he didn’t get around to recording it until 1971. However, The Byrds – then consisting of Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons – beat him to it by recording and releasing their seminal country rock version in 1968. “How is it that you know all of this Uncle Mott,” you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya, one word … Wikipedia.


Just like Dylan, I’ve been self-isolating here at the stately Motley Manor – save for occasional visits to the post office, Goodwin’s Market or to cover a newsworthy event or incident for this newspaper – off and on, ever since the advent of this ugly scourge last March.


To quote Mick Hill, as he so aptly stated in his column a couple weeks ago, “My own social life has been gone for the last eight months; no bowling, no going out to eat, isolating from friends, public meetings canceled and everywhere you go your freedoms are gone. I can’t wait to move forward after this is over.”


Have a happy New Year and enjoy it at home, ‘cuz you ain’t goin’ nowhere.


Keep it flyin’, Uncle Mott