And the all-night girls they whisper of escapades

from Bob Dylan – Visions Of Johanna Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

The allusiveness of the language obscures whether Dylan is deliberately and only referring to prostitution, an obscuring helped out by the innocence of the previous line’s ‘blind man’s bluff’ reference; the escapades could just as easily refer to something far more innocent. If he does not intend to confer a double meaning, he certainly intends a juxtaposition; that of the female sex worker (as yet) un-jaded by her profession, and still given to displays of innocence.

This is one of the few times Dylan wades so far into the waters of marginalised figures in his early career. It is interesting to note that surprisingly few addled or law-skirting figures peopled his early songs, given that so many of them are written in praise of outsiders of all stripes. Visions of Johanna is ostensibly the first time Dylan finds himself caught up in their world, and not pondering them from afar, in any case.

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