100 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs

From "Just Like a Woman" to "John Wesley Harding," we count down the American icon's key masterpieces

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69. "One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)" (1976)

On May 24th, 1975 (his 34th birthday), Dylan was visiting painter David Oppenheim in the South of France, and the two of them went to a gypsy festival. There, as Dylan later recounted, he "got mixed up with someone" and met a man who "had maybe 16 to 20 wives and over a hundred children." Dylan stayed for a week; as he left, he asked for a cup of coffee for the road. "I wasn't sure if I could say anything else, but it was dangerous territory," he claimed. That's a good story, anyway, and it might have been the germ of "One More Cup of Coffee." The song is an eerie-sounding tribute to a woman with eyes "like two jewels in the sky" and a rich and powerful father. It's full of mysticism and made all the more powerful by the distinct vocals: Dylan's keening voice blends with spooked-angel backing from Emmylou Harris. The real gypsy gesture here, though, is Scarlet Rivera's haunting violin line.

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