Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mama, You've Been On My Mind

Written in 1964 and never officially released until "The Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3" in 1991, Bob Dylan's "Mama, You've Been On My Mind" sits strongly atop the list of not only my favorite Dylan songs, but of my favorite songs of all time.

Recorded first by Joan Baez in 1965 as "Daddy, You've Been On My Mind" for her "Farewell Angelina" record, and covered by so many since, this is a love song like no other, and it never fails to render me useless after each listen.

Perhaps it's the color of the sun cut flat
An' cov'rin' the crossroads I'm standing at,
Or maybe it's the weather or something like that,
But mama, you been on my mind.

I don't mean trouble, please don't put me down or get upset,
I am not pleadin' or sayin', "I can't forget."
I do not walk the floor bowed down an' bent, but yet,
Mama, you been on my mind.

Even though my mind is hazy an' my thoughts they might be narrow,
Where you been don't bother me nor bring me down in sorrow.
It don't even matter to me where you're wakin' up tomorrow,
But mama, you're just on my mind.

I am not askin' you to say words like "yes" or "no,"
Please understand me, I got no place for you t' go.
I'm just breathin' to myself, pretendin' not that I don't know,
Mama, you been on my mind.

When you wake up in the mornin', baby, look inside your mirror.
You know I won't be next to you, you know I won't be near.
I'd just be curious to know if you can see yourself as clear
As someone who has had you on his mind.

Here are three versions---a recent live performance from last year at the Kennedy Center by the great Allen Toussaint, a version I only heard for the first time yesterday by a reunited Dion & The Belmonts from 1967, and today's birthday boy, George Harrison recorded during the "Let It be" sessions.





EJCalvin said...

I seem to recall a Rod Stewart cover somewhere along the line as well...
interesting post. I'm listening to the Abbey Road Sessions boot, but haven't come across the Hari cut there...thanks.

Sal Nunziato said...

Yes, definitely Rod, and also a good one by Ricky Nelson.

Steve Simels said...

I'd never heard any of those, and I love em all -- thanks.

Troy said...

I was fortunate to see Allen Toussaint perform that song at a show at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater a few years back. It was stunning.

steve simels said...

Where is that fake album cover from?

Who photoshopped that?

Meanstreets said...

This poster signifies the fight against popular culture & conformity, of which Burning Wood list as one of his goals...with help from me....

Sal Nunziato said...

Head feeling better, Meanstreets?

DeepKarma said...

The Toussaint version is a revelation. Thanks for sharing, as always!

Apetalk1971 said...

Hey Sal, the Dion "Live at the Bitter End" version is well worth a listen. I am personally floored by the beauty of Dion and his voice and acoustic guitar. It reminds me a bit of Father John Misty, too.

You likely have this record, but if you don't, maybe you'd dig it.