Monday, July 3, 2017

From The "It Might Be Old News To You" Department

This post isn't about the genius of Bob Dylan. It is not a post trying to change the minds of those who "only like a few of his songs" or think "he has a terrible voice." This post is about one song, a song the "a bit more than casual fan" might recognize as "One Of Must Know (Sooner Or Later)" from "Blonde On Blonde," but here, with a different arrangement and different lyrics, it becomes "She's Your Lover Now," an unreleased track that can be found on the first "Bootleg Series" set and on the recent "Cutting Edge" collection.

Sometimes, when you least expect it, like yesterday when this song followed "Elenore" by the The Turtles, as my iPod shuffled along, a song will quite frankly, grab you by throat and do its best to kill you.  All I can say is, Holy Fucking Crap, Bob!

The pawnbroker roared
Also, so, so did the landlord
The scene was so crazy, wasn’t it?
Both were so glad
To watch me destroy what I had
Pain sure brings out the best in people, doesn’t it?
Why didn’t you just leave me if you didn’t want to stay?
Why’d you have to treat me so bad?
Did it have to be that way?
Now you stand here expectin’ me to remember somethin’ you forgot to say
Yes, and you, I see you’re still with her, well
That’s fine ’cause she’s comin’ on so strange, can’t you tell?
Somebody had better explain
She’s got her iron chain
I’d do it, but I, I just can’t remember how
You talk to her
She’s your lover now

I already assumed
That we’re in the felony room
But I ain’t a judge, you don’t have to be nice to me
But please tell that
To your friend in the cowboy hat
You know he keeps on sayin’ ev’rythin’ twice to me
You know I was straight with you
You know I’ve never tried to change you in any way
You know if you didn’t want to be with me
That you could . . . didn’t have to stay
Now you stand here sayin’ you forgive and forget. Honey, what can I say?
Yes, you, you just sit around and ask for ashtrays, can’t you reach?
I see you kiss her on the cheek ev’rytime she gives a speech
With her picture books of the pyramid
And her postcards of Billy the Kid (why must everybody bow?)
You better talk to her ’bout it
You’re her lover now

Oh, ev’rybody that cares
Is goin’ up the castle stairs
But I’m not up in your castle, honey
It’s true, I just can’t recall
San Francisco at all
I can’t even remember El Paso, uh, honey
You never had to be faithful
I didn’t want you to grieve
Oh, why was it so hard for you
If you didn’t want to be with me, just to leave?
Now you stand here while your finger’s goin’ up my sleeve
An’ you, just what do you do anyway? Ain’t there nothin’ you can say?
She’ll be standin’ on the bar soon
With a fish head an’ a harpoon
An’ a fake beard plastered on her brow
You’d better do somethin’ quick
She’s your lover now


A walk in the woods said...

I have often thought about how there are so many obscure Dylan songs, any of which could have "made the career" of a lesser songwriter. Seriously - any of many. Like this one.

Dr Wu said...

If he had chosen to release all these unreleased tracks on his albums instead of the ones he did, we'd still be singing his praises. And remain mezmorized while listening. Thanks for the share, sir.

steves said...

I always adored the incomplete, solo piano version.

And this is a bit off topic, but somewhat relevant nonetheless...One of my favorite latter-day Dylan songs is "Things Have Changed." I liked it so much, in fact, that I created a firestorm on a Dylan fan site several years ago by starting a thread that claimed it to be his last truly 'great' song.

But I really do love everything about it: his delivery, the brilliant wordplay, the production, the dark humor and sense of world-weariness (also, how it is exactly a minute to the song's conclusion from the line "the next 60 seconds could be an eternity"). At some point, amidst the clusterfuck I brought on myself, I tried my best to explain how the song had always spoken to me: about the creeping cynicism and disillusionment that comes with age, about the about the sense of decay in the world and the about the need to carry on no matter what. Immediately after that post, someone else wrote: "Meh, I'm tired of hearing about Bob's trouble with women."

It never even dawned on me that Dylan could be talking about that, but I think he was right.

steve simels said...

Perhaps my favorite of his ever.

Also -- Sal, do you hate the new Box player as much as I do?

Sal Nunziato said...

@Steve Simels, re: The new Box player--YUP! What a stupid design.

Michael Giltz said...

Great alternate take. I always avoided bootlegs because it seemed a little rude and there was so much official music to pay attention to I couldn't be bothered. With rare exceptions, I still don't pay attention to unofficial bootlegs but I get the obsessive interest of hardcore fans and it IS fun to hear Strawberry Fields Forever morph into what it is. (How I wish there were bootlegs of ALL the times Lennon or McCartney sat in a chair opposite George Martin and played him a new song for consideration on a guitar. THAT I would gladly steal.) But Dylan's official bootlegs made me a convert forever. What awesome stuff. I don't agree with Dr Wu -- sure sometimes you hear a song and think how the heck was THAT never on an official album but he hasn't made massive mistakes throughout his career or jeopardized my interest too much, "Self-Portrait" aside. I think "Blonde on Blonde" came out pretty well.
PS Boy was "jeopardized" a bitch to spell!

Michael Giltz said...

And what's a Box player? tried to google and gots lots of videos of little kids pounding on cardboard boxes -- future Ringos no doubt.

Sal Nunziato said...

"Self-Portrait" aside

Yeah, but the Bootleg Series set, "Another Self Portrait" is damn good.

The Box player is the widget used for the song.

Michael Giltz said...

Oh heck yes, that's why I mentioned it. "Self-Portrait" was of course infamously despised and yet in this particular case it turns out there really WAS a hell of an album in the outtakes. "Another Self-Portrait" is amazing. I was just suggesting while artists like Dylan and Springsteen often have great unreleased tracks I didn't think Dylan was always sabotaging himself with bad picks the way Wu was suggesting.

Dr Wu said...

No sabotage intended. More of a concurrence with A Walk in the Woods. Dylan made excellent choices for his albums. Though, if he hadn't, so much of his outtakes would still be cause for rejoicing.

Chris Collins said...


Michael Giltz said...

Oh, Dr Wu, thanks! Just read your words with the wrong emphasis in my head -- now I see what you meant all along. His alternate takes and unheard tracks on their own would constitute an amazing career on their own. Agreed!