All posts by Egil Mosbron

Bob Dylan: Pledging My Time

Well, early in the mornin’
’Til late at night
I got a poison headache
But I feel all right
I’m pledging my time to you
Hopin’ you’ll come through, too

..a Chicago blues song with a totally different atmosphere from “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” Dylan gives a nod not only to the marching bands of the Vieux Carré in New Orleans but also to the creators of the legendary country and modern blues. Even if Mike Marqusee puts Dylan’s song on the same level as “Come On in My Kitchen” by Robert Johnson, “Pledging My Time” sounds above all like a tribute to the electric blues legend Elmore James and his version of “It Hurts Me Too.” The harmonica and Dylan’s voice are plaintive— the narrator tells of a strange love story full of contradictory feelings: “I got a poison headache / But I feel all right.” The song proceeds in this somber, melancholy style, with Robbie Robertson’s guitar and Hargus “Pig” Robbins’s piano creating its heavy atmosphere. Andy Gill wrote of the song’s “smoky, late-night club ambiance whose few remaining patrons have slipped beyond tipsy to the sour, sore-headed aftermath of drunk.”
-Margotin, Philippe; Guesdon, Jean-Michel. Bob Dylan All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track

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July 18: Bob Dylan: What Can I Do For You? – Mannheim, West Germany 1981 (Video)

bob dylan europe 1981

You have given everything to me
What can I do for You?
You have given me eyes to see
What can I do for You?

Pulled me out of bondage and You made me renewed inside
Filled up a hunger that had always been denied
Opened up a door no man can shut and You opened it up so wide
And You’ve chosen me to be among the few
What can I do for You?

Mannheim, West Germany
18 July 1981

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July 16: Watch Bob Dylan & Norah Jones: I Shall Be Released Seattle 2005

bob dylan norah jones

They say ev’rything can be replaced
Yet ev’ry distance is not near
So I remember ev’ry face
Of ev’ry man who put me here
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

Benaroya Hall
Seattle, Washington
16 July 2005 10th Anniversary Event

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Bob Dylan’s Songs: Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re trying to be so good
They’ll stone ya just a-like they said they would
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home
Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

Rainy Day Women happens to deal with a minority of, you know, cripples and orientals and, uh, you know, and the world in which they live, you realize, you know, you understand, you know. It’s another sort of a North Mexican kind of a thing, uh, very protesty. Very, very protesty. And, uh, one of the protestiest of all things I ever protested against in my protest years. But, uh…
~Bob Dylan (to Klas Burling – April 1966)

The memorable joke in the chorus is about marijuana (although it could just as easily be about alcohol), but the song as a whole is about persecution, specifically criticism, and the message in the chorus is a straightforward one: it happens to everybody, so don’t feel bad (and, implicitly, don’t be such a victim about it).
The combination drunk party/revival meeting sound of the song is wonderful, a product of the unique musical chemistry Dylan and the Nashville studio musicians (under the leadership of Charlie McCoy and producer Bob Johnston, with help from Kooper and Robertson) achieved during these freewheeling ses- sions. This is not country music. This is not Dylan music as defined by any earlier Dylan album. It’s only rock and roll in the broadest, most all-encompassing sense..
-Paul Williams

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Bob Dylan’s best songs – Brownsville Girl

bob dylan knocked out

Bob Dylan’s best songs – Brownsville Girl – #18

Well, in the course of life you find yourself with different people in different rooms. Working with Sam [Sheppard] was not necessarily easier, but it was certainly less meaningless. In every case writing a song is done faster when you got someone like Sam and are not on your own.
~Bob Dylan (Oct, 1997 – press conference)

it is ‘a masterpiece, a song that must rank among the five or six best songs Dylan has ever written.’
~Stephen Scobie

When Dylan is working at this level of creativity—a level that puts him head and shoulders above everyone else—there’s a magic evocativeness about everything he writes that gives the words enormous possibilities..
~ Nigel Hinton

#18 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs.

It was originally recorded as “New Danville Girl” @ Cherokee Studio, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California 6 December 1984. Overdubbed May 1986 for the “Knocked Out Loaded” album.

It’s an amazing song with cinematic lyrics co-written with Sam Sheppard.

New Danville Girl (recorded 1984-12-06):

Lyrics to “New Danville Girl” added down towards the end of the post..

Dylan has only performed it once, on August 6, 1986 @ Mid-State Fairground – Paso Robles, California:

Altogether, the delivery is astonishing. Not a false moment, not a foot wrong. Keeping up a curious tension between the very measured, slightly too slow musical accompaniment and the urgency of his voice, he gives a faultless performance, infinitely fluid and expressive, from beginning to end a plausible, intelligent and immensely humane persona and narrator, alert to the turbulent complexities of every moment. It’s a long tour de force not a moment too long, and the Dylan who incandesces through it is the full Bob Dylan of genius and generous intelligence, fully engaged.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

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