Bob Dylan: 5 great songs recorded in 1981





This is not a “best from 1981” list, just 5 Great songs Bob Dylan recorded in 1981.

Angelina

How to comment on this extraordinary piece of writing? Recorded at the ‘Shot of Love’ sessions of April-May 1980, Angelina is unlike anything else Bob Dylan has ever written – part Cocteau film, part Braque painting, totally surreal, it defies logic and heads off for the deepest, darkest parts of poetic mystery. Though Dylan has never commented about the song in public, chances are that he’d confess that it was as much mystery to him as to anyone else.
~John Bauldie (TBS1-3 booklet)

Rundown Studios
Santa Monica, California
26 March 1981
1st Shot Of Love recording session. Produced by Jimmy Iovine.

Released on THE BOOTLEG SERIES (RARE & UNRELEASED) 1961-1991, 26 March 1991.

Well, it’s always been my nature
To take chances
My right hand drawing back
While my left hand advances

You Changed My Life

Clover Recorders
Los Angeles, California
23 April 1981

Shot Of Love recording session # 7. Produced by Chuck Plotkin and Bob Dylan.

Released on THE BOOTLEG SERIES (RARE & UNRELEASED) 1961-1991, 26 March 1991.

Came along in a time of strife
In hunger and need
You made my heart bleed
You changed my life
You changed my life




The Groom’s Still Waiting At The Altar

Clover Recorders
Los Angeles, California
Early May 1981

Shot Of Love recording session # 14. Produced by Chuck Plotkin and Bob Dylan.

First released on BIOGRAPH, 28 October 1985.

Prayed in the ghetto with my face in the cement,
Heard the last moan of a boxer, seen the massacre of the innocent
Felt around for the light switch, became nauseated.
She was walking down the hallway while the walls deteriorated.

Every Grain of Sand

That was an inspired song that came to me. I felt like I was just putting down words that were coming from somewhere else, and I just stuck it out.
~Bob Dylan (“Biograph” notes)

Clover Recorders
Los Angeles, California
Early May 1981

Shot Of Love recording session # 14. Produced by Chuck Plotkin and Bob Dylan.

Released on SHOT OF LOVE, 12 August 1981

In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed
There’s a dyin’ voice within me reaching out somewhere
Toiling in the danger and in the morals of despair

Caribbean Wind

“I couldn’t quite grasp what [‘Caribbean Wind’] was about, after I finished it. Sometimes you write something to be very inspired, and you won’t quite finish it for one reason or another. Then you’ll go back and try and pick it up, and the inspiration is just gone. Either you get it all, and you can leave a few little pieces to fill in, or you’re trying always to finish it off. Then it’s a struggle. The inspiration’s gone and you can’t remember why you started it in the first place. Frustration sets in.”
– Dylan, to Cameron Crowe

Studio A
Studio 55
Los Angeles, California
31 March 1981

3rd Shot Of Love recording session. Produced by Jimmy Iovine.

This version is not yet released.

She was well rehearsed, fair brown and blonde
She had friends who was busboys and friends in the Pentagon
Playin’ a show in Miami in the theater of divine comedy.
Talked in the shadows where they talked in the rain
I could tell she was still feelin’ the pain
Pain of rejection, pain of infidelity.

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-Egil

3 thoughts on “Bob Dylan: 5 great songs recorded in 1981”

  1. Thanks. That’s quite an extraordinary class of songs! Angelina is my favorite among them , and is a song/recording that I rank among the greatest of Dylan’s career. As for the eschatologically-ebullient Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar, allow me to point out that it was first released not on Biograph in 1985, but as the b-side of the Heart of Mine ’45’ some time in the fall of 1981. I remember it well. As a 17 yr old, just coming to fully appreciate Dylan (I did already own for a few years both U.S. volumes of the Greatest Hits, Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61 Revisited), along with my excited purchase of the new Shot of Love lp I bought two different copies of the Heart of Mine–one with the aforementioned “Groom’s” and a second European pressing with a new version of the Everly Brothers’ classic Let it Be Me as the b-side.

    By the way, if you know where that Let it Be Me recording is available online, I would greatly appreciate your posting it! I haven’t heard it now in many years, and always thought superior to the Self Portrait version.

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