Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: One Too Many Mornings





Down the street the dogs are barkin’
And the day is a-gettin’ dark
As the night comes in a-fallin’
The dogs’ll lose their bark
An’ the silent night will shatter
From the sounds inside my mind
For I’m one too many mornings
And a thousand miles behind

Original album version (1964):

Spotify:

TOC

  1. Facts
  2. Quotes
  3. Lyrics
  4. Live versions
  5. Cover versions

@#32 on my list of Bob Dylan’s top 200 songs.

May favourite version is the “Live 1966” (TBS 4) version from Free Trade Hall, Manchester, England – 17 May 1966. Other live versions from 1966 AND 1976 comes close.

Facts

Wikipedia:

.. released on his third studio album The Times They Are a-Changin’ in 1964. The chords and vocal melody are in some places very similar to the song “The Times They Are A-Changin’“. “One Too Many Mornings” is in the key of C Major and is fingerpicked.

Known studio recordings:

  • Studio A, NY, October 24, 1963 – 6 takes
    • Take 6 released on “The Times They Are A-Changin’, COLUMBIA CL-2105, CS-8905, 13 January 1964.
    • Musicians: Bob Dylan – Vocals, guitar & harmonica
    • Producer: Tom Wilson
    • Sound Engineers: George Knuerr and Pete Dauria
  • Studio A, Nashville
      • February 17, 1969 – 11 takes
      • February 18, 1969 – 2 takes


        Similarly, in the film footage of their Nashville 1969 duet on ‘One Too Many Mornings’, when the camera cuts from their recording it to their hear- ing it back, it’s a delight to see Dylan grinning be- hind his arm when they reach that moment when Cash had been settling in for a predictable ending on three swapped ‘And a thousand’ lines leading into a final shared extended ‘miles—— be—— hind——’: and Dylan hasn’t let him get there: he’s kept throwing in extra ‘And a thousand’s’, forcing Cash to duplicate them still further. It is done playfully: there’s no spite or competitive animus behind it at all, but again, Cash can only stand there in bovine perplexedness till Dylan rescues him. In any case, it might be said that through the main body of this performance, which is mostly not really a duet but an alternating of vocalists, verse by verse, Dylan sings in the most beautiful, spontaneous, inventive way, throwing himself fully on the mercy of the gods yet delivering a vocal that is judicious and discreet as well as fresh and free.
        – Michael Gray – The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia

  • Studio B, NY, May 1, 1970 – 1 take.

Live:

  • First known: BBC Studios, London England – 1 June 1965:
  • It has been performed 238 times live – last performance: The Orpheum, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – 21 July 2005
  • Top year was 1986 with 31 performances

Quotes

“One Too Many Mornings,” a love song and clearly one of Dylan’s favorites (it shows up again and again, in many different forms, in his live performances through the years), is transitional in terms of the development ofthe album: it deals with weariness and emptiness, certainly, but its mood is light, forgiving, almost relieved. The harmonica solos are wonderful.
– Paul WilliamsBob Dylan Performing Artist I: The Early Years 1960-1973

“One Too Many Mornings” is a gem both in terms of writing and of interpretation. From the first rhythm, Dylan manages to show us all the nostalgia that overwhelms him. His voice is soft and introspective, close to emotional overflow (0: 25). His guitar fingering is perfect and mastered, and he plays guitar in open A tuning, which contributes to the atmosphere and harmonic richness of the song. Even the harmonica part (in C) is remarkable. Dylan plays harmonica with finesse and emotion as never before. On the production side, Tom Wilson decided this time to come back to Hammond’s vision, a less cluttered sound. The guitar became hushed and underscored the emotion in his voice. A reverb highlights the nostalgic atmosphere of the whole piece. Wilson seeks to vary the color of the songs and he succeeds admirably.
– Philippe Margotin & Jean-Michel Guesdon – Bob Dylan All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track

After one too many maulings, what hopes are left in love? Not many. But not none. One Too Many Mornings, firmly declining to decline into flat despair, has a resilience, for all its sombre timbre. Yet what hope, exactly? This, at least: that in escaping one another, the sometime lovers may escape recriminations. That would be something, would offer some hope after all. Not as being reconciled each to each (too late for that), but as reconciled in some measure to the world, to everything that is (sadly) the case.
– Christopher RicksDylan’s Visions of Sin (p. 421).

“One Too Many Mornings” is an achingly pretty breakup song – and the rare tune where Dylan bid fare-thee-well without assigning any blame. It’s as subdued a song as any in Dylan’s catalog – just gentle acoustic picking, harmonica and a spare, resigned vocal. Likely another tune inspired by his relationship with Suze Rotolo, it comes off like a gentler version of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” Dylan is leaving his bedroom, the street is ahead of him, when he looks back with a conciliatory goodbye: “You’re right from your side/I’m right from mine.” “One Too Many Mornings” proved ripe for revisiting, both by Dylan (whose electric version on his 1966 tour turned the gentle tune into something like punk rock) and by Johnny Cash, who recorded the song four times – twice with Dylan (in separate versions from the Nashville Skyline sessions), once with Waylon Jennings and once on his own.
– RollingStone Magazine – 100 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs

Lyrics

Down the street the dogs are barkin’
And the day is a-gettin’ dark
As the night comes in a-fallin’
The dogs’ll lose their bark
An’ the silent night will shatter
From the sounds inside my mind
For I’m one too many mornings
And a thousand miles behind

From the crossroads of my doorstep
My eyes they start to fade
As I turn my head back to the room
Where my love and I have laid
An’ I gaze back to the street
The sidewalk and the sign
And I’m one too many mornings
An’ a thousand miles behind

It’s a restless hungry feeling
That don’t mean no one no good
When ev’rything I’m a-sayin’
You can say it just as good.
You’re right from your side
I’m right from mine
We’re both just one too many mornings
An’ a thousand miles behind

Live versions

The song ultimately benefited from two of the man’s best electric arrangements, on the highly charged 1966 and 1976 tours. On the latter tour it also acquired a brand-new coda that suggested faults on both sides: ‘You’ve no right to be here / And I’ve no right to stay / Until we’re both one too many mornings / And a thousand miles away.’ Its inclusion in the set, at a time when Dylan had reached much the same point in his relationship with wife Sara as he’d reached with Suze in October 1963, suggests its return to favour was no coincidence. Subsequent performances, which have tended to be (semi-)acoustic, suggest it is a song Dylan can plug his inspired self into at will, as anyone who caught performances at New York’s Beacon Theatre in October 1990, or at the second Supper Club show in 1993, can readily testify.
Clinton Heylin – Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1957-1973

Gaumont Theatre
Sheffield, England
16 May 1966

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & electric guitar)
  • Robbie Robertson (electric guitar)
  • Garth Hudson (organ)
  • Rick Danko (bass)
  • Richard Manuel (piano)
  • Mickey Jones (drums)


Free Trade Hall
Manchester, England
17 May 1966
Soundcheck

Tarrant County Convention Center Arena
Fort Worth, Texas
16 May 1976

  • Bob Dylan (guitar & vocal)
  • Scarlet Rivera (violin)
  • T-bone J. Henry Burnett (guitar & piano)
  • Steven Soles (guitar)
  • Mick Ronson (guitar)
  • Bobby Neuwirth (guitar & vocal)
  • Roger McGuinn (guitar & vocal)
  • David Mansfield (steel guitar, mandolin, violin & dobro)
  • Rob Stoner (bass)
  • Howie Wyeth (drums)
  • Gary Burke (percussion)


Hughes Stadium
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
23 May 1976

Sambodromo
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
25 January 1990

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • G. E. Smith (guitar)


The Supper Club
New York City, New York
16 & 17 November 1993

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar & harmonica)
  • Bucky Baxter (pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • John Jackson (guitar, banjo)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • Winston Watson (drums & percussion)

The Orpheum Theatre
Boston, Massachusetts
9 October 1994

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Bucky Baxter (pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • John Jackson (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • Winston Watson (drums & percussion)


Long Marston Airfield
Stratford-upon-Avon, England
14 July 1995
Phoenix Festival

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Bucky Baxter (pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • John Jackson (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • Winston Watson (drums & percussion)

Fleet Center
Boston, Massachusetts
23 January 1998

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Bucky Baxter (pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • David Kemper (drums & percussion)


Globe Arena
Stockholm, Sweden
9 June 1998

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Bucky Baxter (pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • David Kemper (drums & percussion)


Sivic Auditorium
Santa Cruz, California
16 March 2000

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Charlie Sexton (guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • David Kemper (drums & percussion)


Reno Hilton Theater
Reno, Nevada
17 March 2000
Early show


National Exhibition Center Arean
Birmingham, England
20 September 2000

  • Bob Dylan (vocal, guitar & harmonica)
  • Charlie Sexton (guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • David Kemper (drums & percussion)

Manchester Evening News Arena
Manchester, England
9 May 2002

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Charlie Sexton (guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • Jim Keltner (drums & percussion)

Cover Versions

The Band – One Too Many Mornings (audio, 1999):

Joan Baez – One Too Many Mornings (audio, 1968):

Jerry Jeff Walker – One Too Many Mornings (audio, 1977):

Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings – One Too Many Mornings (audio, 1986):

Sources

-Egil

One thought on “Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: One Too Many Mornings”

  1. A great song in all its many incarnations through the decades. Maybe his most enduring live song in that respect. It’s worked in every guise from 63 through 66 76 and beyond.
    Never a bad version.

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