Category Archives: Bob Dylans’s best songs

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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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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Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: Up To Me





Bob Dylan - UpToMe
http://www.gallopingtintypes.com/

I don’t think of myself as Bob Dylan. It’s like Rimbaud said, ‘I is another.’
~Bob Dylan (Biograph liner notes)

In its own way ‘Up To Me’ is as masterful an achievement as ‘Tangled Up In Blue’, using much the same technique to create a well-crafted juxtaposition of ‘what I know to be the truth’ and what I’m projecting’.
~Clinton Heylin (Still on the Road: The Songs of Bob Dylan Vol. 2, . 1974-2008)

“Up To Me” was recorded 19 September 1974:

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Bob Dylan’s best songs: Angelina





bob dylan drammen 1981
Drammen, Norway – 1981

Well, it’s always been my nature to take chances
My right hand drawing back while my left hand advances
Where the current is strong and the monkey dances
To the tune of a concertina
~from “Angelina”

…. there were some real songs on this album that we recorded, a couple of really long songs, like there was one I did – do you remember Visions Of Johanna?…. Well, there was one like that. I’d never done anything like it before. It’s got that same kind of thing to it. It seems to be very sensitive and gentle on one level, then on another level the lyrics aren’t sensitive and gentle at all. We left that off the album.
~Bob Dylan (to Neil Spencer – July 1981)

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)

@ number 80 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs.

Angelina is credited as being recorded on May 4, 1981 on “The Bootleg Series, Vol. 1-3”. According to “Krogsgaard” & “Olof’s – Still on the Road“, this is not true, as it were mixed on that day, but recorded March 26:

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Bob Dylan: Angel of Rain (Almost Done) – Unreleased Gem





bob-dylan-verona-1984

Almost done
almost done
but I don’t stand missed
but you’re the one
oh you’re the child
I’m a-trustin’ you
to trust me down
just trust me too
-from “Angel of rain”

One of three new originals Dylan was threatening to play on his 1984 tour of European stadiums, this gorgeous song was worked on a number of times at pre-tour rehearsals, of which recordings remain, but was never performed or recorded at the post-tour sessions in New York.
– Clinton Heylin (The gems that Bob Dylan discarded – The Telegraph)

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