Do you love me, or are you just extending goodwill? Do you need me half as bad as you say, or are you just feeling guilt? I’ve been burned before and I know the score So you won’t hear me complain Will I be able to count on you Or is your love in vain?
Is your love in vain? is a song from Dylan’s Street Legal album, but my favourite version (official, that is…) is from Live at Budokan. It’s a heart achingly honest love song, he really bares his heart, and I feel for the man. The song is profoundly touching, and in my book, one of Bob Dylan’s best love songs. It received a fair amount of negative response when it was released, some critics meant it was degrading women. I think that is harsh, I simply cannot see it.
Ian Hunter performed the song for a TV-show in 1981 (aired 1982?) and has been released on a bootleg/semi-official compilation album, Bald At The Station (2012).
“The CD ends with one song from a 1982 Don Kirshner performance and finds Hunter diving back to his roots, dirging up Dylan’s “Love in Vain” and making it his own. If a better-quality recording exists, let’s hope it turns up somewhere soon. In the meantime, it’s a marvelous end to a surprisingly useful odds ‘n’ oddities collection, and proof that we were all severely shortchanged when the Ian Hunter anthology turned out to be a mere two discs. He deserved at least four.”
– Dave Thompson (allmusic.com)
On stage he is always the lieutenant, ready for anything, clocking everything with equanimity, passing on to other musicians his accurate interpretations of Dylan’s often inscrutable nods and narrowings of eyes, yet at the same time smiling at fans and giving every appearance of a contented man who still enjoys his work…. By the end of 2007, he had played at 1900 Bob Dylan concerts, Uncannily, he doesn’t look a day older than when he played his first.
– Michael Gray (Bob Dylan encyclopedia)
Tony Garnier (born Saint Paul, Minnesota, May 10, 1955) is best known as an accompanist to Bob Dylan, with whom he has played since 1989. He is Dylan’s longest-running side-man, and has sometimes been characterized as his “musical director” as well.
In addition to his work with Dylan, Garnier has recorded with Tom Waits, Loudon Wainwright III, Paul Simon, Marc Ribot and Eric Andersen, and was a member of Asleep at the Wheel (from 1976–78) and The Lounge Lizards. He also played with Robert Gordon in the early 1980s. He was also a long-time side-man for David Johansen in his Buster Poindexter persona, and was also briefly a member of the Saturday Night Live house band.
Here are Dylan & Garnier @ the 70th birthday of Apollo Theater – A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke):
Leon Russell (born Claude Russell Bridges April 2, 1942) was an American musician and songwriter, who recorded as a session musician, sideman, and maintained a solo career in music.
Born in Lawton, Oklahoma, he began playing piano at the age of four. Russell attended Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At this time he was already performing at Tulsa nightclubs. After moving to Los Angeles, he became a session musician, working as a pianist on the recordings of many notable musical artists from the 1960s. By the late 1960s, Russell diversified, becoming successful as an arranger and wrote and co-wrote songs. As a musician, he worked his way up from gigs as a sideman to well known performers. By 1970 he had graduated to solo recording artist, although he never ended all his previous roles within the music industry.
Russell was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Monday, March 14, 2011
Sadly, we lost Leon Russell last november (Nov 13, 2016).
“…to work with people who inspired me early on like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, they are so dear to me as musicians and as people. To be able to call them friends and be a part of so many projects of theirs as well as bringing them on mine. And then to just hang out and write and be a part of that extraordinary world that is theirs.”
– Emmylou Harris (2010)
Emmylou Harris was born on April 2, 1947, in Birmingham, Alabama. The legendary country singer, songwriter, and guitarist is most closely associated with Gram Parsons. However, Bob Dylan played an important role early in her solo career. And she has sung his songs with him and as a solo act.
Harris started her singing career in 1968, in Greenwich Village, and recorded an album, Gliding Bird, soon after, which featured a cover of Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”. She has since been recording with Dylan on Desire. Bob and Emmylou reunited to sing “My Blue-Eyed Jane” for Dylan’s project, The Songs Of Jimmie Rodgers – A Tribute.
Enjoy these cover versions, written by Bob Dylan sung by Emmylou Harris.
Emmylou Harris with Rodney Crowell – Shelter From The Storm (late night show, 2006):