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)