Bob Dylan’s Mozambique; a simple, bouncy, jolly tune. What’s wrong with that?

by Tony Attwood

According to Wikipedia “Mozambique” was just a game, based on how many words rhymed with Mozambique. If that is the case the answer is three.

More interestingly perhaps, according to Allen Ginsberg writing the sleeve notes, if Dylan can do it, America can do it.

And in this case Dylan just wanted to write a simple straightforward bouncy jolly tune with no deeper message than the fact that life can be good.

As a result we have a minor masterpiece. It might be a throw-away song, but my goodness it works. It is simple in the standard ternary form (A A B A), with a gorgeous tune, never varying from its approach – a gentle celebration of the country and its people, a simple fun recording that above everything else just works.

On the album it is a shock, coming as it does straight after the thrusting edge of Isis, and being followed by the Spanish slowness of One more Cup of Coffee, spoilt as that song is by the opening error by the violinist who forgets there’s an extra bar before the singing starts. But Dylan’s never been one for editing a take due to an error.

Mozambique has no such slips – it is a perfect recording of a simple song – but what gives it a curious link to Isis is that the chord structure (the tonic, the flattened seventh and the subdominant) is exactly the same as Isis. Maybe that’s the trick – from the ice and the rain of Isis to the aqua blue sky. They are both magical lands, the land of Isis and the land of Mozambique, but in such very different ways.

What else is on the site

You’ll find some notes about our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page.  You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.

The index to all the 594 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found on the A to Z page.

We also have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with over 2000 active members.  (Try imagining a place where it is always safe and warm).  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

If you are interested in Dylan’s work from a particular year or era, your best place to start is Bob Dylan year by year.

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And please do note   The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, links back to our reviews


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