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.
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