Jesus is the one: Bob Dylan off the rails

by Tony Attwood

According to reports on one web site Bob Dylan wrote this song in Oslo, Norway, while touring in 1981. He then performed it eight times while touring… and each time, he used entirely new lyrics. So there are eight different alternate sets of lyrics for this song.

None of them is definitive, none of them appears on the official Bob Dylan site, and quite frankly none of them appear to me to be worth remembering or noting.  Indeed if it were not for the fact that I set myself the task of working through all the Dylan songs I could find and doing a review of each one, I wouldn’t have bothered playing this through to the end.

The song is written around one chord – which of course restricts what one can do with the melody, and requires an exciting rhythm and above all, absolutely above all, interesting lyrics.  But this song has none of these.  It is as if by simply telling us something is so, it becomes so.   And indeed it does if one believes it, but not if one doesn’t.  Bob is therefore simply singing to the converted and making very little effort in the process.

I have found some of Dylan’s religious songs to be truly marvellous creations and reported as much here, and even noted that if I were of a mind to be converted there is a song of Bob’s that would convert me.   But this simply sends me screaming in the opposite direction.  For the song that has the opposite effect (if you are interested) see here.

Jesus is the one!
Jesus is the one!

It ain’t Mr. Truman
It ain’t Mr. Blue
It ain’t Mr. President
Mister Me or Mister You.

Jesus is the one!
Jesus is the one!

Well, you’re looking over yonder
But what do you see
That does not mean that
They’re comin’ for you, they’re comin’ for me.

Jesus is the one!
Jesus is the one!

Well, it ain’t Mr. Reagan
That can raise a bed
It ain’t Mr. Rockefeller
That can raise the dead.

Jesus is the one!
Jesus is the one!

It ain’t Mr. Vallee
It ain’t a fortune star
It ain’t Mr. Roosevelt
That can heal your broken heart.

Jesus is the one!

BOB DYLAN – Jesus Is The One (July 25, 1981)

BOB DYLAN – Jesus Is The One (July 25, 1981) PALACE DES SPORTSAVIGNON, FRANCEJULY 25, 1981Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar), Fred Tackett (guitar), Steve Ripley (guitar), Willie Smith (keyboards), Tim Drummond (bass), Jim Keltner (drums), Clydie King, Carolyn Dennis, Regina Havis, Madelyn Quebec (background vocals) JESUS IS THE ONE words and music Bob DylanJesus is the one! Jesus is the one!It ain't Mr. Truman It ain't Mr. Blue It ain't Mr. President Mister Me or Mister You.Jesus is the one! Jesus is the one!Well, you're looking over yonder But what do you see That does not mean that They're comin' for you, they're comin' for me.Jesus is the one! Jesus is the one!Well, it ain't Mr. Reagan That can raise a bed It ain't Mr. Rockefeller That can raise the dead.Jesus is the one! Jesus is the one!It ain't Mr. Vallee It ain't a fortune star It ain't Mr. Roosevelt That can heal your broken heart.Jesus is the one! Jesus is the one! See MORE :https://www.facebook.com/ShotOfLoveBobDylan

Posted by Shot of Love on Freitag, 9. Mai 2014

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5 Responses to Jesus is the one: Bob Dylan off the rails

  1. Larry Fyffe says:

    “I said, ‘You know they refused Jesus too'”/
    He said, ‘You’re not him….” (115thDream)

    Dylan can be quite cute ( not too cute was I?), even in seemingly simple lyrics, he’s doube-edged, ie I’m not so-and- so….Jesus is the one that they make me out to be; I’m the one they’re coming after.

    Lightning strikes the courthouse: the moral of this story is that one should not be where one does not belong- it ain’t me you’re looking for, Dylan shouts, as the drifter escapes.

  2. Larry Fyffe says:

    There’s also a slightly different interpretation that issues from this song ( and others) without much of a stretch in regards to Dylan or his persona.

    Suggesting Jesus is the ‘one’ fits into a straight-line Christian view, but the Dylan/persona can be seen as wearing the mask of the Denying Peter of Bibilical notority, who’s down by the door.

    “….they that stood by said again to Peter/
    Surely, thou art one of them/

    But he began to curse and swearing/
    Saying, ‘I know not this man of whom ye speak'”
    (Mark 14: 70/71)

    Either way, Dylan, or his persona, is not going to be the one who sheds his blood.

  3. Larry Fyffe says:

    *(sp)Biblical

  4. Larry Fyffe says:

    notoriety

  5. Hello Tony, well yes this is an unusual one from Bob Dylan’s Music Box. http://thebobdylanproject.com/Song/id/3512/JesusIsTheOne Come and join us inside and listen to every version of every song composed or performed by Bob Dylan.

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