I’m alright: Dylan’s song that could have been another great track, if only…

By Tony Attwood

This really is a fragment of a song – one of the many that would not have emerged had it not been for the decision to release the complete set.  And it is one of those that could most certainly have proven to be a song of some significance if only Bob had had the time or inclination to carry on.

The fragment however turned up on the Bootleg series Volume 11, and it is certainly tantalising.  Dylan clearly didn’t have the words sorted – it was just an idea.

But what we do have is a realisation of what the song could have been thanks to an album “Bob Dylan Uncovered Volume 2” which includes what to me is a really fine realisation of the song as far as it was written, by Bill Shuren and The Cavalry.  There’s a link to it below – and they really make something of this quick run through.

I think that this realisation of the song shows just what an extraordinary run of form Dylan was in at this time – his throw aways were much better than most songwriters career highlights.

The lyrics are clearly not finished, and there’s nothing much to be gained from imagining what they would have been – all we can do is note down what they sound like. If you disagree fair enough.

As far as I can see this is a song even Heylin didn’t know about at the time of writing “Revolution in the Air” and I can’t find anything that really helps me put it in the sequence. I’m giving it a place in the chronology of Dylan songs from the 1960s, but it’s just a guess.

Another guess is that Bob came up with “I’m a three time loser, but I’m all right” and then just worked out the rest of it from there – until something else came along and distracted him.

Here’s the lyrics, as far as anyone can get – if you know of a closer rendition please do write in.

Now, when I call her by her name
You know she don’t come
She don’t leave me down easy, child, but I don’t
I caught a man a standing on his way to some
But I don’t have to leave because you know she won’t.

All right, I’m all right
I’m a three time loser
But I’m all right
All right, I’m all right
I’m a three time loser
But I’m all right

Oh, it’s so high, so divisive
It’s all can, I swear to god
You know she’s gonna be the death of me
But she opened my heart
And now she takes in my breath, but I,
You know, she’s sucking out the life and breath of me

All right, I’m all right
I’m a three time loser
But I’m all right
All right, I’m all right
I’m a three time loser
But I’m all right
All right, I’m all right
I’m a three time loser
But I’m all right

The link to the track is at…

http://www.deezer.com/en/track/129007114

Incidentally if you want to hear the whole album of cover versions of Dylan songs it is here.  http://www.deezer.com/en/album/13639958  – it won’t be to everyone’s tastes, and indeed there are some tracks I really don’t care for, but I found parts of the album a very decent listen while I was working on this review.

What else is on the site

1: Over 400 reviews of Dylan songs.  There is an index to these in alphabetical order on the home page, and an index to the songs in the order they were written in the Chronology Pages.

2: The Chronology.  We’ve taken all the songs we can find recordings of and put them in the order they were written (as far as possible) not in the order they appeared on albums.  The chronology is more or less complete and is now linked to all the reviews on the site.  We have also recently started to produce overviews of Dylan’s work year by year.     The index to the chronologies is here.

3: Bob Dylan’s themes.  We publish a wide range of articles about Bob Dylan and his compositions.  There is an index here.

4:   The Discussion Group    We now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

5:  Bob Dylan’s creativity.   We’re fascinated in taking the study of Dylan’s creative approach further.  The index is in Dylan’s Creativity.

6: You might also like: A classification of Bob Dylan’s songs and partial Index to Dylan’s Best Opening Lines

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, is starting to link back to our reviews

 

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3 Responses to I’m alright: Dylan’s song that could have been another great track, if only…

  1. Larry Fyffe says:

    Bob Dylan creatively takes on the conflicted personas of the Great Gatsby and of Miles Standish in the mythical land of the American Dream.

  2. raggedclown says:

    Impossible that Heylin didn’t know this song when writing ‘Revolutions in the Air’, as it had been circulating on bootlegs since c. 1986.

  3. TonyAttwood says:

    Well it is possible that I missed it in his volume, but I couldn’t see it. I’ll check again!

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