“I can’t come in with a broken heart”. Bob Dylan as raw as raw can be

by Tony Attwood

For once it is not Haiku 61 that has come to my rescue with these lyrics, because as the writer of that site admits, someone else got there first.  He is also gracious as always in admitting he would have struggled.  And if he struggles you can imagine how hard I find it.

In essence this is pure, raw, edgy, rough, barbed wire, either don’t come to me with your broken heart, or I can’t come to you because I have had a broken heart.  Or both.  The singer doesn’t want to know if she hurts, and so to show it, the music hurts, the pounding beating unusual chord sequence gets into your skull from the off.

This is “don’t come to me with your hard luck stories” while holding a club in your hands, and ready to strike.

The problem with the track is not just the usual poor recording quality that we expect from disc six of Basement Complete but the two false starts which mean that if you just play the track without clever jumping forward to the exact moment when the real take begins, you have to listen to even worse quality than normal on this disc.  And after a couple of runs through that’s enough.

If you haven’t forked out the money for the set, or borrowed it from a pal, just read the words and think of a four square beat pounding out relentlessly with a

1 2  3  4  1  2  3  4  1  2  3  4 1 2  3  4  1  2  3  4  1  2  3  4 1 2  3  4  1  2  3  4  1  2  3  4

an infinitum.    It really is that relentless, and there is no escape save to flip to next track button.

Indeed if you didn’t have a headache at the start, believe me you will have after playing it through half a dozen times.  (I know, I did it).  Except you won’t be playing it through half a dozen times because unlike me you won’t have to write a review.

Here are the lyrics from the anonymous donor…

Well I go get broke down, before I bust down
Gotta get in without a broken heart, well
Get a hoe down before a low down
Before my guilt is acid hot
Well every single morning
I can’t take it no more
Well if you with a heartache, go down baby
She don’t care about that us apart
Well she gonna have them, but she won’t invite me
But I can’t come in with a broken heart

I hold down, can’t come down
Is coming in without a broken heart
Well you cheated, showed her down
But I don’t come around
Oh when she’ll take you tear us apart.

Just for a lark I took that sequence and played it very gently with a lilting accompaniment on the piano and sang the piece as gently as my voice will manage, and it actually works rather well.   I don’t mean that as a tribute to me as a musician, far from it, but rather to say that sometimes doing  the opposite from the obvious in a piece of music  can enhance the message.

What is interesting however, and I think a better way to consider these disc six songs, is  to reflect on many proto-song-ideas Dylan could come up with, hour after hour, day after day.  Of course they are not all “This wheel’s on fire” or “Too much of nothing”, but they reflect what artists of all types go through in order to produce their masterpieces.

What else is on the site?

You’ll find an index to 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 the 500+ songs reviewed is now on a new page of its own.  You will find it here.  It contains links to reviews of every Dylan composition that we can find a recording of – if you know of anything we have missed please do write in.

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

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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