By Paul Hobson and Tony Attwood
There is an index to this series at https://bob-dylan.org.uk/dylan-re-imagined
Mama you’ve been on my mind
This recording “Mama you’ve been on my mind” comes from the late 1990s.
This is an approach to the song which retains the clarity of the lyrics and the simplicity of the accompaniment, leaving the way Dylan sings as the method of giving new insights into the lyrics.
Somehow the fact that the Mama who has been on his mind, is now from much further back in the past comes across because of the style and approach. Certainly the guitar solos help enormously to give that feeling of distance in time, and we are carried through those instrumental breaks perfectly until without warning… Bob turns to the harmonica.
The performance on the harp is limited for most of the time emphasising the sameness of the situation – he’s now looking back.
Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
Sometimes – not that often but sometimes – I find Dylan songs that only come to life for me in the live performance, having not given me that sense of “oomph” in terms of the original recording.
This is certainly true of Frankie Lee. And it is intersting that this version works for me given the simplicity of the arrangement here, and the fact that some of the lines are sung on a single note.
Maybe I have mellowed over the years, or maybe it is simply, to my ear, what this song needed. I even like the instrumental break which mostly consists of the band continuing as it has been right the way through the song.
The problem with the song is that it consists of just the same three chords over and over, and many of the vocal lines over the top have the same melody. It isn’t that I need to hear to lyrics, but rather I need to appreciate the overall sound. At least that is how it seems to me.
Standing in the doorway
In this version of Standing in the Doorway, Dylan makes the expression of the lyrics as clear as he possibly can – although some members of the audience want to add their own sounds for some reason during the performance.
This really is one of those performances that really does make one go back to the originial with fresh insights simply because the lyrics are now so clear and meaningful.
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