“Responsibility” a recovered fragment of a lost Dylan song

by Tony Attwood

“Responsibility” is another Helena Springs song that is listed as being a co-composition with Bob Dylan.   The  background to these recordings can be found here along with a full list of them, in our review “Bob and Helana” which looks at “Tell me the truth one time.”

To hear “Responsibility” – jump to 5.07.42 (five hours, seven minutes 42 seconds) – it is right near the end of the who sequence of songs.

So, it is listed as being a co-composition with Bob Dylan and quite clearly the song has been worked out and rehearsed prior to this recording – but we are still at an early version, perhaps laying down a rough recording of the piece so that it can be considered later and if required, a more fulsome arrangement can be made.

But it seems it was not required, and no further need was found for the song.

The band does get through a rather uninspiring instrumental break and Helena does her best with the material which relies so heavily on the repetition of the title word as a chorus – but really it is unfair on everyone.

For as things stand there is not enough within the song to consider how it might go further, and my personal guess is that it really couldn’t go much further.   The chorus of the word “Responsibility” is just too unexceptional, too unexciting too… well everything, to take it further.

As a result the boppy accompaniment is put in place, but it seems to have no relationship to the lyrics.  Telling a person that he or she is not taking responsibility but is “shooting off your mouth” is a possible starting point for a song (but then it doesn’t really fit with such a bouncy piece of music.)   If we think of other songs of disdain, which I guess this is, we think of openings like “You’ve got a lot of nerve…” and then think of the melody and accompaniment.  Then we are in a different landscape.

And that I guess is why it was abandoned.  It is presented as the final track on the massive collection of Rundown Rehearsal Tapes.   I doubt that anyone particularly remembers it for the simple reason it is so unmemorable both in melody, lyrics and accompaniment – and to work a song really needs one of those three elements to shine through like a burning light.

It doesn’t, and is merely remembered as another Dylan co-composition.  Actually I suspect even Bob wouldn’t remember it.

What else is on the site

You’ll find some notes about 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 all the 590 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found on the A to Z page.

We also have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with over 2000 active members.  (Try imagining a place where it is always safe and warm).  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

If you are interested in Dylan’s work from a particular year or era, your best place to start is Bob Dylan year by year.

On the other hand if you would like to write for this website, please do drop me a line with details of your idea, or if you prefer, a whole article.  Email Tony@schools.co.uk

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, links back to our reviews

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7 Responses to “Responsibility” a recovered fragment of a lost Dylan song

  1. Larry fyffe says:

    The words in brackets are complete speculation …. some other words may be wrong too…perhaps someone can discern them –

    The Wandering Kind
    by Bob Dylan And Helen Springs

    She’s like sweet water that runs down my face
    She keeps me posted for diamonds and lace
    I give her money, and what else I can find
    But I know she is restless in her mind
    And the wandering kind

    Way down in Texas, many years ago
    She travelled with me, she is my heavy load
    (She went to my head) ‘ cause she looks so fine
    How was he to know that she was restless in her mind
    And the wandering kind

    Down at the border, (I’m on) my own
    I don’t need no other, I can go it alone
    (She was my baby), and I can’t keep from crying
    ‘Cause I know she’s restless in her mind
    And the wandering kind

  2. Larry Fyffe says:

    Perhaps,
    “Down at the border, you climbed up my oak”

    Maybe,
    “Claudette was my baby ,and I can’t keep from crying”

  3. Larry fyffe says:

    Something like this as well….

    Responsibility
    by Bob Dylan And Helen Springs

    Well, I walk into your life, and I take a vacant seat
    Just to watch you scandalize everyone that you meet
    Where’s your re….responsibility….
    Well, you try to tell me this, then you try to tell me that
    You tell me everything, except for where’s it’s at
    Take your re…take your re…responsibility….
    From off the coast of Africa to the California shore
    You’re shooting off you mouth, and you’re closing all the doors
    Save your re…responsibility….
    My friends say to forget him, but I was so in love
    I can’t believe the Lord has sent you from above
    With no re… responsibility….
    I think I’ll fell better in the morning when you’re gone
    In all the time I’ve known you, you’ve only done me wrong
    Where’s your re…responsibility

  4. Larry fyffe says:

    And maybe:

    “Something’s sharp ahead, ‘ cause she looks so fine”

    Some words are muffled quite badly….any ideas out there??

  5. Larry fyffe says:

    Of course, that should be Helena Springs

  6. Larry fyffe says:

    Nah, it’s more likely ‘she was’ or ‘she’s my baby’ on another listen, but who knows ….I don’t (lol)

  7. We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:
    https://thebobdylanproject.com/Song/id/4513/Responsibility

    If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.

    Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.

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