By Tony Attwood
This song was recorded on 12 April 1963 and is one that until now we have missed. It appears on what is known as the “Fourth McKenzie Tape”. No credits are given so we are presuming the lyrics and music are by Bob Dylan.
That makes it song number 594 in our listings of Bob Dylan titles. In case you missed our other recent discoveries they were:
Responsibility – a co-composition with Helena Keys and Tell me the truth one time again with the same artist. As we noted in the article about that series of songs, many others have been listed both in Expecting Rain and by Heylin, but recordings have not emerged.
And of course without a recording there’s nothing much that we can do.
Now each time we’ve found a new song in the last couple of years I have suggested that surely this must be the end – our list must now be complete. And I do that because I don’t know anyone else who is competing with us on this task. We are, for example, not helped by the official list of Dylan compositions on BobDylan.com.
And yet despite these problems we keep edging forward and here we have another one: “I rode out one morning”, which is very much NOT to be confused with “As I went out one morning” from John Wesley Harding.
This recording is of course not Dylan, but I can’t find a Dylan version that I can copy.
Eyolf Østrem, in reporting the songs says that “the melody is certainly the model to Farewell Angelina.” And of course he is right for the man has ears of… well whatever creature has perfect musical perception. He also tells us “The guitar is tuned to a variant tuning of D-A-d-g-b-e’ with the capo on the second fret.
I’m taking the absolute liberty of reproducing his lyrics and chords
D G/d D I rode out one morning, tryin' to make me a friend D G/d I rode down to the city, no one to refend [to be found?/could I find?] G/d D But my hands they were dirty and my hair it was messed D G/d D And I came from the east and I went out to the west. It's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard ground to walk It's hard as the nail, it's hard as the rock, It's hard as the sail that stands to the wind But they're all not as hard as the love that I'm in.
Our old friend Haiku 61 took a look at this piece and came up with
Man can’t find a “friend,”
Like, “ladyfriend.” He’s dirty,
He’ll need a bath first.
This is very much a song of moving on – the theme that Bob loved so much in his early days, this time emphasising not so much the psychological need to keep moving on of the “One too many mornings” type but the pain of loneliness.
There is an interesting contrast in the second verse (or maybe it was going to be the chorus) in which he makes it clear that the moving on is not just a lifestyle choice but caused by the loss of his lover. And of course the use of a phrase that he had already used to some effect in an earlier song in 1962.
What was it now? Something about Hard Rain falling. Was he really going to use it again?
It’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard ground to walk
It’s hard as the nail, it’s hard as the rock,
It’s hard as the sail that stands to the wind
But they’re all not as hard as the love that I’m in.
So we really are not yet at walking out on the lover in order to keep on keeping on. Besides which the guys jumping the railway trains didn’t particularly care that they were dirty.This is very much Bob, the composer learning his trade sorting out a few issues in terms of how compositions work. But nevertheless something I am so glad that we have, as it really does help us all understand the process of Bob’s working in the early days.
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 594 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