Commentary by Tony Attwood; research by Aaron Galbraith
The video which was previously available on line for this song has been removed. If you know of another, please do put a note in comments or write to Tony@schools.co.uk
This is not a newly discovered song, but rather a song that I (Tony) very stupidly missed reviewing when we went through all the bits and pieces from After the Empire.
This means that we had actually reached 600 Dylan songs to review a little while ago, but I never realised and so didn’t fill in the gap caused by not reviewing this song. But fortunately, I don’t think we have any rivals in this endeavour so we were not overtaken en route.
And just to be absolutely clear, this is not the 600th song Bob Dylan wrote, but the 600th song composed or co-composed by Dylan which we have reviewed.
So onto the album and the music…
This album was an unofficial release of 15 of the recordings that Dylan and co made during the Empire Burlesque sessions, and which were then deemed not suitable for the album.
And it is not too difficult to see why it was rejected. For the song consists of three chords played over and over with a melody and lyrics woven around it. The singular problem with the song, however, is that neither the melody nor the lyrics are particularly memorable, and so there is nothing to hold our attention.
There indeed may have been more to the song, but the fade out arrives fairly suddenly, and we’re gone. I suspect Bob knew that the song wasn’t ready, and for it to be usable it was going to have to have work done in one of those two departments mentioned above. I can imagine him turning away from the mic and waving at the engineer who rapidly fades it down. And that’s it.
The musicians throughout the sessions are reported as being, Vito San Filippo (bass), Raymond Pounds (drums) Carolyn Dennis , Madlyn Quebec, Elisecia Wright
background vocals, which leaves Bob playing guitar throughout although surely there is a second guitar there as well, seemingly played by an unnamed musician.
Now I don’t want to show my ignorance too much but I had not heard of Vito San Filippo and Raymond Pounds before, and my attempts to look them up have not taken me much further. If you know these musicians, please do write in and tell us all, what else they have done.
As to the overall sound, this suggests that there had been very little rehearsal before, with the bass and percussion filling in as directed, and perhaps seeing if the song “Won’t go back” can actually be taken any further or sent in a completely different direction. However “Won’t go back” did have some work done on it by Dylan before letting the tape run, so maybe the songs were written the other way round. This one first, then “Won’t go back” emerging from it.
As for the lyrics, no one seems to be have been brave enough to transcribe them, so here again I must throw myself on the mercy of the audience and say, if you can make out the lyrics please do write them in as a comment below. I’ll then move them into the main body of the text, with fulsome credits, as not everyone goes on to read the comments.
What else is on the site?
We have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with over 3400 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
You’ll find some notes about our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page of this site. 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 599 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found on the A to Z page.
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, or indeed have an idea for a series of articles that the regular writers might want to have a go at, please do drop a line with details of your idea, or if you prefer, a whole article to Tony@schools.co.uk
And please do note our friends at 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, plus links back to our reviews (which we do appreciate).