by Aaron Galbraith and Tony Attwood
Just recently we’ve been engaged in a project listening back to some of the outtakes from the 1986 and 1987 sessions that produced the majority of Bob Dylan’s “Down In The Groove” album, as well as some of the live shows from the era.
And between us we reached the conclusion that, as many people said at the time, the album is, to be fair, not very good.
So we decided to see if we could compile a better album ourselves from the outtakes and live shows from the period which you never know, might one day turn up on the Bootleg series.
For the penultimate track on the vinyl edition of “Sheep In Wolves Clothing” we had initially chosen Dylan’s cover of “The Usual”, which had already been released on the Hearts Of Fire Soundtrack and as a single. We wanted a “big” moment at this point in the record. But then we went back through the tapes and came across this one, which we had forgotten about or missed entirely during our initially pass. So, much like the original Down In The Groove album, The Usual was binned from the running order right at the last minute!
It was replaced by this tremendous version of “Sidewalks, Fences And Walls”.
This certainly provides the “big” moment we were looking for towards the end of the album. It may well be the best track and performance we’ve uncovered so far. Why this wasn’t on the original album is anyone’s guess! The track starts out tentatively enough but really builds towards the middle and by the end Dylan is in full voice and the band is driving towards the finish line with everything they’ve got. A wonderful performance, reminiscent of the Bootleg Vol 1-3 Version Of “When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky”.
As for the song itself, it was written by Jerry Williams and first recorded by Freddie North In 1971, but the version Dylan would have known was by Solomon Burke and was released in 1979, after all Bob sings the line as “Solomon loves Mary”,
Dylan is a self-proclaimed Solomon Burke fanatic, he once described him as “a mighty, mighty man, a mammoth talent…”. Bob gifted him his song “Stepchild” and Burke again covered Bob on a number of occasions, including “The Mighty Quinn”, “Maggie’s Farm” and “What Good Am I?”.
Dylan’s Verizon Of “Sidewalks…” should have been on “Down In The Groove”. This new/old album gives us the chance to rectify that mistake.
Little crooked heart Drawn in chalk On an old brick wall Started writing in the heart Told one and all “Solomon loves Mary” On sidewalks, fences, and walls Now the rain that fell Washed away those hearts in a childish scrawl But the love that came from those hearts Was big when we were small And I wrote my love letters On sidewalks, fences, and walls Got chalk on my fingers Got chalk on my hands But somebody wrote across my heart a love so grand So grand, so grand, so grand Now I write my letters With a fancy pen But my mind goes back to chalk Every now and again “Solomon loves Mary” Came straight from my heart But just like all the other kids One day we had to part Now Mary’s married to Billy But I can recall “Solomon loves Mary” “Solomon loves Mary” “Solomon loves Mary” On sidewalks, fences, and walls Yesterday I walked by there To reminisce again I saw a child that looked like Mary My childhood friend She was writing a letter, a love letter To the boy of her dreams Just then her mother walked by I knew her but she didn’t know me I stood there in a daze My mind looked beauty in the face “Solomon loves Mary” “Solomon loves Mary” “Solomon loves Mary” On sidewalks, fences, and walls Sidewalks, fences, and walls Sidewalks, fences, and walls Sidewalks, fences, and walls Sidewalks, fences, and walls…
The lost Dylan album – the tracks so far
- Track 1 Twist and Shout
- Track 2: Just when I needed you most
- Track 3: Willie and the Hand Jive
- Track 4: Important words
- Track 5: Uranium Rock (Rock ’em dead)
- Track 6: Lucky old Sun
- Track 7: Got Love If You Want It
- Track 8: Treasure of Love
Untold Dylan: who we are what we do
Untold Dylan is written by people who want to write for Untold Dylan. It is simply a forum for those interested in the work of the most famous, influential and recognised popular musician and poet of our era, to read about, listen to and express their thoughts on, his lyrics and music.
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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. Not every index is complete but I do my best.
But what is complete is our index to all the 604 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found, on the A to Z page. I’m proud of that; no one else has found that many songs with that much information. Elsewhere the songs are indexed by theme and by the date of composition. See for example Bob Dylan year by year.