It is an album of recordings by Bob that you might possibly have missed along the way but which are deemed (by me, doing my imperious, “I know everything” bit) to be beyond genius.
Today’s piece is Tomorrow is a long time.
And because the series is only just starting I’ve got a chance to modify the approach a little, by including in this article some of the comments very kindly made by readers on this site about the song.
My original review of the song is here, and the first recording below is from 12 April 1963, in front of a perfectly quiet audience. None of your shouting out names of songs, just attentiveness for a great young artist. It is so wonderful to hear the way Bob was received.
It was written in the magical compositional year of 1962. You can see a list of all the songs written by Dylan in that year here in chronological order. “Lost love” was a favourite theme of Bob’s from start and during 1962 he wrote
in quick succession – they are numbers 10 to 17 on the list of songs in the order of writing showing that it was a theme that concerned him for a while. He then left the notion of “lost love” as a song concept and added just one more (Kingsport Town) towards the end of the year’s writing.
I really do love the chronological list which we’ve developed on this site, first because I don’t think before we came along anyone else had done anything quite so comprehensive, and second because it gives me a context – even when there is no artistic or creative context to hold onto. Just looking at the songs Dylan wrote immediately before this masterpiece, the only thing I can see as a fulsome antecedent is Blowing in the Wind. Everything else is exploring different avenues.
Thus this just pops up, as a new song coming out of the four preceding explorations of the theme.
It is also one of those songs that, at the time it was written was largely ignored, not appearing until “Greatest Hits Volume II” in 1971 and then on the triple album “Masterpieces”. But we do have this recording…
This recording is so perfect it can’t go any further. Everything else is a reworking going nowhere. Or at least that was what I thought when I first heard it, but of course, readers kindly write in and Jimmy, responding to the original review on this site, noted that “Ian & Sylvia did a gorgeous version on their second album, Four Strong Winds.”