By Tony Attwood
Aaron sent me a recording of this previously unpublished Dylan song over a week ago, and I struggled with the review, and set it aside until Aaron kindly reminded me. Making up excuses by the ton, I’ve rushed around and caught up. So here we are.
It is “Uncut” magazine that has come up with this previously unheard Bob Dylan track – which will become song number 625 in terms of the list of Dylan compositions. Several people have commented it sounds like an early version of Foot of Pride.
You might be able to make sense of it at once, but if not try listening with the lyrics below – that’s how I gradually got the hang of what is going on here.
If that doesn’t work, try the one below. And below that is my (Tony’s) version of the lyrics and I am notorious for inaccuracies.
Here are the lyrics…
Whether there was a murder, I don`t know, I can`t say, I was visiting a friend in jail. There were only two women at the scene at the time, neither one of them saw a thing, both of them were wearing a veil. I said it was a natural situation, and it reached too high, ???? (missing section) It`s too late to bring him back. Too late, too late, too late, too late, too late to bring him back.
He got a brother named Paul, hanging out at the Cafe Royale, where the all of the company is mixed. He is pretty to look at, he wants someone to throw the book at, but you know he drinks, and drinks can be fixed. Sing me one more song about your summer romance, Or maybe the one about you`re one night stand with Erroll Flynn. In these times of compassion, with conformities and fashion, say one more stupid thing to me, before the final nails driven in. You know it`s too late to bring him back, Too late, too late too late, to bring him back
Dr Silver Spoon from the ecstasy ballroom, he`s a retired businessman, who feeds off everyone he touched. He gives money to the church foundation for research, he`s not someone you can play around with too much. Miss Rose in a plate from spinning both sides of the lake, she`s rough to look at, but she`s safe, She`ll give you coconut bread and spiced buns in bed, and you won`t have to worry about sleeping with your head face down in your plate. But know it`s too late to bring him back, too late, too late too late, to bring him back
You gonna arrange to see a man tonight, to tell you some secret things that you think might open some doors. How to enter the gates of paradise, No, not really, more like going crazy from carrying a burden never meant to be yours. On the stage ever doing the bumps and the grinds, A whore will pass the hat, collect a hundred grand, and say, "well boys, thanks." They like to take all this money but then build castles to study in, and sing `Amazing Grace` all the way to food bank, But it`s too late to bring him back, too late, too late Too late, to bring him back.
Incidentally if you leave the video running, or indeed flip on to the next song, you get a different from normal version of “Serve Somebody” – quite an improvement to my ear!
As for the lyrics, they are a stream of consciousness approach – ideas pouring out in all directions. This really is a very early draft of what could have been a most exciting song with just a little more work on it – the sort of work Bob would have put into his songs that he finished and offered to the public. Bits and pieces sound awkward here – but that is how it is in composing a song from scratch – with the normal rehearsals lines get changed and the final edition emerges. It could really have been a great song.
As it is, we have an early sketch. I can only hope that somewhere on another tape there’s a recording of the same song made about a week later.