The third and final Artificial Intelligence song of Bob Dylan, with added music

By Tony Attwood based on the work of Bob Bjarke

If you have a good memory you might recall the article “A new Dylan song, written using artificial intelligence and an old-time songwriter” in which a set of lyrics created by an artificial intelligence program was created through the programming of Bob Bjarke and then had music added to them.

A second article followed, “The Laughter of the Drowned” which is one of the spookiest song titles that I have ever come across.

Bob did in fact send me a third set of lyrics created by the program and they have sat in the vast pile of papers in and around my piano and guitar, and time and again I have tried and failed to create anything that could be vaguely considered to be music, to accompany them.

However knowing that there won’t be any more lyrics from the program since Bob is now engaged in refining and re-working the program, I did not want to be beaten, and so I have finally created a piece of music to go with these rather challenging lyrics.

As I pointed out before, I’ve simply taken the lyrics and written music around them, without thinking “what would Bob do?” because that just makes the whole thing too difficult – at least for me.

Instead, the music tries to capture the essence of the lyrics.  In this case, what came first was the chorus, but trying to fit the rest of  the music around the lyrics was tough

The agreement with Bob was that I would take the lyrics as written and not mess with them, but I have slipped on the occasional word just to try and get some sort of scansion out of them.

And as I have mentioned before, if you are a long term reader you might remember our series Showcase in which readers of Untold Dylan who had made recordings of their own music, or of Dylan songs but with a new interpretation or twist, were welcome to send me recordings and I put them onto this site.

Those recordings are all still online (see the links below) and will now be added to the “Showcase” series.

But as for these songs, and most especially “Solid Rock”, please do consider it an experiment – a challenge perhaps – and I’m sharing this because I found the whole challenge fun and interesting.  And if Bob does continue with re-programming his AI project, in the light of these first three pieces, I’d love to have a chance at working on whatever comes along next.

And please remember the recording below was made in the living room of my home on everyday equipment – plus with no chance to jump back in and sort out the words that I muffed or the piano accompaniment that slipped.   So please don’t compare to a finished studio recording!  And remember, where the words don’t fit, I’ve had to work the music around them.  I’m not allowed to change the program’s lyrics!

They say if you wanna be remembered    
You better move fast, you better move with the times 
Truman had his White House 
And the Capitol was his
The same place that he now sits 

I’m hangin’ on to a solid rock
Made before the willow tree
And I’m going to hell for standin’ on a hill 
And about it givin’ custody of me

So I got a woman named Marya  
She’s a Methodist and she worships at midnight 
She pulls out a knife and cuts me in the back 
I’ve survived by drinkin’ water
I didn’t make it through the wall crawlin’ by

I’m hangin’ on to a solid rock
Made before the willow tree
And I’m going to hell for standin’ on a hill
And a—bout it givin’ custody of me

Ya know I once wondered what it was all meant to be?
Like a swarm of bees looking for a home 
I’m tryin’ to keep from falling down 
But like a lot of people that died long ago

It doesn’t make me angry or suspicious 
I just can’t remember you I am not a doctor
I do not experience pain I do not theorize 
I do not speculate I do not offer my thoughts 
To anyone but myself

Pain is not a thought It’s a feeling
That I’d rather confess 
It’s a knowing
That I do not deny

I’m hangin’ on to a solid rock
Made before the willow tree
And I’m going to hell for standin’ on a hill
And a—bout it givin’ custody of me

You can feel it in the wound you’ve been healin’
You can feel it in the blood they’ve been drainin'
You can’t turn it off 
You can’t remove it 
You can feel it in the wound you’re healin’ 
You cant’ back away

The guilty undertaker pacing on the steps 
He’s prayin’ that the sun don’t shine down upon him 
The light is in the prisoner’s cell    
He’s in the corner prayin’ that the others are asleep

I’m hangin’ on to a solid rock 
Made before the willow tree
And I’m going to hell for standin’ on a hill
And a—bout it givin’ custody of me

 

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