By Tony Attwood
This series reconsiders the 1000+ recordings that Mike Johnson has given us through his magnificent series: The Never Ending Tour, and gives me the chance to pick out a few absolute personal favourites.
There is a full list of my previous choices below (this is number 27 in the series), and this recording of “Love Minus Zero” comes from 1992 in Sydney.
In his review of this part of the Tour, Mike included three different recordings of this song and of course you can go back and choose your own favourite of the three – but really I found that quite difficult, and ultimately it is a totally personal choice anyway.
Mike, in considering the three separate recordings of this song he nominated, wrote, “Sigh! Sometimes it’s great when Dylan just plays Dylan, no tricks, no great baroque extensions. Just Bob and his genius. Blink for a moment and you’re back in the 1960s.”
And I really, really would agree with that. For me there is something so utterly simple and elegant about this version… and indeed as Mike further adds, “Masterful vocal. Wonderful to sense a respectful audience.”
But I would (inevitably) add a little more. The tour consists mostly of songs that we all know, and Bob has always changed the songs as he goes along. Here it is the melody that is different from the original recorded version from the second line onward, and it works perfectly. It doesn’t sound like the piece has been changed for the sake of change: if this had been the original version, we would surely all have marveled about it just as many of us did with the version delivered on the LP.
However, this goes further. For there is such a delicate plaintiveness in this recording from first to last and that amended second line really does sound as if this is the way it has always meant to be sung.
I just wonder sometimes, when sitting alone, what it could possibly be like to have a lover who writes a song for you which begins
My love she speaks like silence,Without ideals or violence, She doesn't have to say she's faithful, Yet she's true, like ice, like fire. People carry roses, Make promises by the hours, My love she laughs like the flowers, Valentines can't buy her.
That surely must be one of the great and utterly overwhelming emotional moments of one’s life. No such comparable event has ever happened to me but I can still imagine what it must be like.
No wonder there was ecstasy in the audience.
The Absolute Highlights series
- 1: John Brown 1987
- 2: Desolation Row. 1990.
- 3: She Belongs to Me
- 4: Tangled up in Blue
- 5: I and I – power without meaning
- 6: It ain’t me babe – go lightly.
- 7: Perfection in desolation – Gates of Eden
- 8: Girl from the North Country.
- 9: When He Returns
- 10: It’s alright Ma
- 11: Satisfied Mind
- 12: Visions of Johanna
- 13: Dark Eyes
- 14: Man in the long black coat
- 15: Don’t think twice (2000)
- 16: Silvio (1998)
- 17: Gates of Eden (2000)
- 18: One Too Many Mornings 2001.
- 19: It’s all over now baby blue 1994
- 20: The Wicked Messenger
- 21: Positively 4th Street (1994)
- 22: I and I
- 23: Restless Farewell
- 24: Botony Bay
- 25: Blind Willie McTell
- 26: Desolation Row