The Rough and Rowdy Ways Tour 2021: Part 10 – To be alone with you

I don’t know what it means either: an index to the current series appearing on this website.

Commentary by Tony Attwood, audio kindly provided by Mr Tambourine.

To be alone with you starts at around 49′ 30″ on the video

Bob uses the technique of singing one line and reciting the next – or sometimes reciting more than individual lines, for after a short while reciting seems to take over from the original melody.

It’s a fairly simple three chord song, although not in the format of the 12 bar blues, with a middle 8 that modulates for a moment to a new key before taking us straight back.  Theer’s not too much evolution of the song, which overall in this performance lasts four and a half minutes.

The song comes of course from Nashville Skyline when Dylan was generally writing simpler songs, and was regularly performed from the late 1980s through to 2005 when it was given a rest.   And I think here again it is worth hearing how the song sounded in 2005.   You can hear much of this concert in 2005 Hello, Goodbye: First Ever, Last Ever– here is To Be Alone with You, extracted from that review.

As we can hear this is a totally different approach to the song: in 2005 the essence of the song was a real desire to be alone with the lady – indeed an urgent need to be with the lady.

What we now have in the “Rough and Rowdy Ways” version is a much more relaxed approach as Bob seems to be looking at the issue of being with the lady from the point of view of a older man who more likely to spend the hour just chatting about the past rather than the other activities that seem to be implied in the 2005 performance.

In fact listening for a second time, the Rough and Rowdy version is indeed very much the older Bob looking back.  That is not to say that is how he was thinking when he devised the arrangement, but that’s how it comes across to me.  But here’s a curious thing: having listened to the 2005 version, which I really do enjoy, and then returning for another listen to the Rought and Rowdy Ways version, I found this new version much more enjoyable.  I guess I just had to bring myself into the right mood to appreciate it.

Previously in this series we have looked at



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *