Once or Twice: You Angel You

Once or twice: A review of some of the songs that Bob has performed just once or twice on stage, selecting those of which we have a genuine recording of a live event (and “genuine” is important here since I have found a few sites that seem to suggest they are a recording of a live version, but I have my doubts.)  Text and video selection by Tony Attwood.

You Angel You was written in 1973, and performed twice by Dylan, on 14 January 1990 and 8 February the same year.  I am not sure why he left it so long and why it suddenly came back, and Mike Johnson in the Never Ending Tour series doesn’t offer a reason either.  It just happened, as these things do.

The 8 February recording was captured as part of the Never Ending Tour series in the episode Songs of love, songs of betrayal

The version that is on the internet is I think the same one, but with a less clear recording…and is identified as the 8 February recording.

So why did Bob just give us this song twice having thought enough of it to put on the album?

First, it is a short performance – most Never Ending Tour pieces last several minutes longer, so I guess Bob did not have a way of extending the piece either through new lyrics or indeed through an extended instrumental break or two.   And he also didn’t feel like adding any significant variations.

Also the lyrics are fairly short – making for a much shorter song than Bob often indulges in – and I am not sure they have too much to say…

You angel, youYour essence got me under your wingThe way you walk and the way you talkI feel I could almost sing

You angel, youYou're as fine as anything's fineI just walk and watch you talkWith you memory of my mind

You know I can't sleep at night for tryingYes I never did feel this way beforeNever did get up and walk the floorIf this is love then gimme moreAnd more and more and more and more

And that’s it with the repeats removed.  Not really a Dylan-esque song.  And so I guess he either suddenly thought of  it one day, or maybe a friend asked for it, or perhaps the person about whom it was written, suddenly turned up, or sadly passed away, or something….

But there was more to be done with it, as Manfred Mann showed us a couple of years later (this was recorded in 1983).

But there is still more to this song, and Aaron and I did one of our joint reviews of it, including some rather interesting cover versions. in the Beautiful Obscurity series.   I do hope you have a moment to go back and have a look.  As you will know if you are a regular reader Aaron past away recently, and this is a good a way as any to remember his contribution.

Previously in this series we have looked at 

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