By Tony Attwood
This song is included here because it is, as far as I know, a Dylan composition, and we are trying to cover all the Dylan compositions. A recording of it exists (see below) and so I’m adding it to the list.
But I really am very unsure if there is any particular merit in this experiment. For while there are several of these “Shot of Love” outtakes that do seem to me to be on the edge of being very interesting compositions, nothing here seems to be leading in an interesting direction.
What we get is a simple reggae rhythm with a repeating chord sequence, for each verse, and then the same sequence with the Ah Ah Ah.
And then suddenly and without warning at around 3 minutes 20 seconds everything comes to a halt and we have an intermediate bit which doesn’t appear to have too much to do with anything else around – not does it appear (to my ears) to be going anywhere itself.
Then it is back to Ah Ah Ah.
If you stay with the whole recording you’ll hear that Dylan does have a couple of goes to make more sense out of the slowed down interlude, and does keep coming back to it. And maybe it could have gone somewhere in the end, if the chorus had not been so stuck on “Ah Ah Ah”.
Bob certainly did keep trying – the recording is just on eight minutes long, but whereas I can see where the other songs were going, (or could have gone,) this one seems to be going nowhere. So for me an experiment that didn’t have any particular merit and was rightly abandoned. But that’s not to say I’m right. It is just how I hear it.
However if you play the piece all the way through you do get some idea of what else Bob and the band were playing with at the time, and such background material is always interesting.
Think there’s something missing or wrong with this review?
You are of course always welcome to write a comment below, but if you’d like to go further, you could write an alternative review – we’ve already published quite a few of these. We try to avoid publishing reviews and comments that are rude or just criticisms of what is written elsewhere – but if you have a positive take on this song or any other Dylan song, and would like it considered for publication, please do email Tony@schools.co.uk
What else is on the site
1: 500+ reviews of Dylan songs. There is an index to these in alphabetical order on the home page, and an index to the songs in the order they were written in the Chronology Pages.
2: The Chronology. We’ve taken the songs we can find recordings of and put them in the order they were written (as far as possible) not in the order they appeared on albums. The chronology is more or less complete and is now linked to all the reviews on the site. We have also produced overviews of Dylan’s work year by year. The index to the chronologies is here.
3: Bob Dylan’s themes. We publish a wide range of articles about Bob Dylan and his compositions. There is an index here.
4: The Discussion Group We now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook. Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link
5: Bob Dylan’s creativity. We’re fascinated in taking the study of Dylan’s creative approach further. The index is in Dylan’s Creativity.
And please do note The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews