Category Archives: Sunday songs

On turning the other cheek: Bob Dylan et al

Many Christian churches following the most common Lectionary would have featured a particular segment of the Sermon on the Mount as the Gospel reading today, namely Matthew 5:38-48; this is the part which includes Jesus’ admonition to his followers to “turn the other cheek” in response to being slapped in the face, which is one of those sayings of Jesus which has entered the lingo of believers, unbelievers and … just about everyone else too.

Interestingly, it seems that Continue reading “On turning the other cheek: Bob Dylan <em>et al</em>” »

Be My Baby

With the dearth of unofficial Bob Dylan content on YouTube, we have the pleasure of continuing to trawl for interesting cover versions of his songs. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight is a flawless piece of popular songwriting, I do think, quite up to standing without self-consciousness alongside the smooth and brilliantly-crafted tunes of the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Kern, Berlin and ilk. It’s unpretentious; it says just what it needs to say, without overstatement, but rather with an air of effortlessness. You can’t do much better than that as a songwriter.

And Engelbert Humperdinck sure appreciated it.

In the notes to Biograph, Bob Dylan made a funny and charming observation about the tune, noting that it had occurred to him that the song “could have been written from a baby’s point of view.”

Indeed:

Kick your shoes off, do not fear,
Bring that bottle over here.
I’ll be your baby tonight.

Oddly tangential to this, in a Roe v Wade kind of way: Helpless in Philadelphia.

The Gospel in Oz

In Australia there’s high water everywhere (or at least in the northwest of that country) and I hope that there are no RWB readers in the area going down in the flood. But here’s a prayer for all enduring the current hardship.

The YouTube clip below features some singers from deep down south — I guess it must be the Dixie of Australia: Melbourne. (You can tell I’ve never been to Australia, but I’m clever with maps.) It’s the Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir, in fact, performing Bob Dylan’s very great song, What Can I Do For You? Continue reading “The Gospel in Oz” »

Last words, on retirement, from Bob Dylan

Keith R. writes, in relation to this retirement debate, that he’s surprised no one has mentioned the 60 Minutes interview which the late Ed Bradley did with Bob Dylan from 2004:

Ed asks him, in so many words, why Bob doesn’t retire. Bob made a deal with the Chief Commander on this Earth and in the World We Can’t See, he says. It’s all in the cards. He can’t retire, wasn’t part of the deal.

The article [on whether Dylan should retire] – and most of the responses that I’ve seen – seem very tied to this world that we can see, but isn’t Bob one of the great messengers between this world and that world we can’t see? Isn’t that one of the reasons we love him? and one of the reasons he can’t retire?

I think that Keith is right in every respect. It’s funny — this exchange didn’t even occur to me in the context of the retirement discussion, even though it’s the “infamous” one which a few freakazoids out there claim as proof that Bob sold his soul to the Devil. The clip is below along with the transcription: Continue reading “Last words, on retirement, from Bob Dylan” »

Feeling the love, again

The description accompanying the YouTube clip below says:

‘Make you feel my love’ by Bob Dylan performed by The University of Nottingham Revival Gospel Choir at their Christmas concert, December 4th 2010. Solo by Sarah Pickering.

That’s an interesting context for the performance, considering that quite a few people believe this song was written as an expression of the Almighty’s love for, well, us. (Read one person’s take on the Time Out of Mind album at this link.)

Has this song surpassed Blowin’ in the Wind yet as being the most covered Bob Dylan song ever? I think if you counted YouTube versions as “covers,” then the answer would almost have to be yes. If it’s only actual commercially-released recordings that count, I would guess Blowin’ is still quite a way’s ahead. (But that’s a research job for next year’s summer intern to tackle, I suppose …)

Stan’s the man

Stan Musial turns 90 years old today. Thanks to Mike for the link to a piece on him from American Thinker.

Even if, like Yours Truly, you’re lacking in the most impressive level of knowledge when it comes to baseball history, you don’t have to read very far even in his Wikipedia entry to realize that Mr. Musial qualifies as a genuine living American treasure.

He seems to a be a guy who has always been humble about the great blessings he received, and employed them with dedication and integrity, and also someone who has spent a lot of time spreading blessings to others along the way.

It’s recently been announced that Mr. Musial will be among those receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year.

And he’s not half-bad on the old mouth organ either. (So there’s your Bob Dylan connection.)

Love rescue me

Haven’t heard this one in a long time, but was reminded of it today. U2, with Bob Dylan, on the song they co-wrote titled Love Rescue Me (from the album Rattle & Hum).

It is funny how despite the obvious intention to record something that sounded “gritty” and “live,” it still sounds like an artifact of the 1980s to me (it was released in 1990 1988). And I guess if it didn’t get all overwrought towards the end, it just wouldn’t be Bono. All the same, it’s a pretty moving piece of balladry, I think, with some very poignant and dead-on lyrics.

Many strangers have I met
On the road to my regret
Many lost who seek to find themselves in me
They ask me to reveal
The very thoughts they would conceal
Love rescue me

Shooting Star

I’m a little behind on various things, but I’ll be catching up. From the MTV Unplugged show, there is a clip below of Bob Dylan and his band performing Shooting Star.

I’ll admit this much, even if it makes me sound like some kind of lunatic barbarian: When Oh Mercy came out in 1989, the song Shooting Star didn’t grab me very much. It seemed too obvious to my jaded self (perhaps I’m younger than that now), and just a toss-off for Bob. But with each year that has passed, the song has grown a little more poignant, kinda been sneaking up on me, like many of Bob’s song are wont to do. By now it pretty much tears me up with just the first couple of lines.

Bluegrass gospel

Below is a clip from YouTube of a combo known as the Gordons, with a nice performance from the 1970s of a song by Ralph Stanley and Larry Sparks called I Am the Man, Thomas. It is of-course a tune that was resurrected by Bob Dylan to kick off quite a few of his concerts between 1999 and 2002.