Saturday, May 27, 2006

With God On Our Side, by Bob Dylan

So this is Bob Dylan's week.
When I was in high school, my history teacher told me: "Have you heard 'With God On Our Side' by Bob Dylan?" I answered, "No". She told me: "Would you listen to it and give us a sort of show and tell about it?" Why not? After all, I am a huge fan of Dylan. That evening I had an epiphany. By that time one of the few records I hadn't heard by him was The Times They Are A-Changin' (1964), which I consider to be his most political record. So I got home, downloaded the song (yeah, I know I did wrong, but some months later I bought the record) and checked the lyrics here. I think this one is the epic poem of the United States. The most honest, the most terrifying, the most brutal. The tone of resignation at the final lines ("So now as I'm leaving, I'm weary as hell, the confussion I'm feeling, ain't no tongue can tell"). Like "North Country Blues", it is so sadly present.

(as a recommendation, listen to the version included in The Bootleg Series Vol. 6 Live 1964. The Philarmonic Hall Concert, where Dylan sings it duo with Joan Baez).

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