Monday, January 26, 2015

Bye and Bye

Old man still can dance.
With age comes wisdom. He knows
You're his only love.

I recently saw an interview with Joni Mitchell on CBC in which (now-disgraced) journalist and musician Jian Ghomeshi asked her for some thoughts on Bob Dylan. In the interview, Mitchell said that Dylan told her that he hasn't written songs for 20 years, that in fact he's putting together pieces of other songs to make new ones. "Bye and Bye" off the "Love and Theft" album from 2001 is that kind of song. I referred to them earlier as blues and rockabilly versions of Marcel Duchamp readymades. The narratives wander all over the place, sometimes declining to connect from one verse to the next, while only the mood is constant. In "Bye and Bye," the band shuffles through a 1940's-style tune as Bob grabs whatever from the songbag fits his mind, and doesn't forget a few jokes here and there like, "I'm sittin' on my watch so I can be on time."

1. He's got his eye on you. Sitting on his watch, etc., singing and sighing like a lover.
2. Painting the town with his girl.
3. He's walking on briars and not acquainted with his own desires.
4. He's rolling slow and convincing himself he has a dream left.
5. The future his past, you're the first love and the last.
6. Papa's mad, momma's sad, Bob's going to baptize you in fire to prevent you from sinning, he's going to establish his rule through civil war and show you how loyal a man can be.

It adds up to not very much, but I still love the song.




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