Saturday, June 13, 2015

If Dogs Run Free

If dogs can do it,
We can too. Running free is
Good for harmony.

"If Dogs Run Free" is a singular song in the Bob Dylan catalogue. The last song on side one of 1970's "New Morning," it is the only jazz arrangement that he's ever done, at least that I can think of. The loose tone is accentuated by some truly inspired (and strange) scat vocalizing from Maeretha Stewart. I can't say what the song is about, but it gives any aspiring interpreter plenty of material to comb through.

If dogs run free, then:
- Why not we?
- Why not me?

Received wisdom:
- "The best is always yet to come / That's what they explain to me / Just do your thing, you'll be king."
- "To each his own."
- "What must be must be."
- True love can make grass stand up.
- True love needs no company. "It can cure the soul."

- Ears hear symphony scored for two mules, trains and rain
- Mind weaves symphony/tapestry
- Winds rush his tales to you.
- The swamp of time and the cosmic sea... if dogs run free.

Here's the studio version:

Here is an unexpected live version of the song from Newcastle, England, in 2002:

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