Sunday, August 16, 2015

Precious Memories

Youthful memories
Overcome an older man.
They make him happy.

It's easy to be cynical about old-timey granddaddy religious songs such as these, but I admit that "Precious Memories" is an affecting tune. I'm just not at all sure that it's affecting when listening to Bob Dylan's version. This one appeared on the 1986 album "Knocked Out Loaded," which along with "Empire Burlesque" and "Down in the Groove" represented the bard's nadir for many fans. They're not THAT bad, but a few songs don't quite survive the test of time. This one might be among them. The song is a hymn, written by the Tennessean J.B.F. Wright in 1925. It's also been covered by, among others, Rosetta Tharpe, Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves and JJ Cale. Cale's version, now that I think of it, didn't really do too much for me either, though it's certainly of a piece with his other work on the 1974 album "Okie."

Manifestations of precious memories:
- He looks to the future, wondering what it will bring. He can't tell, so he dwells on the past instead and encounters positive results.
- He remembers his father and mother, the doing of which provides a balm across lonely years. He remembers his childhood, and encounters similarly positive results.
- At midnight, he also encounters "precious sacred scenes," which I would assume that, because they are flooding his soul, provide a spiritual dimension to his nostalgia trip.

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