Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tell Ol' Bill

Bob's beset by doubts.
He can't sleep, she's not helping.
Someone's after him.

This is a dark and stormy night song, which was included on volume 8 of the Bootleg Series, which collects unreleased and alternate track recordings from 1989 to 2006. I can't get at the heart of what this song is about, and I wonder if it even has a center. It appeared on the soundtrack to "North Country," starring Charlize Theron.

- River whispers, heavens near, body glowing, not a penny.
- I sing to myself, wondering if the tempest will drown me. (Feels like a nod to Prospero)
- Stranded in a foreign place, can't sleep, can't find a smile.
- Why do you torture me?
- Remember me. I wish we could share our emotions.
- You trampled me and left me a cold comfort kiss. But I'm not afraid anymore so I have no reason to talk to you.
- I can't sleep. I walk by tranquil lakes and streams.
- The ground's hard and the stars cold as you speak. It's going to be a long night.
- Bleak rocks, bare trees, iron clouds, snow, gray and stormy sky.
- Sundown. Dark woods, dark town, you're going to get dragged down.
- Tell ol' Bill (a reference to another song, recorded by Dylan as "This Evening So Soon") that anything is worth trying, and that Bob isn't alone. It's time to do or die.
- "All the world I would defy, Let me make it plain as day, I look at you now and I sigh: How could it be any other way?"



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