SHUFFLER 0007: CROSS ME OFF-A YOUR LIST
Friday, August 29, 2014
Bob Dylan – “Abandoned Love” from Biograph (1985 Columbia)
My opinion of Bob Dylan tends to change with the weather. For me he falls into a class of artists who are so prolific that I don’t even know how to take their body of work as a whole. It’s so much it overwhelms. When it comes time to talk about Neil Young or Elvis Costello, I’ll be expressing a similar sentiment, I can assure you.
I realize, however, that this Shuffler deal isn’t set up in a way that requires me to make a definitive statement about each artist, especially one as prone to genius and madness as Dylan. More important is that I like this song, and I do. Recorded a year after “Forever Young” (but not released until a decade later), this song gives a similar feel, begging you to sit down at the warm and cozy outdoor dinner table with the Bravermans. Or it could be that I’m approaching middle age and waiting to Hulu an episode of Parenthood with my wife. Who can really say?
Here’s a better question. Why are rock musicians not writing lyrics like this today? Or are they? Apparently Dylan was going through a divorce at the time that he wrote this song, which makes the lyrics and the haunting melody that goes with them all the more penetrating. I’ve included them below in their entirety, which is especially helpful given that the video version I’ve included contains Spanish subtitles.
I’m grateful for this Shuffler business, and for those of you who continue to click and read. I know I wouldn’t have stopped to really notice this song and listen deliberately to it without having created these constraints, and I’m glad I did it.
I can hear the turning of the key
I’ve been deceived by the clown inside of me
I thought that he was righteous but he’s vain
Oh, something’s a-telling me I wear the ball and chain
My patron saint is a-fighting with a ghost
He’s always off somewhere when I need him most
The Spanish moon is rising on the hill
But my heart is a-tellin’ me I love ya still
I come back to the town from the flaming moon
I see you in the streets, I begin to swoon
I love to see you dress before the mirror
Won’t you let me in your room one time ’fore I finally disappear?
Everybody’s wearing a disguise
To hide what they’ve got left behind their eyes
But me, I can’t cover what I am
Wherever the children go I’ll follow them
I march in the parade of liberty
But as long as I love you I’m not free
How long must I suffer such abuse
Won’t you let me see you smile one time before I turn you loose?
I’ve given up the game, I’ve got to leave
The pot of gold is only make-believe
The treasure can’t be found by men who search
Whose gods are dead and whose queens are in the church
We sat in an empty theater and we kissed
I asked ya please to cross me off-a your list
My head tells me it’s time to make a change
But my heart is telling me I love ya but you’re strange
One more time at midnight, near the wall
Take off your heavy makeup and your shawl
Won’t you descend from the throne, from where you sit?
Let me feel your love one more time before I abandon it.