Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dylan's "I'm Not There"; inscrutable Bongolese

Until I read the new Rolling Stone  (oops, don't tell Steve, but I will loan this heretical magazine to KKen) article (read Bono on the #1 song here), I didn't even know this Dylan song "I'm Not There" existed...and neither did the world until Neil Young found it in his vault a few years ago  (amazing story).

It is Bonoesque...actually "Elvis Presley and America-esque".... in  the lyrics..but that's part of its evocative, provocative charm...and interesting what comes out when he sings in scat/Bongolese/improv/tongues.  Like U2's "Presley," it makes more sense that songs in which the lyrics..uh, make sense.

Evidently, Sony is notorious for not allowing Dylan cuts on YouTube...but if you watch this video carefully, you'll find a way to hear it (:

It didn't make the cut of the top 70 Dylan songs but was given honorable mention in a sidebar called "Dylan's Most Inscrutable Lyrics"

"I'm Not There" (The Basement Tapes, 1967)
A melody this gorgeous makes you want to spend years pondering the song's bottomless mysteries. Dylan mumbles huge chunks in an antiquated dialect of his own devising ("Heaven knows that the answer/She's don't calling no one" ...?), but that just adds to the mood of total isolation. -Rolling Stone

Lyrics from SongMeanings (see some stabs at interpretation there):

well it's alright and then she's all the time
in my neighbourhood she cried both day and night
i know it cause it was there

it's a milestone but she down on her luck
and the day makes her lonely but to me hard to buck
i believe

i believe where she stopping where she wants time to care
i believe that she'd look upon deciding to care
and i go by the Lord in ways she's on my way
but i don't belong there

no i don't belong to her
i don't belong to anybody
she's my prize forsaken angel but she don't hear me cry
she's a long hearted mistress
and she can't carry on
when i'm there she's alright but she's not when i am gone

heaven knows that there's an answer
she's not calling no one
she's away sailing beautiful
she's mine for the one
and i lost her hesitation
by temptation less it runs
but she don't holler me
but i'm not there i am gone

now i've cried tonight
like i cried the night before
and i'll feast on her eyes
but i dream about the door
so long jesus savior
blind faith where the tale?
it don't hang proclamation
she's my own far thee well
now i went out neath the levee
i was born to love her
but she knows that the kingdom
waits so high above her
and i run but i race
but its not to fast a slim?
but i ll not deceive her
i'm not there i am gone

well it's all about confusion as i cry for her veil
i don't need anybody now be side me to tell
and it's all information i can see but it's not
she's a lone hearted beauty but she's gone like the spot
and she wants
yes she's gone like the rainbow that shining yesterday
but now she's a home beside me and i'd like to here her stay
she's a cold forsaken beauty and it don't trust anyone
and i wish i was beside but i am not there i am gone

well its too hard to stake in
and i don't bother me
it's all bad for abusing
but she's hard too hard to leave
it's alone it's a crime
the way she wont be around
but she told for to hate me
but this long forsaken clown

yes i believe that it's rightful
oh i believe it in my mind
i've been told like i said when i before carry on the crying
and she's all good to told her
like i said carry on
i wish i was there to help
but i'm not there i'm gone

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