11/1/17 – Bob Dylan – Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands – 1966

Song Of The Day

If you were wondering why Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature, you may want to pick any lyric he wrote in a 14 year period between 1962 and 1976 – that’s from his self-titled debut to Desire. I’m sure there’s worthy lyrics beyond this period too but here the riches are abundant.

In 1966 he released what many aficionados call his masterpiece, Blonde On Blonde. The album, a double, contained Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands, taking up all of side four in a version that lasted eleven minutes and twenty seconds.

It seems that not every music lover listens to the lyrics, some can’t, not being French, Serge Gainsbourg’s magical lyrical humour and satire is sadly lost on me, I’ve just had French people telling me about it. If English is not your first language, Dylan must be a nightmare of unknown adjectives. Once when challenging someone’s taste after hearing a lyric so bad it made my skin crawl, he said “I’m not listening to the words, I’m listening to the bass”.

A fascinating response – for some groove and visual stimulation, melody or musicianship are where the magic lies in music and the lyrics simply don’t matter. What is even more fascinating and confirmed my point, whilst searching for a Dylan version of Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands on You Tube – I couldn’t find one. So if you don’t have Spotify you might not even be able to listen to the song

I find myself listening to music in context. When someone tells me Bob Dylan can’t sing or Mars Volta are a noise or AC/DC lyrics are absurd, I just think that you don’t go into a fish market looking for oranges. I see talent in the most unlikely places and marvel at the seductive skills of the media in relation to credibility and trash. For example PJ Harvey can do no wrong and Nadine Shah can’t get arrested. What’s the matter with us that we either have to be told what is good or like what our friends like, what happened with the masses in regards to private research?

Some people can’t listen to Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands from beginning to end  – because it’s too long. Can you imagine saying to someone “you must listen to this and concentrate on the words, it’s just eleven minutes”? Well, here goes – you must listen to this and read the lyrics, without distraction from beginning to end. Then realize that the inspiration that just injected itself into your veins like a thunderbolt, will mean nothing to most even if it was sung by a fish eating an orange.

With your mercury mouth in the missionary times,
And your eyes like smoke and your prayers like rhymes,
And your silver cross, and your voice like chimes,
Oh, who do they think could bury you?
With your pockets well protected at last,
And your streetcar visions which you place on the grass,
And your flesh like silk, and your face like glass,
Who could they get to carry you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophets say that no man’s come,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

With your sheets like metal and your belt like lace,
And your deck of cards missing the jack and the ace,
And your basement clothes and your hollow face,
Who among them can think he could outguess you?
With your silhouette when the sunlight dims
Into your eyes where the moonlight swims,
And your match-book songs and your gypsy hymns,
Who among them would try to impress you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophets say that no man’s come,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

The kings of Tyrus with their convict list
Are waiting in line for their geranium kiss,
And you wouldn’t know it would happen like this,
But who among them really wants just to kiss you?
With your childhood flames on your midnight rug,
And your Spanish manners and your mother’s drugs,
And your cowboy mouth and your curfew plugs,
Who among them do you think could resist you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophets say that no man’s come,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait??

Oh, the farmers and the businessmen, they all did decide
To show you where the dead angels are that they used to hide.
But why did they pick you to sympathize with their side?
Oh, how could they ever mistake you?
They wished you’d accepted the blame for the farm,
But with the sea at your feet and the phony false alarm,
And with the child of a hoodlum wrapped up in your arms,
How could they ever, ever have persuaded you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophets say that no man’s come,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

With your sheet-metal memory of Cannery Row,
And your magazine-husband who one day just had to go,
And your gentleness now, which you just can’t help but show,
Who among them do you think would employ you?
Now you stand with your thief, you’re on his parole
With your holy medallion which your fingertips fold,
And your saintlike face and your ghostlike soul,
Oh, who among them do you think could destroy you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophets say that no man’s come,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Dylan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sad_Eyed_Lady_of_the_Lowlands

Tags:

One Response to “11/1/17 – Bob Dylan – Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands – 1966”

  1. KLeigh January 14, 2017 at 9:31 am #

    Most people I know are amazed at my lyrical memory actually my memory in general. I always say it is a blessing and a curse. But this isn’t about me…it’s about Dylan and the fact that he also has a Mercury mind.

    Have to say I have never heard the song. Let’s face it the man is a living prophet, legend and genius. I hope everyone who has the opportunity to meet him in the flesh realizes this and gives him great respect.

    What are we all waiting for? You tell me…..

Leave a Reply