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Bob Dylan’s best songs: Abandoned Love #98

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Bob Dylan & Sara Dylan

‘Abandoned Love’ marks the very point at which Dylan decided to (temporarily) abandon love, and particularly forsaken love, as the prime subject-matter for his songs.
~Clinton Heylin (Still On The Road)

A lovely song recorded for (but left out of) Desire in NYC, July 31, 1975. It was later released on Biograph in 1985.

The only live version of the song is even better, and it would definitely been higher on my list (it is the studio version that is @ #98).

Studio version:

Studio E
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
31 July 1975
5th Desire session, produced by Don DeVito.

Musicians:

  • Bob Dylan (guitar, vocal)
  • Scarlet Rivera (violin)
  • Sheena Seidenberg (tambourine & congas)
  • Rob Rothstein (bass)
  • Howie Wyeth (drums)
  1. Golden Loom
  2. Abandoned Love

    -
    not able to find it on youtube.. sorry…
  3. Abandoned Love
  4. Town (Reference)
  5. Town (Reference)
  6. Sara
  7. Sara
  8. Sara
  9. Sara
  10. Sara
  11. Sara
  12. Isis (Bob Dylan–Jacques Levy/Bob Dylan)
  13. Isis (Bob Dylan–Jacques Levy/Bob Dylan)

Bob Dylan Desire

Bob-Dylan-Biograph

Now for the lovely live version…

bob dylan ramblin jack elliott

… After a couple of lines, we realized he was performing a new song, with each line getting even better than the last. The song was “Abandoned Love,” and it still is the most powerful performance I’ve ever heard.Ramblin’ Jack started strumming along in the beginning, but he soon realized the rarity of the moment and stopped and stepped to the side. As Bob sang, the nervousness so evident earlier vanished completely. He was so moving. There he was, hitting us with new material, with everyone hanging on his every word. It was an incredible feeling to be in that small club listening to Bob Dylan perform a new song. We all felt we were watching history in the making. After he finished, he returned to his seat near the back of the club and quietly watched the rest of the show. Jack appeared so speechless and overwhelmed by Dylan’s performance that he started his next song with Bob’s buzzing guitar.
~Joe Kivak (from: Encounters with Bob Dylan)

 The performance is one of the finest documented stolen moments Dylan ever spent on stage … after a few gentle strums he launched straight into a narrative no less haunting and lovelorn than the songs on his most recent album [Blood On The Tracks] …
~Clinton Heylin (Still On The Road)

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
~Bob Dylan (Abandoned Love)

Other End
New York City, New York
3 July 1975

setlist:

  1. Pretty Boy Floyd (Woody Guthrie)
  2. How Long (Leroy Carr)
  3. Abandoned Love

Musicians:

  • 1 & 2 – Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (vocal & guitar), Bob Dylan (backup vocal & guitar)
  • 3 - Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)

Lyrics:

Live version:

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 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 telling me I love ya still.

I come back to the town from the flaming moon
I see you in the street, I begin to swoon.
I love to see you dress before the mirror
Won’t you let me in your room one time before I 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 can’t play the game no more, I can’t abide
by their stupid rules which kept me sick inside
They’ve been made by men who’ve given up the search
Whose gods are dead and whose queens are in the church.

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 before I cut you loose?

Send out for Saint John the Evangelist
All my friends are drunk, they can be dismissed.
My head says that it’s time to make a change
But my heart is telling me I love ya but you’re strange.

So step lightly, darling, near the wall
Put on your heavy make-up, wear 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.

Studio version:

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

 A couple of great cover versions:

The Everly Brothers:

George Harrison:

Paul Rodgers & Nils Lofgren:

 

Check out:

-Egil

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12 Comments

  1. Pingback: Bob Dylan – Top 200 songs accoding to Egil | Johanna's Visions

  2. everly brothers

  3. I can tell you that grooveshark works just fine on my iPad!!

  4. html5.grooveshark.com will get you there!

  5. Great stuff, as always. This is my favorite website. Thank you for the work.

  6. I get goosebumps every time I hear that live version.

  7. i love the original studio version shame it was left off Desire
    it would have made a great album even greater

  8. Pingback: Bob Dylan – 5th recording session for Desire – 31 July 1975 | Johanna's Visions

  9. I was there that night at the Bitter End. Never had an inkling it would become so canonized. Mostly I remember Dylan getting up and putting on his leather jacket before entering the stage – and it was a hot smarmy NYC July night. That, and I remembered for so many years the ‘Send out for St. John the Evangelist’ which was, well how could you not remember it? It was odd waiting about 10 years to finally hear it , on Biograph, and a bit disappointing .

  10. Pingback: Bob Dylan’s best songs: Abandoned Love #98

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