That was an inspired song that came to me. I felt like I was just putting down words that were coming from somewhere else, and I just stuck it out.
~Bob Dylan (“Biograph” notes)
“That’s an excellent song, very painless song to write,… It took like 12 seconds – or that’s how it felt.”
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – Feb 1992)
…But “Every Grain of Sand” is something special: the “Chimes of Freedom” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” of Bob Dylan’s Christian period. A pearl among swine, it has surety and strength all down the line. Also vulnerability.
~Paul Nelson (from his famous “Rolling Stone Magazine” review of “Shot Of Love” – Oct. 1981)
On 11th place on my top 200 list comes this diamond. A masterpiece with lyrics so beautiful you almost loose the music listening to it… the music is also fantastic and it contains two of Dylan’s best harmonica solos’s.
It was recorded early May 1981 @ Clover Recorders, Los Angeles, California.
The love in ‘Every Grain Of Sand’ , though firmly rooted in Dylan’s conversion experience and his Bible studies, immediately and obviously reaches beyond it’s context to communicate a deeply felt devotional spirit based on universal experiences: pain of self-awareness, and sense of wonder or awe of the beauty of the natural world. ~Paul Williams (BD Performing Artist 1974-86)
As Paul Williams points out.. you don’t have to be a religious person to find beauty & comfort here:
I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there’s someone there, other times it’s only me
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand
Here is a GREAT video… matching pictcures to the lyrics in a brilliant way:
The key to the performance is its motion: it moves like the sea, forth and back and forth and back, filled with the quality of restfulness but never resting.
~Paul Williams (BD Performing Artist 1974-86)
Freewheelin’ in it’s released form is essentially a “best of” from one of the most creative years in Dylan’s life. The lag between sessions resulted in an album whose sound metamorphosed at least twice.
~Clinton Heylin (BD – The Recording Sessions)
Dylan nailed 5 master versions for “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” @ this important recording session.
A little background info:
The 7th recording session took place on December 6th (1962).. and before this last recording session Dylan was a trip over to London… and he had (off course) written new material…
Dylan’s keenness to record his new material for Freewheelin’ paralleled a dramatic power struggle in the studio: Albert Grossman’s determination to have John Hammond replaced as Dylan’s producer at CBS. According to Dylan biographer Howard Sounes, “The two men could not have been more different. Hammond was a WASP, so relaxed during recording sessions that he sat with feet up, reading The New Yorker. Grossman was a Jewish businessman with a shady past, hustling to become a millionaire.” Because of Grossman’s hostility to Hammond, Columbia paired Dylan with a young, African-American jazz producer, Tom Wilson. Wilson recalled: “I didn’t even particularly like folk music. I’d been recording Sun Ra and Coltrane … I thought folk music was for the dumb guys. [Dylan] played like the dumb guys, but then these words came out. I was flabbergasted.” At a recording session on April 24, produced by Wilson, Dylan recorded five new compositions: “Girl from the North Country”, “Masters of War”, “Talkin’ World War III Blues”, “Bob Dylan’s Dream”, and “Walls of Red Wing”. “Walls of Red Wing” was ultimately rejected, but the other four were included in a revised album sequence. Wikipedia
You know, It Ain’t Me Babe was on the radio the other day and it never really occurred to me how different it was as a hit to how it was in my repertoire.
~Bob Dylan (to Adrian Deevoy, Oct 1989)
Save for a faux-reggae arrangement ten years on—one of the absolute highlights of the Renaldo and Clara film—the song has usually relied on the sparsest of acoustic accompaniments in live performance, often serving as a set closer, which tempts one to suggest it addresses the audience—specifically that element that wants the man to stay the same. That ain’t him.
~Clinton Heylin (Revolution in the air)
@ #46 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs. Recorded on June 9th, 1964 @ Columbia Studios – NYC. This was the one & only recording session for “Another Side of Bob Dylan”
“It Ain’t Me Babe” is a song by Bob Dylan that originally appeared on his fourth album Another Side of Bob Dylan, which was released in 1964 by Columbia Records. The song, along with others on the album, marked a departure for Dylan as he began to explore the possibilities of language and deeper levels of the human experience. Within a year of its release, the song was picked up as a single by artists who were forging the folk rock movement, including The Turtles and The Byrds. Wikipedia
Go ’way from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need
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1. Visions Of Johanna
2. Like A Rolling Stone
3. Tangled Up in Blue
4. Ballad Of A Thin Man
5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
6. Blind Willie McTell (electric version)
7. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
8. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
9. Desolation Row
10. Idiot Wind (New York version)