Expecting Rain

Go to main page
It is currently Sat November 25th, 2017, 03:58 GMT

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 52 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon March 18th, 2013, 21:25 GMT 
Promethium Member
User avatar

Joined: Sat October 27th, 2007, 12:44 GMT
Posts: 16761
Location: Workin' as a postal clerk
faerie queen wrote:
I really love "Spirit on the Water" - beautiful music, so many evocative & wonderful lines in the lyrics. I love the way he sings, "we can have a whompin' good time" on the studio version.

I recently read a book by Seth Rogovoy called Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet that explores the Jewish dimensions of his artistry. Rogovoy makes a compelling argument (for me at least) that the song can be interpreted as being sung by Cain, after killing Abel.

Rogovoy says there are non-canonical Hebrew texts that relate the story of Cain & Abel as being about jealousy over the one brother's WIFE, not his OFFERING. The non-canonical version says that God created twin wives for Adam & Eve's sons (answering the age-old question, "who did Adam & Eve's sons MARRY?") and Cain was jealous that Abel had a better-looking twin-wife. So he killed him.

Hence the reference to the opening lines from Genesis as well as the line "I can't go to Paradise no more, I killed a man back there."

A lot of Rogovoy's interpretation I found to be pained & reaching...but this one made sense to me & added extra dimensions of meaning to the song for me.



You just blew my mind right off the top of my head. That's fantastic.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue March 19th, 2013, 18:57 GMT 
User avatar

Joined: Tue January 29th, 2013, 15:16 GMT
Posts: 679
Location: got a house in baltimore
ha. well, i can't take credit for it, seth rogovoy came up with the interpretation. but it really made so much sense to me, after reading it & then listening to the song with that in mind.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu March 28th, 2013, 21:43 GMT 
Titanium Member
User avatar

Joined: Sat January 1st, 2011, 20:57 GMT
Posts: 6726
Location: Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
The line:

"I'm going away, baby
I won't be back till fall"


Spirit on the Water

The line:

"I'm going away baby
and I won't be back till fall."


See See Rider (C.C. Rider)

The latter was done by many people, but my favorite is Lavern Baker's version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OowPn2L1aoE

The vinyl compilation I have of her also contains a song entitled Jim Dandy and Tweedlee Dee.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu March 28th, 2013, 22:22 GMT 

Joined: Mon October 8th, 2007, 03:13 GMT
Posts: 408
Location: New York New York
I love the song too, and it's right to read it interwoven with lines from Genesis, but that Cain-and-Abel interpretation is too narrow and inflexible. It rests completely on one line from the song and omits a wealth of images and phrases that can't possibly be about Cain or Abel.

A lot of the song is about God's relationship to the world, sometimes an ambivalent one. For instance "You do good all day/ And then you do wrong all night," which calls to mind God's declaration, after each day of creation, "that it was good." As if God is saying to the created world, "During the day when I'm making you all is well. Then I remove myself and you lapse into wrongdoing."

The Genesis references start with the first two lines of course, "Spirit on the water/Darkness on the face of the deep," which are straight from Genesis 1.2. That follow-up line "I can't hardly sleep" is a theological joke about God's resting on the seventh day; as if now He's saying "Even when I rested from creating the universe, I still had the world on my mind."

In any case, how do you find either Cain or Abel in those lines? Likewise in lines like "You're always on my mind/I can't stay away."

The song portrays God as not only loving the world, but also in constant threat of disappearing from it. . "I'm as pale as a ghost": we all remember how shocked Dylan was to read "God is dead" in the newspaper. "Think I'm past my prime?" -- a reply to people who think religion belongs in the past.

Certainly you don't have all the lines in the song building the same allegory. It would be too flatfooted if they did, and Dylan tends to keep his allegories multi-edged. But some immortal being does seem to be talking in the lines "I could live forever/With you perfectly," especially if those are a promise to the world. (And "Ever since the worlld began.")

My favorite lines, in connection with my reading -- and they are lines that don't work with the Cain-and-Able reading -- are the ones that say

I'm going 'way baby
I won't be back till fall

which I interpret as "The Fall," meaning Adam and Eve. God sets the world up and bids it goodbye, though he'll be back as soon as humans fall and need him again.

And then there's the clincher: "This love could tear me in two." Do you see Cain talking about his love for Abel, which made him two people? Doesn't work at all. But if it's about God's love for the world, the line is a nod toward the Incarnation. This love could tear me in two, so that I send my son down into the world.

This makes a lot more sense to me than a story about Cain and Abel.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun March 31st, 2013, 04:25 GMT 
User avatar

Joined: Tue January 29th, 2013, 15:16 GMT
Posts: 679
Location: got a house in baltimore
I didn't mean to say that the song is an allegory about Cain & Abel or JUST about Cain & Abel. I just brought up an interpretation I'd read that opened up the song in directions for me that I'd not experienced or thought about before. No need for it to be narrow. For me it's not narrow, it's not JUST about Cain and Abel. I think the whole Genesis story is in there, the Fall, and also everything since then ... where we are now as humanity...and where two lovers are personally in a long-time relationship.

I really love your interpretation of it, Fleet Foot. Especially like this:

Quote:
A lot of the song is about God's relationship to the world, sometimes an ambivalent one. For instance "You do good all day/ And then you do wrong all night," which calls to mind God's declaration, after each day of creation, "that it was good." As if God is saying to the created world, "During the day when I'm making you all is well. Then I remove myself and you lapse into wrongdoing."


Love that.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun March 31st, 2013, 06:55 GMT 

Joined: Mon April 6th, 2009, 20:28 GMT
Posts: 1017
Location: I was there for a party once
I find this song infectious--and particularly interesting in the light of the above exchanges re. God and his relationship to Earth etc.

However, after reading them, I wonder if you agree: these few verses toward the end of the song could be about Christ OR Lucifer--Lucifer lost a "brawl" in heaven, and can't return, as it were, because he led to the death of both Christ and Adam:

I been in a brawl
Now I'm feeling the wall
I'm going away baby
I won't be back ‘til fall

Is the "fall" the second coming? is this Christ or Satan? Or both?

High on the hill
You can carry all my thoughts with you
You've numbed my will
This love could tear me in two

Sounds like Cavalry, but this part loses me


I wanna be with you in paradise
And it seems so unfair
I can't go to paradise no more
I killed a man back there

Lucifer again? Echoes a similar kind of petulance as in Milton's Paradise Lost (which I believe has some influence on Tempest


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun March 31st, 2013, 15:30 GMT 

Joined: Mon October 8th, 2007, 03:13 GMT
Posts: 408
Location: New York New York
What a cool bunch of exchanges about this song. Faerie queen, you started us off. Thanks for the nice words about my posting; and I think you're right that part of the song can be about Cain and Abel even if the rest isn't. Dylan sometimes talks about how you have to "turn a song around" when you're writing it, which I interpret to mean: if it's just about the subject you start out with, it's not going to have any life in it. It has to be able to spin and be about something else.

And Foggy, what you say really gets my mind going. It sounds like a Gnostic interpretation of the song, where Christ sneaks down past God to the earth and he's even seen as Lucifer. I like the part about the "brawl" as his losing the fight in heaven and being sentenced to earth.

I love the fact that this is a catchy song, sounds like an old swing tune, and meanwhile the movement of love in the song has all these theological reverberations. One of the meanings of the last verse, for me, is that Dylan wrote this song and thought "Man, I can still write at the top of my game. Maybe I'm not past my prime." No wonder that line gets everybody in the concert audiences screaming "No!"


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun March 31st, 2013, 20:17 GMT 
User avatar

Joined: Tue January 29th, 2013, 15:16 GMT
Posts: 679
Location: got a house in baltimore
^ Ha, very good point! 8)

I love this board for discussions like this. Foggy, I like your interpretation about the fall/Fall & Lucifer having been in a brawl. Like the song "Man in the Long Black Coat", for me you can sometimes think of the lines being about Christ, sometimes about a man, sometimes about the Devil. So fascinating. Endlessly fascinating. One of the many reasons I love Bob's work so much. You never get to the bottom of it.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat April 27th, 2013, 13:20 GMT 
Promethium Member
User avatar

Joined: Thu January 24th, 2008, 15:14 GMT
Posts: 17876
Location: Where the swift don't win the race
The current shows have a playful, bouncy jaunt to them. Its a beautiful song, one that I really like a lot on the album but until now had now lived up to its potential live (for me anyway). I'm quite happy to see (hear) the song redeemed by the arrangement and performances of this 2013 tour. It serves as further evidence that the Never Ending Tour bears witness to the very best of what Bob Dylan has to offer.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat April 27th, 2013, 20:08 GMT 
Senior Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Fri July 8th, 2005, 09:04 GMT
Posts: 10308
Untrodden Path wrote:
Its a beautiful song, one that I really like a lot on the album but until now had now lived up to its potential live (for me anyway). I'm quite happy to see (hear) the song redeemed by the arrangement and performances of this 2013 tour.


I agree. For some reason I've always loved the song and I'm thrilled on the occasions I've been present when he's played it live, but I don't think it's ever quite reached its potential when I've been there. This new arrangement sounds wonderful though.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat April 27th, 2013, 21:40 GMT 

Joined: Sat August 16th, 2008, 21:48 GMT
Posts: 2871
Location: Connecticut
My favorite is Bethel Woods 07.. Just like the timing phrasing emphasis on certain words etc..... MEZ


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun April 28th, 2013, 18:02 GMT 
Titanium Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri January 21st, 2011, 19:55 GMT
Posts: 7307
Location: missin' The Mirror Girl
This is always one of my all-time favourites :) Tony must like it as well to keep it in
the sets for so long :)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun April 13th, 2014, 18:31 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 11th, 2007, 04:15 GMT
Posts: 1491
Location: City of Angels
I'll be the first to admit it:
I don't think this one works anymore...Don't get me wrong, I love the song...maybe in my top three
from Modern Times..
Perhaps it's the placement in the set, that second set doesn't really rock as much as it grooves, but this one just
lacks the pizazz it once had.
I could be wrong, but let me give some GREAT versions from yesteryear...

One of Bob's most under-rated years from the last decade is 2008. IMO, all the Modern Times songs really
came into their own in that year and Bob started to really dig into them...
Here's a jaunty one from his short Russian(!) tour from that year. Listen to how animated he is here &
Bob's beautiful harmonica alone in this version knocks my socks off
and places it far above any from last year:

St. Petersburg Russia
June 3 2008
http://www.sendspace.com/file/xthx02

Mez wrote:
My favorite is Bethel Woods 07.. Just like the timing phrasing emphasis on certain words etc..... MEZ

That one is particularly good Mez!! Here's one from the very next night and it's a corker as well:)
I miss his crazy pipe organ!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4RdfQ9n ... aa3_TaUQNw


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun April 13th, 2014, 18:39 GMT 

Joined: Sun November 27th, 2005, 01:09 GMT
Posts: 399
jones beach was the night before .. i remember them well,i was at both shows with my sister,great holiday.. :mrgreen:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun April 13th, 2014, 18:46 GMT 

Joined: Tue October 22nd, 2013, 10:03 GMT
Posts: 766
The only thing I particularly wince at it this track, which I like despite it coming slapbang between stronger songs, is the insane "We could have a whopping good time" part. I've said it before, and I've not changed my mind. It's tied for lyrical clunker of the album along with the opening lines of Workingman's Blues. I do like Spirit's langurous, woozy charm, though. I'd imagine it's a good song to listen to when you've had a few glasses of vintage malt.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun April 13th, 2014, 18:46 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 11th, 2007, 04:15 GMT
Posts: 1491
Location: City of Angels
Brian_Eire wrote:
jones beach was the night before .. i remember them well,i was at both shows with my sister,great holiday.. :mrgreen:

Aah yes it was!! Thanks for the correction...
Yeah, they are both great shows!! Lucky you caught em both:)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun April 13th, 2014, 23:13 GMT 
Promethium Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri July 15th, 2011, 02:23 GMT
Posts: 21229
I've really tried to be open minded and accepting of this one.
Alas, it's right down there with Floater in the snooze section.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun April 13th, 2014, 23:33 GMT 

Joined: Mon June 5th, 2006, 18:41 GMT
Posts: 1972
It exists. I'm never going to actively seek it out, but at the same time,I'm probably not going to skip it when I'm listening to the album. Middling latter day Dylan. Has a few nice lines, a lovely musical backing and next to no focus.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon April 14th, 2014, 07:41 GMT 

Joined: Tue October 22nd, 2013, 10:03 GMT
Posts: 766
It is indeed the weakest track on the album. I do enjoy it, though, but I'd never Youtube it to hear alternate versions the way I might with stronger songs.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon April 14th, 2014, 07:55 GMT 
User avatar

Joined: Tue June 3rd, 2008, 11:01 GMT
Posts: 4165
This was once one of my favourite ModBob tracks, but I've heard it so often, he keeps on playing it live, it got a little too much. I'm not gonna listen to it 'til the summer tour.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun March 15th, 2015, 05:46 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 11th, 2007, 04:15 GMT
Posts: 1491
Location: City of Angels
Untrodden Path wrote:
The current shows have a playful, bouncy jaunt to them. Its a beautiful song, one that I really like a lot on the album but until now had now lived up to its potential live (for me anyway). I'm quite happy to see (hear) the song redeemed by the arrangement and performances of this 2013 tour. It serves as further evidence that the Never Ending Tour bears witness to the very best of what Bob Dylan has to offer.


Surprisingly, this sentiment holds true through 2014...
In fact, I'd say that the song has benefited greatly from being couched in like-minded music,
Bob's stronger more nuanced vocals, and that very cool piano playing...
It's a great song and one that I really look forward to hearing again live:)

Here's some personal faves from the past year:
One from the top of the year, this one is very special...

Tokyo Japan
April 3 2014
http://www.mediafire.com/listen/55ue5af ... _April.mp3

And here's a very cool version from Seattle in October:
https://youtu.be/lnsUpHQx21I


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu October 6th, 2016, 20:55 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 11th, 2007, 04:15 GMT
Posts: 1491
Location: City of Angels
A really cool version that I somehow came upon last night was this
one from midway through 2010. Bob sounds great in 2010 and the
organ is still there, but he changed the sound this year to more of a
pipe organ sound which I loved at the time...and here too:)
Listen especially to Tony who is killing it on this song!!
I also really miss Bob pulling out the harp solo for this number...

Parma Italy
June 18 2010
http://www.mediafire.com/file/mqrz65cyw ... _Water.mp3


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu October 6th, 2016, 21:01 GMT 
Titanium Member
User avatar

Joined: Wed December 4th, 2013, 06:39 GMT
Posts: 5796
Location: in the mystic garden
I think this song gets a bad rap from being the low point of the Set for so long.
When I go back and listen to Modern Times I always end up liking this one a lot more than I remember


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu October 6th, 2016, 21:06 GMT 

Joined: Fri January 5th, 2007, 23:38 GMT
Posts: 1900
Location: Ireland
Fleet Foot wrote:
I love the song too, and it's right to read it interwoven with lines from Genesis, but that Cain-and-Abel interpretation is too narrow and inflexible. It rests completely on one line from the song and omits a wealth of images and phrases that can't possibly be about Cain or Abel.

A lot of the song is about God's relationship to the world, sometimes an ambivalent one. For instance "You do good all day/ And then you do wrong all night," which calls to mind God's declaration, after each day of creation, "that it was good." As if God is saying to the created world, "During the day when I'm making you all is well. Then I remove myself and you lapse into wrongdoing."

The Genesis references start with the first two lines of course, "Spirit on the water/Darkness on the face of the deep," which are straight from Genesis 1.2. That follow-up line "I can't hardly sleep" is a theological joke about God's resting on the seventh day; as if now He's saying "Even when I rested from creating the universe, I still had the world on my mind."

In any case, how do you find either Cain or Abel in those lines? Likewise in lines like "You're always on my mind/I can't stay away."

The song portrays God as not only loving the world, but also in constant threat of disappearing from it. . "I'm as pale as a ghost": we all remember how shocked Dylan was to read "God is dead" in the newspaper. "Think I'm past my prime?" -- a reply to people who think religion belongs in the past.

Certainly you don't have all the lines in the song building the same allegory. It would be too flatfooted if they did, and Dylan tends to keep his allegories multi-edged. But some immortal being does seem to be talking in the lines "I could live forever/With you perfectly," especially if those are a promise to the world. (And "Ever since the worlld began.")

My favorite lines, in connection with my reading -- and they are lines that don't work with the Cain-and-Able reading -- are the ones that say

I'm going 'way baby
I won't be back till fall

which I interpret as "The Fall," meaning Adam and Eve. God sets the world up and bids it goodbye, though he'll be back as soon as humans fall and need him again.

And then there's the clincher: "This love could tear me in two." Do you see Cain talking about his love for Abel, which made him two people? Doesn't work at all. But if it's about God's love for the world, the line is a nod toward the Incarnation. This love could tear me in two, so that I send my son down into the world.

This makes a lot more sense to me than a story about Cain and Abel.


Just read this. Definitive. Very fleet of foot.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu October 6th, 2016, 22:00 GMT 

Joined: Mon June 27th, 2016, 21:50 GMT
Posts: 750
(this is a good thread)

spirit on the water
darkness on the face of the deep
i keep thinking about you, baby
i can't hardly sleep


i also like to hear it just plain,
someone on someone's mind,
so much it's too much to sleep,
being up early in the morning,
fog on the water,
the sun's not up high enough to burn it off yet,
and darkness underneath, etc
it's good just as a love song


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 52 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Dan33185, MyopicTopic


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group