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 Post subject: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 13:21 GMT 
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This is a beautiful song, possibly my favourite of the Bootleg 1-3 compilation.
I was listening to it this morning and I was blown away by how delicate yet powerful it is, despite a sloppy production.
I was also wondering what the song is about. My first and obvious thought is that it's about a woman, but being it written in 1983 it doesn't seem quite likely. By that time he had been divorced for 5 years from Sara and still wasn't married to Carolyn Dennis. So it's either some sorto of strange ode to Carolyn Dennis (even though it's somehow too "angry" to be about someone he was going to marry 3 years later) or it's about something else entirely.
Another interpretation that comes up to my mind is that the song is partly a lament for Sara's lost love and partly Dylan's first voicing of some sort of spiritual doubt that surfaced his mind after three full years of bible-thumping.
Any clues?


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 13:50 GMT 

Joined: Sun November 25th, 2007, 12:07 GMT
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Matt Blacks wrote:
This is a beautiful song, possibly my favourite of the Bootleg 1-3 compilation.
I was listening to it this morning and I was blown away by how delicate yet powerful it is, despite a sloppy production.
I was also wondering what the song is about. My first and obvious thought is that it's about a woman, but being it written in 1983 it doesn't seem quite likely. By that time he had been divorced for 5 years from Sara and still wasn't married to Carolyn Dennis. So it's either some sorto of strange ode to Carolyn Dennis (even though it's somehow too "angry" to be about someone he was going to marry 3 years later) or it's about something else entirely.
Another interpretation that comes up to my mind is that the song is partly a lament for Sara's lost love and partly Dylan's first voicing of some sort of spiritual doubt that surfaced his mind after three full years of bible-thumping.
Any clues?


He had a lot of girlfriends in between the two marriages


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 14:00 GMT 
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andrea75 wrote:
Matt Blacks wrote:
This is a beautiful song, possibly my favourite of the Bootleg 1-3 compilation.
I was listening to it this morning and I was blown away by how delicate yet powerful it is, despite a sloppy production.
I was also wondering what the song is about. My first and obvious thought is that it's about a woman, but being it written in 1983 it doesn't seem quite likely. By that time he had been divorced for 5 years from Sara and still wasn't married to Carolyn Dennis. So it's either some sorto of strange ode to Carolyn Dennis (even though it's somehow too "angry" to be about someone he was going to marry 3 years later) or it's about something else entirely.
Another interpretation that comes up to my mind is that the song is partly a lament for Sara's lost love and partly Dylan's first voicing of some sort of spiritual doubt that surfaced his mind after three full years of bible-thumping.
Any clues?


He had a lot of girlfriends in between the two marriages


Yeah, sure that's true. It could be about some girlfriend he had at the time. Honestly though, I consider this to be one of his more accomplished "love" songs (in a broad sense), up there with Sad Eyed Lady, and I think somehow the subject of this song, if there is indeed such a thing, is more profound than just a complaint for some random affair he might have had...


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 14:49 GMT 
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It might be complete fiction. I mean, it's certainly at least partly fiction?


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 18:56 GMT 
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On the subject of whether it could be about a woman, it certainly could be. You can detect a pattern emerging after the evangelistic fervor had worn off - songs like Heart of Mine, Need a Woman, and of course Angelina, all seem to be about Bob's conflict with his desire for carnal pleasure. It would seem to be a battle he would not win, culminating in the Infidels lyric: "Been so long since a strange woman has slept in my bed".


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 19:09 GMT 
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For me, it also seems to be written to depict a battle between the fleshly desires and the spirit . The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. It is an intense and beautiful song. Top of the pile. And the singing......

It can probably be interpreted a multitude of ways. It has layers. Like and onion. Or a parfait.


Last edited by raging_glory on Thu November 8th, 2012, 19:13 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 19:13 GMT 
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Matt Blacks wrote:
This is a beautiful song, possibly my favourite of the Bootleg 1-3 compilation.
I was listening to it this morning and I was blown away by how delicate yet powerful it is, despite a sloppy production.
I was also wondering what the song is about. My first and obvious thought is that it's about a woman, but being it written in 1983 it doesn't seem quite likely. By that time he had been divorced for 5 years from Sara and still wasn't married to Carolyn Dennis. So it's either some sorto of strange ode to Carolyn Dennis (even though it's somehow too "angry" to be about someone he was going to marry 3 years later) or it's about something else entirely.
Another interpretation that comes up to my mind is that the song is partly a lament for Sara's lost love and partly Dylan's first voicing of some sort of spiritual doubt that surfaced his mind after three full years of bible-thumping.
Any clues?


It's actually from 1981, not '83, and it's of a piece with two other songs written at that time : Caribbean Wind - Would I have married her? I don't know. I suppose - and The Groom's Still Waiting At The Altar. Marriage certainly seems to have been on Dylan's mind at the time.
It's just struck me that the opening lines -
Well it's always been my nature to take chances
My right hand drawing back while my left hand advances
-
are a rather neat way of describing a wedding ceremony, as you proffer your left hand for the ring, and take a chance. I doubt that that was in Dylan's mind at the time, but it's a faint possibility.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 19:15 GMT 
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^^My personal interpretation of that line, is that it's autobiographical and more like he is a visionary, but always grounded in the past.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 19:21 GMT 
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raging_glory wrote:
^^My personal interpretation of that line is more like he is a visionary, but always grounded in the past.


Yeah, I think he's talking about his darker, visionary, creative, exploratory, wild side when he says left hand as well. And the song is his left hand advancing.
What a magnificent and strange song it is.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 19:21 GMT 
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A favourite.

I think it's sung by someone finding his way from an imagined world of the saved back to a real world of human struggles (on so many levels) and trying to accept it.

To me, Michael Gray's interpretation was very useful.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 19:23 GMT 
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Trev wrote:
It's just struck me that the opening lines -
Well it's always been my nature to take chances
My right hand drawing back while my left hand advances
-
are a rather neat way of describing a wedding ceremony, as you proffer your left hand for the ring, and take a chance. I doubt that that was in Dylan's mind at the time, but it's a faint possibility.


Nice one - from the heart


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 20:36 GMT 

Joined: Sat August 5th, 2006, 02:51 GMT
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Trev wrote:
Matt Blacks wrote:
This is a beautiful song, possibly my favourite of the Bootleg 1-3 compilation.
I was listening to it this morning and I was blown away by how delicate yet powerful it is, despite a sloppy production.
I was also wondering what the song is about. My first and obvious thought is that it's about a woman, but being it written in 1983 it doesn't seem quite likely. By that time he had been divorced for 5 years from Sara and still wasn't married to Carolyn Dennis. So it's either some sorto of strange ode to Carolyn Dennis (even though it's somehow too "angry" to be about someone he was going to marry 3 years later) or it's about something else entirely.
Another interpretation that comes up to my mind is that the song is partly a lament for Sara's lost love and partly Dylan's first voicing of some sort of spiritual doubt that surfaced his mind after three full years of bible-thumping.
Any clues?


It's actually from 1981, not '83, and it's of a piece with two other songs written at that time : Caribbean Wind - Would I have married her? I don't know. I suppose - and The Groom's Still Waiting At The Altar. Marriage certainly seems to have been on Dylan's mind at the time.


Yeah, one of those Dylan books writes some interesting things about the thematic/personal overlap between Angelina, Claudette, and the woman "from Haiti, fair brown and intense."


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Thu November 8th, 2012, 20:55 GMT 
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What a song. Also one of my favourites from that collection.

For me, the song is a sequel of sorts to "Farewell, Angelina." He's back, but he's changed, so although she recognizes him, he doesn't know why.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Fri November 9th, 2012, 00:08 GMT 
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I love it, one of the greats, it's strange and visionary, and I freakin love the way he sings it.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Sun November 11th, 2012, 13:47 GMT 
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Good use of rhyming with Argentina.


I think there's another Track Talk thread around on this too.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Sun November 11th, 2012, 15:46 GMT 

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The 'subpoena' and 'hyena' rhymes initially put me off. But I came around after a few listens, and have eventually grown to think of this composition, if not this recording, as one of Dylan's very finest, despite a certain tendency to dismiss it in some quarters (e.g., that prig Michael Gray deeming it a 'compelling failure' because it doesn't make coherent narrative sense - unlike, say, 'Mobile,' I suppose :roll: ). Look, it's a visionary and moving piece, deploying Biblical imagery with haunting force. I do not believe it to be about a relationship per se - it's clearly after something more metaphysical; but to me this is a song to be savoured for the world it opens up rather than parsed and deconstructed for its literal sense. A major song. And I didn't know the wonderful Macy Gray had recorded a version! - thanks for that.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Sun November 11th, 2012, 15:57 GMT 
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Matt Blacks wrote:
I was also wondering what the song is about.
Angelina is about an automobile the narrator used to race.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Sun November 11th, 2012, 19:59 GMT 
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Trev wrote:
It's actually from 1981, not '83, and it's of a piece with two other songs written at that time : Caribbean Wind - Would I have married her? I don't know. I suppose - and The Groom's Still Waiting At The Altar. Marriage certainly seems to have been on Dylan's mind at the time.
It's just struck me that the opening lines -
Well it's always been my nature to take chances
My right hand drawing back while my left hand advances
-
are a rather neat way of describing a wedding ceremony, as you proffer your left hand for the ring, and take a chance. I doubt that that was in Dylan's mind at the time, but it's a faint possibility.


I am finally making my way through Stephen Scobie's quite excellent, Alias (revisited), and he mentions that these three songs are indeed of a piece--versions of the same idea. I like your 'marriage on his mind' angle. A sampling of Scobie's thoughts:

All three songs are set in an atmosphere of violence, which mixes contemporary political references--especially to Central and South America--with the language of apocalypse...all three songs openly court the erotic. Each centers on a particular woman, though the shifting of names and pronouns keeps her identity indeterminate. The violence of the song's political landscape extends into their view of sexual relations. The songs are full of messengers, both good and evil. In Caribbean Wind, "every new messenger brings evil report" while the singer in The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar "got the message this morning, the one that was sent to me." The noun angel, etymologically means "messenger," so this motif links "Precious Angel" to the longing expressed in the name's repetition in the chorus: "Angelina--Oh, Angelina."


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Sun November 11th, 2012, 21:04 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
It might be complete fiction. I mean, it's certainly at least partly fiction?

Posts such as this absolutely infuriate me. :twisted: Everything Dylan pours into a song is true as the gospel... heart and soul.

Dylan DOESN'T write fiction! Never has... never will!

So knock off the character assassination or you'll find yourself cyber-stalked by Dylan's cyber-sleuth detectives who'll watch your every keystroke. And I, for one, can tell you... THAT'S uncomfortable.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Mon November 12th, 2012, 00:19 GMT 
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Untrodden Path wrote:
Johanna Parker wrote:
It might be complete fiction. I mean, it's certainly at least partly fiction?

Posts such as this absolutely infuriate me. :twisted: Everything Dylan pours into a song is true as the gospel... heart and soul.

Dylan DOESN'T write fiction! Never has... never will!

So knock off the character assassination or you'll find yourself cyber-stalked by Dylan's cyber-sleuth detectives who'll watch your every keystroke. And I, for one, can tell you... THAT'S uncomfortable.

Ha ha. Gonna be hard to keep up with her keystrokes though.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Mon November 12th, 2012, 00:33 GMT 

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Angelina..

If you can read my mind why must I speak.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Mon November 12th, 2012, 00:41 GMT 
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I often wonder what Angelina would be like if you could meet her... what would make her tick?... what would make her laugh?... what would make her cry?

Is she a vegetarian?... does she like to travel?... what annoys her?

My feeling is that she would be a complex, outwardly complicated lady... yes, erotical... yes, a woman with desires and needs... yes, a lady of insatiably sexually demanding appetite... but, essentially a complex, complicated lady.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Mon November 12th, 2012, 00:52 GMT 

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thickboy wrote:
I often wonder what Angelina would be like if you could meet her... what would make her tick?... what would make her laugh?... what would make her cry?

Is she a vegetarian?... does she like to travel?... what annoys her?

My feeling is that she would be a complex, outwardly complicated lady... yes, erotical... yes, a woman with desires and needs... yes, a lady of insatiably sexually demanding appetite... but, essentially a complex, complicated lady.


Angelina.. probably a total pain in the arse


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Mon November 12th, 2012, 01:16 GMT 

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I know nothing else circulates, but is there any talk of alternate takes? Drags just a bit to me, though I do get all its special qualities (okay, many of them).


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 Post subject: Re: Angelina
PostPosted: Mon November 12th, 2012, 01:27 GMT 
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trevgibb wrote:
thickboy wrote:
I often wonder what Angelina would be like if you could meet her... what would make her tick?... what would make her laugh?... what would make her cry?

Is she a vegetarian?... does she like to travel?... what annoys her?

My feeling is that she would be a complex, outwardly complicated lady... yes, erotical... yes, a woman with desires and needs... yes, a lady of insatiably sexually demanding appetite... but, essentially a complex, complicated lady.


Angelina.. probably a total pain in the arse

Yes. Maybe too many strings attached to Angie. She might be quite a handful.
Thus a song and a sigh.


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