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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Fri July 15th, 2011, 20:11 GMT 

Joined: Thu December 9th, 2004, 16:38 GMT
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Location: Canadee-i-o
Queen Anne Lace wrote:
Lone Pilgrim wrote:
His creations gratify the hearts of others, while he wanders - pardon the pun - unconsoled.

The other verses, with their preoccupation with loneliness and isolation, can be read as further elaborations on the emotional costs of a life given over to art, including the burdens of the road.



Now, that's what I'm talkin' about ! That is a very insightful interpretation of a very cryptic song.

A few months ago a musician friend of mine asked me "Can you imagine what it must be like to be Dylan?" Truthfully, I had never given that any thought, but his remark did cause me to start thinking about it.

It seems to me that Bob has sacrified alot for his art. He is SO famous and revered that it is hard for people to even conceive of him as just a man. That must be so hard on him.

This is one thing I have wondered about: you know how Bob will just bare his soul sometimes when he is performing. But on the other hand, he doesn't want to ever have to talk about his songs.... Did you ever, say, write a really passionate letter and then be kind of embarassed to see the person you sent it to? I think that maybe Bob feels like that...he will let us all see EVERYTHING when he is singing...but then he doesn't want to have to talk about it. I wonder if that is part of his desire to be left alone. I can understand him feeling that way, and admire him for having the guts to share his most private feelings with all of us.


Well, thanks. I should say that I don't subscribe to some theory that says that Bob is always writing autobiographically. (Some people really seem to believe in a master Key of Interpretation - e.g., people who always want to see every Dylan song as secretly about Jesus, or heroin, etc.). But occasionally he does seem to be talking more directly from experience; and I think this is probably one of those times. Of course, you don't have to know that it was written by Bob Dylan specifically for the song to be effective (otherwise it would be a bad song). 'I and I' works as a general reflection on art and artist.

I really do think this reading works, though. So I disagree with the whole argument that the song is merely a bunch of semi-mystical mumbo-jumbo.

As for what it's like being Bob Dylan, I think these lines probably capture it best:

People see me all the time and they just can't remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts


But there's also this:

A million faces at my feet
But all I see are dark eyes
.

And I'd also nominate 'Highlands' as a song that seems to be an extended excursion through Dylan's brain. 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Fri July 15th, 2011, 21:35 GMT 
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I think the most interesting part of this song is the "strange woman."

"In another life she must have owned the world, or been faithfully wed, to a righteous king who wrote psalms by moonlit streams."

That's pretty specific. I think the speaker actually knows this woman - she is "strange" in another sense.

The idea that there is actually some history between the man and the woman is reinforced by the line, "if she wakes up now, she'll just want me to talk. I got nothin' to say, 'specially about whatever was."

I think the biblical references and the refrain about creation may just be commentary/metaphor about the relationships between the people in the song.


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Fri July 15th, 2011, 21:57 GMT 

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Sometimes I like it, sometimes I'm just sort of meh on it, but overall it's decently solid. Has a nice apocalyptic vibe going on. Obviously not as good as his other semi-apocalyptic songs ("Desolation Row," "Ain't Talkin, "Hard Rain," etc.), but still unspectacularly OK the way that entire album is.

Re-reading what I just wrote, that is a majorly lukewarm endorsement, ha. I really do like the song. Sometimes.


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Sat July 16th, 2011, 00:55 GMT 

Joined: Fri March 11th, 2005, 16:52 GMT
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Love this song. The singer is caught between God and emptiness. The promise of being Born Again has been, if not broken, called into grave doubt. And the freedom of the sixties, of an unlimited mind, of pure potential in creation, is long gone.

That sweetly sleeping woman, in some other life, might have been with a more worthy man: a righteous one or one who still knew how to write a love song. But the singer is no longer that man. He doesn't even want to talk about it, about whatever was.

The future looks bleak. Romantic love looks impossible. But he's still got to make those shoes. Puts me in mind of a more recent lyric: "everyone's got all the flowers, I don't got one single rose."

The artist has traded an I for an I, again. His identity is in turmoil. He'll share it with us, in song, with everyone. Just don't ask him to talk.

In a few minutes I'll be walking across the highway from my hotel to see band at the Orange County Fair. I'm glad he's no longer exactly in the place from which he wrote "I and I." seems happier now. But wouldn't that be great if he pulled it out of the bag tonight. Not likely.


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Sat July 16th, 2011, 15:01 GMT 

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Slmartin00 wrote:
I think the most interesting part of this song is the "strange woman."

"In another life she must have owned the world, or been faithfully wed, to a righteous king who wrote psalms by moonlit streams."

That's pretty specific. I think the speaker actually knows this woman - she is "strange" in another sense.

The idea that there is actually some history between the man and the woman is reinforced by the line, "if she wakes up now, she'll just want me to talk. I got nothin' to say, 'specially about whatever was."

I think the biblical references and the refrain about creation may just be commentary/metaphor about the relationships between the people in the song.


In the unlikely event that anyone misses the reference, I'll just pipe in to add that the 'righteous king who wrote psalms' would be King David. :wink:

'Especially about whatever was' - yeah, that's a worrisome line thrown in there. Typical of Dylan to complicate a lyric with a semi-cryptic reference like that. There's a past all right. Part of me wants to say that he fears she may start asking him about his past. In that sense it might echo 'Idiot Wind:'

Even you, yesterday, you had to ask me where it was at
I couldn't believe after all these years you didn't know me any better than that

The common thread being an artist who resolutely despises talking about his art, his past achievements, his public persona - recoiling from his own legend. However, this may be carrying the 'autobiographical' reading too far.


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Sat July 16th, 2011, 15:03 GMT 
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I hear "whatever was" in the context of the "strange woman in his bed" and the experience they just shared which she might be trying to rate/understand/"plan with." Zim's polite way of saying it was just a romp, letting off steam.

Lone Pilgrim wrote:
Slmartin00 wrote:
I think the most interesting part of this song is the "strange woman."

"In another life she must have owned the world, or been faithfully wed, to a righteous king who wrote psalms by moonlit streams."

That's pretty specific. I think the speaker actually knows this woman - she is "strange" in another sense.

The idea that there is actually some history between the man and the woman is reinforced by the line, "if she wakes up now, she'll just want me to talk. I got nothin' to say, 'specially about whatever was."

I think the biblical references and the refrain about creation may just be commentary/metaphor about the relationships between the people in the song.


In the unlikely event that anyone misses the reference, I'll just pipe in to add that the 'righteous king who wrote psalms' would be King David. :wink:

'Especially about whatever was' - yeah, that's a worrisome line thrown in there. Typical of Dylan to complicate a lyric with a semi-cryptic reference like that. There's a past all right. Part of me wants to say that he fears she may start asking him about his past. In that sense it might echo 'Idiot Wind:'

Even you, yesterday, you had to ask me where it was at
I couldn't believe after all these years you didn't know me any better than that

The common thread being an artist who resolutely despises talking about his art, his past achievements, his public persona - recoiling from his own legend. However, this may be carrying the 'autobiographical' reading too far.


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Sat July 16th, 2011, 16:04 GMT 
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There is a story where Leonard Cohen and Dylan are talking about songwriting. How long it took to write a specific song they want to know from each other.
"Hallelujah" and "I & I" were the respective songs. (Among all of their catalog...)


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Sat July 16th, 2011, 23:20 GMT 

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That's right schnittstelle - two songs featuring King David.
Cohen said to Paul Zollo that Hallelujah 'was a song that took me a long time to write. Dylan and I were having coffee the day after his concert in Paris a few years ago and he was doing that song in concert. And he asked me how long it took to write it. And I told him a couple of years. I lied actually. It was more than a couple of years.
Then I praised a song of his, "I and I", and asked him how long it had taken and he said, "Fifteen minutes"'.


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Sun July 17th, 2011, 03:27 GMT 
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telltale wrote:
Cohen said to Paul Zollo that Hallelujah 'was a song that took me a long time to write. Dylan and I were having coffee the day after his concert in Paris a few years ago and he was doing that song in concert. And he asked me how long it took to write it. And I told him a couple of years. I lied actually. It was more than a couple of years.
Then I praised a song of his, "I and I", and asked him how long it had taken and he said, "Fifteen minutes"'.


8) Mindboggling


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Sun July 17th, 2011, 03:33 GMT 
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I & I

Dylan

That was one of them Caribbean songs. One year a bunch of songs just came to me hanging around down in the islands, and that was one of them.

Paul Williams

I & I, the other epic from these sessions, is a beautiful song, powerfully sung, with a wonderfully moody and evocative instru¬mental setting that is marred (especially on the final, released mix) by a melodramatic, heavily-echoed bass drum part that starts crash¬ing away during the first chorus and gets worse throughout the rest of the song. This flaw is, I think, another manifestation of Dylan's ambivalence while making this record – ambivalence towards the world, towards his beliefs (feels them deeply, questions them deeply, mocks himself for giving a damn), towards his audience, towards his work, and towards the whole idea of recording and releasing an "album," a commercial product, a fragmentary and necessarily dis¬torted representation of his creative (and personal, spiritual) pro¬cess. One part of him probably thinks this drum part sounds terrific. Another part, in my opinion, cynically feels like he is giving the record company and the public what they want. And what results, as he sits at the mixing board, is a level of distraction: he is not "listening only to my heart." The artistic sureness that is so awe-inspiring so often in Dylan's career winks on and off at these sessions.

When it is on it is as devastating as ever. The picture painted in the first verse of I And I is unforgettable. Notice the gentleness and strength in the singer's voice; each word is simply and directly spoken, none of the complex, layered phrasing of 1974's Simple Twist Of Fate, yet the voice is equally expressive, perfectly yoking melody and rhythm and language. What a marvelous image, the speaker alone with a sleeping woman, studying her, moved by her body language, suddenly travelling as if on the vehicle of her dreams across space and time to another reality, feeling (through his response to her) a momentary connection with Solomon, lord of a purer moment, idealized monarch, poet, lover. And what is communicated most of all, as in a Matisse nude, is the dignity of woman, and the possibility of redemption (letting go of the world and its defilements) through her grace.

Her unconscious grace, because "if she wakes up she'll just want me to talk," she will reverse her role, become a force pulling me away from simple presence with myself and with God, and back to the self-conscious or interpreted universe.

The transition into the first chorus is particularly striking – psalms (songs praising God) and moonlight streams bring us suddenly, starkly, and very gracefully to the thought of me and God, alone, in nature ("creation"). Suddenly the presence is here, and it is atavistic, the Old Testament God, terrifying rather than comfort¬ing, uncompromising, not human, not a denial of Christ but if you will an absence, no son or holy ghost. "No man sees my face and lives." This is a very specific Bible passage, Exodus 33:20 – God's response to Moses when Moses asks God to show him His glory.

In the third verse I believe Dylan tells us directly and honestly of something that has happened to him since the last batch of songs he wrote and that has brought about a shift in his perception of what is. "Took a stranger to teach me to look into justice's beautiful face / And to see an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." Clearly he has received instruction in the Books of Leviticus and Deutero¬nomy, as he tells us in Jokerman, and has received an awakening related to old Babylon king Hammurabi's code of justice (also attributed to Moses). These "eye for an eye" lyrics seem to carry much more conviction than Dylan's explication of the golden rule (a radically different concept of man's relationship with justice), Do Right To Me Baby. But at this point I must say that while I hear his conviction, I do not know what he is driving at. In Foot Of Pride he tells us scathingly, "They don't believe in mercy / Judg¬ment on them is something that you'll never see." Because justice takes place in the next world, not this one? But that is not what "an eye for an eye" is about. Ah well. I do not think this is a case of Dylan being careless in his language. Rather, I think he has gotten back in touch with an intrinsically vengeful ("Something's gotta be evened up," he told that reporter in 1967) part of his nature, has found agreement for it in the Holy Book, and is just letting fly. He is who he is. Sometimes I identify fiercely with his expression of who he is. Other times it just seems utterly alien.

Alien but sincere. And deeply moving. I And I's a fine performance. I like it when he says, "She should still be there sleeping." I like the illuminated quality of the first four verses, which take place at night, contrasted with the narrow darkness of the last verse, which takes place at noon. I do not like the way he complains "I still go barefoot," but I love the ambiguity of the line. He could even be singing to Jesus. Kind of brash, but then God's not the only one whose nature "neither honors nor forgives." Dylan's petulance here is unattractive to me, but his honesty is almost holy.

50 Cult Dylan Classics – Q Magazine 2006

The title alone confirmed just how avidly Dylan had been soaking up the spiritual side of reggae. The introverted song confirmed just how brilliantly he got it.

Mojo 2005 Reader’s Poll #61

Oliver Trager

Mixing elements of kabbalah, Rastafarianism, and Old and New Testaments, and aesthetic self-appraisal, I And I is an extraordinary revealing glimpse into Dylan’s creative and personal life. The song takes place in the middle of a restless night as the narrator, inable to sleep beside a new lover (“a strange woman”) goes out for a walk in search of himself and his muse.

Tim Riley, in his book Hard Rain: A Dylan Commentary, calls I And I a “standout” track on Infidels. It “updates the Dylan mythos”, he says, Riley continues:

“Even though it substitutes self-pity for the other Infidels songs’ pessimism, you cannot ignore it as a Dylan spyglass, “Someone else is speakin’ with my mouth, but I’m listening only to my heart / I’ve made shoes for everyone, even you, while I still go barefoot”.”

“Dylan’s relationship with himself has always been at the heart of his best work – the way the man who was born Robert Zimmerman communes with the songs, odyssey, and mystique of Bob Dylan. But I And I is perhaps the only song to take this subject on as an artistic issue. That he comes up a shade self-pitying (he still goes barefoot) is reconciled only by the fact that he has made the subject songworthy this late in his career. In other words, without giving up very much of his true self, he conveys the distance he feels between his inner identity and the public face he wears.”

Dylan was deep into a personal reexploration of his Jewish roots when Infidels was released in 1983. The album was full of Old Testament references and included a sleeve photograph of Dylan touching the soil on the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem’s Old City. All of this was quite the surprise for fans who were still reeling from his late-1970s to very early-1980s obsession with a particularly fervent brand of “born-again” Christianity. But, as he told Washington Jewish Week in 1983, the two foci of his recent obsessions were not mutually exclusive, “People who believe in the coming of the Messiah live their lives right now as if He was here. That’s my idea of it anyway. Roots, man – we’re talking Jewish roots, you want to know more? Check on Elijah the prophet. He could make rain. Isaiah the prophet, even Jeremiah, see if their brethren didn’t want to bust their brain for telling it right like it is, yeah – these are my roots, I suppose. Am I looking for them? I ain’t looking for them in synagogues with six-pointed Egyptian stars shining down from every window, I can tell you that much.”

Other liturgical traces of the Old Testament laced through the song can be readily observed. The tranquillity of Psalms is specifically referenced in one line, and Ecclesiastes 9:11 (“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race was not to be swift, nor the battle to be strong, neither yet bread to be wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill, but time and chance happeneth to them all”) is rerendered by Dylan when he sings, “Took an untrodden path, where the swift don’t win the race / It goes to the worthy, who can divide the word of truth.”

Dylan has mentioned that the song was written on a Caribbean sojourn. That would at least explain both the subtle reggae beat and use of the Rastafarian term “I and I” as the song’s title and lyric hook. Loosely interpreted, “I and I” is a commonly used Rasta expression meaning “the Lord and I” – it reminds the believer that he never walks alone, that the Lord is always with him.

No doubt Dylan picked up more than a tagline and a beat from Rastafarianism by way of reggae music, but it is not the only faith evident in I And I. Rastafarianism draws heavily on the Old Testament, which could not have been lost on Dylan. However, at this juncture of his career, Dylan also seemed to be “returning” to Judaism and becoming involved with the Orthodox strain of the faith, the influence of which may or may not be seen in the chorus of I And I. “I and I / One says to the other, no man sees my face and lives” runs half the chorus, rather transparently paraphrasing the Lord’s admonition to Moses in Exodus 33:20, “Thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see me, and live”. In I And I, then, the narrator knows that the Lord is with him – and he struggles with the knowledge that that side of himself can never be seen or perhaps truly understood. The Rasta expression contrasted with the Old Testament command provides Dylan with an interesting and succinct way to articulate the dichotomy.

Whether or not it was a renewed interest in Judaism that prompted Dylan to use the “no man sees my face and lives” line, much was made of his dabblings in Judaism (Orthodox and otherwise) around the time Infidels was released. Along with the photos that showed him visiting Israel, Dylan was reported to have been studying with the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews of Brooklyn’s Lubavitch community in Crown Heights, taking instruction from Talmudic scholars and listening to talks by Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, whom many Lubavitchers regarded as the “mesach”, or Messiah. For a period in the mid-1980s, it was apparently not unusual to see Dylan walking along President Street to shabbes (Sabbath) services at Congregation B’nai Shlomo Zalman, known locally as Frankel’s Shul, where he chanted prayers in Hebrew while wearing a yarmulke.

Fortunately, Dylan realised early on that I And I was a great song and has included it in concert since 1984. Its slinky reggae beat lends itself well to the stage, and it is full of ironic twists that make it a prime hehicle for some of Dylan’s most impassioned late-career singing.

A final note – Dylan once claimed to Leonard Cohan that he wrote I & I in 15 minutes.

Clinton Heylin

Published lyric/s: Lyrics 85; Lyrics 04.

Known studio recordings: Power Station Studios, NYC, 27 April 1983 – 9 takes. [INF]

First known performance: Verona, 28 May 1984.

“The thing to do, as soon as you get into it is to realize you must get out of it. And unless you get out of it quickly and effortlessly, there's no use staying in it. It will just drag you down. You could be spending years writing the same song, telling the same story, doing the same thing. The best songs to me – my best songs – are songs which were written very quickly. Just about as much time as it takes to write it down is about as long as it takes to write it.” Dylan to Paul Zollo, January 1991

One of the classic anecdotes regarding Dylan the songwriter comes from another poet of performance, Leonard Cohen. Conversing with the man who dissolved any dichotomy between page and performance after a February 1990 Parisian residency, Cohen found that Dylan wanted to know how long he spent writing Hallelujah (a song Dylan stripped to the core in devastating fashion at two summer 1988 shows). He said it had taken him about two years, before enquiring of Dylan how long it had taken him to write I & I. Fifteen minutes.

I doubt this was mere bravado on Dylan's part; he was simply highlighting a key difference between himself and one of the contemporary singer-songwriters he genuinely rated. For, as he informed Zollo, his own “best songs are written very quickly”. And I & I falls into this category, being in his words, “one of them Caribbean songs. One year a bunch of songs just came to me hanging around down in the islands.”

And yet, at the sessions, it was a song Dylan took his time getting around to recording – perhaps because he was unclear how it should sound. As with another Water Pearl song, this one deals with a “strange woman [who] has slept in my bed”, set against the backdrop of a world on the brink – “the world could come to an end tonight, but that's all right.” Less clear is the message Dylan is trying to convey with the title-phrase, I & I, a Rasta expression conveying the God within us all. He has added the expression to a chorus that otherwise took for its inspiration the familiar edict from Jehovah to Moses:

“Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Exodus 33.20).

Elsewhere in the song, he aspires to be someone who can show himself:

“approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Dylan was evidently still trawling through his Bible on a daily basis. He also seems to be trying the same trick previously attempted with Caribbean Wind, making “the story-line change from third person to first person and that person becomes you, then these people are there and they are not there. And then the time goes way back and then it is brought up to the present.”

Here, he transports the dreaming woman to a time when she could be cohort to “some righteous king who wrote psalms besides moonlit streams”, presumably a reference to King David. Meanwhile, he has wandered onto a train platform where two men are “waiting for spring to come, smoking down the track”. Some unspecified animosity hangs in the air – “one's nature neither honours nor forgives”. But still the narrator pushes himself “along the road, the darkest part”, perhaps humming “Dark Was The Night” while he does. He os not going back for her – if he did, “she would still be there sleepin’.” But for him, sleep will not come. (As he commented in 1985, ?Whatever is truthful haunts you and don't let you sleep at night.”)

This sense of unfinished business makes I & I something of a spectral presence at the sessions. One suspects it was one of those songs which initially he only could “feel what [it was] about”. It would require him to record (and perform) it before he could “understand what [it was] about”. If it took him a fair while to press record, when he did the song came together easily enough, being cut in just three complete takes at the 27 April 1983 session (the second take being the one he ultimately preferred).

That second take stayed part of the album process all the way from 27 April 1983 to the first week of July 1983, when a final mix and sequence was duly approved. Which is not to say that I & I emerged unscathed from that wholesale Infidels rethink. Far from it. The “original mix”, which appears on the mid-May 1983 “comp” reel and the so-called “Knopfler” sequence for the album, is an altogether subtler, sweeter thing, thanks to guitars that wash in and out of the mix, echoing every ebb in the song.

The three guitars each serve quite distinct functions. Knopfler, playing with real sympathy and restraint, justifies Dylan's description of him as someone who would not “step all over [a song] with fancy licks” – still wholly unaware that he is just days away from being removed from the process by an assertive artist. Dylan's acoustic operates almost like a conductor's baton, punctuating changes of tone and mood with a downward strum or two; while Mick Taylor's dirty rhythm guitar cuts to the chase, like a man tutored in the art of economy by the master we call Keef. But something – and I strongly suspect, it was that Straits-esque sound – rubbed Dylan the wrong way, and he set about grungifying the mix (after getting shot of its architect). On Infidels, the nice stereo echo has been muted – while a (possibly overdubbed) rhythm guitar begins to de-beautify the whole arrangement about halfway through the song.

Dylan has done a Ballad Of A Thin Man – taking out what he deemed to be distractions from the centrality of his own performance; and though the song remains the same, there is a slight diminishing of its audiophonic aura. Which is not to say that I & I is not one of the standout songs on the released album – probably second only to Jokerman. It is just that its impact, already diluted in the mix, lessened further when it lost its counterpoint, the original album closer, Foot Of Pride, which it was scheduled to precede.

Dylan, though, seemed happy enough with the outcome, even as he moved ever further away from the song's mellifluous feel in concert. Over a ten-year period (1984 to 1993), I & I, a regular favourite in the set, became an entirely different beast, intermittently atmospheric, but often overbearing in its insistence on some suspiciously Grateful Dead groove. Lost in the process were words that once had as much penetrative power as Cohen's own portrait of lust, faith and folly.


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Sun July 17th, 2011, 12:26 GMT 

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Thanks nellie - lots of great stuff there!


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Sun July 17th, 2011, 18:17 GMT 
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marker wrote:
"Someone else is speaking with my mouth, but I'm listening only with my heart."

This cryptic lyric of displacement and pessimistic narcissism characterizes the song for me, never able to reconcile
one's external and internal struggles with identity.
It's quite a nasty angry song, with the only redemption being the "strange woman" waiting
for his return from the evils outside.

Bob rightfully tore the song apart, put it back together in 93 and destroyed it again to create a perfect hard rock song out of it.
I've never been a fan of the album Infidels but I rate the songs quite highly,
and a lot of that comes from the NET.
Those 93 versions are great but 95 is where I find a lot of my favorite versions of it.
Here's one from March 23rd, 95.
Again, Bucky Baxter....

______________

that is my favorite version :-) my 100th show in Brussels, march 23rd 1995




http://www.sendspace.com/file/0u09qe


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Tue July 19th, 2011, 02:57 GMT 
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[quote="nellie"]I & I

...“I and I” is a commonly used Rasta expression meaning “the Lord and I” – it reminds the believer that he never walks alone, that the Lord is always with him.

No doubt Dylan picked up more than a tagline and a beat from Rastafarianism by way of reggae music, but it is not the only faith evident in I And I. Rastafarianism draws heavily on the Old Testament, which could not have been lost on Dylan. quote]



So now the refrain makes sense to me:

I and I
In creation where one’s nature neither honors nor forgives
I and I
One says to the other, no man sees my face and lives
The first "I" is Dylan ( the one with the nature which neither honors nor forgives)
The second "I" is the Lord ( who says to the first "I" , no man sees my face and lives)

Gee, it would have been helpful if I had known some Rastafarian phrases when this song came out!

Bob sure soaks up words/phrases like a sponge, doesn't he? I don't speak Spanish and it was only when I happened to go to a church in San Antonio that I learned that in Spanish prayers the word "Senor" = "Lord" .

In New Orleans, a common prayer/phrase that people say here all the time is "Lord, have mercy!" Used for everything from the dog eating the kid's homework to having your house fill with 8 feet of water. "Lord, have mercy !" or "O, Mercy!" ...sound familiar?


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Tue July 19th, 2011, 17:32 GMT 
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Lone Pilgrim wrote:
The common thread being an artist who resolutely despises talking about his art, his past achievements, his public persona - recoiling from his own legend. However, this may be carrying the 'autobiographical' reading too far.

Maybe, but having a complicated past that's hard to talk about is a theme in so many of Dylan's songs, as you pointed out. If you take out the "artist" part it's not a stretch at all.

Another strikingly specific line that pops out is, "Outside of two men on a train platform, there's no one else in sight." Who are these two men, and why are they traveling together? Where are they going?

Also, the "no man sees my face and lives," from Exodus, is an intriguing passage. After God says this, he goes on, "and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by."

Bob uses this protective metaphor again in "Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight," with "I'd put you on a mountaintop and build you a house out of stainless steel."


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Mon August 8th, 2011, 02:19 GMT 
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The opening verse for me appears to by the figure of the ancient prophet Moses who then drifts in and out of the verses as the song portrays more contemporary images. The refrain serves this purpose to ground the song in an ancient story or myth... the faith of one who is protected by, but can never look upon the face of, the Almighty.

Faith has an element of mystery, that which cannot be adaquately explained by words or understood without being a participant. The character in the song (Dylan) is engaged and the faith in which he participates crosses the eons of time and sustains him even though the answers are not forthcoming.


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Sun September 8th, 2013, 20:28 GMT 

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I've been listening endlessly to some 87 shows cuz I've been reading Paul Williams' brilliant analyses of this time period and they are almost all extraordinary shows with some brilliant arrangements....
This one from Modena is one of those perfect renditions that he speaks so highly of.....

'"I and I, in creation where one's nature neither honors nor forgives." That is what the song is about. Uncompromising expression of and confrontation with one's nature. And this time, I must say, the "Sees my face and lives" choral ending goes on at least as long as it did in Tel Aviv and I love it, and would welcome a further extension. Why? Stan Lynch's drumming seems to be one fresh and very effective element. And the precise mix of Dylan's voice with the Queens Of Rhythm's voices also seems different and again the change is very effective, very pleasing. And please note how present Dylan is when he sings, "If she wakes up now, you know she'll just want me to talk. I got nothing to say, especially about whatever was!" Another case where a brief scene becomes unusually vivid, thanks to the spin the storyteller gives it with his voice, the way he coaxes these words out of his larynx this particular evening. It is Modena 1987, and every song has a keen edge on it. "I got nothing to say," indeed!'
Paul Williams

Check this out if you never have!!!

Modena Italy
September 12 1987
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ldz6kc


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Sun September 8th, 2013, 23:50 GMT 
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marker wrote:
I've been listening endlessly to some 87 shows cuz I've been reading Paul Williams' brilliant analyses of this time period and they are almost all extraordinary shows with some brilliant arrangements....
This one from Modena is one of those perfect renditions that he speaks so highly of.....

'"I and I, in creation where one's nature neither honors nor forgives." That is what the song is about. Uncompromising expression of and confrontation with one's nature. And this time, I must say, the "Sees my face and lives" choral ending goes on at least as long as it did in Tel Aviv and I love it, and would welcome a further extension. Why? Stan Lynch's drumming seems to be one fresh and very effective element. And the precise mix of Dylan's voice with the Queens Of Rhythm's voices also seems different and again the change is very effective, very pleasing. And please note how present Dylan is when he sings, "If she wakes up now, you know she'll just want me to talk. I got nothing to say, especially about whatever was!" Another case where a brief scene becomes unusually vivid, thanks to the spin the storyteller gives it with his voice, the way he coaxes these words out of his larynx this particular evening. It is Modena 1987, and every song has a keen edge on it. "I got nothing to say," indeed!'
Paul Williams

Check this out if you never have!!!

Modena Italy
September 12 1987
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ldz6kc


That was great! I don't think I have a single show from 1987. I'm gonna have to fix that.


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Mon September 9th, 2013, 00:16 GMT 
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Yes! Tel Aviv and Modena!


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Mon September 9th, 2013, 23:40 GMT 
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I like this song pretty good, but I'm not as high on it as most Bob fans seem to be.

It's good though.


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Mon September 9th, 2013, 23:57 GMT 

Joined: Thu May 7th, 2009, 00:23 GMT
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love this song...mystical feel to it
plus
a theory on the WHOLE of INFIDELS
songs refering to countries
such as Neighborhood Bully about Israel
I and I... an anagram for India
( interesting)
more on this later.....many more songs....many more countries


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Tue September 10th, 2013, 01:17 GMT 
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rolling_thunder wrote:
I like this song pretty good, but I'm not as high on it as most Bob fans seem to be.

It's good though.

If there is a better song from the '80s by any artist I've never heard it. The third verse may be the most intriguing verse he's ever penned. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Tue September 10th, 2013, 02:14 GMT 
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For the record,
Modena Italy....

Sees my face and lives...


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Tue September 10th, 2013, 05:06 GMT 
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Untrodden Path wrote:
rolling_thunder wrote:
I like this song pretty good, but I'm not as high on it as most Bob fans seem to be.

It's good though.

If there is a better song from the '80s by any artist I've never heard it. The third verse may be the most intriguing verse he's ever penned. :wink:


I think there are better songs on Infidels personally.


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Tue September 10th, 2013, 18:20 GMT 
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Grrhh, I really need to cough up the money and buy those Paul Williams books.


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 Post subject: Re: Track Talk 13: I & I
PostPosted: Wed September 11th, 2013, 04:22 GMT 
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I don't much like the arrangement and the recording. Lyric & vocal are quite strong, but I'm guessing this one of Knopfler's roughs.


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