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PostPosted: Tue February 23rd, 2010, 22:25 GMT 

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This is in the very top tier from his gospel era for The MEZ. Many of non dylan fans like this cut, I find as well. Did not care for the song when attempted live past few times. I do love the live versions from the gospel years very much. Do others like this track? I imagine it to be quite popular amongst the brethren here. Lets get some live dates or posts going for this one! MEZ


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PostPosted: Tue February 23rd, 2010, 22:56 GMT 
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I can't stand this song as a song, but the initial recording came near the peak of his singing ability. As theology, it's not real convincing. As a blues lyric, it just says the same thing over and over again and drags on far too long. The self-reference of the "you may call me zimmy" verse is insufferable. Dylan's over-reliance on 12 bar blues through the years has devalued nearly all of his original blues songs for me so that now they mostly just sound lazy and add nothing to the tradition of any lasting worth.


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PostPosted: Tue February 23rd, 2010, 23:01 GMT 
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Love it! But I do think that it doesn't always work live. I'm not crazy about most of the live versions I've heard from 2000 on. They're not terrible. They just don't seem to have the feeling and the power that the versions from the gospel years and the early nineties had.

I actually know many Dylan fans who don't like it and think that it's lyrically weak. It may not be his most intricate or intense effort, lyrically, but the simplicity of the rhyming works. Musically it's just great!


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PostPosted: Tue February 23rd, 2010, 23:08 GMT 
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This one annoys me. A lot. :?


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PostPosted: Tue February 23rd, 2010, 23:17 GMT 

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Bringing this one back as a raucous opener in 1998 was a brilliant move.

There are some very unusual performances, in terms of both musical arrangement and new lyrics, from 2000.

The recent ones do nothing for me. I'd rather see a show that opened with a non-performance of Gotta Serve Somebody than a non-performance of Cat's In The Well, etc. but what's the difference, really?


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PostPosted: Tue February 23rd, 2010, 23:20 GMT 
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I like the groove of the song and the guitar licks are great. I didn't really dig the whole "serve somebody" thing, and the back up vocals.. but I guess he has a point. I don't really care though. I wish he was singing about something else because otherwise it's a great song.


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 00:15 GMT 
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A great song, other than it's primary message? You should check out the one from Belgrade 1991 - Dylan's doesn't seem sure which side of the fence he's on either.

I didn't care for the NYC one that capped off 2008, but I know there was at least one pretty good version in Europe the next spring.

One of the few songs which I'm glad he cuts the lyric too. in fact, weren't some those smokin' '98 openers just two verses, with the first one repeated? The song is the message and two verses is about all it needs. Maybe if it had been recorded that way Al wouldn't hold such a grudge against every blues recording by Bob Dylan in decades!


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 00:58 GMT 
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If I saw this song coming, I don't know whether I'd skip it or turn it up.


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 01:28 GMT 

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My 21 year old saw dylan for the first time in october and they opened with this. He raved about it. He had never heard it before but downloaded the record and found a live version. So if he says it's great.. i agree. :D


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 01:35 GMT 
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It shows how profound Bobby is and why he's Bobby and others aren't !

After thought: I had a friend who was hell on a popsicle stick...his old lady told him to do something...he was a candy cane !

'You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed !'


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 01:48 GMT 
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Love the song and nearly every rendition... studio cut... Dylan & the Dead... NET 2009... what is there not to like? It's a great song and he does it well every time!


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 01:51 GMT 
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My favorite versions are the ones from the Temple in Flames tour in 1987 when he changed the lyrics all the time. I have a soft spot for the song as Slow Train Coming was the first Dylan record I ever owned (in 1980). I always took it as--you're always either coming from a place of love or from a place of fear.

I get a kick out of how often Gotta Serve Somebody is played in the same concert--often near or next to--the 'I'm not gonna serve anybody' anthem of independence, Maggie's Farm. Another of many seeming contradictions in Dylandom.


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 01:57 GMT 
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I'm really not very fond of his religious work in general, but even if this weren't a religious song, I don't think I'd like it. I can appreciate his gospel songs when they sound good, but I don't really like the beat of Gotta Serve Somebody.


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 09:33 GMT 
harmonica albert wrote:
The self-reference of the "you may call me zimmy" verse is insufferable.


Why would that bother you? He's just joking around, having a little fun with it.


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 09:39 GMT 
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dsavereide wrote:
harmonica albert wrote:
The self-reference of the "you may call me zimmy" verse is insufferable.


Why would that bother you? He's just joking around, having a little fun with it.


I bet that if you actually went up to Bob Dylan and called him Zimmy, he'd punch your kneecaps.

As for the song, its ok, but a bit too repetitive, in the way that some Bob songs can be. It's a riff song, fundamentally, on many levels.


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 11:26 GMT 

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I like those early 90s versions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iFo-PdMgxM


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 12:22 GMT 

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harmonica albert wrote:
I can't stand this song as a song, but the initial recording came near the peak of his singing ability.

Yeah, his singing here is so sinewy-slinky that I kind of enjoy the unrelenting relentlessness of the lyrics (although Christopher Ricks is good enough at bringing out some of the easily-unheard subtleties).


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 13:06 GMT 
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harmonica albert wrote:
As a blues lyric, it just says the same thing over and over again and drags on far too long. .
This could have been stated by my older brother... in reference to nearly every Dylan song... :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 13:25 GMT 
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Untrodden Path wrote:
harmonica albert wrote:
As a blues lyric, it just says the same thing over and over again and drags on far too long. .
This could have been stated by my older brother... in reference to nearly every Dylan song... :lol:


I like your brother. He's got it nailed, at least partways. Bob could have done with an editor at times. And some middle eights.


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 20:57 GMT 

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For me, the deceptive simplicity of the song upon first hearing declares what the album is, especially in relation to the ambiguity of the previous album, which is the listener's acceptance of the polarizing idea that a person can not serve two masters. This is pure Gospel: good/evil, belief/non-belief, black/white, with Bob/against Bob. What makes the album so powerful is that line he draws in the sand, while at the same time, in this song, seduces you into awareness of this choice.
By forcing the listener to identify himself/herself in the context of the song, he wryly makes you a part of that choice of the chorus when the music moves down a fourth into that deep bass sound that makes him sound so very confident & dramatic in relation to the snake-like verses.
Vocally, he insidiously sounds like he's putting down the many trivial trappings of this world, also forcing the listener into strange places mentally and spiritually. Notice the weird stresses on certain words throughout the song on the album.
'live in a dome'
'a long string of pearls'
'a businessman or some high degree thief' (they're obviously the same thing here)
In the end though, I've always thought, simply by virtue of the song being Bob's, that the song speaks to more than just a Christian audience simply by casting the song over all people, of all backgrounds, the song speaks to the much-needed and unheeded concept of respecting more than oneself, that we should practice what we preach.
And I don't think anyone could argue with that.

That video from Budapest is awesome. Is that JJ Jackson or G.E. Smith ripping it up off-screen?? Really good one!

Ultimately though, nothing tops the Gospel versions for me and the song as an opener in 79 is where to go for the best. This one from the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium may be my favorite. Way better than the album IMO... Just killer!

November 20 1979
http://www.sendspace.com/file/e9nmrn


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 21:11 GMT 
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Bennyboy wrote:
I like your brother. He's got it nailed, at least partways. Bob could have done with an editor at times. And some middle eights.


Part of the problem, right. The metronomic rhythm isn't exactly catchy and is another drawback. Pity with the song which clearly was meant to be emblematic for Dylan at the time and the lyrical sentiment, though commendable, is lost in the last few verses.

Think I read somewhere that it was attempted a number of times in the studio, once just with piano backing. Maybe à la When He Returns which is I think the most successful song and performance on STC


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 21:17 GMT 
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Bennyboy wrote:
harmonica albert wrote:
As a blues lyric, it just says the same thing over and over again and drags on far too long. .
Untrodden Path wrote:
This could have been stated by my older brother... in reference to nearly every Dylan song... :lol:


I like your brother. He's got it nailed, at least partways. Bob could have done with an editor at times. And some middle eights.
And this is what concerns me about you Bennyboy. My brother has the absolute worst musical taste in the world... bar none.

And sometimes you remind me a bit of him. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 21:28 GMT 

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I love the 87 versions, at Brussels he sang "you might get naked and mow the lawn" and another night he sang the line "might be China syndrome" Don't know if he had maybe watched the Jack Lemmon movie a few hours before, heh.

It would be great if someone could transcribe the lyrics of all those versions from Temples in Flames, some of the lines are dummy lyrics though.


Last edited by feet_of_a_harlot on Wed February 24th, 2010, 21:31 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 21:30 GMT 

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dsavereide wrote:
harmonica albert wrote:
The self-reference of the "you may call me zimmy" verse is insufferable.


Why would that bother you? He's just joking around, having a little fun with it.


It is a tad narcissistic.


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PostPosted: Wed February 24th, 2010, 21:46 GMT 
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I like this song --
gotta love the verse where he stuffs in cotton/silk/whiskey/milk.
I mean, that's hilarious to me!


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