Sunday, October 27, 2013


Bob Dylan regrouped and redefined his sound with the prophetic political palaver of this intense and emotional return to form. After his conversion to Christianity in 1978, he had released three evangelical albums ('Slow Train Coming', 'Saved', and 'Shot of Love') and seen his sales and fanbase gradually dwindle.  When it came time to record his next album, Dylan was ready for something different.  The sessions as the Power Station in New York featured Bob Dylan on guitar, harmonica, keyboards, vocals, and production with Mark Knopfler on guitar and production; Mick Taylor on guitar; Alan Clark on keyboards; Robbie Shakespeare on bass guitar; Sly Dunbar on drums and percussion; and Clydie King on vocals on "Union Sundown". 

Knopfler remembers:   "You see people working in different ways, and it's good for you. You have to learn to adapt to the way different people work. Yes, it was strange at times with Bob. One of the great parts about production is that it demonstrates to you that you have to be flexible. Each song has its own secret that's different from another song, and each has its own life. Sometimes it has to be teased out, whereas other times it might come fast. There are no laws about songwriting or producing. It depends on what you're doing, not just who you're doing. You have to be sensitive and flexible, and it's fun. I'd say I was more disciplined. But I think Bob is much more disciplined as a writer of lyrics, as a poet. He's an absolute genius. As a singer—absolute genius. But musically, I think it’s a lot more basic. The music just tends to be a vehicle for that poetry."

After three albums of explicitly Christian subject matter, 'Infidels' finds Dylan stepping back towards a more secular perspective in his songs; although he continues to borrow imagery from the Bible.  He would explain:  "Here's the thing with me and the religious thing. This is the flat-out truth: I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don't find it anywhere else...I don't adhere to rabbis, preachers,evangelists, all of that. I've learned more from the songs than I've learned from any of this kind of entity ... I've never said I'm born again. That's just a media term. I don't think I've ever been an agnostic. I've always thought there's a superior power, that this is not the real world and that there's a world to come. That no soul has died, every soul is alive, either in holiness or in flames. And there's probably a lot of middle ground...I don't think that this is it, you know — this life ain't nothin'. There's no way you're gonna convince me this is all there is to it. I never, ever believed that. I believe in the Book of Revelation. The leaders of this world are eventually going to play God, if they're not already playing God, and eventually a man will come that everybody will think is God. He'll do things, and they'll say, "Well, only God can do those things. It must be him." ... I don't think it's at hand. I think we'll have at least 200 years. And the new kingdom that comes in, I mean, people can't even imagine what it's gonna be like. There's a lot of people walkin' around who think the new kingdom's comin' next year and that they're gonna be right in there among the top guard. And they're wrong. I think when it comes in, there are people who'll be prepared for it, but if the new kingdom happened tomorrow and you were sitting there and I was sitting here, you wouldn't even remember me...If I thought the world needed a new religion, I would start one. But there are a lot of other religions, too. There's those Indian religions, Eastern religions, Buddhism, you know. They're happening, too ... After the '78 gospel tour, I wanted to keep touring in '79. But I knew that we'd gone everywhere in '78, so how you gonna play in '79? Go back to the same places? So, at that point, I figured, 'Well, I don't care if I draw no crowds no more.' And a lotta places we played on the last tour, we filled maybe half the hall...I think when your time is your time, it don't matter what you're doin'. It's either your time, or its not your time. And I didn't feel the last few years was really my time. But that's no reason for me to make any kinda judgment call on what it is I'm gonna be. The people who reacted to the gospel stuff would've reacted that way if I hadn't done, you know, "Song to Woody."... I can usually anticipate that stuff — what's going on, what's the mood. There's a lotta young performers around. And they look good and they move good, and they're sayin' stuff that is, uh, excitable, you know? Face it, a lotta that stuff is just made and geared for twelve-year-old kids. It's like baby food ... I'm not a political songwriter. Joe Hill was a political songwriter; uh, Merle Travis wrote some political songs. "Which Side Are You On?" is a political song. And "Neighborhood Bully," to me, is not a political song, because if it were, it would fall into a certain political party. If you're talkin' about it as an Israeli political song — even if it is an Israeli political song — in Israel alone, there's maybe twenty political parties. I don't know where that would fall, what party ... Just because somebody feels a certain way, you can't come around and stick some political-party slogan on it. If you listen closely, it really could be about other things. It's simple and easy to define it, so you got it pegged, and you can deal with it in that certain kinda way. However, I wouldn't do that, 'cause I don't know what the politics of Israel is. I just don't know...I think politics is an instrument of the Devil. Just that clear. I think politics is what kills; it doesn't bring anything alive. Politics is corrupt; I mean, anybody knows that ... I just write 'em as they come, you know? They're not about anything different than what I've ever written about, but they're probably put together in a way that other ones aren't put together. So it might seem like somethin' new. I don't think I've found any new chords or new progressions, or any new words that haven't been said before. I think they're pretty much all the same old thing, just kinda reworked."

'Infidels' made its way to number twenty in the US, six in Australia, and nine in the UK.  Dylan admits:    "There were other titles for it. I wanted to call it 'Surviving in a Ruthless World'. But someone pointed out to me that the last bunch of albums I'd made all started with the letter s. So I said, 'Well, I don't wanna get bogged down in the letters.' And then 'Infidels' came into my head one day. I don't know what it means, or anything."!/album/Infidels/215795

"Jokerman" – 6:12

Standing on the waters casting your bread
 While the eyes of the idol with the iron head are glowing
 Distant ships sailing into the mist
 You were born with a snake in both of your fists while a hurricane was blowing
 Freedom just around the corner for you
 But with the truth so far off, what good will it do?

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
 Bird fly high by the light of the moon
 Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

So swiftly the sun sets in the sky
 You rise up and say goodbye to no one
 Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
 Both of their futures, so full of dread, you don’t show one
 Shedding off one more layer of skin
 Keeping one step ahead of the persecutor within

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
 Bird fly high by the light of the moon
 Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

You’re a man of the mountains, you can walk on the clouds
 Manipulator of crowds, you’re a dream twister
 You’re going to Sodom and Gomorrah
 But what do you care? Ain’t nobody there would want to marry your sister
 Friend to the martyr, a friend to the woman of shame
 You look into the fiery furnace, see the rich man without any name

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
 Bird fly high by the light of the moon
 Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

Well, the Book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy
 The law of the jungle and the sea are your only teachers
 In the smoke of the twilight on a milk-white steed
 Michelangelo indeed could’ve carved out your features
 Resting in the fields, far from the turbulent space
 Half asleep near the stars with a small dog licking your face

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
 Bird fly high by the light of the moon
 Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

Well, the rifleman’s stalking the sick and the lame
 Preacherman seeks the same, who’ll get there first is uncertain
 Nightsticks and water cannons, tear gas, padlocks
 Molotov cocktails and rocks behind every curtain
 False-hearted judges dying in the webs that they spin
 Only a matter of time ’til night comes steppin’ in

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
 Bird fly high by the light of the moon
 Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

It’s a shadowy world, skies are slippery grey
 A woman just gave birth to a prince today and dressed him in scarlet
 He’ll put the priest in his pocket, put the blade to the heat
 Take the motherless children off the street
 And place them at the feet of a harlot
 Oh, Jokerman, you know what he wants
 Oh, Jokerman, you don’t show any response

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune 
Bird fly high by the light of the moon 
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

"Sweetheart Like You" – 4:31

"Neighborhood Bully" – 4:33

"License to Kill" – 3:31

Side two
"Man of Peace" – 6:27

"Union Sundown" – 5:21

"I and I" – 5:10

"Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight" – 5:54


"Blind Willie McTell"

'Foot of Pride'">

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