POLL: Bob Dylan's Shot of Love - your favourite track?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Dave Gilmour's Cat, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. Davido

    Davido Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    It's more fun to vote for songs that are NOT Every Grain of Sand, since that's the obvious corker. Great album overall. Took me the longest time to buy it but very glad I did.
     
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  2. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    Grain of Sand for me.
     
  3. Uncle Miles

    Uncle Miles Wafting in and out of Forum

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ USA
    Property Of Jesus

    I don't know if it's the production or the guitars, but that's just the crunchiest-sounding song I can recall hearing in a while
     
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  4. SonicBob

    SonicBob Forum Resident

    Location:
    West Virginia
    Every Grain of Sand. I did a revisit of some of Bob's catalog back in the fall and I came to a better conclusion about the Shot of Love album. I had it years before and didn't really like it much, but I've now appreciated it as an underappreciated release. I'm glad that "Groom's" got a belated inclusion on the CD reissue, excellent track, I think its Danny Kortchmar on lead guitar if I recall correctly. Heart of Mine, Dead Man, Watered Down Love and the title cut are high spots, in my opinion.
     
  5. John Rhett Thomas

    John Rhett Thomas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Macon, GA, USA
    "Lenny Bruce" gets more votes combined than "Watered-Down Love", "Dead Man, Dead Man" and "Trouble" combined? Haven't got that one figured out!
     
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  6. groundharp

    groundharp Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger

    Location:
    California Day
    "Lenny Bruce" on the radio?! Holy Kamoly! It's my least favorite tune on Shot Of Love (although I love Dylan's piano playing there), but I would love to hear it on the radio. What kind of cockamamie amazing radio station were you listening to?!

    (please don't say "internet radio" or some such)

    Very interesting "reading" of the tune (that it's about Lennon). I don't agree with it, but it IS within the realm of possibility, so I can't rule it out.

    Years ago, I was talking to someone who was close friends with Ramblin' Jack Elliot, and he said that Ramblin' Jack really liked that tune a lot!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  7. Dave Gilmour's Cat

    Dave Gilmour's Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Wow! I really, really love that song. What’s not to like about ‘Lenny Bruce’?
     
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  8. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    That was the single on the radio at the time that brought me to the album. it's a great tune and fits the themes in Dylan's writing at that time. But once I listened to it, nothing was as beautiful as Every grain of Sand. For me, all the cuts are good.
     
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  9. For years my favourite on Shot Of Love was Every Grain Of Sand followed by Groom. But after getting back into this album recently, I’m completely hooked on In The Summer Time. Dylan’s vocal delivery is just so casual and laid back. There’s such an understated coolness to his vocals and the harmonica just adds to the vibe. I love the sound on this song; the guitar and drums, the lyrics.

    Shot Of Love is half a great album. Groom, Heart Of Mine, Every Grain Of Sand, In The Summer Time, heck I even like Lenny Bruce!
     
  10. groundharp

    groundharp Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger

    Location:
    California Day
    Well, to begin with, all the other tunes (including Groom's) are BETTER! Secondly, I don't know if it really sounds like it was knocked out in three minutes (as HenryFly says on the previous page), but it doesn't really sound very well thought out either. It's not really a compliment to Lenny Bruce (or Lennon, as per HenryFly again) to say they rode together "only for a mile and a half" and then to say the ride felt like it took "a couple of months", like you couldn't wait for the ride to be over so you could get away from the guy.
    But the worst crime of the tune is that Dylan's vocal on the tune is just so draggy. I loved Dylan's singing in the 80s (his best singing IMO), and while I love his piano playing on the tune (not technically impressive AT ALL, but wonderfully expressive and idiosyncratic), I hate having to listen to his singing, and those lyrics on this tune.
    Hey, if you love it, there ya go! You're in company with Ramblin' Jack, among others. I don't hate it so much I skip over the tune when listening to the album, but I am always looking forward to hearing the rest of the songs again (when I listen to the album, which is one of my favorites, I usually listen to it more than once).
     
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  11. You make some fair points. I sort of agree with everything you say but I’m somewhat biased towards giving this song a pass for some unknown reason to myself. I think Dylan was genuinely trying to express gratitude towards Lenny Bruce but lyrically it is weak.

    And yes, his singing in the 8O’s was superb. Definitely agree there aswell.
     
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  12. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I can't agree with that. "Dead Man, Dead Man" and "Trouble" are worse to my mind. Sure, "Lenny Bruce" is just a slice of life, and I'm not sure how it actually fits in to an album which I think was misinterpreted at the time as being half religious -- it's all religious (except for Lenny, which I'm pretty sure is about Lenny Bruce) and with a strong thread of seeking grace and the difficulty of holding on to faith (vs. the old testament prophet of doom, the fire and brimstone hectoring of the much of prior two albums). But I like it at least as much as I like "Heart of Mine," or "Watered Down Love." And I love this album. Loved it since it was released. Easily one of my most listened to Dylan records.
     
  13. groundharp

    groundharp Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger

    Location:
    California Day
    Both Dead Man Dead Man and Trouble sound to me like Dylan put more thought into them than Lenny Bruce.

    Also, I love the grinding rock'n'roll guitars and apocalyptic fervor of Trouble. Maybe it's not a great tune, but I'm not thinking ahead to the next tune when I listen to it, in contrast to Lenny Bruce.

    And Dead Man, Dead Man, with its reggae feel, is a good contrast to the rest of the album, while not sticking out like a sore thumb. Sure, Dylan could have tightened up the lyrics on it in a couple of spots, but at least he's not dragging like he does in Lenny Bruce, he's really singing with full commitment to the song in his best 80s style.

    In other words, I listen to Lenny Bruce, only for four minutes and a half, seems like a couple of months. (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

    Again, as I said, if you like it, fine. I'm not trying to change anyone's mind about Lenny Bruce -- I would no sooner try to talk you OUT of liking the tune any more than I would try to dissuade Ramblin' Jack. But you're not gonna convince me the tune is more than it is, either.
     
  14. kay bee

    kay bee Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Heart of Mine. And if you haven't heard the brilliant version guitarist/singer/songwriter/producer/all-around wunderkind Blake Mills did a few years back for the Chimes of Freedom compilation . . . what are you waiting for!?
     
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  15. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Trouble to me doesn't sound like it belongs on the album. It's more one of those dire and brimstone preaching doom kind of religious songs that the personal stories of faith and the challenges of living in faith which is the album's overarching theme, and it's a kind of undistinguished one at that, without a lot of character. "Lenny Bruce" to me has lots of character, tossed off though it may have been. "Dead Man" is an interesting lyric, on the sort of "When you gonna wake up" theme but with the singer talking to himself not preaching to the world. But I think it just kind of chugs along musically in a way that's pretty forgettable. To me those two songs are the album's low points. "Lenny Bruce" to me is one of the most memorable tunes on the album, I just don't get how it fits the I need a shot of love/shot of divine grace theme of the rest of the album.
     
  16. FlexFantastic

    FlexFantastic Mechano-Man of the Future!

    Location:
    Aurora, CO
    Ha, sorry to disappoint, but it was satellite radio. Little Steven's Underground Garage. Stevie preceded the song with a little discussion of Lenny (which I'm pretty sure I'd heard before), which was great.
     
  17. Every Grain Of Sand is the only song on the album worthy of Dylan's talent; it just so happens to be one of the best songs ever written by anyone at any time. It's more the pity that there isn't an album of equally worthy songs to share its company.
     
  18. groundharp

    groundharp Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger

    Location:
    California Day
    Well, Little Steven's Underground Garage is cool. I used to listen to the local airing while it was aired on terrestrial radio (is it still syndicated that way at all?) on Sunday nights. I haven't listened to radio at all for several years though!

    And it appears my description of a radio show that would play "Lenny Bruce" is accurate -- Little Steven IS cockamamie/amazing!
     
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  19. I voted for "Dead Man, Dead Man", even though, yeah, "Every Grain Of Sand" is the best track.

    "Dead Man" is terrific I-tal roots reggae, and such a forgotten track that I keep forgetting which record it's on.
     
  20. groundharp

    groundharp Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger

    Location:
    California Day
    I suspect that the people who really like the song "Lenny Bruce" (including you) have much more affection for the subject of the song than I do.
    It also sounds like you don't have as much affection for "Apocalyptic Bob" as I do -- I happen to enjoy that "flavor", although Dylan has a LOT of other sides ;) to him as well.
     
  21. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I LOVE apocalyptic Bob. "Slow Train Coming," is one of my favorite Dylan tunes. "Foot of Pride" all that kind of stuff. I just think what makes Shot of Love so compelling emotionally, and so different from Slow Train and much of Saved, is that while it's a religious album, it's not an outward-looking, doom-on-all-you-sinners album, but an inward-looking album of struggling with faith, of yearning for a shot of grace, of trying to hang on to a love that's pure in the face of worldly distractions, of remembering the moment when you were in the presence of the spirit, of coming to understand onward in your journey that every hair is numbered like every grain of sand. It's a much more personal, redemptive, and even struggling kind of album of faith, that I don't think apocalyptic certitude suits all that well.

    I don't particularly care for Lenny Bruce, the comic. I'm not even very familiar with his work, although obviously I know his history. So I don't really have any particular feelings about Lenny Bruce the man or the comedian at all.
     
  22. groundharp

    groundharp Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger

    Location:
    California Day
    OK, so both my guesses were wrong (my liking Apocalyptic Bob more, your liking Mr. Bruce more) in your case -- I can accept that.

    But I still suspect that other people who like the song Lenny Bruce have more affection for the subject than I (or it seems you) do. Of course, I could still like the song anyway, but I've already stated my feelings on that score.
     
  23. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Essex, UK
    Virtually impossible this one. Such a great album. There's nothing on it that isn't first rate, so I went on gut instinct rather than any critique. So, I went with Trouble. it's slightly off-kilter, chugging - nothing but Trouble.
     
  24. Regandron

    Regandron Forum Resident

    Me neither, but then i don't think the song is about Lenny Bruce...
     
  25. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Essex, UK
    Like all songs of this type, superficially it's about one thing, while at the same time making some salient points about the era. You don't have to like Lenny Bruce to appreciate what he went through (if you're willing to do rudimentary research). There are also parallels to things going on today, as you would expect.

    Lyrically it's rather direct and to the point, which you can't always say about Dylan. I'd also say that if you don't know who Lenny Bruce is the song can still be enjoyed, imo. It's clear it's a song about persecution, for example. Overall, the song tells of a downtrodden individual, which again is a universal concern. Apart from that, in 2019, if you're not at least curious enough to type "Lenny Bruce" into Google - then perhaps at the end of the day you simply don't care either way. Note to youngsters: Eventually all the music you enjoy will eventually include references to things long gone and no longer remembered. God gave us Google to help out.

    LYRICS

    Lenny Bruce is dead but his ghost lived on and on
    Never did get any Golden Globe award, never made it to Synanon
    He was an outlaw, that's for sure
    More of an outlaw than you ever were
    Lenny Bruce is gone but his spirit's living on and on.
    Maybe he had some problems, maybe some things that he couldn't work out
    But he sure was funny and he sure told the truth and he knew what he was talking about
    Never robbed any churches, nor cut of any babies heads
    He just took the folks in high places and he shined a light in their beds
    He's on some other shore, he didn't want to live anymore.
    Lenny Bruce is dead but he didn't commit any crime
    He just had the insight to rip off the lid before its time
    I rode with him in a taxi once, only for a mile and a half
    Seemed like it took a couple of months
    Lenny Bruce moved on and like the ones that killed him, gone.
    They say he was sick 'cause he didn't play by the rules
    He just showed the wise men of his day to be nothing more than fools
    They stamped him and they labeled him like they do with pants and shirts
    He fought a war on a battlefield where every victory hurts
    Lenny Bruce was bad, he was the brother that you never had.
     
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