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

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

  1. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I think the song is obviously -- and specifically in its detail -- is about Lenny Bruce, and the idea that it's not seems like excessive invention to me, an exercise in trying to read one's own meaning into someone else's work rather than reading the work itself.

    While obviously there's plenty of art where the art obscures his or her subject or intent, this doesn't seem like one of those kinds of piece. Also, I think Occam's Razor is a logical principal that serves a lot of things well, including artistic interpretation: the song is called Lenny Bruce, it talks about specific aspects of Lenny Bruce's life as a topical comic who was constantly being jailed and fighting a battle over speech and expression and a drug addict whose addiction killed him (who never made it to Synanon), there's little to suggest it's not about Lenny Bruce (though there's obviously license in the narrative too), therefore, I assume the song is about Lenny Bruce.

    I agree with @Vaughan, the song also has subtext -- the cost of being an outlaw, and of speaking truth to power -- which also is pretty clear.

    And I also think the "you" in the song, like the "you" addressed in many if not all the songs on Shot of Love, is the singer speaking to himself. The songs of Shot of Love make a lot more sense, and the whole theme of the album -- praying for a shot of grace to hold on to your faith in a world where it's easy to backslide -- stands in greater relief if the "you" addressed in many of these songs is mostly read as the singer talking to himself.

    Obviously, that's not literally true in every song. "In the Summertime" seems to be a song about a born-again experience of being touched by the presence of god, and the you in that seems either to be the singer's savior, or the person who brought him to his revelation, or some conflation of both.

    But by and large a lot of the songs on Shot of Love seem to involve the singer talking to and about himself, that's why it seems much more like an inward-looking album, even when the nominal subject of a song is Lenny Bruce -- than an outward looking one.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
    PhantomStranger likes this.
  2. streetlegal

    streetlegal Forum Resident

    Replacing “Lenny Bruce” with “Angelina,” replacing “Dead Man, Dead Man” with the Bootleg Series “epic” version, and adding “Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar” changes the dynamic of the album, making it a much deeper listening experience and spiritual journey. A more cohesive and “complete” work.

    It becomes more of a dark night of the soul.

    Each of the aforementioned songs deal with a common theme of urban/urbane decay and violence. Reports from the “ghetto” and “combat zone.” In this light, the final track, "Every Grain of Sand,” with its imagery drawn from nature and tranquility, stands in stark relief (in both senses of the word).
    Dave Gilmour's Cat likes this.
  3. streetlegal

    streetlegal Forum Resident

    "The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar" is one song from Dylan's vast catalog that I keep returning to. Sometimes I get a bit weary of 12 bar blues shuffles on recent albums. This track always reminds me how it can be done. Probably in my top 25 Dylan tracks.

    Love the *sound* of the music on the Shot of Love sessions.
    mark ab and Dave Gilmour's Cat like this.
  4. Deja Doh

    Deja Doh Forum Resident

    Pasadena, CA
    Heart of Mine. Easy.
    groundharp, mark ab and Who'sTommy like this.
  5. Scope J

    Scope J Senior Member

    mark ab likes this.
  6. andy75

    andy75 Forum Resident

    My favourite Dylan album of the 80's together with Empire Burlesque. Wish Heart of Mine had been the first version. Angelina should have been on there too.

    Voted Every Grain of Sand.
    mark ab and Dave Gilmour's Cat like this.
  7. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Forum Resident

    Midway, KY
    A great album that grows stronger for me. Every Grain Of Sand is one of his best ever. I also like Heart Of Mine, Shot Of Love, Groom's Still Waiting At The Altar and Lenny Bruce very much.
  8. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    Voted for “Every Grain of Sand.” If I were forced to make a list of my top five all-time favorite Dylan songs, this and one other (“It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding”) would be the only automatic choices. The other three would require some real thought.

    I love the album version, and the demo as well. They’re very different in feel. The album version has a gorgeous meditative serenity, while the demo is more searching and longing.
  9. stepeanut

    stepeanut Only the innocent can lie with conviction

    I have always enjoyed this album, especially the title track, “Heart of Mine”, “Groom’s”, and “In the Summertime”. But the one I voted for is “Every Grain of Sand”; beautiful melody, and a wonderful lyric that is both specific in its religiosity and universal in its sentiment. I saw him perform it just once, in 1993, back when it was still a rare treat.
  10. gkella

    gkella Let there be songs to fill the air

    Toronto, Canada
    Every Grain Of Sand..one of my top five Dylan songs ever...
  11. jgkojak

    jgkojak Mull of Kansas

    Lawrence, KS
    Sad part is he was SO close to an absolutely brilliant record here...

    Add Carribean Wind and Angelina
    subtract Trouble and Watered Down Love and maybe Property of Jesus
  12. "Heart of mine so malicious and so full of guile
    Give you an inch and you’ll take a mile
    Don’t let yourself fall
    Don’t let yourself stumble
    If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime
    Heart of mine"
  13. mark ab

    mark ab Forum Resident

    A very underrated album in my opinion. Some astounding songs left off it but it's still great. Fantastic raw sound.
  14. Dave Gilmour's Cat

    Dave Gilmour's Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Lenny Bruce is a key track for me and certainly adds to the “depth” of the album.
    Marty T likes this.
  15. yesstiles

    yesstiles Senior Member

    So this album received a cd remaster treatment that included Groom?

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