Song of the Day #693: ‘I and I’ – Bob Dylan

I’ve been playing Infidels a lot during the past week, learning it the way you do with a new album, and it’s growing on me more and more. I’m planning to rank all of Dylan’s albums once I’ve cycled through his discography on these Dylan Weekends and I’m already anticipating what a daunting task that will be.

I’ve always had my favorites and my second tier, but I’ve now introduced great new albums such as Infidels, Planet Waves, Street Legal and Slow Train Coming, with another undiscovered album still to come. And then there are the albums I still don’t own but have come to appreciate from afar — Self Portrait, Dylan, Saved and Shot of Love.

Right now I’m guessing Infidels will fall somewhere in the 10-15 range, which sounds only so-so until you read off the names of the albums that will sit above it on the list. Given Dylan’s catalog, 10-15 is pretty damn good.

I give Mark Knopfler a lot of the credit for the success of Infidels… this is one of the better sounding albums Dylan has released. And if at times it sounds like a Dire Straits record with a new lead vocalist, well, that’s not a bad thing.

And Dylan is in fine form here, both as a writer and a singer. The ballads — ‘Sweetheart Like You,’ ‘License to Kill’ and ‘Don’t Fall Apart On Me Tonight’ — are spot on, and he brings an urgency and passion to the heavier tracks.

Right now my favorite song on the album is ‘I and I,’ one of the most lyrically compelling tracks and one of the grooviest.

Note: I can’t mention Infidels without pointing out that it could have been even better had Dylan included ‘Blind Willie McTell‘ in the tracklist. That song, later released on the Bootleg Series, is one of the finest tracks Dylan has ever recorded. Lord knows what he was smoking when he decided to leave it on the cutting room floor.

Been so long since a strange woman has slept in my bed
Look how sweet she sleeps, how free must be her dreams
In another lifetime she must have owned the world, or been faithfully wed
To some righteous king who wrote psalms beside moonlit streams

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

Think I’ll go out and go for a walk
Not much happenin’ here, nothin’ ever does
Besides, if she wakes up now, she’ll just want me to talk
I got nothin’ to say, ’specially about whatever was

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

Took an untrodden path once, where the swift don’t win the race
It goes to the worthy, who can divide the word of truth
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

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

Outside of two men on a train platform there’s nobody in sight
They’re waiting for spring to come, smoking down the track
The world could come to an end tonight, but that’s all right
She should still be there sleepin’ when I get back

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

Noontime, and I’m still pushin’ myself along the road, the darkest part
Into the narrow lanes, I can’t stumble or stay put
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

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

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3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #693: ‘I and I’ – Bob Dylan

  1. Dana says:

    Yeah, I need to get this album. Another great SOTD. Dylan in Knopfler’s hands is a very good thing.

  2. Will says:

    There’s just something about Bob’s singing on this track that is a miracle. It’s always been in my top-10 songs of his. And Knopfler’s playing is the best on this track.

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