Song of the Day #721: ‘Born in Time’ – Bob Dylan

Under the Red Sky is notable for its extensive use of big-name backing musicians. Dylan had played with his share of notables in the past but the lineup on this album looked sort of like a benefit concert.

Contributors included Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bruce Hornsby, David Crosby, George Harrison, Slash and Elton John. But for all that star power, you’d never guess this wasn’t a typical Dylan backing band. Hornsby and John don’t launch into piano solos that betray their signature sounds… Slash doesn’t start shredding in the middle of ‘Wiggle Wiggle.’ They just play, and they must have had a hell of a time doing it.

The best-known, and best-loved, track on Under the Red Sky is ‘Born in Time.’ This song contains one of Dylan’s most soaring melodies and it’s touching to hear him sing it in his diminishing voice.

This album was the first time, to my ears, that Dylan’s voice turned a corner from just being creaky and unusual to actively failing him. On his albums in the 90s and 00s, his range would become smaller and smaller and his voice would break on some notes. That started here. But despite that limitation, he manages to deliver a sublime vocal performance of ‘Born in Time.’

Coming up over the next two weekends… Dylan puts down his songwriting pen. It would be an unheard-of seven years before fans heard another original song by The Bard. But he filled that time with a pair of sensational covers albums.

In the lonely night
In the blinking stardust of a pale blue light
You’re comin’ thru to me in black and white
When we were made of dreams

You’re blowing down the shaky street
You’re hearing my heart beat
In the record-breaking heat
Where we were born in time

Not one more night, not one more kiss
Not this time baby, no more of this
Takes too much skill, takes too much will
It’s revealing
You came, you saw, just like the law
You married young, just like your ma
You tried and tried, you made me slide
You left me reelin’ with this feelin’

On the rising curve
Where the ways of nature will test every nerve
You won’t get anything you don’t deserve
Where we were born in time

You pressed me once, you pressed me twice
You hang the flame, you’ll pay the price
Oh babe, that fire
Is still smokin’
You were snow, you were rain
You were striped, you were plain
Oh babe, truer words
Have not been spoken or broken

In the hills of mystery
In the foggy web of destiny
You can have what’s left of me
Where we were born in time

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #721: ‘Born in Time’ – Bob Dylan

  1. Dana says:

    I don’t know about a soaring melody, but a nice enough song.

  2. oldfan says:

    it would be nice if you knew the slightest knowledge of the history of that song…but you clearly don’t as it is central to your point…read my friend jesus…will some bloggers read….go find the books on the originaly recording of the song if you talk aobut song and voice – which, of course you wrong on….know what else was he doing as he recorded that album….you are a total amateur….when you qualify..with knowledge then post.

  3. Clay says:

    Thanks for the comment and I’m sorry the post didn’t meet your standards. Allow me to give you a full refund.

  4. truefan says:

    I’m not sure how the blogger can tell his post didn’t meet oldfan’s standards, as it is difficult to ascertain what exactly oldfan is trying to say.

    Apparently he wants bloggers to read his friend Jesus (wonder how he came to know Jesus, and how Jesus feels about the way oldfan mangles both His ideals and the English language). He then seems to want the blogger to find a book on the originaly recording, but I’m not sure what an originaly recording is. Finally, he berates the blogger for being “wrong on” …. something about song and voice. I just can’t be sure..

    Oldfan, a small tip… if you intend to go off on a tirade referring to someone else as an amateur, you ought to check your spelling and grammar before making a complete ass out of yourself.

  5. Dana says:

    I have to side with Oldfan here. This blogger is clearly not a friend of Jesus and has never heard the originaly recording. Please tell me where I can get my refund.

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