Mississippi/Babylon – Bob Dylan’s “Mississippi”

tell tale signs

The song “Mississippi” seems to me to be a Bob Dylan take on “Babylon” which seemed appropriate to follow my last post of an Emmylou Harris song. Unfortunately I could not post the music version I like the most which is on “Tell Tale Signs” (the Bootleg Series vol. 8, disc 1). But this is a decent live version anyway. I only included part of the lyrics that seem most straightforward concerning a “Babylonian captivity” type of existence (I don’t know if I should call it a “life“.)

I especially like Dylan’s “punch line” ‘…stayed in Mississippi a day too long‘ which seems to capture the captivating qualities of “Babylon” and our own susceptibility thereto.

Every step of the way we walk the line
Your days are numbered, so are mine
Time is pilin’ up, we struggle and we scrape
We’re all boxed in, nowhere to escape

City’s just a jungle; more games to play
Trapped in the heart of it, tryin’ to get away
I was raised in the country, I been workin’ in the town
I been in trouble ever since I set my suitcase down

Got nothin’ for you, I had nothin’ before
Don’t even have anything for myself anymore
Sky full of fire, pain pourin’ down
Nothing you can sell me, I’ll see you around

All my powers of expression and thoughts so sublime
Could never do you justice in reason or rhyme
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

more: http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/mississippi#ixzz2cvtNaESl

Comments, questions, etc. are always welcomed!


BMC @ Manifest Propensity

One thought on “Mississippi/Babylon – Bob Dylan’s “Mississippi”

  1. Bryan says:

    Dylan has used the theme of the individual in alienation from the collective society throughout his body of songwriting. A fairly early song that explicitly uses the theme is “Nobody ‘Cept You” written in 1973. This song is akin to his explicit “Christian” era in that it is more about the “positive” side of the theme (alienation here does not necessarily mean alienation from everything since the relationship with God transcends the temporal/physical separation).

    There’s nothing ’round here I believe in
    ’Cept you, yeah you
    And there’s nothing to me that’s sacred
    ’Cept you, yeah you

    You’re the one that reaches me
    You’re the one that I admire
    Every time we meet together
    My soul feels like it’s on fire
    Nothing matters to me
    And there’s nothing I desire
    ’Cept you, yeah you

    Nothing ’round here I care to try for
    ’Cept you, yeah you
    Got nothing left to live or die for
    ’Cept you, yeah you

    There’s a hymn I used to hear
    In the churches all the time
    Make me feel so good inside
    So peaceful, so sublime
    And there’s nothing to remind me of that
    Old familiar chime
    ’Cept you, uh huh you

    Used to play in the cemetery
    Dance and sing and run when I was a child
    Never seemed strange
    But now I just pass mournfully by
    That place where the bones of life are piled
    I know somethin’ has changed
    I’m a stranger here and no one sees me
    ’Cept you, yeah you

    Nothing much matters or seems to please me
    ’Cept you, yeah you
    Nothing hypnotizes me
    Or holds me in a spell
    Everything runs by me
    Just like water from a well
    Everybody wants my attention
    Everybody’s got something to sell
    ’Cept you, yeah you

    Copyright © 1973 by Ram’s Horn Music; renewed 2001 by Ram’s Horn Music

    Read more: http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/nobody-cept-you#ixzz2dDyv9RVc

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