Abandoned Songs

Some songs just aren’t meant to be sung, they are too personal, too raw, too dangerous, too honest. I’ve done it. I wrote the lines “I told him I didn’t like driving across water/He told me he had a daughter, and was married to someone who wasn’t me.” It’s unsingable, it takes too much bravery, and though I love the album Six Strings That Drew Blood by Rowland S Howard, there is something too vulnerable about singing your poetry, those strings demand a heavy price, and blood would not even be the half of it – even with the guitar solid between you and the audience. Abandoned Love, by Dylan is one of my favorite Dylan songs, it failed to make it onto Desire, dropped in favor of the grossly inferior Joey, nor onto Blood on the Tracks (where I personally think it belongs). Dylan never recorded the song. He played it once fittingly, at The Bitter End on Bleeker Street, New York, a place which helped launch his career, and he gave it back this gift. He never played it again. The song is so infinitely personal, he sings “whereever the children go, I’ll follow them…” and my heart breaks each time. He is at his vitriolic, tortured, sad, bitchy best. This is the song Ballad in Plain D wishes it was. I would almost apologize for the gleeful whooping audience, but I can’t, the joy of hearing Dylan unguarded is almost too much to bear.

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