Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body Joseph Addison, English Essayist, Poet, Dramatist and Statesman. 1672 - 1719

'Clarice's Book Page' is the 'reading room' of the 'Elizannie' page at:

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Bob Dylan: Love Minus Zero/No Limit

Yesterday Elizannie published a blog to wish Bob Dylan a happy 70th birthday. Amongst all his other skills, Dylan is a master at using words and his love of language shows in his songs and speech. So today I thought I would illustrate this by showing one of his early songs, written c1964 and recorded on his Bringing It All Back Home* Album in 1965: Love Minus Zero/No Limit

*{The album cover for Bringing It All Back Home is shown above. A proud possession as it is the first Dylan Album {LP} that I ever bought. It cost 30/-
[£1.50p] and I was still at school so to raise the funds I sold all my Cliff Richard LPs to Marion Richards. My friend Shirl still thinks I am mad.}

Whilst LMZ/NL is a love song, written to his forthcoming wife Sara, it is for his fans an early 'showpiece' for Dylan's mastery of musical composition, his power with words and his influences by allusions to works including those by Blake, Edgar Allan Poe and also the Old Testament. It has been recorded by many other artistes including those as diverse as the Walker Brothers and Rod Stewart! Dylan has performed it on many tours over the years.

This is one of my favourite Dylan songs, but then I do have rather a lot of favourites...

Love Minus Zero/No Limit
My love she speaks like silence,
Without ideals or violence,
She doesn't have to say she's faithful,
Yet she's true, like ice, like fire.
People carry roses,
Make promises by the hours,
My love she laughs like the flowers,
Valentines can't buy her.

In the dime stores and bus stations,
People talk of situations,
Read books, repeat quotations,
Draw conclusions on the wall.
Some speak of the future,
My love she speaks softly,
She knows there's no success like failure
And that failure's no success at all.

The cloak and dagger dangles,
Madams light the candles.
In ceremonies of the horsemen,
Even the pawn must hold a grudge.
Statues made of match sticks,
Crumble into one another,
My love winks, she does not bother,
She knows too much to argue or to judge.

The bridge at midnight trembles,
The country doctor rambles,
Bankers' nieces seek perfection,
Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring.
The wind howls like a hammer,
The night blows cold and rainy,
My love she's like some raven
At my window with a broken wing.

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