I was joking around with some friends last week saying that I've been on this weird Bob Dylan kick lately… like for the last 18 years. Since those days when Bob's music first struck me like lightning‚ I've discovered the classics‚ the obscure‚ the b-sides‚ the bootlegs and so on. I realized early on that it was going to be a long road‚ and fortunately. it keeps getting better with age. There's no other musician that speaks to me the way Bob Dylan does.
Like so much of his discography‚ his last several albums have worked like a broadband connection to my soul. But still‚ in his massive catalog‚ there're a few albums that I just haven't gotten to yet‚ one of them is Oh Mercy. And I still haven't gotten to it. And by gotten to it‚ I mean, sunk my teeth in and let it become part of my blood like so many of his records. I've come to learn that one of the more popular tunes on Oh Mercy is "Most of the Time."
Well‚ being a bit oblivious to the tune‚ I heard a stripped down version of it on Tell Tale Signs -- the release from last year of alternate takes‚ b-sides‚ unreleased material from the Oh Mercy through Modern Times era‚ roughly 1989 through 2006. I highly recommend it -- it's fantastic. I remember Ben Knox-Miller of the Low Anthem telling us jokingly in an interview something along the lines of‚ "It's amazing that this guy's unreleased material is better than anything else that's come out in the past fifteen years!"
Yeah‚ there's some truth to that. This version of "Most of the Time" was my first experience consciously listening to this song and it's just Bob with guitar and harmonic. I feel like I've been listening to this song one to two times a day for the last two months. It really hits deep. Listen...
It's Dylan's poetic magic. When he says "most of the time" he's telling you everything else without having to say it. And unless you're not human‚ it's crushing. It's hairs-standing-on-end-eyes-watering-up type of crushing.
Of course a tune like this has some history. I was telling a friend about this version and how I can't stop listening to it. She was quick to inform me that this song is playing in her favorite scene from High Fidelity… interesting‚ I had no idea. Hmm... I wish I didn't. Maybe.