License to POLL: Which is the best track on Bob Dylan's 'Infidels'?

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Seems this album has never been polled. The first Dylan album I ever bought, so I've retained huge fondness for it. 'Jokerman' for me.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Jokerman 9
Sweetheart Like You 1
Neighborhood Bully 1
License to Kill 1
Man of Peace 0
Union Sundown 0
I and I 0
Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight 0


my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:24 (seven years ago) link

Sweetheart vs. License for me. Love this album.

Jimmywine Dyspeptic, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:28 (seven years ago) link

Half of this album is garbage. Probably "Jokerman." His iniging on that thing + Sly & Robbie = thing of wonder

A deeper shade of lol (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:29 (seven years ago) link

"jokerman dance to the nightingale tune, bird fly high by the light of the moon . . ."

one of my favorite of his moral condemnation songs from the recovering-evangelical phase

reggie (qualmsley), Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:29 (seven years ago) link

the internal rhymes on that thing

A deeper shade of lol (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:32 (seven years ago) link

Jokerman, over License To Kill

Check out this video, Tom Petty's stellar cover of License To Kill from Bob's 50th birthday celebration concert in the early 90s. So good, and easily my favorite thing from that show.

kornrulez6969, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:52 (seven years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Monday, 10 June 2013 00:01 (seven years ago) link

only heard this album in full for the first time last week. Knopfler seemed pretty restrained, you can barely tell he's there.

brimstead, Monday, 10 June 2013 01:09 (seven years ago) link

hope this works, posting on an ipad. "Jokerman" on Letterman.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwdUwxhjnYY

brimstead, Monday, 10 June 2013 01:11 (seven years ago) link

I voted jokerman, but i might be biased because i was born with a snake in both of my fists while a hurricane was blowing.

Treeship, Monday, 10 June 2013 01:12 (seven years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 00:01 (seven years ago) link

hznfrst 3 weeks ago

You missed the point entirely! I have practically every album he ever made starting with the first one. I continue to buy his albums because they are works of genius, most of them. What I don't like are his live shows, and then only his crappy singing! You are one clueless doofus!

· in reply to Justin B Hill (Show the comment)

Treeship, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 00:16 (seven years ago) link

the comment section on that letterman performance vid is very heated

Treeship, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 00:17 (seven years ago) link

i wish dylan had kept the plugz around for a while.

fact checking cuz, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 00:23 (seven years ago) link

these results are crazy

Jimmywine Dyspeptic, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 00:32 (seven years ago) link

what did you vote for?

Treeship, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 00:33 (seven years ago) link

Sweetheart. I didn't think it would win, but License getting the same number of votes as Neighborhood Bully? Crazy. And Jokerman, while great, is way overrated here. Also, lousy turnout.

Jimmywine Dyspeptic, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 20:07 (seven years ago) link

missed this poll somehow...might've thrown a vote to I&I

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 20:15 (seven years ago) link

five years pass...

I voted jokerman, but i might be biased because i was born with a snake in both of my fists while a hurricane was blowing.

― Treeship, Sunday, June 9, 2013 6:12 PM

:))

Always a little bummed that this album so short... they recorded some other great songs in those sessions. I guess this blurb explains things somewhat?: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infidels_(Bob_Dylan_album)#Final_sequencing_and_mixing

(Also, LOL @ the description of "Man of Peace," in the "Songs" section of that Wikipedia page.)

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Thursday, 2 August 2018 17:42 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

this is the first dylan record in his entire discography that hasn't really worked for me, it feels overworked and sleepy in a way none of his previous records were. maybe it'll grow on me! but it was very surprising how much of a comedown from the (ecstatic, wonderful, incredibly arranged) christian period this is

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Saturday, 28 March 2020 15:48 (one year ago) link

I agree it’s not as strong overall as Saved or Shot of Love, but I’m more likely to listen to it… maybe because I was young when it was “new“ and on the family turntable, so it has that kind of resonance for me. Plus the first two tracks are totally fucking awesome.

morrisp, Saturday, 28 March 2020 17:09 (one year ago) link

Knopfler's production adds the required crispness, and the good to great songs -- there aren't many -- are as sharp as its two predecessors'. The cripsness also underlines what a hysteric he'd become.

Still, "Jokerman" is in my top five Dylan.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 28 March 2020 17:12 (one year ago) link

I like Infidels but this just nags at my enjoyment so much

Dylan spent roughly a month on remixing and overdubbing, holding a number of sessions in June re-recording vocal tracks using newly rewritten lyrics. During this time, he decided to cast aside "Foot of Pride" and "Blind Willie McTell", replacing them with "Union Sundown".

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 28 March 2020 17:16 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

My friend shared this on FB: A Canadian band covered Infidels in the style of Dylan w/The Plugz on Letterman.

https://outfitdoesinfidels.bandcamp.com/album/daniel-romanos-outfit-do-what-could-have-been-infidels-by-bob-dylan-the-plugz

"...And the Gods Socially Distanced" (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 00:53 (ten months ago) link

fuck that's really good actually

budo jeru, Wednesday, 27 May 2020 00:59 (ten months ago) link

You should cross-ref it here: Bob Dylan's punk period

Charging for Brewskis™ (morrisp), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 01:28 (ten months ago) link

that petty cover of license to kill great

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 04:16 (ten months ago) link

Bob Dylan has never had a good song.

Vegemite Is My Grrl (Eric H.), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 04:22 (ten months ago) link

you're correct, everyone single one is great

in twelve parts (lamonti), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 07:58 (ten months ago) link

xpost damn you've finally opened my eyes, time to toss those records i guess

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 08:00 (ten months ago) link

three weeks pass...

maybe it'll grow on me

it did

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 22 June 2020 01:58 (nine months ago) link

i love "jokerman" and "sweetheart like you" and sly and robbie's playing throughout. the prudction is weird and wobbly and (i'm guessing) no other dylan record sounds like it

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 22 June 2020 02:00 (nine months ago) link

Neighborhood Bully 1

lol @ this tho

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 22 June 2020 02:00 (nine months ago) link

i mean the production is very crisp but the record sounds.. out of balance

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 22 June 2020 02:12 (nine months ago) link

the subject matter of "neighborhood bully" and "union sundown" makes me really miss jesus

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 22 June 2020 02:16 (nine months ago) link

Brad, you’re aware that Foot of Pride and Blind Willie McTell of Bootleg Series 1-3 were originally going to be on this in place of Union Sundown?

That would have been a monster.

Night of the Living Crustheads (PBKR), Monday, 22 June 2020 02:39 (nine months ago) link

oh wow those songs are amazing! wtf bob

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 22 June 2020 02:42 (nine months ago) link

Yeah, it’s almost willfully perverse. One of the real shames in his catalogue.

Night of the Living Crustheads (PBKR), Monday, 22 June 2020 02:45 (nine months ago) link

I don't like how "License to Kill" was recorded - it sounds really weak. Later on, I saw the Letterman performance praised by so many fans, and I was stunned by how much better it came across in a new arrangement with the Plugz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkEx4BDhRjw

But otherwise, it's a drag on the album, and "Neighborhood Bully" and "Union Sundown" are pretty terrible too, which is stunning from someone who made his name with topical protest songs, albeit 20 years earlier. "Foot of Pride" and "Blind Willie McTell" would have been an immense improvement, but without them I'm not even sure I can call this a good album, much less a great one.

birdistheword, Monday, 22 June 2020 03:44 (nine months ago) link

eight months pass...

The next Bootleg Series will reportedly collect the Infidels sessions with a tentative May or June release date.

birdistheword, Sunday, 14 March 2021 21:09 (one month ago) link

It's not a favorite, but I did enjoy an alternate tracklist that dropped "License to Kill," "Neighborhood Bully" and "Union Sundown" while adding "Foot of Pride," the unreleased version of "Someone's Got a Hold of My Heart" (lots of great guitar), and the electric version of "Blind Willie McTell."

birdistheword, Sunday, 14 March 2021 21:12 (one month ago) link

"Jokerman" is a top five Dylan vocal performance, and one of the sharpest interpolations of Biblical allusions.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 14 March 2021 21:18 (one month ago) link

Guess I’ll need to by this, to compensate for my purchase of Rough Cuts.

beer drops on my keytar (morrisp), Sunday, 14 March 2021 21:31 (one month ago) link

Jokerman is so good, love how it's all over-the-top Biblical/apocalyptic language and then

Resting in the fields, far from the turbulent space
half asleep 'neath the stars, with a small dog licking your face

Lily Dale, Sunday, 14 March 2021 21:46 (one month ago) link

and my god Robbie Shakespeare's bass line.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 14 March 2021 21:48 (one month ago) link

Was it Dylan or Knopfler's idea to hire Sly & Robbie? Regardless, it's a pretty inspired mix having them as the rhythm section with Knopfler and Mick Taylor on guitars.

birdistheword, Sunday, 14 March 2021 22:21 (one month ago) link

wiki says it was bob who wanted to have them

also... apparently before knopfler he asked bowie, costello and Zappa to produce it!

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 14 March 2021 22:25 (one month ago) link

« Jokerman » has become one of my favourite Dylan songs over the last few years. It’s the only song of his that I still play regularly (together with a selection from More Blood More Tracks).

AlXTC from Paris, Sunday, 14 March 2021 22:34 (one month ago) link

I’ve tries to make alt version of the album but there are really terrible songs to deal with...

AlXTC from Paris, Sunday, 14 March 2021 22:35 (one month ago) link

it's a terrible album. Even the pretty "Sweetheart Like You" gets on my nerves. Elsewhere Knopfler can't shut up with the guitar squiggles.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 14 March 2021 22:39 (one month ago) link

no way dogg

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 14 March 2021 22:41 (one month ago) link

Yeah, weird take

beer drops on my keytar (morrisp), Sunday, 14 March 2021 22:44 (one month ago) link

oh yes. "Neighborhood Bully"? "Union Sundown"? "Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight" ("CUZ I CANNOT HAAAANDLE I-I-I-I-IT" -- step AWAY, dude)?

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 14 March 2021 22:45 (one month ago) link

Let's agree it's half-terrible.

Halfway there but for you, Sunday, 14 March 2021 22:50 (one month ago) link

I'll insist Empire Burlesque has many more good songs despite the lack of a classy production.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 14 March 2021 22:53 (one month ago) link

Well, he ain't alone in hating it (see Robert Christgau or Greil Marcus's take on it) but this is the first I've heard of anyone dumping on Knopfler's guitar work. That's just WRONG.

I like "Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight" though, I LOVE how Dylan sings "You were so fine, Clark Gable would have fell at your feet and laid his life on the line" and the way his harmonica and Knopfler's (or Taylor's?) guitar blend together right after that.

But "Neighborhood Bully"and "Union Sundown" both suck.

birdistheword, Sunday, 14 March 2021 22:55 (one month ago) link

He's too busy on "Jokerman," on which he can't resist answering Dylan with okay squiggles. I prefer a dryer take with just organ, piano, and the astonishing Sly and Robbie rhythm section.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 14 March 2021 23:03 (one month ago) link

I don't like Infidels as much as I used to, but I am jacked for this. IIRC, the Heylin Sessions book lists 50+ songs recorded during these sessions, including numerous covers.

Any chance the Letterman versions could be on this?

is that a haruomi hosono sword? (PBKR), Sunday, 14 March 2021 23:03 (one month ago) link

^Would be great, but v unlikely. Btw – where was this news posted? I just did a quick search and found nuthin’

beer drops on my keytar (morrisp), Sunday, 14 March 2021 23:06 (one month ago) link

Any chance the Letterman versions could be on this?

We'll see. I hope so. On the album, "License to Kill" flat out sucks, but the Letterman performance actually makes it sound great. (Even the way the audio and the audience obscures the opening line helps because it's one of the album's stupid space travel references.)

birdistheword, Sunday, 14 March 2021 23:08 (one month ago) link

^Would be great, but v unlikely. Btw – where was this news posted? I just did a quick search and found nuthin’

The new issue of the Dylan mag ISIS has an article on it. I don't get the magazine, people just reposted that info on various Dylan/music forums.

birdistheword, Sunday, 14 March 2021 23:09 (one month ago) link

FWIW, I also think “Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight” has some great lines... it’s a remarkably “vulnerable” song, too.

birdistheword – do you know who/what is being referenced in the lines directly preceding the Clark Gable one?:

Oh, do you remember St. James Street
Where you blew Jackie P.’s mind?

beer drops on my keytar (morrisp), Monday, 15 March 2021 07:00 (one month ago) link

No idea, I just figured Dylan liked the sound of "Jackie P." and "St. James Street" (which is loaded with so many references - even bringing to mind St. James Hotel from "Blind Willie McTell" - that it may just stand out as a memorable name rather than any place he had in mind).

Just as a test, I tried a google autofill search on "Jackie P____," and it didn't produce any likely results.

birdistheword, Monday, 15 March 2021 07:30 (one month ago) link

I bet it's a reference to the late Quebec Separatist leader Jacques Parizeau. St. James Street is in London, where he received a doctorate from the London School of Economics.

Halfway there but for you, Monday, 15 March 2021 12:34 (one month ago) link

ISIS issued an update:

In my editorial in the new ISIS, I mentioned that “The Bootleg Series Vol. 16” would be with us in May/June 2021. Unfortunately, since sending the magazine to the printer, to quote Bob Dylan, “things have changed.” Originally planned for May, around the time of Dylan’s birthday, the release slipped to June but has now been re-schedulable for much later in the year and will appear nearer the more ‘usual’ period for “BS” releases.

https://www.bobdylanisis.com/access-all-areas-blog/

birdistheword, Tuesday, 16 March 2021 17:17 (one month ago) link

"schedulable"?

https://thumbs.gfycat.com/AdolescentDefiniteBarasingha-size_restricted.gif

birdistheword, Tuesday, 16 March 2021 17:18 (one month ago) link

I trusted ISIS about a release date in May, but they could not hold on to it very long...

beer drops on my keytar (morrisp), Tuesday, 16 March 2021 18:10 (one month ago) link

lol

righteous oxide (PBKR), Tuesday, 16 March 2021 19:28 (one month ago) link

Forgot the Dream Syndicate released a great "Blind Willie McTell" cover in 1988, back when it was still an "unreleased" song. They obviously heard the circulating bootleg, judging by the arrangement, and they improve upon it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwZ9j0ncjEY

birdistheword, Tuesday, 16 March 2021 21:53 (one month ago) link

Found more info on it - it's been collected on various compilations, and it's currently available through bandcamp:

https://stevewynn1.bandcamp.com/album/steve-sings-bob

BLIND WILLIE MCTELL - THE DREAM SYNDICATE
Musicians: Steve Wynn, Paul B. Cutler, Mark Walton, Chris
Cacavas, Dennis Duck (1988)

The Dream Syndicate had just played a well-known TV show in Germany and the show's host Alan Bangs invited me back to his place for some serious drinking and record listening. He had an incredible collection and saved the crowning jewel for last. It was an unreleased Dylan track from the "Infidels" sessions called "Blind Willie McTell." I couldn't believe it. How could this song, so much better than anything else from that session, have been left off the album. I felt it was our mission to let people hear the song and, much like an enthused town crier, it felt best to spread the word with my own voice. This version is from the late great Deirdre O' Donoghue's radio show on KCRW in Santa Monica and one year later it was released as a single by the UK magazine "Bucketful of Brains," marking the first time the song had officially seen the light of day, a few years before Dylan's version was released on the first of his bootleg series. We even had to get the permission of his publishing staff to put out our version before he did. I like to think that Bob sat in his home one night, listened to our version of "Blind Willie McTell," smiled and said "That will do."

birdistheword, Tuesday, 16 March 2021 21:56 (one month ago) link

three weeks pass...

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