Tag Archives: Bob Dylan

Singer-Songwriting Rockers 2: “Most of the Time”

The song opened up side two of Bob Dylan’s 1989 album “Oh Mercy” and, frankly, slipped under the radar of my attention. A bit more than a decade and a half later, I picked up a Dylan compilation with the ungainly title “The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs, Rare and Unreleased, 1989-2006.”  It included a version of “Most of the Time” consisting of Dylan’s clear voice, acoustic guitar, and harmonica. To paraphrase “Seinfeld,” it was real and it was spectacular.

The song is simple, in the best sense of the word. Lyrically, it is an ironic theme and variation, with a cumulatively devastating effect. One of the choruses gives the idea:

Most of the time
My head is on straight
Most of the time
I’m strong enough not to hate
I don’t build up illusion ’til it makes me sick
I ain’t afraid of confusion no matter how thick
I can smile in the face of mankind
Don’t even remember what her lips felt like on mine
Most of the time

The melody is simple, yes, but nuanced and flavorful enough to stand up to repeated listenings.

Betty Levette did a soulful cover on a Dylan tribute CD, but hey, you singers out there, we need more! In the meantime, give a listen to Bob.