Bob Dylan – “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine” from John Wesley Harding [1968]

This is Dylan at his very best.  Three verses, no chorus (this seems the preferred format on the whole of JWH).

In the first-person, he describes witnessing the piety, passion, and wisdom of St. Augustine during a dream.  In the third and final verse, in all candor, he admits with horror that he, the dreamer, was complicit in condemning the saint to death.  Upon waking, he cannot escape the shame of the dream and breaks down.

I have sold out good people before.  I have ignored the suffering of others.  Shame is a constant reminder of how far we are from perfection.

This album (buy it here) is so beautifully crafted and performed (one of the best bands of all time, no lie).

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1960s, Country, Rock

6 responses to “Shame

  1. Daniel

    John Wesley Harding is one of my very favourite albums – it has this ethereal air about it, like Alan Lomax had brought an old folk singer into a modern studio and got him to record with a session band. It’s hard to understand how Dylan went from the hallucinatory wordplay and portent of Blonde on Blonde to this within a couple of years. The man’s genius is staggering.

    Anyway, I love the blog – it’s great when you can find a site with tastes that correspond so well with your own. Keep it up!

  2. This is a great version of IDISSA. It’s a duet with Joan Baez, from 1976. I love the 1967-76 Dylan, and JWH is my favorite Dylan album. It is such a good album that it’s hard to put it into words. Great pick.

  3. Jordy

    Thanks for reading, Daniel. We’re glad you enjoy the site. You’re right about JWH sounding like something from a lost age of Americana. I think it was all that Basement Tapes noodling that got boiled into something coherent. Your comments are very welcome any time.

    Adam: That’s a great video. Those live recordings from 75 and 76 are so refreshing. As for Joan Baez, I’ll quote Ben: “What a woman.”

  4. G

    You know, I haven’t listened to this song in quite a while. Your post inspired me to revisit it, and I realize, once again, that it’s a phenomenal song.

    Thank you for that.

  5. Jordy

    Thanks, G. That’s what we’re all about.

  6. Jordy,

    You’re such a Calvinist.

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