Les cançons llargues: “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”, de Bob Dylan (1966).

(La sèrie comença aquí)

1966 va ser un any molt important en la carrera de Bob Dylan. No m’estendré a explicar-ho, ja ho vaig fer l’any passat en aquest apunt que us recomano que llegiu amb calma perquè us feu una idea del que dic.

Va ser l’any d’un dels seus discos mítics: “Blonde on Blonde”. Un doble LP (de vinil, és clar) que tenia la particularitat que la cara D l’ocupava íntegrament una sola cançó de quasi dotze minuts de durada. Em refereixo a “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”, la “cançó llarga” d’aquest cap de setmana.

Al voltant d’aquesta dama de les terres baixes que tenia els ulls tristos hi ha unes quantes històries. En primer lloc tenim el que conta la llegenda a propòsit de la manera com va ser escrita la cançó: després d’unes quantes sessions d’estudi amb els músics i tècnics de gravació es va arribar a una situació inesperada: o sobrava material per a un sol disc, o faltava per fer-ne un segon. El cas és que Dylan va demanar un recés, se’n va anar al Chelsea Hotel i durant tota la nit va compondre aquesta petita meravella que l’endemà va ser enregistrada per tancar amb tots els honors el doble LP.

Això passava el maig de 1966, quan Bob Dylan portava tres mesos casat amb Sara Lownds, la destinatària de la cançó que, com en el cas que ja vaig explicar de “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” (aquí), en el títol amaga un joc de paraules ja que la cançó inicialment s’havia de dir “Sad-Eyed Lady” a seques. Però el Mestre, per fer més evident la dedicatòria a la seva enamorada li va afegir unes terres baixes (“Lowlands”) que no són altra cosa que una referència evidentíssima a “Lownds”, el cognom que traginava la dama en qüestió.

Es tracta de la mateixa Sara que nou anys després donaria nom a una altra cançó que tancava disc. Em refereixo a “Desire” (1975) i a la cançó “Sara”, que testimonia un moment complicat de la parella (la relació s’acabaria dos anys després, el 1977, amb un divorci).

En un moment de la lletra Dylan evoca èpoques passades: “I can still hear the sounds of those Methodist bells / I’d taken the cure and had just gotten through / Staying up for day in the Chelsea Hotel / Writing ‘Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’ for you.

Escolteu amb atenció la cançó aquí sota i si voleu seguir-ne la lletra la trobareu, com d’habitud, al final d’aquest apunt:

 

 

Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands

 

With your mercury mouth in the missionary times

And your eyes like smoke and your prayers like rhymes

And your silver cross, and your voice like chimes

Oh, who among them do they think could bury you?

With your pockets well protected at last

And your streetcar visions which you place on the grass

And your flesh like silk, and your face like glass

Who among them do they think could carry you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands

Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes

My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums

Should I leave them by your gate

Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

 

With your sheets like metal and your belt like lace

And your deck of cards missing the jack and the ace

And your basement clothes and your hollow face

Who among them can think he could outguess you?

With your silhouette when the sunlight dims

Into your eyes where the moonlight swims

And your matchbook songs and your gypsy hymns

Who among them would try to impress you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands

Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes

My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums

Should I leave them by your gate

Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

 

The kings of Tyrus with their convict list

Are waiting in line for their geranium kiss

And you wouldn’t know it would happen like this

But who among them really wants just to kiss you?

With your childhood flames on your midnight rug

And your Spanish manners and your mother’s drugs

And your cowboy mouth and your curfew plugs

Who among them do you think could resist you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands

Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes

My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums

Should I leave them by your gate

Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

 

Oh, the farmers and the businessmen, they all did decide

To show you the dead angels that they used to hide

But why did they pick you to sympathize with their side?

Oh, how could they ever mistake you?

They wished you’d accepted the blame for the farm

But with the sea at your feet and the phony false alarm

And with the child of a hoodlum wrapped up in your arms

How could they ever, ever persuade you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands

Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes

My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums

Should I leave them by your gate

Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

 

With your sheet-metal memory of Cannery Row

And your magazine-husband who one day just had to go

And your gentleness now, which you just can’t help but show

Who among them do you think would employ you?

Now you stand with your thief, you’re on his parole

With your holy medallion which your fingertips fold

And your saintlike face and your ghostlike soul

Oh, who among them do you think could destroy you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands

Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes

My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums

Should I leave them by your gate

Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

 

(La sèrie continua aquí amb més cançons llargues)

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