Knocked Out Loaded

'Precious Memories' (arr. by Bob Dylan) (3:15)

Bob Dylan: Vocals, Guitar; Al Perkins: Steel Guitar; Larry Meyers: Mandolin; Milton Gabriel, Mike Berment & Brian Parris: Steel Drums; Raymond Lee Pounds: Drums and percussion; James Jamerson Jr: Bass; Carol Dennis, Queen Esther Marrow, Madelyn Quebec, Muffy Hendrix, Annette May Thomas: Vocals

A traditional gospel song with uncertain origins, but here it works as a transitional piece of acceptance in between
two songs of hurt and spite. There's very little ambiguity on this, except for the style it's performed in: for whatever reason Dylan chose a reggae groove, he did, and it is not only remarkable in it's oddness but also in it's brilliance. It's hard to describe, as there's nothing else in his catalog quite like this. He did do some pseudo-reggae on his classic 1983 album "Infidels", and in a few other places, but nowhere near as blatant as on this. While 'Precious Memories' is a gospel song and can be seen as another affirmation of his faith, Jesus is never mentioned, nor any dogma of any kind. I see it as more of a detour on "Knocked Out Loaded", a moment of bittersweet reflection, also belied by the music (see 'You Wanna Ramble' for another such innovation). And it must be said that Dylan has never sounded better as a vocalist than he does throughout this album.

'Maybe Someday' (Bob Dylan) (3:19)

Bob Dylan: Vocals, Guitar; Mike Campbell: Guitar; Howie Epstein: Bass; Don Heffington: Drums and percussion; Steve Madaio: Trumpet; Steve Douglas: Saxophone; Carol Dennis, Annette May Thomas,  Madelyn Quebec, Elisecia Wright, Queen Esther Marrow, Peggi Blu: Vocals

After the moment of spiritual meditation comes the second of Dylan's solo compositions, this one being an angry stream-of-consciousness message toward and against a departed lover. While 'Driftin'...' was more obtuse, it was certainly not more symbolic than 'Maybe Someday'. This one can be seen as Dylan hiding his hurt through fingerpointing, and while he has been here before, never with this much singular
abandonment. And while it may sound like a throwaway by my description, rest assured it is not. This is a lost classic, with Dylan's ironic and atmospheric lyrics punctuated by an iconic performance so articulate as to be astonishing. In fact, his lyrics are easily the most noticeably remarkable aspect of this track; the actual melody is hard to penetrate upon first listening. I believe this to be intentional on his part; while I have no way of knowing for sure, it really does seem as though this song was directed at someone in particular and he didn't care if anyone else got the point. If not, if this was just Dylan flexing his songwriting muscles, it doesn't matter. This is as good a song and recording as any in his long career. Check these sample verses out: "...
Maybe someday you'll be satisfied/ When you've lost everything you'll have nothing left to hide/ When you're through running over things like you're walking 'cross the tracks/ Maybe you'll beg me like a dog to take you back/ Maybe someday you'll find out everybody's somebody's fool/ Maybe then you'll realize what it would have taken to keep me cool" Whoa. And these:
"...
Maybe someday you'll remember what you felt/ When there was blood on the moon in the cotton belt/When both of us baby were going though some sort of a test/ Neither one of us could do what we do best/I should have known better baby I should have called your bluff/ I guess I was too off the handle, not sentimental enough". Only Bob Dylan could write these lyrics without coming off as pompous, and actually, in the end, sounding humbled and pleading.
'Maybe Someday' is merely another counterpoint, another detour on this highway.
With a song like this, how can anyone dismiss "Knocked Out Loaded"? Was this track accidentally left off some pressings?? (Just kidding).

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