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Lots of people have said a few words about this song, but sadly those few words are often wrong. At least I think they are wrong. So, I’ll try and explain and justify.

You are watching: Ive made up my mind lyrics

One of the first reviews I read said, “Here’s a love song in 3/4 time,” but even that starter is wrong, at least in my opinion. And as I don’t often get a chance to show off a bit of my classical music education I’ll utilise it now.

The song is pretty much a straight copy of Offenbach’s Barcarolle from “Tales of Hoffmann,” So we can start there.

Jacques Offenbach was a 19th century German-French composer and impresario. known for his operettas. His single opera “Tales of Hoffman” (which was never completed), is still a key part of the repertoire of opera companies today.

Here’s the original

So barcaroles were not in 3/4 time (as in three beats in a bar) as indeed this one isn’t. They are in 6/8, which sounds quite different. 6/8 is six beats in a bar in two groups of three, moving

1 2 3 1 2 3 / 1 2 3 1 2 3

and so on – generally quite quickly as here. The usual description is that this music is lilting. Barcaroles do give a feeling of relaxed sentiment. This comes from Act 2 if you want to listen to the whole work.

So what it is not, is a reference back to “Got my mind made up” by Tom Petty, which Dylan did record, but I can’t find a copy freely available on line. So here’s Tom larking around with it.

But that’s got nothing to do with it, so we should quickly return to Bob and agree that what he has done is taken a popular piece of operatic music and put lyrics to it with a new accompaniment (but keeping the same melody and chords).

Here are the lyrics

Sitting on my terrace lost in the starsListening to the sounds of the sad guitarsBeen thinking it over and I thought it all throughI’ve made up my mind to give myself to youI saw the first fall of snowI saw the flowers come and goI don’t think anyone else ever knewI made up my mind to give myself to youI’m giving myself to you, I amFrom Salt Lake City to BirminghamFrom East L.A. to San AntoneI don’t think I could bear to live my life aloneMy eye is like a shooting starIt looks at nothing, neither near or farNo one ever told me, it’s just something I knewI’ve made up my mind to give myself to youIf I had the wings of a snow white doveI’d preach the gospel, the gospel of loveA love so real - a love so trueI made up my mind to give myself to youTake me out travelling, you’re a travelling manShow me something that I’ll understandI’m not what I was, things aren’t what they wereI’m going to go far away from home with herI travelled the long road of despairI met no other traveller thereA lot of people gone, a lot of people I knewI’ve made up my mind to give myself to youMy heart’s like a river - a river that singsIt just takes me a while to realise thingsI’ll see you at sunrise - I’ll see you at dawnI’ll lay down beside you, when everyone is goneFrom the plains and the prairies - from the mountains to the seaI hope that the gods go easy with meI knew you’d say yes - I’m saying it tooI’ve made up my mind to give myself to youThe line that gives all the problems in one go is “Take me out travelling, you’re a travelling man”. Up to this point it is all fairly comfortable with lines such as

Been thinking it over and I thought it all throughI’ve made up my mind to give myself to youThat sounds like a relationship proposal, and since this is Bob Dylan and we know a bit about his life, and his loves, we might assume the song is sung to a lady. Especially as later we have

I’ll see you at sunrise - I’ll see you at dawnI’ll lay down beside you, when everyone is gonebut then we have the “Take me out travelling, you’re a travelling man.” So is he suddenly back to giving himself up to Jesus all these years after running away from the Christian Church? I have seen that proposed but it seems deeply unlikely to me and besides might Bob not have described “you” as “You” in that case?

Besides Bob Dylan knows about the travelling man, as does everyone whose been brought up through popular music and the blues. Indeed Bootleg 15 was “Travelling through”. (That’s the one that starts with the alternate version of “Drifters Escape”; almost as if the guys at the record company had been reading Untold Dylan and knew at once what the most important Kafaesque song of the “travelling through” era was).

The one thing that did strike me however was the comment in Rolling Stone (what an excellent magazine that is) about the Bootleg 15 set where they said, “It’s rare to hear Dylan sound like a fan trying to be a peer, but that’s what’s evident here.” That is in relation to him singing with Johnny Cash. So is he here giving a tribute to the great master, the man he admires so much? In that case the “lay down beside you” is easily recognisable as saying he will always give tribute to Johnny Cash, no matter what.

Of course it might just be a throwaway line. I know that is not a popular idea – that the mighty Bob Dylan might on occasion just throw in lines that are there because they sound good, but why not? Does every single Dylan line really have a great powerful meaning? (Incidentally when I was studying classical music we did occasionally use the phrase “Mozart on an off day” for a brilliant section of the score which seemed out of context. Why not “Dylan on a off day” as well? He couldn’t find a line that worked so dropped that in.)

But no, I’m going with the Travelling Man being either Johnny Cash, or just a phrase that means a person who keeps on keeping on, rather than necessarily a specific man. So in the lyrics we ought to write

Take me out travelling, you’re a "travelling man"We will of course continue through the whole album until everything is reviewed. Here’s what’s be done so far. Hope you enjoyed my little meander.

Postscript: As you will see from the comments, the song has been used before – something I was not aware of. Here is a link to the earlier version by Donald Peers from 1969.

See more: 9781623658380: Powder: The Greatest Ski Runs On The Planet By Patrick Thorne

Rough and Rowdy Ways

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