Sunday Night at the Cafe

From a performance last month (August 19) in Melbourne. Proof again that Dylan is as brilliant as he ever was. This song is off his newest release, Modern Times, and is called “When the Deal Goes Down. He loves to play with the rhythm and phrasing, reinventing the song as he goes along, and this performance of the song is darn right playful – ironic when you consider what he’s singing about, or what he may be singing about (one is never sure with Dylan). The words are deftly exquisite and his performance is fresh. The sound of his voice is intentional – he can be as clear as he wants to be (when he wants to be) and he can sound as old as a New Orleans Bluesman at two in the morning if he wants to be. His voice has always been old, what is amazing is how young he can sound even now – when he wants to. There is a simplicity to this song (but don’t be fooled) – the words are filled with spiritual depth. This has become one of the my favorites – it just gets better each time I hear it.

Here are the lyrics:

In the still of the night, in the world’s ancient light
Where wisdom grows up in strife
My bewildering brain, toils in vain
Through the darkness on the pathways of life
Each invisible prayer is like a cloud in the air
Tomorrow keeps turning around
We live and we die, we know not why
But I’ll be with you when the deal goes down

We eat and we drink, we feel and we think
Far down the street we stray
I laugh and I cry and I’m haunted by
Things I never meant nor wished to say
The midnight rain follows the train
We all wear the same thorny crown
Soul to soul, our shadows roll
And I’ll be with you when the deal goes down

The moon gives light and shines by night
I scarcely feel the glow
We learn to live and then we forgive
O’er the road we’re bound to go
More frailer than the flowers, these precious hours
That keep us so tightly bound
You come to my eyes like a vision from the skies
And I’ll be with you when the deal goes down

I picked up a rose and it poked through my clothes
I followed the winding stream
I heard the deafening noise, I felt transient joys
I know they’re not what they seem
In this earthly domain, full of disappointment and pain
You’ll never see me frown
I owe my heart to you, and that’s sayin’ it true
And I’ll be with you when the deal goes down

B. Dylan 2006

Once again, a big time tip of the TinFoil to RWB – you are simply the best.