Friday, April 16, 2010

Jail: I Shall Be Released

Jerry Garcia Band: I Shall Be Released


I could get lost in this song. The mournful vocals, the defiant lyrics, the curly-cues of cascading notes emanating from Jerry Garcia's guitar on both of his lengthy solos. It all works for me. Many have tackled this song, and some have excelled, but this version, this is the one for me.

As for the song itself, what can one say? It is one of Dylan's simplest, yet more effective songs. Three short verses, and not a wasted word. Nominally about a wrongfully imprisoned man, but thanks to covers by the likes of Joan Baez and others, it almost immediately became a metaphor for any and all injustice and repression. It is perhaps his most powerful song.

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