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from Song Of Myself by Tobin Mueller
Jump to: LyricsLiner NotesSong Of Myself album Click here to download the mp3.

Fat man lookin’ in a blade of steel
Thin man lookin’ at his last meal
Hollow man lookin’ in a cottonfield
For dignity

Wise man lookin’ in a blade of grass
Young man lookin’ in the shadows that pass
Poor man lookin’ through painted glass
For dignity

Somebody got murdered on New Year’s Eve
Somebody said dignity was the first to leave
I went into the city, went into the town
Went into the land of the midnight sun

Searchin’ high, searchin’ low
Searchin’ everywhere I know
Askin’ the cops wherever I go
Have you seen dignity?

Drinkin’ man listens to the voice he hears
In a crowded room full of covered-up mirrors
Lookin’ into the lost forgotten years
For dignity

Blind man breakin’ out of a trance
Puts both his hands in the pockets of chance
Hopin’ to find one circumstance
Of dignity

I went down where the vultures feed
I would’ve gone deeper, but there wasn’t any need
Heard the tongues of angels and the tongues of men
Wasn’t any difference to me

Got no place to fade, got no coat
I’m on the rollin’ river in a jerkin’ boat
Tryin’ to read a note somebody wrote
About dignity

Chilly wind sharp as a razor blade
House on fire, debts unpaid
Gonna stand at the window, gonna ask the maid
Have you seen dignity?

Sick man lookin’ for the doctor’s cure
Lookin’ at his hands for the lines that were
And into every masterpiece of literature
For dignity

Englishman stranded in the blackheart wind
Combin’ his hair back, his future looks thin
Bites the bullet and he looks within
For dignity

Someone showed me a picture and I just laughed
Dignity never been photographed
I went into the red, went into the black
Into the valley of dry bone dreams

So many roads, so much at stake
So many dead ends, I’m at the edge of the lake
Sometimes I wonder what it’s gonna take
To find dignity

- lyrics by Bob Dylan

Liner Notes

Song Notes: The most difficult thing about this song was choosing it over all the other great songs Dylan has written. He is one of the greatest relentless geniuses in the world of song, especially his lyrics and his ability to communicate honesty in his presentation. I have over 3 dozen favorite Dylan tunes. This one seemed to fit the best into this project, even though it is a lesser known than most. "Dignity" was first released on Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume 3 in 1994. It was recorded during the Oh Mercy studio sessions but didn't make it on to the album. I hunted for it after reading in Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles, Vol 1, that he thought it was among the best songs he wrote. Indeed.

I wanted to give it a Leon Russell treatment, with touches of New Orleans and honky tonk salloon stylings. There are increasing influences of jazz-blues harmonic structures as the song comes out of the instrumental. By the way, that wail I do coming out of the solo was not rehearsed, it just came out. I didn't think I would be able to do it without a coughing fit. I held off the cough as long as I could.

It's funny how infectious Dylan's way of pronouncing words became while I was rehearsing. I went with it. I had to drop some words, I just couldn't fit them all in. Plus, I consolidated two later verses into one...

(I include two more Dylan songs on my next CD: Shelter From The Storm and Bob Dylan's Dream. I may do an all-Dylan project soon.)

Song Of Myself

Return to the Song Of Myself page.

Other lyrics pages from Song Of Myself

  1. Impossible Dream [Mitch Leigh/Joe Darion, from Man of la Mancha]
  2. Dignity [Bob Dylan]
  3. American Tune [Paul Simon]
  4. Blue Tattoos [Joni Mitchell]
  5. Blackbird [Paul McCartney]
  6. Being Alive [Stephen Sondheim, from Company]
  7. Frozen Man [James Taylor]
  8. I Have Been Deceived [Elton John/Bernie Taupin]
  9. Let's Pretend [Anderson/Wakeman/Bruford/Howe] (altered lyrics)
  10. Oh Danny Boy [traditional, lyrics by Federic Weatherly]
  11. No Place Like Home [Arlen/Mueller/Mankowski]
  12. Before There Were Gods [lyrics by Tobin Mueller, music by Mueller/Hedges]