Pledging My Time

Commentary

It seems  like  Dylan had a Dylan had a blues concordance sitting on his desk as he wrote Pledging My Time, pulling out various stock phrases and tossing them in. Phrases such as “early in the morning”, “late at night”, “early in the morning/and late at night”, “feel all right” can be found in hundreds of old blues songs.

Many commentators have noted the musical similarities between this song and the Mississippi Sheik’s Sitting on Top of the World, which Dylan covered on his As Good as I’ve Been to You recording.

Others have noted the similarities between Robert Johnson’s Come on in My Kitchen. Johnson sings “you know he got lucky/he stole her back again”. Dylan sings “Somebody got lucky/But it was an accident”. It should be noted that Dylan dedicated his book Writings and Drawing to Johnson and Woody Guthrie:

    To the magnificent Woody Guthrie and 
                                   Robert Johnson 
    who sparked it off 
                            and to the great wondrous 
                         melodious spirit 
    which covereth the oneness 
                                    of us all.

Dylan biographer Robert Shelton notes  that the lyric “resembles improvised blues with sophistication creeping in.” An excellent point. Even when Dylan is simply riffing on old blues numbers he still consistently manages to put in something to lift the song from the ordinary.

Here’s an excellent live version!


Lyrics

Well, early in the mornin’
‘Til late at night,
I got a poison headache,
But I feel all right.
I’m pledging my time to you,
Hopin’ you’ll come through, too.

Well, the hobo jumped up,
He came down natur’lly.
After he stole my baby,
Then he wanted to steal me.
But I’m pledging my time to you,
Hopin’ you’ll come through, too.

Won’t you come with me, baby?
I’ll take you where you wanna go.
And if it don’t work out,
You’ll be the first to know.
I’m pledging my time to you,
Hopin’ you’ll come through, too.

Well, the room is so stuffy,
I can hardly breathe.
Ev’rybody’s gone but me and you
And I can’t be the last to leave.
I’m pledging my time to you,
Hopin’ you’ll come through, too.

Well, they sent for the ambulance
And one was sent.
Somebody got lucky
But it was an accident.
Now I’m pledging my time to you,
Hopin’ you’ll come through, too.

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