Three songs into the album before one we finally get to one with original lyrics. Although I’m being a bit liberal with the word “original”. The song is really just a bunch of well-worn phrases tossed together to fit a particular rhyming scheme.
The general gist of the song is that the key to happiness is to have a loving wife to come home to after a trying day at work.
I'll always thank the Lord
When my working day's through
I get my sweet reward
To be alone with you
Not exactly the type of revelation one expects from the poet laureate of rock & roll. Of course, the lyrics of the vast majority of songs contain little literary value. The music by itself can lift a song beyond the completely mundane which, in this case, I think, it does. There’s no denying this is a catchy little number, and the easy rhymes of the lyrics help it move along at a brisk pace.
The piano part plays a key role. Listen below to the interview with the pianist, Bob Wilson. Interesting.
The origins of the term “sweet reward” could come from the hymn, The Bee and the Spider, written by John Newton, who also wrote Amazing Grace.
The line “the nighttime is the right time” is clearly a reference to the hit song by Ray Charles (portions borrowed from Nappy Brown) recorded in 1959. Certainly, it was a song Dylan was very familiar with.
Dylan asks “Is it rolling, Bob?” before the song starts, which is a little confusing. Is he talking to himself? No, he’s asking the producer – Bob Johnson – if the tape machine has been turned on yet.
He used this song as a concert opener for a while.
Other Artist Versions
The Steve Gibbons band do it rockabilly style.