Bob Dylan

To Be Alone with You

Composed by Bob Dylan

Song Review by

The sea change in Bob Dylan's work, and in popular music as a whole, is perhaps best shown in Dylan's 1969 work Nashville Skyline. "To Be Alone With You" is one of the simplest songs on this album, yet this is perhaps why it is so effective in displaying the down-home, country values that Dylan was attempting to convey. The song speaks of "mockingbirds" and the "big fat moon," cliché imagery about as far away from "jewels and binoculars hang from the head of a mule" as one can get. With a gently rolling piano and Dylan's gentle, affecting vocal, this song does not convey any deep messages; rather, it is a simple statement on desire and love, which Dylan gives an almost off-the-cuff atmosphere to (the song begins with Dylan asking producer Bob Johnstone, "Is it rolling, Bob?"). Indeed, the lyrics are almost nursery rhyme, with Dylan crooning, "I'll always thank the Lord/When my working day is through/I get my sweet reward/To be alone with you." One of Dylan's prettiest melodies is coupled with a gorgeous, traditional country bridge (shifting to the V of the chord, then adding the II inversion) and a genuinely affecting, modest vocal. Perhaps the sweetest song on Nashville Skyline, Dylan performed it semi-regularly during much of his Never Ending Tour, although it has not been widely covered, with only Sue Foley doing a notable version of it on her album Big City Blues.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Nashville Skyline 1969 Sony Music Distribution
Nashville Skyline/New Morning/John Wesley Harding 1997 Legacy / Columbia 2:10
Nashville Skyline/John Wesley Harding 2006 Sony Music Distribution 2:10
The Complete Album Collection, Vol. 1 2013 Columbia Records / Sony Music 2:08
blue highlight denotes editor's pick