Bob Dylan

Heart of Mine

Composed by Bob Dylan

Song Review by

Bob Dylan had a well-known aversion to modern-day studio recordings in the 1980s and '90s. The Dylan biographer and author of the sessionography The Recording Sessions (1960-1994), Clinton Heylin has surmised that the main reason was that it was taking increasingly longer periods of time to make a major-label album, particularly when compared to the earlier Dylan records, which he would pump out in a matter of a week. But as Heylin notes, the songwriter thought the 1981 LP Shot of Love to be "one of his best-sounding albums." Indeed, the sounds on the record are warm and natural, with plenty of the natural room sounds on the tracks.

The good feel can be heard on the loose, garagey song "Heart of Mine." It has that vaguely Latin/Caribbean vibe of the classics that Bert Berns wrote for the Drifters. The song features an all-star selection of rock and rollers: ace session drummer Jim Keltner and dual percussionists Ringo Starr and longtime Bruce Springsteen producer Chuck Plotkin clanging it up on percussion in the background, Ron Wood on guitar, Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass, Willie Smith on organ, Clydie King on harmony vocals, and the loosey-goosey piano of Dylan himself. He begins the song as if already a few bars into it. It sounds ebullient, as if someone just opened the second bottle of wine. The live recording on the 1985 collection Biograph features a reworking of the guitar part to include a musical quote from the old Motown chestnut "My Girl."

Dylan offers his own clever take on an old form -- the head warning the heart: "Heart of mine so malicious and so full of guile/Give you an inch and you'll take a mile/Don't let yourself fall/Don't let yourself stumble/If you can't do the time, don't do the crime/Heart of mine," he sings, quoting street slang via the theme song to Baretta.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Shot of Love 1981 Columbia 4:35
The Genuine Bootleg Series, Take 2 1996
The Complete Album Collection, Vol. 1 2013 Columbia Records / Sony Music 4:29