“Bye and Bye” (2001)

The guy on the back cover of Love and Theft looks like someone who would sing “Bye and Bye.”  Can’t you just picture him, with top hat and tail, dandy-like, sporting a cane that moves with his shoulders and legs to the beat of the tune?  Songs like these are why I’d prefer that Dylan stuck to creating his own American standards rather than resurrecting old ones.  Dylan likes being an entertainer, he likes to sound like one from any era–making the future a thing of the past as he does so.

“Bye and Bye” is made of six verses, two of which are 2 lines long, the others, the first two and the fourth and last are 4 lines each.  There’s a symmetry to that, 2 are made up of two lines, and 4, four.

Dylan is loyal and true to other structures in the song, namely to his “sugar-coated” rhyming.  The first three 4 line verses go abba and the two 2 line verses are simply rhyming couplets.  He felt a change comin’ in the final verse, however.  The first line in it ends with “sad” and the final word of the song is “be.”  He was not loyal to the end.

But what he does stay dedicated to with a sneaky Maurice Chevalier insouciance are the internal rhymes that are spread throughout the song.  The first stanza has the second “bye” in the title phrase rhyme with the words “sigh and “eye.”  The same pattern is triggered in the second verse with “town.”  By the end Dylan says bye bye to the terminal rhyming and opts to let the internal rhymes take over:

Papa gone mad, mamma, she’s feeling sad
I’m gonna baptize you in fire so you can sin no more
I’m gonna establish my rule through civil war
Gonna make you see just how loyal and true a man can be

mad/sad and see/be are the final rhyming sounds of the verse. This happens in the other verses, too, but not to the negation of the terminal rhymes.  Why?  Well, who knows, but in the universe of this blog dedicated to Dylan’s rhymes, I wonder if something amusing is happening there in a wink wink bye and bye way.  He’s gonna show us just how loyal and true and man can be?  Well, that doesn’t mean a man can be very loyal and true, or maybe he can to a point, as with being loyal and true to a point with the rhyming pattern in the song.

Here’s the studio version of the song, released in 2001.

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