Pod Dylan #70 – With God On Our Side


Episode 70 - With God On Our Side

Rob welcomes back fellow Fire & Water Network All-Star Ryan Daly to discuss "With God On Our Side", from 1963's THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'.

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6 responses to “Pod Dylan #70 – With God On Our Side

  1. What a great episode on a brilliant song! This is one of the many songs that always tears me up. Bob is so utterly brilliant.

    I’m sure you’ll get hit for the political commentary but I don’t think you said anything false. It’s sad that what we are facing now as horrific as they are, can still be so relevant to songs from the 1960s. It’s like we will never learn. I was just thinking about this song and others too after watching Billy Bragg cover “The Times Are A-Changing”. Looks like I gotta put another album on loop.

  2. Great job, Rob (and Ryan). I’ve been listening to FW podcasts for a couple years now, but I never got around to an episode of Pod Dylan till now. It took me noticing that you’re covering one of my absolute Bob favorites…

    …so I was shocked to hear that neither of you really love this tune. It got me thinking of why I love it so much, since I didn’t exactly disagree with any of your criticisms (the tune is pretty basic, the “ovens they fried” line is weak, etc.). I think it has to do with when I first encountered it: I was right out of college, I was just starting to become interested in politics, and this was perhaps the first Dylan song—or at least the first non-universally-known, semi-obscure Dylan song—whose message I clearly understood. I think that’s how it is for a lot of people with Dylan: We love him, and certain specific songs, because he/they help us make sense of things that never made sense to us before (or make us feel like rarefied intellectuals).

    Incidentally, if you ever want to cover my absolute favorite Dylan song—”Bob Dylan’s Dream”—I’d love to be a guest. There’s always a lot to say about nostalgia.

    (I imagine that’s why a lot of people gravitate to certain Dylan songs

  3. Got caught up on the last three episodes this evening…for whatever reason, I enjoy hearing discussion of a song like “With God On Our Side” for no better reason than sometimes Dylan song is more interesting because it’s not necessarily as great as other songs he wrote.

    Nerd theory: Dylan performed a solo, acoustic version of WGOOS at every show of his 1965 “Dont Look Back” UK tour. However, in 1963 and 1964, he often performed it live as a duet with Joan Baez. When Baez famously tagged along, uninvited, with the 1965 “DLB” tour, but was never invited on stage to duet with Bob, the nerd speculation is that Dylan was only performing the song to spite her, making the song something of a proto-“Idiot Wind”.

    Probably not a true theory, but if we know next to nothing about Bob’s day-to-day existence in 2018, it’s probably because way too much of his life was publicly documented from about 1962 through his motorcycle accident. Everybody goes through some form of stupid relationship drama in their younger years; it’s just weird to consider a song like “With God On Our Side” being written/composed and performed in that context.

  4. I listened to this episose recently, good discussion but I think you guys somewhat minimised the role and criticism of Domonic Behan who wrote the song this song was based on.

    That song is called “The Patriot Game” and is a wonderful piece of songwriting which I think you glossed over slightly.

    Also I don’t think Behan’s main issue with Dylan was in stealing the tune, as you point out Behan also did that. I think it was more that he turned it into an anti-war song and didn’t credit Behan at all. Patriot game is about a boy who runs off to join the IRA in the 1950’s.

    By the way, Liam Clancy has a fantastic version of “The Patriot Game” thats well worth seeking out. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQBW6UQa8Fc)

    I’d love to hear a pod on some of the folk songs Dylan has based his songs on, think it would be a great discussion.
    Keep up the good work, love the pod.

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