Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 204
Wed. Aug 28, 2013

“Spanish is the Loving Tongue [New Morning sessions]”
Bob Dylan


“♫ Mostly
I’m alone/
Mi Amor/Mi

Talking about his piano playing, guitar impresario Bob Dylan, once told Paul Zollo, author of Songwriters on Songwriting, “On the piano, my favorite keys are the black ones…The songs that go into those keys right from the piano, they sound different. They sound deeper…Everything sounds deeper in those black keys.” Listening to “Spanish is the Loving Tongue” from the newly released The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969-1971), specifically to this unreleased take from 1970’s New Morning sessions, it sounds like Dylan is reaching for these same black keys; For someone who traditionally refused to share this side of his song persona, “Spanish” reflects a very honest a deep intimate performance, a glimpse behind the mask, showing a true side of Dylan that Bob rarely lets us experience.

It turns out the reason that this take of “Loving Tongue” was that Dylan didn’t think too highly of his piano playing skills as David Amram attests, when the American composer explained in Clinton Heylin’s book Bob Dylan: Behind The Shades Revisited, “He said [one time], ‘Y’Know, I wanna work on my piano playing. I said, ‘Frankly, for your songs, I don’t think anyone could do any better. It would be like telling Picasso not to use too much yellow. If you’re trying to play a Beethoven sonata then you’d be in trouble, but for what you do, it’s perfect.” Unfortunately, Bob Dylan disagreed and this beautiful piano take of “Spanish is the Loving Tongue” remained unreleased until today.

Echoing shades of “Romance in Durango,” with “Tongue”, Dylan gives a more intricate performance and simply— I love it when Bob sings in Spanish. Like a stranger attempting to honor this delicate dialect from down south, with the tenderest of flair, I would have loved to have been there in the studio to witness Dylan reaching for those black keys, watching Bob bring this traditional classic to life.

If you want to listen to a true musical artifact, you must experience this rare piano rendition of “Spanish” from Bob Dylan’s The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969-1971). Showing the true side of Dylan that the America’s lyrical Bard has historically kept hidden from us, this version of “Loving Tongue” is simply a rediscovered jewel from the unreleased archives of Dylan’s New Morning sessions, circa 1970. If you want to see a true self portrait of Bob Dylan, I urge you to unearth this black piano key treasure that is “Spanish is the Loving Tongue” today.