“To Be Alone With You”

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In his Rolling Stone interview with Jann Wenner in November 1969, Dylan said about “To Be Alone With You”, from Nashville Skyline: “I wrote it for Jerry Lee Lewis. The one on “Nashville Skyline.” (Laughter.) He was down there when we were listening to the playbacks, and he came in. He was recording an album next door. He listened to it… I think we sent him a dub.”

I have absolutely no idea if Dylan is telling the truth here – the interview is chock full of obvious mistruths – but it at least sounds plausible.

This is a very slight swinging song of the kind that Lewis made famous more than a decade earlier, full of little piano fills and simple, lively lyrics: “They say the night time is the right time to be with the one you love”. It doesn’t get any more sophisticated than that, and neither did Lewis.

The only unusual bit in this brief little nothing is the voice of the producer coming across at the beginning, asking “Is it rolling, Bob?”, an, at the time, unusual remnant of the human process of the recording process that gives the song a tossed-off feeling.

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