Masters of War

“Masters of War” fanns med på debutplattan “The Freewheelin´ Bob Dylan” (Columbia COL 32390, 1963) och var en av de låtar, som gav Dylan stämpeln att tillhöra den amerikanska sångvänstern. (Han har senare försökt förneka faktum, men om det skulle vara så, att han inte sysslar med förträngning, var han under det tidiga 1960-talet åtminstone trendkänslig som ett lackmuspapper.)

Musiken till “Masters of War” brukar tillskrivas Bob Dylan, men det är fel. Han använder sig av Jean Ritchies bearbetning av en brittisk traditionell melodi, “Fair Nottamun Town”.


Text: Bob Dylan, 1963
Musik: Jean Ritchie´s bearbetning av ”Fair Nottamun Town”, brittisk trad

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin´
But build to destroy
You play with my word
Like it´s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people´s blood
Flow out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You´ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain´t worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I´m young
You might say I´m unlearned
But there´s one thing I know
Though I´m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And i hope that you die
And your death´ll come soon
I will folow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I´ll watch while you´re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I´ll stand o´er your grave
´Til I´m sure that you´re dead

Text finns i Bob Dylans “Sångtexter 1962-2001″ (Prisma, 2004), text och noter i “Reprints From Sing Out! Vol 7″ (Oak Publications, 1964).

“Masters of War” finns, insjungen av Bob Dylan, också på “Real Live” (Columbia Col 467841 2, 1961), på “Greatest Hits Vol 2″ (Columbia COL 471243 2, 1967), på “Biograph Vol 1″ (CBS 66509, 1985) och, live, på “No Direction Home: The Soundtrack” (till Martin Scorseses film), The Bootleg Series Vol 7 (dubbel-CD från Columbia/Legacy COL 520358 2, 2005). Jag har den också på en inofficiell bootleg, “The Wiener Club of Spalding” (Rocks, första CDn 92136, 1994).

Och för att göra en utvikning: En av de bästa insjungningarna av “Masters of War” har gjorts av Odetta på “Odetta Sings Dylan” (ursprungligen LPn RCA LMP/LPS 3324, 1965, 2000 också som CD från Camden/BMG 74321 773802.)

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