Born In Time Lyrics (Oh Mercy Outtakes)

One of my favorite Bob Dylan songs is the original recording of Born In Time, an outtake from the vaunted Oh Mercy sessions. As Wikipedia notes:

Two more outtakes, “Born In Time” and “God Knows”, were set aside and later re-written and re-recorded for Dylan’s next album, Under the Red Sky. Versions of both songs from the Oh Mercy sessions were also included on The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs. “The Oh Mercy outtake of ‘Born In Time’ was one of those Dylan performances that so surrendered itself to the moment that to decry the lyrical slips would be to mock sincerity itself,” wrote an enamored Heylin.

The stripped-down bootleg of Born In Time is a classic. Though the audio quality is pretty poor, the depth of emotion in Dylan’s voice soars above the scratches and hisses on the tape. The later version of the song that appeared on Under The Red Sky was a soulless iteration. It’s almost comical in comparison. Dylan tried to rectify his error by releasing an earlier recording of the song on Tell Tale Signs: the Bootleg Series Vol. 8. It came pretty close to capturing the passion of the original, but it’s just not the same. Because there are several versions of the song floating around, including Eric Clapton’s decent cover, it can be hard to track down a proper set of lyrics for the original recording. The words differ from the lyrics on Bob Dylan’s official website, so I thought I’d post them here for posterity.

Born In Time Lyrics, Oh Mercy Outtakes, 1988

In the lonely night
In the stardust of a pale blue light
I think of you in black and white
When we were made of dreams

I walk alone through the shakin’ street
Listenin’ to my heart beat
In the record-breaking heat
When we were born in time

Just when I knew you were gone, you came back
Just when I knew it was for certain
You were high, you were low
You were so easy to know
Oh babe, now it’s time to raise the curtain
I’m hurtin’

On the risin’ curve
Where the ways of nature will test every nerve
I took you close and got what I deserved
When we were born in time

Just when I knew who to thank, you went blank
And just when the whole fire was smokin’
You were snow, you were rain
You were stripes, you were plain
Oh babe, truer words have not been spoken
Or broken

In the hills of mystery
In the foggy web of destiny
I think of you from deep inside of me
When we were born in time

I should point out that these lyrics differer slightly from the version released on Tell Tale Signs (specifically the third verse), even though that re-recording mirrors the original pretty well.

I’ve written more on Bob Dylan’s music here:

Born In Time Lyrics (Oh Mercy Outtakes)
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