Saturday Single No. 435

There’s one memorable February 28 in my life, one that stands out above the sixty-two others. And that’s counting today, which I suppose I should not do; it’s early, and things may well happen that make today memorable.

Anyway, the one memorable February 28 so far was in 1976, when I walked across a stage at St. Cloud State and got my diploma for my bachelor’s degree. That didn’t end my college days; I hung around for another year and some months, adding some post-grad stuff and another undergraduate minor. But it was a milestone, and we took pictures and went out for lunch and all that.

And I got records as gifts.

A couple days before graduation, a casual friend had delivered to me a copy of Art Garfunkel’s Breakaway. I was startled. We’d had some intense conversations not quite a year earlier but had not seen each other since then. And I guess those conversations carried more weight for her than they had for me. I remember being puzzled as I watched her drive away. But the record was decent.

And at lunch on graduation day, my girlfriend’s mother – who for a while would be my mother-in-law – passed to me a card that contained some cash. So a couple days after the festivities, I headed over to Musicland in the mall on the west end of town and picked up two double albums: Beginnings by the Allman Brothers Band (a repackaging of the band’s first two albums stuck together) and Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde.

Both of my shopping selections had – as has so much else in my life – their roots in my time in Fredericia, Denmark, a couple of years earlier. The lounge at the youth hostel where I lived for a few months was filled most evenings with the sounds of the Allman Brothers’ later albums, and I wanted to know the earlier stuff.

And when I borrowed from the Fredericia library the cassette of Dylan’s first greatest hits album sometime during the autumn of 1973, I was startled to find “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)” as one of the offered hits. The track was not on the U.S. version of the album I’d heard several times (and would eventually buy for myself).

But I loved the track, with its harmonica introduction, its rolling piano throughout, its cryptic (and sometimes biting) lyrics, and most of all, the rising building up to the chorus and the descending bass once we get there. So when I had some money to spend, I decided that wanted a copy of the track in my collection, and if the rest of Blonde On Blonde came along, so much the better.

All of that works well this morning, as I’ve mentioned “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)” only three times before in the eight years I’ve been writing about music, and I offered it just once, back in 2008. So here, from 1966, is a track that I consider one of Dylan’s masterpieces, and it’s today’s Saturday Single.

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