Foot of Pride

Bob Dylan wrote a song called “Foot of Pride” in 1983, as part of the work he did in advance of the album Infidels.However, it was not included on the album; it was later released on The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3.The title of the song is from Psalm 36, whose last three verses go like this (KJV):

O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart.

Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me.

There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.

Dylan’s song is hard to decipher as any kind of linear narrative, at least for me, but it has a great kick to it, and the lyric is very rich — full of snappy and dynamic lines. Dylan’s version is not on YouTube (you can buy themp3), but there are a few other interpretations out there. Lou Reed’s version (here) is from the 30th anniversary Dylan bash in 1992. Unfortunately, he’s reading the lyric from a teleprompter, and it shows in his delivery. It’s an interesting and unusual song for him to choose, but he ought to have learned it. A much better musical version is from someone called Dirty Ray (at this link). I think he definitely takes the song somewhere only he could take it.

And then there’s the fascinating spoken word version (below) credited to one Ward B. Farber. It’s been out there for a while but I just saw it for the first time yesterday. He performs the lyric as a monologue, as if trying to communicate something to someone in an urgent conversation. Quite freaky, in a good way, I do think.


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