I’ve been criticised for not putting my best songs on certain albums but it is because I consider that the song isn’t ready yet. It’s not been recorded right. With all of my records, there’s an abundance of material left off – stuff that, for a variety of reasons, doesn’t make the final cut. ..Except on this album, for which we re-cut the song ‘Mississippi.’ We had that on the “Time Out Of Mind” album. It wasn’t recorded very well but thank God, it never got out, so we recorded it again. But something like that would never have happen ten years ago. You’d have probably all heard the lousy version of it and I’d have never re-recorded it. I’m glad for once to have had the opportunity to do so.
~Bob Dylan (Press Conference (French coverage) De la Ville Inter-Continental Roma Hotel, Rome, Italy – 23 July 2001 )
“Mississippi” is the second song on Bob Dylan’s 2001 album Love and Theft. The song was originally recorded during the Time Out of Mind sessions in January 1997, but was ultimately left off the album; Dylan rerecorded the song for Love and Theft in May 2001.
Jackson County Fairgrounds
Central Point, Oregon
9 October 2001
Every step of the way
We walk the line
Your days are numbered
So are mine
Of the virtues, I suppose I think integrity is the most essential. Not dignity – a thief can have dignity.
~Bob Dylan (to Barbara Kerr, Feb 1978)
‘Dignity’, which describes so resourcefully the yearning for a more dignified world, would have been the album’s [Oh Mercy] ideal opening track. It scorches along musically, declaring its allegiance to the timeless appeal of the blues, while sounding, above all things, fresh. Its lyric, meanwhile, though ‘Dylanesque’ in that it sounds like no-one else’s work and sounds like a restrained, mature revisit to a mode of writing you might otherwise call mid-1960s Dylan, is fully alert and freshly itself, admits of no leaning on laurels, and has the great virtue that while not every line can claim the workaday clarity of instructional prose, the song is accessible to anyone who cares to listen, and offers a clear theme, beautifully explored, with which anyone can readily identify.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
Dignity was originally recorded for “Oh Mercy” in 1989, but Dylan wasn’t satisfied with it… and left it behind.
Officially there are 5 different versions available: