Category Archives: Bob Dylan – Great live versions

July 2: Great recording of Bob Dylan’s set at the Finjan Club, Montreal in 1962





bob dylan live finjan club

The Finjan tape, similar to the early party tapes in that it’s a small group of people, and Dylan’s aware of the tape recorder and is trying to think of interesting songs to play, has many delights, particularly an electrifying version of Muddy Waters’s “Two Trains Running,” a fine loose rendering of “Let Me Die in My Footsteps,” and a haunting fragment of Robert Johnson’s “Rambling on My Mind.” On “Two Trains” Dylan sings, “I’m afraid of everybody/and I can’t trust myself.” The tape also features one of Dylan’s most powerful original blues (if you can draw the line between blues songs he writes and ones be assembles from existing songs; definitely a matter of degree, as is true with most blues singers): “Quit Your Low Down Ways.”
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan Performing Artist I: The Early Years 1960-1973)

I’m sitting here drinking coffee and listening to this fine recording of early Bob Dylan. For fans of early Dylan, this is a gem . It’s a trip back in time to what Dylan sounded like playing in the small clubs before he became famous. Listening to this CD I can imagine sitting in this dark club and hearing Bob Dylan perform songs that would become well known, and others that wouldn’t get any attention at all in the coming years.

Several of these tunes were recorded for Dylan’s first and second albums. Rocks and Gravel was meant to be on his second album, but was replaced by Girl From the North Country.  Robert Johnson’s Ramblin’ On My Mind is performed here for the first time by Bob Dylan. The recording of Hiram Hubbard is the only known performance of this song by Bob Dylan. He Was A Friend of Mine  was also left off Dylan’s first album.

I drink my coffee and marvel at the “time travel”, at the sureness of the young Bob Dylan. He definitely had “it” already then.

It is on Amazon for just 15 dollars.

Finjan Club
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2 July 1962

Released on DYLAN, BOB – FINJAN CLUB, 14 January 2013.
(The release is unauthorized and is not associated with or approved by Bob Dylan or his current recording label)

Continue reading July 2: Great recording of Bob Dylan’s set at the Finjan Club, Montreal in 1962

August 25: Bob Dylan released “Not Dark Yet” in 1997


A lot of the songs (on Time Out Of Mind) were written after the sun went down . . This one phrase was going through my head: ‘Work while the day lasts, because the night of death cometh when no man can work … It wouldn’t let me go. I was like, what does that phrase mean? … It was at the forefront of my mind for a long period of time, and I think a lot of that is instilled into this record
~Bob Dylan to Jon Pareles, 1997

‘ Not Dark Yet ‘ is many folks’ favourite song on Dylan’s 1997 album, and for sure it pushes all the right buttons: a gorgeous vocal, a brooding melody, the darkling worldview and that seemingly effortless way he captured the dusk in his veins.
~Clinton Heylin (Still On The Road)

Continue reading August 25: Bob Dylan released “Not Dark Yet” in 1997

Bob Dylan: 6 Great Live Versions of “Dignity”





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.

Officially there are 5 different versions available:

Continue reading Bob Dylan: 6 Great Live Versions of “Dignity”

Bob Dylan: 5 great live versions of “Ain’t Talkin'”





bob dylan ain't talking

As I walked out tonight in the mystic garden
The wounded flowers were dangling from the vines
I was passing by yon cool and crystal fountain
Someone hit me from behind

Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’
Through this weary world of woe
Heart burnin’, still yearnin’
No one on earth would ever know

You’re talking to a person that feels like he’s walking around in the ruins of Pompeii … A song is a reflection of what I see all around me all the time.
~Bob Dylan (to Mikal Gilmore, 25 September 2001)

This great song released on “Modern Times” August 29, 2006, has been played 118 times live by; peaking in 2008 with 42 performances.

First played live 20 November 2006:

New York City Center
New York City, New York
20 November 2006

video start 0.58:

They say prayer has the power to help
So pray from the mother
In the human heart an evil spirit can dwell
I’m trying to love my neighbor and do good unto others
But oh, mother, things ain’t going well

Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’
I’ll burn that bridge before you can cross
Heart burnin’, still yearnin’
They’ll be no mercy for you once you’ve lost

Continue reading Bob Dylan: 5 great live versions of “Ain’t Talkin’”

Bob Dylan: 5 Great Live Versions of “Girl From The North Country”





Well, if you’re travelin’ in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

Who was Bob Dylan thinking of when he wrote and then recorded “Girl from the North Country”? Maybe Echo Helstrom, who had been his girlfriend when he lived in Hibbing. Or perhaps Bonnie Beecher, whom he had also met in Minneapolis, and whom he kept on seeing after he settled in Greenwich Village. But it is more likely his erstwhile girlfriend, Suze Rotolo. Suze had gone to Italy to pursue her studies, leaving Dylan in deep distress. Dylan put the final touches on this superb ballad during his trip to Perugia.
– Margotin, Philippe; Guesdon, Jean-Michel. Bob Dylan All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track

Bob Dylan has played this wonderful song 546 times live, here are 6 great performances.

Continue reading Bob Dylan: 5 Great Live Versions of “Girl From The North Country”