Category Archives: Bob Dylan – Great live versions

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:

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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”

Listen: Bob Dylan – 5 Great Live Versions of “Like A Rolling Stone”

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Some facts:

  • Dylan has played “Like A Rolling Stone” 2011times live
  • First time was in Newport, RI – July 25, 1965
  • Last performance: Indio, CA – October 14, 2016
  • Peak year: 1978 with 112 renditions

Odeon Theatre
Liverpool, England
14 May 1966

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Listen: Bob Dylan – 5 Great Live Versions of “I Want You”

The guilty undertaker sighs
The lonesome organ grinder cries
The silver saxophones say I should refuse you
The cracked bells and washed-out horns
Blow into my face with scorn
But it’s not that way
I wasn’t born to lose you

I want you, I want you
I want you so bad
Honey, I want you

Some facts:

  • Dylan has played “I Want You” 214 times live
  • First time was in San Antonio, TX – May 11, 1976
  • Last performance: Vancouver, BC – Jul 20, 2005
  • Peak year: 1978 with 56 renditions

Here are five great live versions:

Westfalenhalle 1
Dortmund, West Germany
15 September 1987

  • Bob Dylan (vocal, guitar & harmonica)
  • Tom Petty (guitar)
  • Mike Campbell (guitar)
  • Benmont Tench (keyboards)
  • Howie Epstein (bass)
  • Stan Lynch (drums)

On this Dortmund tape you can hear an intro to “I Want You” that gathers such momentum as piano is joined by bass and then drum and then harmonica, that its energy and personality become unstoppable and can be felt throughout the song, in the spirit of the vocal and the way singer and musicians work together.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performance Artist 1986-1990 And Beyond (Mind Out Of Time)

Continue reading Listen: Bob Dylan – 5 Great Live Versions of “I Want You”