Well, in the course of life you find yourself with different people in different rooms. Working with Sam [Sheppard] was not necessarily easier, but it was certainly less meaningless. In every case writing a song is done faster when you got someone like Sam and are not on your own.
~Bob Dylan (Oct, 1997 – press conference)
it is ‘a masterpiece, a song that must rank among the five or six best songs Dylan has ever written.’
When Dylan is working at this level of creativity—a level that puts him head and shoulders above everyone else—there’s a magic evocativeness about everything he writes that gives the words enormous possibilities..
~ Nigel Hinton
@ #18 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs.
It was originally recorded as “New Danville Girl” @ Cherokee Studio, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California 6 December 1984. Overdubbed May 1986 for the “Knocked Out Loaded” album.
It’s an amazing song with cinematic lyrics co-written with Sam Sheppard.
New Danville Girl (recorded 1984-12-06):
Lyrics to “New Danville Girl” added down towards the end of the post..
Dylan has only performed it once, on August 6, 1986 @ Mid-State Fairground – Paso Robles, California:
Altogether, the delivery is astonishing. Not a false moment, not a foot wrong. Keeping up a curious tension between the very measured, slightly too slow musical accompaniment and the urgency of his voice, he gives a faultless performance, infinitely fluid and expressive, from beginning to end a plausible, intelligent and immensely humane persona and narrator, alert to the turbulent complexities of every moment. It’s a long tour de force not a moment too long, and the Dylan who incandesces through it is the full Bob Dylan of genius and generous intelligence, fully engaged.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)