Song of the Day #791: ‘Just Like a Woman (Live)’ – Bob Dylan

I promised to feature ‘Positively 4th Street’ and ‘Just Like a Woman’ for my sister, but I’m hedging a bit by posting a live version of the latter today. This track comes from the fourth volume of the Bootleg Series, Live 1966: The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert.

This concert didn’t take place at the Royal Albert Hall (as mistakenly reported at the time), but at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall. This is the show that contained the infamous shout of “Judas!” from the audience.

I realize that I’m prone to hyperbole on this blog, particularly when it comes to these Dylan entries, but it feels entirely within reason to call this recording the finest live album ever released — not just for musical reasons but for cultural and historic reasons as well.

But I’ll get into that next weekend, when I’ll dedicate both days to tracks from this extraordinary album.

For now, enjoy Dylan’s lovely rendition of one of his biggest hits.

Nobody feels any pain
Tonight as I stand inside the rain
Ev’rybody knows
That Baby’s got new clothes
But lately I see her ribbons and her bows
Have fallen from her curls
She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl

Queen Mary, she’s my friend
Yes, I believe I’ll go see her again
Nobody has to guess
That Baby can’t be blessed
Till she sees finally that she’s like all the rest
With her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls
She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl

It was raining from the first
And I was dying there of thirst
So I came in here
And your long-time curse hurts
But what’s worse
Is this pain in here
I can’t stay in here
Ain’t it clear that—

I just can’t fit
Yes, I believe it’s time for us to quit
When we meet again
Introduced as friends
Please don’t let on that you knew me when
I was hungry and it was your world
Ah, you fake just like a woman, yes, you do
You make love just like a woman, yes, you do
Then you ache just like a woman
But you break just like a little girl

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #791: ‘Just Like a Woman (Live)’ – Bob Dylan

  1. Shawn says:

    I first heard that recording about 4yrs before Dylan officially released it. At the time, I’d probably been listening to Dylan about 8 or 9 yrs, on my own terms, but I don’t remember a time when his name was a foreign sound to my ear since my dad was an avid listener (mostly the early acoustic albums) . What a. memorable moment in my life when at a Kinght of Columbus hall, where some kind music flea market was being held, there was a gentleman with several Dylan bootlegs. This is how you obtained bootlegs back then, kids! After checking the dates on a few, and already knowing the era I was mostly interested in, I picked up “Guitars Kissing” and asked, “How does it sound?” His nonchalant answer was, “Exquisite.” Never forgetten that word since. I found he hadn’t hyped it one bit as I listened thru his earphones. I’d never heard anything like it; the Dylan on there was something entirely new to me. It was one of those “who knew?” moments you get on occassion. The first thing that really stuck out for me was the harmonica playing. The style was more like a guitar solo, later I thought of it being like a Jimi Hendrix solo; they both hold you in a trance. But no one knew Jimi when this recording was made. Later, it was the singing, clearer and with that snappy diction. After several listens, I noticed he was doing the normally electric songs acoustically and many of the electric ones of the album were officially released as acoustic. Another mind game to consider while I was entranced. Anyway, there was no doubt I had to buy the discs (got the 1964 Halloween show as well), no question, even at a shabby hall from guys doing some rather illegal business. I’m sure I spent about $150 at this particular vendor and that was probably about half of my wages for the week at the time. There hasn’t been a moment since then I can remember missing any of the money.

  2. Dana says:

    Wonderful version of this classic song. And wonderful story Shawn. Over the past few weekends, I had the same thought you expressed about how meaningless the term “bootleg” has become over the past few decades. I also remember “back in the day” going to an independent record store in Gainesville, FL and searching for real bootleg tapes–usually from England or Germany. I somehow feel it does a real disservice to the name and tradition of bootleg recordings to call anything mass produced and so easily obtainable through ITunes or Amazon a “bootleg.” But maybe that’s just me.

  3. Amy says:

    I prefer the version I know well (maybe just because I do know it so well), but this is such a brilliant song. Dylan paints such a vivid portrait of this woman and the man who knew her when…

    Just love it, and I thank you again for devoting a couple of days to the “greatest hits.”

  4. walker says:

    I think this song was actually recorded in Manchester, not RAH.

  5. Clay says:

    Correct, I mentioned that in the post.

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