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.

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Song of the Day #784: ‘Tangled Up in Blue (Demo)’ – Bob Dylan

My favorite tracks on Bob Dylan’s first Bootleg Series release are the demo versions of two other Blood On the Tracks classics.

The first is ‘Idiot Wind,’ which I featured on the blog nearly two years ago. That slow, aching version of a song that became so frantic and angry on the finished record, is one of the finest Dylan recordings I’ve heard.

It’s partner is today’s track, ‘Tangled Up in Blue,’ which hews closer to the final version but is equally enchanting.

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Song of the Day #92: ‘Blind Willie McTell’ – Bob Dylan

Dylan put out some great albums in the mid-70s but then hit a long dry spell that didn’t really end until Oh Mercy in 1989. One semi-bright spot was 1983’s Infidels, best known for its lead-off song ‘Jokerman.’ I don’t own Infidels, or anything from that 1975-89 period, because there are literally 20+ other Dylan albums I own that I find far superior.

However, Infidels could have been just as worthy an album had Dylan included two songs originally slated for the album but cut for reasons nobody has ever figured out.

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Song of the Day #91: ‘Visions of Johanna’ – Bob Dylan

I don’t generally like live recordings, but the bootleg release of Dylan’s “Royal Albert Hall” concert is a major exception. It works as both a stunning work of musical art and as a snapshot of a moment in cultural history… a time when “going electric” was considered a mortal sin by an audience that had painted Dylan into a corner of which he wanted no part.

“Royal Albert Hall” is in quotes because though that’s how the concert was widely known, the show didn’t take place in that London venue after all but in Manchester’s Free Trade Hall.

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Song of the Day #90: ‘He Was a Friend of Mine’ – Bob Dylan

From the grandly poetic ‘Idiot Wind’ I now shift to one of the simplest songs in the Dylan canon.

‘He Was a Friend of Mine’ is another tune recorded when Dylan was in his early 20s that feels like it was written by a much older man.

Truth is, I don’t know if Dylan actually wrote this song. So many of his early songs (as well as many from the past decade or so) are re-imaginings of classic Civil War-era tunes. He picks up a melody line here, a phrase there and recombines them into something brand new.

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