“Stop Now” and “The Wandering Kind”. What lies behind two of Dylan’s “lost” songs

by Tony Attwood

I have put these two songs together not just because they seem to have been written around the same time, but also because I don’t have a recording of either and can find very little information on them.  I am hoping the excellent Bob Dylan Project will help me out sometime soon.

Heylin suggests that Stop Now was considered as an alternative track to New Pony on Street Legal.  There are apparently two versions of the song available, and I will get around to getting them one day – unless a kind reader does a review for me first.

Here are the lyrics…

I got a woman fine as she can be
She’s gonna get mad when she sees you here with me
You better, you have better
Stop now, stop now, stop now, stop now,
Stop now, stop now, stop now, stop now,
Before it’s too late.

Now she is fire to the wind and snow
But if she chums you, better go
You have better
Stop now, stop now, stop now, stop now,
Stop now, stop now, stop now, stop now,
Before it’s too late.

You felt on your leavin’ and you’re so desired
I mean you’re yearning and your heat in mind
But I’ll tell what I need your why
Your heart beats so you’re making me cry

You got big licks, big lips,
Big belly, big hips
But you have better
Stop now, stop now, stop now, stop now,
Stop now, stop now, stop now, stop now,
Before it’s too late.

As for The Wandering Kind I am also stuck.  I cannot find a recording of this song although Paul Butterfield recorded it, and despite having some other Butterfield recordings I don’t have a copy of the album with it on at the moment.  Also once more the excellent Dylan Project doesn’t have an active link – although here’s the page just in case it does come to life.

Indeed the official Bob Dylan site doesn’t even seem to recognise the song at all – which is not the case with all the songs of this period.

The lyrics however turn up in quite a few places, so again, here they are

She’s like sweet water that runs down my face,
I keep her posted in diamonds and lace.
I give her freedom and what else I can find,
But I know she’s restless in her mind
And the wandering kind.

Way down in Texas many years ago,
She travelled with me to ease my heavy load.
Some big shot saw her ’cause she looked so fine,
How was he to know she was restless in her mind
And the wandering kind.

A strange bedfellow wandered in her room
She was more unfaithful than I ever could assume
She took his money and slayed him from behind
‘Cause she knew she was restless in her mind
She’s the wandering kind.

Down at the border with new plans of my own
Don’t need no woman I’ll go it alone
I miss my baby and I can’t keep from crying
‘Cos I know she’s restless in her mind
And the wandering kind.

I should have known better than to get mixed up with her
I guess I’ll never know for sure
For better or worse the situation now is reversed
And I’m broke ’cause she is no longer first in my heart.

I wrote this letter before leaving the hotel
To where she’s staying in that dark adobe cell
I tried to help her but she knows I’m not blind
And because I’m not restless in my mind
I’m the wandering kind.

The Wandering Kind however does lead me to a story that is rarely mentioned, but to me seems to be of some significance as Paul Butterfield recorded the song.

At the last minute Paul Butterfield’s band was booked to perform at the Newport Folk Festival in July 1965 as the “crowds in” act on the first night when the gates are opened and again the next afternoon in an “urban blues workshop”.  (Workshop as in, “we have no idea what to call this”.  I remember one of my co-workers in the theatre some years later describing them as “a workshoppy type thing”.)

Now I have played in bands as part of the last minute booking of the support of the support of the support at events because of the support of the…. didn’t show or maybe didn’t ever exist.  And so I know what it is like to play in a band and be ignored, dismissed and have the audience talk over you.

But on this occasion Alan Lomax, it seems, noticed the band on the first night, and apparently through his efforts Paul Butterfield’s gig got a much bigger audience for the workshop event than anyone expected.

It is suggested in some quarters that because this style of electric blues was not widely known among the folk music audience that came to Newport, the performance was something of a revelation to many and caused quite a stir.  Indeed it was a precursor of what was to follow, but one that is missed by many writers who like to focus just on the “Judas” show as the start of Dylan Electric.

Anyway, Bob Dylan was there, heard the workshop performance and arranged for the band to work with him the next day on four songs, which they then performed.  Al Kooper was also involved and although the performance was apparently not that well received, it was the start of something so much bigger.

As for the man who impressed Dylan on this occasion, Allmusic sums up the influence of Paul Butterfield particularly well…

It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of the doors Butterfield opened: before he came to prominence, white American musicians treated the blues with cautious respect, afraid of coming off as inauthentic. Not only did Butterfield clear the way for white musicians to build upon blues tradition (instead of merely replicating it), but his storming sound was a major catalyst in bringing electric Chicago blues to white audiences who’d previously considered acoustic Delta blues the only really genuine article.

For me that is a fair analysis, and if you have a mind to look into what attracted Bob Dylan on that night, try “The Paul Butterfield Blues Band” from 1965 or “East West” from 1966 if you can find a copy.

Sadly, like so many other great rock musicians, Paul Butterfield’s life ended in tragedy, seemingly suffering from peritonitis and eventually using morphine to counteract the pain, he died from an overdose aged just 44.  I hope Bob remembers him and that gig just occasionally.

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2 Responses to “Stop Now” and “The Wandering Kind”. What lies behind two of Dylan’s “lost” songs

  1. In case you’re interested, i have mp3 versions (4 & 6 MB files) of the 2 versions of Stop Now which are parts of “The Rundown Rehearsal Tapes” a 4CD bootleg set (see page
    http://danielmartin.pagesperso-orange.fr/Dylan/html/boots/7/746RundownRehearsalTapes.html ).

  2. Leon Shutterbug says:

    I have a studio recording of Stop Now, Nice song, but glad he stuck with New Pony

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