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

by Tony Attwood

This article is a 2018 update on an earlier piece; Updated because recordings are now available.  The Rundown Rehearsal Tapes vol 4 is on line and contains two versions of “Stop Now” written by Dylan and Helena Springs.   For the Wandering Kind we have the Paul Butterfield version which I can now link to…


So to begin with Stop Now which is on the rehearsal album above…

Stop Now Version 1: At 38 minutes 40 seconds (approx).  This is a very slow variant 12 bar blues in which the singers have tons of space to fill in around the music.   The centre piece is the rise up through “You had better stop now” but for me, the repetitions of “Stop now” just go on too often, too long.  It just doesn’t seem to work as a piece of music that holds attention, which perhaps is why Bob decided to try

Stop Now Version 2: At 44 minutes 20 seconds (approx) on the album above.

This is a completely different approach.  The same blues chord play from the variant 12 bar approach, and because it is much faster the “you had better” doesn’t feel so strained and the “stop now” repeats actually become something you might want to jig along to if that’s the kind of thing you like to do.

Version two is certainly entertaining and bearable, which I personally don’t find is true in the first.  Also the middle 8 feels like a good bit of fun and the return to the verses works, not least because of the fun of the middle 8 lyrics

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,

No wonder Bob starts laughing.

Heylin suggests that Stop Now was considered as an alternative track to New Pony on Street Legal.

Here are the full lyrics of Stop Now

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” Paul Butterfield’s recording of “The Wandering Kind” has turned up on Spotify has got it, so now it is there.

Here are the lyrics of The Wandering Kind; it is a slow blues with a variation of the chord sequence and an excellent wailing harmonica.   It’s a hell of a story encapsulated in a short song: you could make a whole movie out of this.  Mind you, isn’t that the way so often with Dylan.

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 something I was proposing as “a workshoppy type thing”.  He wasn’t being polite.)

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.

Here is the complete track listing from the Bob Dylan rehearsal bootleg vol 4 referred to above in case you want to play the whole thing…

We’d Better Talk This Over
Coming From The Heart
I Threw It All Away
Maggie’s Farm
Ballad Of A Thin Man
Simple Twist Of Fate
To Ramona
If You See Her Say Hello
I Don’t Believe You
Love Minus Zero
Stop Now (1)
Stop Now (2)
Coming From The Heart (2)
Am I Your Stepchild?
Do Right To Me Baby
Coming From The Heart (3)
More Than Flesh And Blood

Think there’s something missing or wrong with this review?

You are of course always welcome to write a comment below, but if you’d like to go further, you could write an alternative review – we’ve already published quite a few of these.  We try to avoid publishing reviews and comments that are rude or just criticisms of what is written elsewhere – but if you have a positive take on this song or any other Dylan song, and would like it considered for publication, please do email Tony@schools.co.uk

What else is on the site

1: 500+ reviews of Dylan songs.  There is an index to these in alphabetical order on the home page, and an index to the songs in the order they were written in the Chronology Pages.

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3: Bob Dylan’s themes.  We publish a wide range of articles about Bob Dylan and his compositions.  There is an index here.

4:   The Discussion Group    We now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

5:  Bob Dylan’s creativity.   We’re fascinated in taking the study of Dylan’s creative approach further.  The index is in Dylan’s Creativity.

6: You might also like: A classification of Bob Dylan’s songs and partial Index to Dylan’s Best Opening Lines and our articles on various writers’ lists of Dylan’s ten greatest songs.

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