The Rough and Rowdy Ways Tour 2021: Early Roman Kings

I don’t know what it means either: an index to the current series appearing on this website.

Commentary by Tony Attwood

This track starts at around 43 minutes 25 seconds.

The change between this version and that on the album is in one sense small: the organ isn’t there.  It is still a 12 bar blues with an extended section on the opening chord, and with the oddity (in terms of the classic blues construction) that there are no vocals on the final (dominant) chord (which the album version doesn’t include at all).

The fact that we might have this difference is obvious – there is no organ being used on the tour version of the song – but the difference for the sound is enormous.  Somehow the album version has fewer jagged edges, as if the singer is reporting something that we know.  A sort of “that’s how it is” sound without too much of a commentary about whether this is a good thing or not.

Here it is as if we are being given the news for the first time, and no organ is used.  As a result, the difference in the sound is enormous.   The live version is therefore much more “in your face,” much more threatening, much more of a warning rather than a report.   And Bob’s singing style adds to this.  Indeed there are moments before the instrumental break where it almost sounds as if the band members are fighting each other for prominence, just as can happen in gang warfare.

There are also musical clashes at times with the piano part not fitting exactly with the rest of the band.  Bob on the piano seems occasionally to be wandering into his own little alternative approach.

Now of course Bob is known for re-writing his songs for the tours – and indeed in another series at the moment  “The Never Ending Tour Extended” I am trying to explore what Dylan does to various songs that we already know well from the albums, when he performs on stage.

The point from all this is that this one particular version should not necessarily be seen as the version that was heard or is going to be heard on this tour.   Bob adds, Bob takes away, Bob changes.

I’ll put the original album version below in case you feel like contrasting the two versions.

Previously in this series we have looked at

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