The Rough and Rowdy Ways Tour 13: I made up my mind to give myself to you

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

Commentary by Tony Attwood, audio kindly provided by Mr Tambourine.

“I made up my mind to give myself to you” starts at 1.08′.09″


This is a song where Bob occasionally seems to struggle with the melody line, but the audience approves of his attempts, as the song is taken at the same speed (by the band) and in the same key, as on the original recording.  Bob changes his part, but everyone else keeps to the script.

But in listening to this live version it is easy to forget the sublime gentleness that Bob makes the central point of the original recording – aided of course by the vocal hummed backing.

So as I have done before I am going to publish the original recording below this live recording because the same question arises in my mind as it has done for other Dylan songs on this tour: does this version actually give us new insights, or new understandings into the song?  Is it more entertaining, or more emotional?

I am sure that for many people it is more entertaining.  But for myself no.   Whereas so often in listening to Dylan’s live versions of the songs through the Never Ending Tour series I really have found something completely new through Dylan’s rearrangement, here I don’t.

Indeed I am almost taken to the point of view that when Bob is emphasising certain words, or saying or singing them in a certain way it is not for any purpose other than the feeling that this is what Bob Dylan does, this is what the hard core fans expect.

But here I simply don’t get the arrangement of

Take me out traveling, you're a traveling manShow me something I don't understandI'm not what I was, things aren't what they wereI'll go far away from home with her

in this live version, and that of course is my failing.  I simply don’t understand why Bob has chosen to perform this variation on the original with these lyrics   And of course this is not the only song this criticism has been applied to, and so I have often wondered before, is Bob changing the arrangement and the vocals because that is what is expected of him, or because he is offering us a different insight into the song through this live version.

Or maybe he just does it to alleviate the boredom of singing the same set night after night which is what he has done on this tour  Or to test the view that the fans will cheer with delight no matter what?  No, I won’t accept that.

Those last two views seem very cynical and I don’t believe them.  After all why go on touring into old age just to be cynical?   I’m not as old as Bob, but I am not too far behind, and if he has even half of the aches that I get as old age comes on, he can only be touring because he loves it and because he feels he has something to say.   Which suggests that it is just me: with a performance like this I just don’t get what it is he wants to tell me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *