Once or twice: Songs that Bob has rarely performed. Only a hobo


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

Once or twice is a review of songs that Bob has performed just once or twice on stage.   The first article was  The girl on the Greenbriar Shore – complete with a video.  This consideration of “Only a hob” is the second article.


By Tony Attwood

Here again we have a recording which those providing it state was the one and only live recording on April 12 1963, and I have included it from two sources, in case either don’t work in your location, or in case one of them vanishes.  Those are the last two versions set below.

There is also a fairly fulsome article (even though I say it myself) about the history of the song including recordings, on this site so I won’t repeat all that turned up there.

Here is the first of the two versions from the studio.  And it is easy to tell each version apart by the guitar rhythm, and in this case the banjo.  Plus backing harmonies too.

I imagine (and you can probably correct me) this second version (below) was from the same recording session as the version above not least because both versions are in the same key and performed at the same speed.  Bob from the start was a great experimenter with changing the tempo and key of songs – something that has continued on the Never Ending Tour and thereafter, through to today.  You can find some examples in the “Never Ending Tour Extended” series which is highlighted on the home page (or at least it is at the time of writing).

So now we come onto what I think is the one and only live version, recorded 12 April 1963, according to the official site.  Two different online sources as noted above, in case one of them vanishes or is not available in your area.

It is interesting to note that although of course we consider this a very early Dylan recording, by the time this track was laid down Bob has already performed, “Song to Woody”, “See that my grave is kept clean”, “Fixin to Die”, “Blowing in the Wind”, “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” “Don’t Think Twice”,  “Masters of war”, and “Bob Dylan’s Dream” among of course many others.

So my point is that although this was a very early recording in Dylan’s overall career this was not an inexperienced performer getting used to a studio.   He was already mixing performances of the classic folk songs with his own new compositions.

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