Once or Twice: Restless Farewell. The “lost” recordings and two of Bob’s magical moments

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

Once or twice: A review of some of the songs that Bob has performed just once or twice on stage, selecting those of which we have a genuine recording (and “genuine” is important here since I have found a few sites that seem to suggest they are a recording of a live version, but I have my doubts.)  Text and video selection by Tony Attwood.


When I came up with the idea of “Once or Twice” as a possible series for Untold, this was one of the songs I had in mind.  I did a quick check to ensure that this was a song that would qualify in the “Once or Twice” category by looking at the official Dylan site, and that was that.

So it has been on my list to cover – except now coming to write the piece I find a problem.  For although official Dylan site does indeed still have this song performed twice, I am not sure that is quite right.  But the official site being wrong?  Well whoever would have thought that?   (Actually most of us because we’ve found all sorts of errors there, but still, it is a helpful resource even if not always 100% right).

So let’s just see what we have got…   Certainly we have a 1964 version here… which may well be the one recorded on February 1, 1964, at CBC TV Studios in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for the show “Quest”.  So perhaps we should discount this one as it is not live in the normal sense of being in front of an audience.  And this is not included in the official site’s listing.


But to link in with the official site what we also have is this one which is labelled 17 May 1964 – played in a different key from the one above.  So this would be the first one of the official site’s count of “two”.



What you will notice in these two early recordings is that Dylan is playing a chordal accompaniment which seems to have no direct relationship with the rhythm of the melody.  I have always been puzzled by this, and my only thought is that the chordal accompaniment symbolises the moving on, in contrast to the lyrics and melodic line which symbolise the stability of the past.   Maybe, maybe not, but musically I am not sure it works well.   Which is why I much prefer the versions that came later.

And these are so wonderful I can but despair at the fact that there were only two of them.  But that’s what we have so let us consider…

Thus we are now looking for the 21 May 1998 performance – and yes there is one

So yes we have covered the two from the official site, and have one more which maybe isn’t that “live” in front of an audience.

But still that is not it, and you will probably know already why not.   For below is a beautiful version of this gorgeous song performed in 1995 for the Frank Sinatra concert.

So I think we have three live versions and one that wouldn’t normally be called “live” as it has all the attributes of a studio recording.

Still that is 50% up on the official site.  I wonder if we should let them know?   But no, I’m sure they wouldn’t want to give us credit.  And if they did update their listing from two to three performances, then the song wouldn’t qualify for this series!

Previously in this series we have looked at 

Leave a Reply

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