Expecting Rain

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PostPosted: Sat October 15th, 2011, 22:47 GMT 
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SHELTER FROM THE STORM

Robert Shelton

Dylan again uses natural elements to describe his tempest-tossed mood. The caressing melody explores a Yeatsian search for salvation through love. The poet found shelter, but the roof leaked and the rain came in. There are many rich lines, like “In a world of steel-eyed death and men / who are fighting to be warm” and “nothing really matters much, it’s doom alone that counts / and the one-eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn”.

Paul Williams

About Shelter From The Storm not much more needs to be said, except to point again to the delicious humor in Dylan's lyrics and delivery, throughout Blood On The Tracks. Apparently pain does bring out the best in people, sometimes. And Buckets Of Rain is almost the flip of the same coin – a bit of humorous nonsense sung and played with such sweetness it actually hurts. It is a song about being in love, and it projects a steadiness to precisely counterbal¬ance the restlessness of Tangled Up In Blue, "If you want me, honey baby, I'll be here." Is this the real Dylan? Is there a real Dylan on this album? Yes, in every contradictory word and every playful, heartfelt note from his guitar, his harmonica, his voice, his band. The last words sum it up nicely:

You do what you must do, and you do it well
I do it for you, honey baby, can't you tell?

Mojo 2005 Readers Poll #12

Sheryl Crowe – Mojo 100 Greatest Dylan Songs #26

I got into Dylan and The Band at high school in Kennett, Missouri about 1976 when all my friends were Boston fans. I wanted to be a songwriter. I had studied piano and I could play by ear. At first, I did not like Dylan’s voice so I started reading him. Then when I began writing my own songs, I realised that his ability to construct the arc of a melody is perfect – Shelter From The Storm was one of the first songs where I saw that.

I’ve thought about that perfection of his a lot. It is the internals – the note choices – that set an artist apart. Usually, they are completely identifiable. Look at Sting, or Sam Cooke, or Bono, or Thom Yorke, or now the way Chris Martin will go up a sixth on the end of a phrase. But Dylan does not have that kind of trademark, he is just a guy who knows what intervals to pick to grow our emotions, to manipulate us into feeling. And Shelter From The Storm is also an example of how good he is at making a verse melody so circular it becomes the hook and he does not have to use a chorus. It is almost like a nursery rhyme. “Come in, she said, I’ll give you shelter from the storm”. You never really know who she is. A spiritual figure? Is she a prostitute who took him in after he took his woman “for granted, got my signals crossed”? Although, with all of his relationship songs, I have assumed they are about Sara. Maybe that is wrong, but that touches the music for me.

I read one Dylan interview where he said the perfect song for him would be where every line could be the first line of a new song. And I think there is just so little fat in lyrics like Shelter From The Storm that really is true.

Oliver Trager

Describing a tempest-tossed state of being with elemental symbolism and only three chords, Shelter From The Storm finds a man taking stock of himself, the dangerous world around him, and his lost love. The poet once found shelter but now “it’s doom alone that counts”. With its Yeatsian “horsemen pass by” overtones of finality, Shelter From The Storm seems to transpire in a flat, primeval setting – as if the listener were transported into the Botticelli painting, The Birth Of Venus (circa 1485).

That fantastic landscape is front and centre as the curtain rises, the singer even using archaic, almost biblical language to set the tone, “’Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood / Blackness was a virtue, the road was full of mud / I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form / “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”. The Christian symbolism continues throughout the song and in the next verse is utilised as a way of deflating his own ego when the highly idealised woman (“try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm”) is shown removing his crown of thorns. She also provides a “salvation” that the “ravaged” narrator, much to his regret, took for granted. Hat flip attitude towards unconditional love and support appears to be his unravelling – his signals get crossed and he takes a long fall that results in his very soul being bargained for. But the song does end on an optimistic note as Dylan sings, “Beauty walks a razor’s edge / Someday, I’ll make it mine”, as if the possibility of redemption still exists. The way he sings it, you can bet it does.

Contrary to the song’s spare, vivid reading on its album debut (in which his vocal, guitar and harmonica ts are accompanied only by Tony Brown’s bass), Dylan created some bombastic arrangements of Shelter From The Storm with hit-and-miss results. Its live debut during the second leg of The Rolling Thunder Revue (in which Dylan coloured the tune with some choice licks on slide guitar) had a blustery, metallic edge complete with screeching electric guitar crescendos – one of Dylan’s great officially released recordings as heard on Hard Rain. A couple of years later – during his 1978 big band tour – Dylan approached it as a torch song with a staccato vocal that was not helped by a strident backing chorus overlaying a stylised arrangement complete with an emotionless lead vocal and saxophone solo. He shelved Shelter From The Storm intil 1984, when it returned with a rockier, if forgetful, flair. Since then, it has surfaced on virtually every tour, usually as an effective, slinky rock ‘n’ reggae, which allowed for some of Dylan’s all-time great performances in the mid-1990s (though he did tinker with an acoustic bluegrass variation in 1994).

A version of Shelter From The Storm released on the Jerry Maguire soundtrack album was a previously unknown and unreleased one that had been recorded during the Blood On The Tracks sessions.

Finally, in 2001, the Blood On The Tracks version of Shelter From The Storm was used with Dylan’s blessing on a World Wildlife Fund public service radio announcement. It was, amazingly enough, believed to be the first time that he had allowed one of his songs to be used in such a manner. “It’s nice to know something I did a long time ago can help save animals today. World Wildlife Fund is a good cause, I support them, and am proud to lend my music to this effort. Early on, animals were the only ones who liked my music. Now it’s payback time.”

Clinton Heylin

Published lyrics: Lyrics 85; Lyrics 04.

Known studio recordings: A&R Studios, NYC, 17 September 1974 – 5 takes. [BoTT-tk.5][JM-tk.l]

First known performance: Clearwater FL, 17 April 1976.

Though There Ain't Gonna Be Any Next Time actually appears next in the notebook, that song belongs with two other songs of a similar hue, which also failed to make the grade – as a mere footnote to the ongoing outpourings of guilt. It was immediately followed by a lyric worthy of any poet laureate, racked with the same grief as his “big girl” song and suffused with remorse. Shelter From The Storm, though, was not as fully honed when transferred to the page. Perhaps it was the first song entered into the notebook in the immediate aftermath of its composition (assuming, as I do, that he had been carrying the previous songs around with him).

Another long song, the Shelter From The Storm narrative descends from some mythopoeic realm, its mournful message operating almost as “Wedding Song Part 2”. This time he does not explicitly state that “she” saved his life, rather describing how he was “burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail”. Or, as he originally wrote it:

“Bushwhacked on the prairie, rolled on New Year's Eve
Poisoned in the orchard, buried in the leaves.'

In its original guise, Shelter From The Storm also contained an extra verse, at the mid-point of its 11 verses:

“Now the bonds are broken but they can be retied,
By one more journey to the woods, and the holes where spirits hide.
It's a never-ending battle for a peace that's always torn,
Come in, she said.”

That first line represents the only moment in the song where he explicitly expresses the hope that she may once again provide shelter. This could be why it stayed a part of the song long enough to be recorded; as fans discovered when an alternate take was used for the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe's Jerry Maguire movie. This first run-through on 17 September 1974 has no bass accompaniment, possibly because he was showing Brown the song. Taking a pause to work on other songs, he only returned to Shelter From The Storm later the same evening, wisely deciding the sixth verse added very little to the song. Trimming it to ten, he found a way “to cross the line”.

That word-perfect fifth take survived all the reconfigurations the album underwent, emerging as one of its real highlights. And though Dylan went on to perform it a number of different ways – almost always effectively – the nature of the song remained fixed. Whether singing it loud and clear to its subject at Fort Collins in 1976, introducing a full-blooded arrangement as “the story of my life” in 1978, noodling back to a mellower self in 1987, or getting back to the country at the Warfield in 1992, the song has endured as long as that yearning for “a place where it's always safe and warm”.


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PostPosted: Sat October 15th, 2011, 22:58 GMT 
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Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sat October 15th, 2011, 23:41 GMT 
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Beautiful song, top 10 for me. I think it's one of his greatest vocal performances. Tender and strong.


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PostPosted: Sun October 16th, 2011, 19:20 GMT 
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I've always had a wet spot for this song... I like it better than other Blood on the Tracks songs like "Oh Sister" and "Baby Stop Crying"


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PostPosted: Mon October 17th, 2011, 17:41 GMT 
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I think I wore out my Hard Rain cd a few years back because of this song, and well others, but this was my favorite. First time hearing it was another one of those :shock: moments for sure. Love the Original too, but I prefer the Jerry Mcguire version. It doesn't get much better then that.


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PostPosted: Mon October 17th, 2011, 19:01 GMT 

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one of those songs where the words fit from the mid 60s yet the mood doesnt.

never bad live. actually love the 2010 from japan versions.


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PostPosted: Fri December 23rd, 2011, 10:20 GMT 

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I know it's been a little while and i've got a few Track Talks in the pipeline,
but in the meantime check out my very own version of this perfect song...

http://youtu.be/S_e53QQa4jA

Let me know what y'all think!!


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PostPosted: Sat December 24th, 2011, 02:38 GMT 
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Tim Finnegan wrote:
I think I wore out my Hard Rain cd a few years back because of this song, and well others, but this was my favorite. First time hearing it was another one of those :shock: moments for sure. Love the Original too, but I prefer the Jerry Mcguire version. It doesn't get much better then that.

Fort Worth 5/16/76 is the one for me.


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PostPosted: Sat December 24th, 2011, 02:45 GMT 
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marker wrote:
I know it's been a little while and i've got a few Track Talks in the pipeline,
but in the meantime check out my very own version of this perfect song...

http://youtu.be/S_e53QQa4jA

Let me know what y'all think!!

Very nice, marker!


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PostPosted: Sat December 24th, 2011, 03:07 GMT 
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raging_glory wrote:
marker wrote:
I know it's been a little while and i've got a few Track Talks in the pipeline,
but in the meantime check out my very own version of this perfect song...

http://youtu.be/S_e53QQa4jA

Let me know what y'all think!!

Very nice, marker!

Yes, smooth. Which one is you?


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PostPosted: Sat December 24th, 2011, 03:40 GMT 

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Thanks guys!! I'm the singer!!!!


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PostPosted: Sat December 24th, 2011, 03:42 GMT 
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marker wrote:
Thanks guys!! I'm the singer!!!!

tour schedule?


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PostPosted: Sat December 24th, 2011, 03:55 GMT 

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You'll find us in Los Angeles playing any bar that lets us drink for free!!
Seriously if you're in LA, check us out!
And here's our Facebook in case you wanna friend & follow us....

http://www.facebook.com/standardsband


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PostPosted: Fri August 24th, 2012, 05:34 GMT 
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I was listening to the Hard Rain version today while cleaning my room and something clicked for me.

With the allusions to Jesus ("my crown of thorns," "the preacher rides a mount," "they gambled for my clothes," "I bargained for salvation,") Dylan is alluding to his image of being a curly-haired, guitar playing Christ of the Civil Rights movement. But he's not the Messiah, rather it's the woman "with silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair." She's his Savior, who happens to give him a "lethal dose."
Now if he "could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born."


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PostPosted: Fri August 24th, 2012, 19:05 GMT 

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If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born

Spirit on the water, darkness on the face of the deep
I keep thinking 'bout you, baby, I can't hardly sleep


He seems to be alluding to the same thing here.


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PostPosted: Fri August 24th, 2012, 22:43 GMT 
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Botticelli's Niece wrote:
I'm obsessed with the Hard Rain version of this song right now. It totally rocks.

Also, Bobby looks hot as hell singin' it.


Another one here. Obsessed with the Hard Rain version, I mean (which I much prefer to the BOTT one...)
The 95 versions (Prague and Brixton) are also very good, but not in the same league (well, it would be difficult, since very few things are, to be honest.)

I'm went looking for the other ones recommended here, now (Florence 2007 and Foxwood Casino 2005) and couldn't find either. Any suggestion?


Last edited by Pedro M on Fri August 24th, 2012, 22:51 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri August 24th, 2012, 22:51 GMT 
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Top 10 for me. Perfection. Specifically the Hard Rain and Rolling Thunder Versions.


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PostPosted: Sun November 11th, 2012, 17:33 GMT 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkb3ySGF ... ure=relmfu

A nice version from this recent summer/fall tour, I like the way the band sounds on this arrangement.


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PostPosted: Sun November 11th, 2012, 18:32 GMT 
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very likely to be my favourite dylan track, i just love the lyrics. can anyone upload the 2005 version that is celebrated in this thread? I'd love to hear it. and i agree with whoever said that the bukodan version is disastrous.


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PostPosted: Tue November 13th, 2012, 01:06 GMT 
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Hard Rain version is my favorite, also love the version on Budokan. But like some others, I've never heard a bad rendition of this song. It's always good at the very least.


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PostPosted: Tue November 13th, 2012, 02:15 GMT 

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Together with "Watchtower," "Shelter" perhaps represents Dylan's most "perfect" track, at once sufficiently concrete in detail and narrative to make sense, yet beautifully multilayered and "poetic"--unlike later recordings you don't get the idea he is obfuscating for the sake of it, and there is none of this (to my mind) rather unsatisfactory cutting-n-pasting of non-sequitors.

The lyrics, tune, playing and vocal all match-up in terms of sheer brilliance.


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PostPosted: Tue November 13th, 2012, 02:33 GMT 
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Kman223 wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkb3ySGFbuI&feature=relmfu

A nice version from this recent summer/fall tour, I like the way the band sounds on this arrangement.

I like this slow Shelter. Thanks Kman!


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PostPosted: Tue November 13th, 2012, 02:36 GMT 
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I've never been crazy about Watchtower from Dylan to be honest. Much as I Love Dylan, I think Jimi did it better than he ever could. That's the only one of his songs that has been covered that I think that about. It might have a lot to do with the fact that I was so used to Jimi's version before I ever heard Dylan's version, but hey, it is what it is. A great song by Dylan I agree, but not one of his most perfect songs.


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PostPosted: Tue November 13th, 2012, 15:20 GMT 

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nellie wrote:
A version of Shelter From The Storm released on the Jerry Maguire soundtrack album was a previously unknown and unreleased one that had been recorded during the Blood On The Tracks sessions.

While I am a bit late to this thread, the Blood on the Tracks outtake version that nellie references is wonderful. Highest possible recommendation.


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PostPosted: Tue November 13th, 2012, 18:58 GMT 

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Here y'all go. Here's my favorite NET version I posted originally....
God, how I love this version:

November 23 2005
London England
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ckgeb7


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