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PostPosted: Tue August 14th, 2018, 23:16 GMT 
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If You see Her, Say Hello from 1976 (Lakeland & Tallahassee https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7mX3jBD6ePc versions) changed drastically. The song now contains sexually explicit lines and talks about infidelity and is far different than the original. Other songs during this time also begin to change, night after night.

Before the Rolling Thunder era, I couldn't think of anything (nothing that was apparent that is). His melody and structure have always changed, but I'm more curious about his free styling and/or rewrites, such as TUIB from 1984. I can't remember if the lyrical changes progressed night after night. I can only recall the Live 84 version atm


Last edited by dylanswife on Tue August 14th, 2018, 23:41 GMT, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue August 14th, 2018, 23:23 GMT 
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I tend to think of free styling as more "on the fly" type of rewrites, like Tell Me Momma, where he's singing lines that sound as if he didn't plan them beforehand (and sometimes it's just gibberish that rhymes), but rather just singing what comes to mind immediately. To me, Tangled Up In Blue in 1984 and If You See Her Say Hello in '76 are more of a deliberate rewrite (as I would hardly believe he came up with those drastically different lines as he was singing them), so I wouldn't really think of that as free styling. Other examples of immediate changes other than Tell Me Momma though, I can't really think of any that early.

Studio-wise, some of the Basement Tapes stuff like I'm Not There sound as if he doesn't have a complete lyric when he starts and is just singing what he thinks of to the melody.


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PostPosted: Tue August 14th, 2018, 23:36 GMT 
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That could be. I was thinking about exactly that, but seeing how Bob has never liked to rehearse much, I wondered if the same might be true for songs that change through the years. I'm sure he jots down changes in the lyrics from time to time to sing later, but his frequency to always change material is very high. To plan it out ahead of time would be a lot of work, but maybe that's how he spends part of his time on the road and in hotels.

The recent changes of the last couple decades do to me feel like true free styling for sure.


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PostPosted: Tue August 14th, 2018, 23:41 GMT 
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dylanswife wrote:
The recent changes of the last couple decades do to me feel like true free styling for sure.

Agreed. Think of Long And Wasted Years and that one verse that always changed. Sometimes there was an awful lot of mumbling and/or long pauses before the delivery like he was trying to come up with a couplet that rhymed, which gives me the impression that not as much went into that as the complete rewrites mentioned before.

Simple Twist Of Fate in '84 is another example. Some of those verses changed so drastically, but a lot of the time there was just mumbling leading up to the last word of each line that rhymed, as if he had an idea of what he wanted to say but was coming up with the wording as he was singing it.


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PostPosted: Wed August 15th, 2018, 01:33 GMT 

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The earliest example I can think of at the moment is "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" in 1965 and 1966, with the verses about what he'll get for her. Those didn't change, though, once he'd added them. The rewrite of "Hero Blues" at the first two dates in 1974 is pretty wild. On "Minstrel Boy" at the Isle of Wight he's just winging it. "Enough Is Enough" is another one from 1984. It's like "Tell Me Momma" in that he never actually finished it, but performed it every night anyway.

Of course, it's not always easy to tell whether he's rewritten a song or just can't remember how it goes. The eighties are the golden age for that kind of thing, from "Don't Start Me Talking" on Letterman to "Trail of the Buffalo" in 1989, when he forgets the lyrics and starts free-associating about the terrible time he and the other cowboys had.


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