Blind Willie McTell (July 23, 2013)

New lyrics for Blind Willie McTell are a rare thing, pretty much limited to the “I’ll tell you one thing” hook that was borrowed from the cover performed by The Band. That line is still used to this day but here’s a new one, in place of the “chain gang on the highway…” lines:

There’s a woman by the river
With some fine young handsome man
He’s dressed up like a squire
Bootlegged whiskey in his hand
Well, some of them were killed in battle
Well, some of them survived as well
I can tell you one thing, that nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

There’s a woman by the river
With some fine young handsome man
He’s dressed up like a squire
Bootlegged whiskey in his hand
There’s a chain gang on the highway
I can hear them rebels yell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Pay In Blood (May 5, 2013)

The opening leg of the 2013 tour brought a greater number of Tempest album songs, and with them some new lyrics.

Well, another politician pumping out his piss
Another ragged beggar blowing you a kiss
Life is short but your time ain’t long
But they’ll hang you tomorrow then they’ll sing you a song

Someone must have slipped a drug in your wine
You gulped it down and you lost your mind
Got hit so hard, must be made of stone
I pay in blood, but not my own.

How I made it back home, nobody knows
Or how I’ve survived so many blows
I’ve been through Hell, what good did it do?
My conscience is clear, what about you?

Another politician pumping out the piss
Another angry beggar blowing you a kiss
You’ve got the same eyes that your mother does
If only you could prove who your father was

Someone must have slipped a drug in your wine
You gulped it down and you crossed the line
Man can’t live by bread alone
I pay in blood, but not my own.

How I made it back home, nobody knows
Or how I’ve survived so many blows
I’ve been through Hell, what good did it do?
You bastard! I’m supposed to respect you?

Tangled Up In Blue (2012)

He had a job and a pretty face
And everything seemed to fit
When he helped her out way down at the race
He just put it all down and he split

And he drifted down, down to New Orleans
Where they treated him just sure like a tramp
He nearly drowned, running up to Baton Rouge
Where the weather was cold and damp

All the while he was alone
You know the past was close behind
He seemed [lowdown] deceiving
That world was so [defiled/defined], except for you

We were tangled up in blue

He had a job and a pretty face
And everything seemed to fit
Then one day, he could just a-feel the waste
He put everything down and he quit

Then he drifted down to New Orleans
Working nights, working every day
Nearly drowned down in Baton Rouge
On a cold, on a cold December day
All the while that he was alone
You know the past was close behind
He’s seen a lot of women
But none of them were–them were ever too refined, except for you
But you were tangled up in blue

He had a job and a pretty face
Everything seemed to fit
One day, he just – everything felt out of place
He put everything down and he just quit

He drifted down to New Orleans
[Where he’d been destroyed] every day
Well, he nearly drowned in Baton Rouge
Everything [went/running] away
All the while he was alone
You know the past was close behind
He’s seen a lot of women
And none of them were too refined, except for you
You were tangled up in blue

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the ax just fell
So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Workin’ for a while on a fishin’ boat
Right outside of Delacroix
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind, and I just grew
Tangled up in blue

The Man In Me (June 27, 2011)

Ah, what a wonderful feeling
Just to know that you really exist
It sets my poor heart a-reeling
To think I ever would feel like this


[When sings the verse a second time, changes last line to:]
I never thought I could feel like this

But, oh, what a wonderful feeling
Just to know that you are near
Sets my heart a-reeling
From my toes up to my ears

When I Paint My Masterpiece (April 10, 2009)

In the original lyric from Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2, 1971, Dylan hurries back to his hotel room because he has “a date with Botticelli’s niece.” It is this niece who promised “she’d be right there” when Dylan paints his masterpiece. In this live version from 2009, well, whatever does he mean here?

Got to hurry on back to my hotel room
Where I paint on the walls, I paint them all up with grease
She promised she’d be right there with me
When I paint my masterpiece

Got to hurry on back to my hotel room
Where I’ve got me a date with Botticelli’s niece
She promised that she’d be right there with me
When I paint my masterpiece

You’re A Big Girl Now (April 27, 2002)

Time is a jet plane, and it moves so fast
Oh, but what a shame all we’ve shared can’t last
I can change, I swear
See what you can do
I don’t need to be blue
For me or for you

Time is a jet plane, it moves too fast
Oh, but what a shame if all we’ve shared can’t last
I can change, I swear,
See what you can do
I can make it through
You can make it too

You’re A Big Girl Now (2002)

Love is so simple, to quote a phrase
I’ve known it all the time, I’m learnin’ it these days
But I know where I can find you
Yes, but I ain’t ever gonna look
I’m gonna put my order in with the cook
And hang my coat up on a hook

Love is so simple, to quote a phrase
You’ve known it all the time, I’m learnin’ it these days
I know where I can find you
In somebody’s care
But I ain’t gonna look there
You’re a big girl, (hold/go and) share

Love is so simple, to quote a phrase
You’ve known it all the time, I’m learnin’ it these days
Oh, I know where I can find you, oh, oh
In somebody’s room
It’s a price I have to pay
You’re a big girl all the way

I Threw It All Away (November 2000)

Even before you hear these new lyrics it’s the music that hits you. The band is playing a minor reworking of Every Grain of Sand while Dylan is singing I Threw It All Away. There were only two performances of this song in 2000, on consecutive nights, and here they are. Towards the end of the second outing, Dylan pleads, “Please don’t throw it all away!” These could well be the most radical lyric changes to the song since 1978’s “Must have been deceived” line.

Once I was waiting, fortunately in love
And rivers, rivers that ran, rivers that ran through ev’ry day
But I must have been insane
Had no reason to complain
‘Cause I, ’cause I threw it all away
I don’t know why!
But I, but I threw it all away

Once I had mountains in the palm of my hand
And rivers that ran through ev’ry day
But I must have been crazy
Or else I must have got lazy
Ah Lord,
I threw it all away
I must have had some reason!
Yes, I threw it all away

Once I had mountains in the palm of my hand
And rivers that ran through ev’ry day
I must have been mad
I never knew what I had

Until I threw it all away