Gotta Serve Somebody (November 8, 1990)

For a long time after this song was released on 1979’s Slow Train Coming album, live versions used lyrics which were very faithful to that recording. However, it later became a vehicle for improvised-on-the-spot lyric changes that that bore absolutely no relation to the original. In these versions, the performance would begin with a couple of standard verses and then the fun would start. This is one of many examples.

Maybe you’re highbrow or maybe you’re low
May be on earth, got nowhere to go
May be walking on the sidewalk
May be walking down on the street
But maybe you’re hot in the staggering heat

You’ve gotta serve somebody
Yeah, you’ve gotta serve somebody
It might be the devil, it might be the Lord
But you gotta serve somebody

¯_(ツ)_/¯

Man Gave Names To All The Animals (June 13 & August 23, 1989)

These are two of only three outings of this song in 1989, each with a different take on a newly featured giraffe verse. The final performance of the year was performed just a few days after these but the giraffe simply didn’t make the cut. The original version from the Slow Train Coming album named several animals, including a bear, a cow, a bull, a pig, and a sheep, but no giraffe.

Well, he saw an animal up walkin’ all alone
Great big neck and approachin’ out the day
It looked like his neck was goin’ for a mile and a half
“Ah, I think I’ll call it a giraffe”

He saw an animal out to stay
Walking fifty miles away on a different day
That baby tried, and he tried to laugh
“Ah, I think I’ll call it a giraffe”

¯_(ツ)_/¯

Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power) (October 15, 1987)

Señor, señor, do you know where she’s been ridin’?
How long is it gonna stay hidin’?
I gotta hold down, baby, when the chilly winds grab the door
Tell me where to picket it for, señor

Señor, señor, do you know where she is hidin’?
How long are we gonna be ridin’?
How long must I keep my eyes glued to the door?
Will there be any comfort there, señor?

Pledging My Time (October 8, 1987)

In 1987 there were just three performances of Pledging My Time. The first one, in September, relied on the standard lyrics. The third one (October 10) does repeat the “spend the night in jail” line, but the lines which surround it are partially formed and hard to decipher. The second one is presented here, with a lyric variation that is loosely based on the final verse of the original version.

That’s the end of my story
That’s the end of my tale
I’m gonna get
lucky, baby
I’ll spend the night in jail
I’m spending
my time to you
Hopin’ you’ll come through, too

Well, they sent for the ambulance
And one was sent

Somebody got lucky
But it was an accident
Now I’m pledging my time to you
Hopin’ you’ll come through, too

Masters of War (1984)

The 1984 tour brought us 27 performances of Masters of War, and with each performance we get a little something new as Dylan asks, “How much do I know?” The original verse from the Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan album goes something like this

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

On the 1984 tour, Dylan revisits this question almost every night, searching for inspiration. While he does not always find it, the journey itself is, we believe, an interesting one. It is not always clear exactly what is being sung (it is likely Dylan may agree with this in some cases) and so we present here our best transcript attempts.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
A world war can be won
But nobody’s learned
How much do I know
For as much as you do
Well, I’ll tell myself
All the things that you do

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
Well, they’ll knock on your door
When do you ever learn
Well, they’ll reap that or something
Darling what should I do
Don’t even care ‘bout yourself
Or the things that you do

I’ve got a reason to know
Oh but the rest I can take
I’m a sure sign of the place
That’s what you want me to say
But there’s one thing I know
Though the first time I’m you
Forget what you know
Instead (do not) forget what you do

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
A world war can be won
Don’t worry, you can learn
But there’s one thing I know
Well, I did find it true
I’d rather sing by myself, whatever
Or give up what you do

How much do I know
Not to talk out of turn
Well, back when I know
Let out a burn, burn, burn
Well there’s one thing I know
Though, I push this on you
I’d just say myself whatever
About the things that you do

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
Well find more than you
Nor the lesson I learned
Well there’s one thing I know
Though I may look more than you
(For the radio) itself
Will not forget what you do

For the 6 June 1984 show, Dylan skips this verse entirely. For the remainder of the 1984 performances… you’ll just have to wait!

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Union Sundown (April or May 1983)

This is a studio outtake from the Infidels sessions.

Well, the drug dealers are making big profits
Oh yeah, they say times were tough for a while
When the Russians bomb Las Vegas
They’ll be on a desert isle
And them big manufacturers are starvin’ though
Their profits are down beyond belief
Goin’ to have to send them a care package
Or make it food relief

We need a man in a mask in the White House
Who’s got no name or important ties
Just as long as he understands the shape of things to come
He can stay there till he dies
Got to be an invisible man
Not a front man for some diseased cause
Certainly not a union man, an independent man
Not a man tied to social laws

¯_(ツ)_/¯

Simple Twist of Fate (June/July 1981)

Evolution of a Bob Dylan Lyric

On June 30, 1981, Dylan makes a very notable mention of Suze in this performance:

He walked along through the city blocks
Hunts her down – he remembers Suze when she talks
Hunts for her by the waterfront docks where the sailors all roll in
Maybe he’ll find her there once again, how long must he wait
One more time for a simple twist of fate

Here we take a look at how this particular lyric developed by presenting consecutive performances from the shows before, after, and including this June 30th outing.

Colombes, France, June 23

He heard the tickin’ of the clocks/ And walked down through the city blocks

London, England, June 26

He walked along through the city blocks/ Sometimes down sometimes at the docks

London, England, June 28

He walked along through the city blocks/ Oh down by and the tree full of rocks

London, England, June 29

He walkin’ down through the city blocks/ Way down far but know she talks

London, England, June 30

He walked along through the city blocks/ Hunts her down – he remembers Suze when she talks

London, England, July 1

He walked along by the city docks/ Hunts her down though the way she talks

Birmingham, England, July 4

He go by there by the city blocks/ But oh my by the way she talks

Birmingham, England, July 5

He walked through the city blocks/ Well down she remem- to talks

Stockholm, Sweden, July 8

He walked along through the city block/ Pulled down by the way she talks

Dramman, Norway, July 9

He walked along through the city blocks/ Hunts for her by the way she talks

It is interesting to note that this pair of lines is not found in the few performances prior to these. Note how the rhyme gradually evolves (blocks -> rocks -> docks -> talks), with Suze clearly mentioned only on June 30th. By the show in Dramman on July 9th, Dylan has settled on the less personal but very clearly sung, “Hunts her down by the way she talks.” While Suze could still be in Dylan’s mind when performing the song at this stage in 1981, he is at least no longer calling her out by name.

One More Cup of Coffee (April 1976)

Your sister sees the future
She was born to read my mind
She overstates her beauty
But then her words are not that kind

Your sister sees the future
She was born to read my mind
She’s always in the room
But she’s so hard to find

Your sister sees the future
Like your mama and yourself
You’ve never learned to read or write
There’s no books upon your shelf

With God On Our Side (November 4, 1975, early show)

I’ve learned to hate Russia, and China, and Korea, and Vietnam, and Bulgaria, and Poland, South America, and Cuba
All through my whole life
If another war comes
It’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side

I’ve learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war starts
It’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side