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Bob Dylan’s best songs – Just Like A Woman – #23 – updated

just like a woman

No, no. I knew a lot of those people but I also know a lot of lesbians. They’re not going to ask me to join a lot of campaigns just because I wrote Just Like A Woman
~Bob Dylan (to Philip Fleishman, Feb 1978)

Well, that’s true, that’s true, I believe that. I believe that that feeling in that song [Just Like A Woman] is true and that I can grasp it, you know, when I’m singing it. But if you’re looking for true companion in a woman, I mean… I can’t stand to… to run with women anymore, I just can’t, it bothers me. I’d rather stand in front of a rolling train, y’know. But if you find a woman that is more than a companion, that is also your sister, and your lover and your mother, y’know, if you find all them ideas in one woman, well, then you got a companion for life. You don’t ever have to think about.
~Bob Dylan (to Matt Damsker, Sept 1978)

..a devastating character assassination..[it] may be the most sardonic, nastiest of all Dylan’s put-downs of former lovers.
~Alan Rinzler (quotet in Paul William’s “BD – Performing artist 1960-73)

#23 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs. The original version from “Blonde On Blonde” was recorded on March 8 – 1966.

“Blonde on Blonde” version:

spotify:

Musicians:

  • Bob Dylan (guitar, harmonica, vocal)
  • Charlie McCoy (guitar)
  • Robbie Robertson (guitar)
  • Wayne Moss (guitar)
  • Joe South (guitar, bass)
  • Al Kooper (organ)
  • Hargus “Pig” Robbins (piano)
  • Henry Strzelecki (bass)
  • Kenneth Buttrey (drums).

Bob Dylan 1966

 

First of all, the song (the performance of the song included on Blonde On Blonde) is affectionate. This is evident in the opening harmonica notes, and the vocal that follows is affectionate in tone from beginning to end; there’s never a moment in the song, despite the little digs and the confessions of pain, when you can’t hear the love in his voice..
~Paul Williams (BD Performing artist 1960-73)

bobdylan-blondeonblonde-cover

Bangladesh concert w/ George Harrison – 1 August 1971(audio):

 Bob Dylan & George Harrison 1971

From Wikipedia:

Just Like a Woman” is a song written by Bob Dylan and first released on his 1966 album, Blonde on Blonde. It was also released as a single in the U.S. during August 1966 and peaked at #33 on the Billboard Hot 100. Dylan’s recording of “Just Like a Woman” was not issued as a single in the United Kingdom but the British beat group, Manfred Mann, did release a hit single version of the song in July 1966, which peaked at #10 on the UK Singles Chart.  In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Dylan’s version of the song at #232 in their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Released August 1966
Format 7″ single
Recorded March 8, 1966, Columbia Studios, Nashville, TN
Genre Folk rock
Length 4:53 (album version)
2:56 (single edit)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer Bob Johnston

Everyone can understand the feelings and the relationship described in the song, so why does it matter if Dylan wrote it with one woman in mind?
~Christopher Ricks

bob+dylan+1966

 

Live from “Rolling Thunder” tour:

Lyrics

Nobody feels any pain
Tonight as I stand inside the rain
Ev’rybody knows
That Baby’s got new clothes
But lately I see her ribbons and her bows
Have fallen from her curls
She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl

Queen Mary, she’s my friend
Yes, I believe I’ll go see her again
Nobody has to guess
That Baby can’t be blessed
Till she sees finally that she’s like all the rest
With her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls
She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl

It was raining from the first
And I was dying there of thirst
So I came in here
And your long-time curse hurts
But what’s worse
Is this pain in here
I can’t stay in here
Ain’t it clear that—

I just can’t fit
Yes, I believe it’s time for us to quit
When we meet again
Introduced as friends
Please don’t let on that you knew me when
I was hungry and it was your world
Ah, you fake just like a woman, yes, you do
You make love just like a woman, yes, you do
Then you ache just like a woman
But you break just like a little girl

Live 1966:

Live – Ann Arbor 1981.11.08:

Other related posts here @ JV:

Let’s round off with a great cover version..

Van Morrison – Live 2004:

-Egil

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9 Comments

  1. Excellent song. My personal favorite version is from Manchester, 1966 (not Albert Hall). He doesn’t really sound sad on Blonde on Blonde, but the Manchester version is heartbreaking.

    On another note, do we spend too much time writing, dissecting and talking about the old/young Dylan’s greatness and not enough about the new/old Dylan. Though I’ve enjoyed the discussions on some of the Tempest tracks, I notice in your list of Top 10 Dylan songs, there isn’t one from the 90′s or 2000′s.

    How would we judge Dylan’s output if Oh Mercy was his first record? Is Mississippi better/more relevant than It’s All Over Now Baby Blue? Could you argue that Tweeter and the Monkey Man is better/more relevant than Blind Willie McTell?

    Or, is that kind of discussion just not possible because we are still too close to the new/old Dylan and don’t have the perspective/benefit of hindsight to see how relevant, revolutionary and visionary Dylan’s current music is. Like the Royal Albert Hall fans in 1966?

    “You think I’m over the hill / You think I’m past my prime
    Let me see what you got / We can have a whoppin’ good time”

    • Thanks for excellent feedback Chuck!

      I think it’s hard to compare his latest stuff with the old classics.. but about 3 months after Tempest was released I rated the songs and implemented them into my Dylan top ~220 list.. A REALLY difficult job I must say! But you gotta start somewhere (Did I mention that I’m addicted to lists?). I landed “Tempest” (my fav song from the album) at #53.. I’m sure the next time I revise the list it will move up or down.. it’a an organic thing.

      So I do think this kind of discussion is possible, but it’s not easy.

      PS! Mississippi is actually #15 on my list :-)

      ..and nice quote from “Spirit On the Water” btw..

      -Egil

  2. Just listen to Ann Arbor ’81. The greatest live version of ANY Dylan song let alone Just Like A Woman

  3. From previous comment I made. I should have added the version I speak of is from the 2nd night. Ann Arbor 8th Nov, 1981

    • Thanks for your input leondel!

      …and.. grrrr.. My collection of Dylan concerts does not include the Ann Arbor 81 concerts.
      Sure would appreciate a download link ;-)

      -Egil

    • Post updated with embed of live version from Ann Arbor 1981.11.08.

      -Egil

      • Hi Egil,
        I was very remiss in not returning the above track. I simply got lost in work and forgot about it. Man, that’s not good conduct. I apologise and thank you for your link.

  4. Pingback: Bob Dylan – Top 200 songs accoding to Egil | Johanna's Visions