Tangled Up in Blue

A very serendipitous thing happened when I was reading the Joni Mitchell biography Reckless Daughter. About midway through the book there is a discussion of Bob Dylan’s album “Blood on the Tracks”. Dylan said in a 1978 interview

“he was inspired to write his much celebrated ‘Tangled Up in Blue’ after spending a weekend listening to Blue – not just the title track but the whole album. “

Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe – page 199.

Joni loved the early recording of Blood on the Tracks which was played at a party at her house. She felt that Bob was “fully vulnerable” [Yaffe p 199]. But either because people said “‘Oh, it’s like a Joni Mitchell album'” [Yaffe p 200] or his own reasons, he completely recut the album in Minnesota before release. Joni felt

He took the vulnerability out of it, and in the process took the depth out. The New York sessions were touching. The Minnesota sessions were not touching at all.

Yaffe: Reckless Daughter. p 201

The originally released album is excellent but I was intrigued – how different were the original versions? Yaffe said it’s not too hard to find the earlier tracks. Then, within hours of finishing this chapter I learned that a new official bootleg – More Blood, More Tracks –of those earlier sessions was being released. Of course I listened.

The biggest and I think best example of the difference from the original and the released tracks is You’re A Big Girl Now.”  The originally released version is nice, but take 2 of the  original version is haunting – you can really feel his pain when he is “singing through these tears”  

I just can’t stop playing and singing this song. I was singing it – poorly – under my breath as Carla and I were walking around Portland yesterday. Take a listen on Youtube and see what you think. (You’ll probably have to sit through an ad. Hang in there)

I can’t find a usable version of the Blood on the Tracks version on Youtube so I’ll leave it to you to find it on your favorite music streaming service, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, whatever.

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