Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues from Tour 66

The next song from my archives is Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues from Dylan's World Tour 66. Recorded in Liverpool on May 14, 1966, it was the b-side of the single release of I Want You.

For most Dylan fans, this song was the first hint of the power and the magic of the music from the 66 Tour. Released long before any bootleg, it is a recording filled with the sound of Bob and the band that shocked the audiences across the world in 1966. From all accounts, these shows were so loud that many in the audience were freaked out.

Well before I knew anything about this tour, I was blown away by the sound of Bob playing this song live. Once I got this 45, I played it to death. Listen to the desperation in Bob's voice and the playing of the band as he barks out the famous line in the last verse: I started out on Burgundy, but soon hit the harder stuffffffffff:

Always one of my favorites from Highway 61 Revisited, this song features Dylan's surreal lyrics at their best. The story of Dylan's characters in Juarez, Mexico is told backed by the excellent playing of the band. This version reveals the power and weariness of that tour.

This particular track was taken from the essential box set of the tour called Genuine Live 66. If you like the music from this part of Bob's amazing career, you should own a copy. It is often available on eBay under the Bob Dylan listings.


  1. William,

    My experience with this version of Just Like TTB was very similar to yours. I too bought this 45 (at the tender age of ten), and couldn't believe how great the B side sounded. It was shocking, and in some ways changed my life. Thanks for posting the song; it's been a long time since I've heard it, and it sounds just as incredible now as when I first listened to it.

  2. To paraphrase a Van Morrison quote from long ago, Genuine Live 66 should be a part of everyone's daily hygiene -- or at least weekly.

  3. Well yes, this is one of the greatest live versions of that song. It is also on Masterpieces (3LP 1978). One of a few songs, this album is worth for.

    cheers from Hamburg

  4. My adulation of Mike Bloomfield was - for a long time - based on the belief that he was the guitarist on this particular iteration of 'JLTTB' ... it was in fact an incendiary young Robbie Robertson!

  5. Just to set the record straight, the above version of JLTTB's is definitely not off the Highway 61 album - here's the relevant discography:

    Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues - Bob Dylan 5:36 **
    COMPOSER: Bob Dylan
    ORIGINALLY RELEASED: Columbia single #43683, 1966
    REC DATE: 5/14/66 The Odeon - Liverpool

    Bob Dylan - vocal, guitar
    Rick Danko - bass
    Garth Hudson - organ
    Mickey Jones - drums
    Richard Manuel - piano
    Robbie Robertson - guitar

    Ciao, JDL