Bob Dylan/Malkmus :: Can’t Leave Her Behind


An AD reader recently reminded me of this great clip from 1966 of Dylan playing “Can’t Leave Her Behind”, filmed in a Glasgow hotel room with Robbie Robertson while on tour in the UK. While the general consensus among the Dylan faithful is that the following is the only known recording of the tune (and a fragment at that), I can’t help but wonder if somewhere in Dylan’s archives a rough demo doesn’t exist, just waiting for an eventual, future, “bootleg series” release. One can always hope. While just a fragment, this is arguably one of the sweetest love songs the artist ever penned:

“Where she leads me I do not know, Well she leads me where she goes
I can’t find her nowhere, Well, she needs me here,. All aware, I just can’t hear her walk, I just can’t hear her talk. Though sometimes you know you will. And when she comes my way, I’ll just be left any night or day, I will hear her say that I don’t wanna try, I tried also cried, But I can’t leave her behind.”

In 2006 Stephen Malkmus and Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo cut a version of the track for the accompanying soundtrack to Todd Haynes’ film I’m Not There. Brief and understated, Malkmus makes the track his own, vocally, without delving into any ill advised Dylanisms.

MP3: Stephen Malkmus & Lee Ranaldo :: Can’t Leave Her Behind

Clips can be found on both the Eat the Document and No Direction Home Dylan documentaries. Per the former, look for bootleg torrents online.

6 thoughts on “Bob Dylan/Malkmus :: Can’t Leave Her Behind

  1. Actually recorded in a Glasgow hotel room – and not England as posted. Still, have to agree, one of Dylan’s most heartfelt, melodic and unreleased jewels. Why this never saw the light of day I’ll never know.

  2. Great Dylan song! Not a great version from Malkmus. It’s not his fault, but his voice is really bland and rarely works on mellow acoustic songs like this one. I’d love to hear Badly Drawn Boy or Britt Daniel of Spoon reworking this track.

  3. While no one can reach Dylan’s (and Robbie Robertson for the matter) level of ethereal greatness, people need to be a little less harsh on Malkmus & Ranaldo. Their cover is better than passable, and has a nice alt-country tinge to it.

  4. He is making it up as he goes in this clip. Much like the basement track I’m Not There, it contains slight lapses in meaning, but it does not diminish the brilliance of these songs. He improvises better lyrics off the cuff than most people can take days to write. These songs are lovely, effortless first drafts that never got revised. I doubt any of these lyrics were ever even written down. Free association at its finest by a true master.

  5. After viewing the video of Dylan and Robertson, I’m not as big on Malkmus and Ranaldo’s variation (though I still consider it better than decent). Everything Dylan performs oozes perfection and elevates superbness (not really a word – I like to make words up) to an unreachable stratosphere.

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