There is an alternative version of this song on The Bootleg Series 5 1975 The Rolling Thunder Revue
. Mr. Dylan is known for his progressive approach to his art, in the way that his songs rarely keep the same forms, musically or lyrically. Joan Baez
notes (in the booklet that comes with The Bootleg Series
5) how difficult -and exciting- it is to play alongside Dylan, because one never knows when he is about to go into a brand new chord sequence or verse that no one, not even the band, has ever heard before. I like to imagine that Dylan thinks them up in his head as he's preparing to go on stage, but no matter when he writes his alternative versions, they're just as wonderful
and important as the originals.
This live version is so different from the Nashville Skyline version that I think of them as two completely different songs. The Nashville Skyline recording is calm, soothing, and balanced: there is a sweet, steady rhythm, and Dylan sings in a smooth, echoing voice. It's excellent. But the Rolling Thunder version is explosive: Dylan pretty much shouts the words, in a way that you know he means what he's saying. He's excited, the band's excited, and it doesn't take long before we're all excited, playing this track again and again until we're sick of it, staying away from it, only to come back after we've had some time apart. The guitar riffs that were pretty and controlled in the studio recording have turned into quick and high-pitched sounds of success. It's kind of like the Nashville Skyline version is sung by a man who is recalling his experience of returning to his loved one, while the live version is sung by a man who is on his way home. Hear them both.
Throw my ticket in the wind
Throw my mattress out there too
Draw my letters in the sand
'Cause you got to understand
That tonight I'll be stayin' here with you.
I could have left this town by noon
By tonight I'd been to someplace new.
But I was feeling a little bit scattered
And your love was all that mattered.
So tonight I'll be stayin' here with you
Get ready, 'cause tonight I'll be stayin' here with you.
Is it really any wonder
The changes we put on each other's head
You came down on me like rolling thunder
I left my dreams on the river bed.
I can hear that lonesome whistle blowin'
I hear them semis rollin' too
If there's a driver on the road
Got to let him have my load
'Cause tonight I'll be stayin' here with you.