Bob Dylan is currently gearing up to release the 13th volume of his remarkable Bootleg Series, Trouble No More 1979-1981, on November 3 via Sony/Legacy. Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of one of the set's standout tracks, the bluesy "The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar," featuring Carlos Santana on lead guitar.
Trouble No More covers one of the most controversial periods of Dylan's career, a time in which Dylan converted to Christianity and shifted his music completely to reflect his newfound faith. The sincerity and passion with which the often-cynical songwriter sang of his devotion to Christian teachings on the albums he released during this period—1979's Slow Train Coming, 1980's Saved and 1981's Shot of Love—baffled many of his fans, and they remain some of the most polarizing entries in Dylan's immense discograpghy.
“The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar” is a fiery piece, one of the many great Dylan songs that very nearly didn’t see the light of day.
Rehearsed before Dylan's shows in the fall of 1980, he debuted it at a performance on November 13 at the Fox Warfield in San Francisco. This performance—which features some percing soloing courtesy of Carlos Santana—is the version being premiered today.
Dylan would go on to play it five times during this brief run of shows, before recording it for the Shot of Love album in March, April and May 1981. At the time though, he decided to leave it off the album, and never played the song in concert again.
Although it was not included on the vinyl versions of Shot of Love, it wound up on the cassette release and was issued as the B-side of the first single from the album, “Heart of Mine.” Receiving radio airplay on its own, the song was added to the compact disc version of Shot of Love four years later and has been a part of the album ever since.This remains the only time that Dylan has altered the track listing of an album subsequent to its release.
You can listen to this live recording of “The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar” below.
To preorder Bootleg Series, Trouble No More 1979-1981 step right this way.