‘Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

Shelter from the Storm is one of my absolute favourite Bob Dylan songs. It was originally released on Blood on the Tracks in 1975; in my book a rare example of a perfect album. No weak songs, and everything working together to make something greater than the sum of the parts.

I recently came across a recording of a live version from 1976. It’s very different to the album version, and sounds phenomenal.

Suddenly I turned around and she was standin’ there
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

Oddly enough although I’ve known the album for years, it’s only recently that Shelter has jumped out at me. Dylan’s songs are like that; you’ll listen to them hundreds of times and still find new things, come to the song with a new point of view, hear it in a different light.

As with many Dylan songs, it’s appeared in film and TV pretty frequently. A notable example is the end of a film called St Vincent, where there’s a version with Bill Murray’s character singing along to it. I’ve sung this song (and others tbh) in a manner similar to this many, many times.

Well, I’m livin’ in a foreign country but I’m bound to cross the line
Beauty walks a razor’s edge, someday I’ll make it mine
If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

As many different versions as there are, I always come back to the original album version. The performance on the album perfectly matches the tone of the lyrics, particularly the way he sings some of the lyrics (“I bargained for salvation and she gave me a lethal dose/I offered up my innocence I got repaid with scorn”). A proper gem of a song.