Bob Dylan's 1965 classic "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" is a dense masterpiece, packed with literary references and serpentine tales about a weary, uncertain life on the road. It makes a fitting score for a newly produced video, which includes rare footage from Dylan's European tour of that year. As he sings about his search for meaning and joy away from home, we see Dylan sitting alone in the backseat of a car or on a train as he drifts from city to city, blank-faced as he greets fans or passively adjusts his shirt backstage before taking the stage. (Though look for a quick John Lennon cameo.)
This version of "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," Dylan's third take of the song, is a bit slower and moodier than the one that appeared on Highway 61 Revisited. It's one of the many alternates available on the latest release in the Dylan bootleg series, Vol. 12 The Cutting Edge 1965-1966, a collection of outtakes and other jewels he recorded during a 14-month period of prolific genius that resulted in the albums Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde. Dylan recorded more versions of "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" than he normally did for an album. He eventually settled on the 16th take for the final version.
The newly produced video was created by Damian Rodriguez using film footage shot by D.A. Pennebaker on Dylan's tour of the British Isles in 1965 (black and white) and 1966 (color).