Dylan's so good that even many of his throwaways had the potential to be great songs. This was proven both by "Wagon Wheel
" and by this here song of interest, "I Can't Leave Her Behind," which was never completed by Dylan and never officially released on an album. In both cases, it was up to artists of the future to mine the gems and give them final form. The manners of their manifestations were rather different, however, as we will soon see.
Dylan performed this song (along with "On a Rainy Afternoon," "If I Was King," and "What Kind of Friend is This") on May 19, 1966, in the North British Station Hotel in Glasgow, Scotland. Dylan, still relatively early in his career, was late into his now-infamous European tour, which featured a confrontational audience that taunted him and called him "Judas" (referring to the fellow who sold Jesus out to the Romans in the Bible). This friction has largely been attributed to Dylan's "going electric" and getting away from his folkie acoustic roots, but that's really an oversimplification. The real issue was deeper, namely that Dylan's electricity and his deviation from his earlier, overtly social-justice-themed songs were seen as betrayals of the progressive and socialist counterculture that Dylan had made a mouthpiece for.
During that drama-filled European tour, Dylan would often fill the time between shows playing along with Robbie Robertson, leader of what would soon be The Band but which at that point were calling themselves The Hawks. Dylan and Robertson weren't playing this song to be recorded, but documentarian DA Pennebaker happened to be traveling along with them, as he'd done in the 1965 British tour with his film Don't Look Back
. Pennebaker filmed the whole tour to be released under the name Something is Happening
, but never released it. Snippets of his coverage did make it into Eat the Document
, which was edited by Dylan himself and which also never saw publication (though it's been screened at small shows). That footage then made it into Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home
Bootlegs of the Glasgow sessions
snuck out to the public, as Dylan bootlegs are wont to do, but it wasn't until June 2021 that a gentleman going by the moniker Swingin' Pig edited the disjointed rehearsal bits into a finalized song