Like the other Wilburys, Bob Dylan‘s reputation was firmly in place long before the 1980s. His legacy was as a singer-songwriter and the voice of the late 1960s generation. Dylan joined George Harrison and friends for the epic “Concert for Bangladesh” in 1971, performing “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” with the former Beatle. The accompanying album won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1973.
Nearly everyone recognizes how important the Woodstock festival is in the fabric of American rock music; few, however, understand the significance of the actual town Woodstock. Of course, the festival was not held in the town, but the creative output from the town is undeniable when viewed through the lens of history. The subtitle of Barney Hoskyns’ latest book, Small Town Talk, lists the major players that decided to “get it together in the county”: Bob Dylan, the Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. But there were others, such as Paul Butterfield and Todd Rundgren.
Hoskyns collects memories and anecdotes from the atmosphere of the 1960s, based on numerous first-hand interviews, telling tales of the legends of folk rock. So much of the art that was imagined there was pure and honest, and has impacted and continues to impact the world for generations since. Fans of the sixties music scene, especially the brilliance of Dylan, will enjoy this history of the time.
(May 6, 1937 – April 20, 2014)
Boxer who was wrongly convicted of murder, inspiring a Bob Dylan song, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter succumbed to prostate cancer on Sunday.
The Charlie Daniels Band
Off The Grid: Doin’ It Dylan
Blue Hat Records, 2014
“The Devil Goes Down To Georgia” will always be Charlie Daneils’ calling card; nothing he releases will ever top the popularity and the timelessness of that song. When a fan digs deeper, though, there are so many other great songs in the repertoire of the Charlie Daniels Band, and more recordings keep adding to that legacy. On CDB’s newest release, Off The Grid: Doin’ It Dylan, tribute is paid to one of America’s greatest songwriters, the legendary Bob Dylan.
What may seem like a strange combination actually results in a fine record. Some songs work better than others in Charlie Daniels’ style; “Tangled Up In Blue” sounds as if it were written specifically for this record, whereas “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Times They Are A Changin’” both seem forced. The lesser-known songs just flow better than those that even Dylan’s non-fans recognize. “Country Pie,” which appeared on the bard’s quintessential country album Nashville Skyline, is a perfect fit for CDB; Daniels’ emotion on “Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall” is fantastic.
These songs will not replace any of Charlie Daniels’ classic seventies tracks on future “best of” compilations, but Dylan fans and Daniels fans both need to at least check out Off The Grid.
1. Tangled Up In Blue
2. Times They Are A Changin’
3. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
4. Gotta Serve Somebody
5. I Shall Be Released
6. Country Pie
7. Mr. Tambourine Man
8. Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall
9. Just Like A Woman
10. Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)
Cover songs are a dime a dozen, and most of them can be thrown away pretty easily. Either they are so poorly performed, pale in comparison to the original, or are so faithful to the original to make them unnecessary. But when done well, cover songs can be thrilling. Think about Jimi Hendrix covering Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower.” Completely different arrangement and delivery, making it almost unrecognizable but still unforgettable.
A good recent example is this Krokus song from the new album, Dirty Dynamite. Listen to it carefully…do you recognize it at all?
So who did Krokus cover? Who was the original artist for this song?
That’s the Beatles, folks. They took that classic pop song and turned it into a sticky sweet 1980s ballad, complete with a crying guitar solo. I absolutely love Krokus’ version of this song.
How about Reggie Watts’ version of “Panama”…which is really nothing like the Van Halen song at all, but still pretty interesting.
Have you ever thought, “I wonder what ‘Stairway To Heaven’ would sound like if it had been performed by the Doors instead of Led Zeppelin?” Wonder no more, my friends…
Alex Skolnick, guitarist for metal band Testament, also has a jazz band that covers heavy metal songs. Check out “War Pigs” below:
If jazz isn’t your thing, how about flamenco guitar? Benjamin Woods did an album called Flametal of cover songs, like Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark At The Moon”…
One more for this post, and then we’ll turn it over to the comments section…The Byrds singing “Friday,” a song originally written and recorded but never released by Bob Dylan. The song was made popular a few years ago by Rebecca Black.
So now it’s up to you…tell me some of your favorite offbeat cover songs in the comments, with a YouTube link if you can find one!
Do you realize how many covers/parodies/remakes of “Friday” are on YouTube? It’s quite amazing. As bad as the original song is, it has really spawned some amazing tributes. Check out this “Bob Dylan version” of the song:
Think about it: if Dylan had actually been the original artist, the words would have taken on a much more powerful meaning. To quote one comment from the video’s page:
He implies that the days of oppression are almost behind us(“Yesterday was Thursday”). and states that the country is on the threshold of better times (“Today is Friday”).
In the second blind trade, only half-completed so far, I received a box of Reds from Mark at Stats on the Back. He’s cleaning out his non-Mets, much like I’m cleaning out my non-Reds…keeping a few other favorites and collections, but for the most part cleaning house. He had posted a little teaser about what was in the box, and I must say while I was looking forward to it based on that post, it far exceeded my expectations! There were several cards of Sabo and Dibble, and even a few Soto that I didn’t already have. I will be scanning those at some point in the future and posting them on my “Players I Collect” pages, but again I wanted to post a few of my favorites now…
In addition to those awesome cards, I got a card of Bubbles Hargrave. He played for the Reds in the 1920s and was included in the 1991 Sporting News Conlon Collection set. I’ve never heard of a baseball player named Bubbles before. How cool is that?
I’m tempted to post a Vixen song here, because I’m assuming most of you don’t remember the band. But Mark wrote on the note enclosed, “Consider some Bob Dylan to cleanse the metal palette. Bob can rock too.” Yes, Bob can rock too. The first compact disc I ever bought was Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Volume II. But one of my favorite Bob Dylan recordings was the Nashville Skyline album, and specifically the song, “Girl From The North Country” with Johnny Cash.