28 September 2007

Mix Tape Friday: All Along the Mix Tape

I spent my week coasting on a Bob Dylan high — so we have to do Bob Dylan cover mix this week. I thought this would be easy since everyone covers Bob. Finding the songs was no problem. The problem was whittling down the list to (at first) a manageable thirty … which quickly moved up to forty … and, finally, nearly fifty songs. That’s a lot of songs for this weekly post. But I swear I cut a lot of songs so I wouldn’t crash MyDataBus again.

Just look at this varied list of artists: rock and country stars, punkers and alt-banders, jazz vocalists and R&B stars — even some of the best damn songwriters out there. As Warren Zevon says at the beginning of his live track, “Well, this is the reason why I’m here.” I could have gone the way of Olivia Newton John and Cher, but they were moved to the Nope folder to make room for Richard Hell and XTC.

Crank the knob and sing loudly today. These lyrics deserve a lot of volume.

Bingo Hand Job: You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere

George Harrison: If Not for You

Stevie Wonder: Blowin’ in the Wind

Paul Westerberg: Positively 4th Street

Nick Drake: Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright

Nanci Griffith: Boots of Spanish Leather

Cowboy Junkies: If You Gotta Go, Go Now

Elvis Costello + Bob Dylan: I Shall Be Released

John Lennon + Ringo Starr: Subterranean Homesick Blues

The Rolling Stones: Like a Rolling Stone

Mavis Staples: Gotta Serve Somebody

Them feat. Van Morrison: It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Isaac Hayes: Lay Lady Lay

Madeleine Peyroux: You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go

Warren Zevon: Dark Eyes

Steve Earle: My Back Pages

Roger McGuinn: It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

Robyn Hitchcock: Not Dark Yet

Buffalo Tom: She Belongs to Me

The Beatles: Rainy Day Woman No. 12 & 35

Neil Young: Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues *

Tin Machine: Maggie’s Farm

XTC: All Along the Watchtower **

Bryan Ferry: A Hard Rain’s A’Gonna Fall

White Stripes: One More Cup of Coffee

Bruce Springsteen: The Times They Are A’Changin’

Nina Simone: Just Like a Woman

Yo La Tengo: I Threw It All Away

P.J. Harvey: Highway 61 Revisited

Johnny Cash: It Ain’t Me, Babe

R.L. Burnside: Everything Is Broken

The O’Jays: Emotionally Yours (R&B version)

Janis Joplin: Dear Landlord

Jimi Hendrix: Drifter’s Escape

Guns N’ Roses: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Subterranean Homesick Blues

Pearl Jam: Masters of War

Richard Hell: Going Going Gone

Jason & The Scorchers: Absolutely Sweet Marie

Cat Power: Paths of Victory

Uncle Tupelo: Moonshiner

The Waterboys: Girl of the North Country

Townes Van Zandt: Man Gave Names to All the Animals

Thea Gilmore: I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine

Nico: I’ll Keep It with Mine

Emmylou Harris: When I Paint My Masterpiece

Buddy + Julie Miller: Wallflower

The Byrds: Chimes of Freedom

* Thank you, Haahnster
** And thank you, Occasionally Beloved Engineer

I tried to mix it up with this Bobfest mix tape — different genres, unexpected covers, one appearance per song (except for “Subterranean Homesick Blues”; the two versions here are so different, I decided to break my own rule) and artist (except for a couple of band and solo appearances). No reggae, since I freakin’ hate reggae, but otherwise a good mix of genres.

There are so many great Bob Dylan covers out there. I’m interested in what are some of your favorites. He has such a massive, majestic catalog, you may not even realize he wrote that song you love so much by that band.

If you enjoyed this Bobfest, join me in counting the days until Oct. 30. The I’m Not There soundtrack has an amazing lineup of artists covering Dylan: Jeff Tweedy and Stephen Malkmus, Eddie Vedder and Sufjan Stevens, Cat Power and Iron & Wine, Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo, Tom Verlaine and John Doe, The Hold Steady and The Black Keys, Glen Hansard and Markta Irglov — and many more. Several of the acts are backed by Million Dollar Bashers — Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo and drummer Steve Shelley, Tom Verlaine on guitar, Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, guitarist Smokey Hormel, keyboardist John Medeski, and Dylan bassist Tony Garnier. That lineup, my friends, is the definition of awesomenisity.

Bingo Hand Job, who opens this set, is R.E.M. with Billy Bragg and Robyn Hitchcock. Longtime friends, they did a couple of surprise shows at the Borderline, in London, in March 1991 — one of the best bootleg CDs I own. Fantastic, fun show.

Nina Simone is probably my favorite artist who interpreted Bob Dylan’s songs. It was tough, very tough, deciding which one to include her. Her versions of “The Times They Are A'Changin'” and “Some of Tom Thumb’s Blues” are a-freakin’-mazing — but her “Just Like a Woman” is a personal favorite. Do yourself a favor and grab Nina Simone’s greatest hits. Lawd, did she have a voice …

“Lay Lady Lay” always makes me giggle because hearing it never fails to conjure that “Saturday Night Live” skit with Fran Tarkenton trying to seduce Lorraine Newman, with Bob Dylan’s version playing and statistics on his incomplete passes. I think Isaac Hayes’ cover was influenced by that skit.

I included Robyn Hitchcock covering "Not Dark Yet" (one of my favorite Dylan tunes). Robyn sang it live — lovely and lovingly — when I saw him in Baltimore last November. This version isn't as good as the live version; anyone have a copy of Robyn singing it live?

* * * * * *

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At 9/28/2007 12:07:00 AM, Blogger Mountjoy said...

I was a little worried when the instruction to crank my knob was immediately followed by Bingo Hand Job, Beth. But I digress...

There's a great version of Highway 61 Revisited from The Bridge Benefit in 1990 - Jackson Browne, Bonnie Rait, and Bruce. T'was an encore as part of the 3-artist set that they did.

There is no such thing as too much Bobness.

At 9/28/2007 12:24:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Once again thanks for all the great tunes. Is it any wonder we all love to to pieces?

At 9/28/2007 12:30:00 AM, Blogger pistols at dawn said...

Bob Dylan? Was he on the first season of American Idol?

I'm excited about the Bingo Hand Job and Paul, and also happy that you didn't include the godawful Mats "Like a Rolling Pin." not their finest moment.

At 9/28/2007 04:40:00 AM, Blogger Malcolm: said...

I can't wait to get home from work for the weekend so I can get to downloading. "Absolutely Sweet Marie" is one of my favorite Dylan tunes so I am interested to hear Jason and the Scorchers' take on it.

Some of my favorite Dylan remakes are:

Hendrix' version of "All Along the Watchtower"

The Ojays' "Emotionally Yours"

Cher's and The Byrds' versions of "All I Really Want To Do"

The Turtles "It Ain't Me Babe"

Simply Red's version of "Positively 4th Street"

At 9/28/2007 08:24:00 AM, Blogger Mother Goldstein said...

it ain't me babe
no no no
it ain't me babe
it ain't me your lookin for.....
.......... BABE!

Pat yourself on the back Beth, yet another awesome tape - Your mix tape posts are just another reason to THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY
Nina Simone's "just like a woman" is one of my favorite dylan covers as are "Moonshiner" (which is so strong UT really made it their own) and the VERY funky cover of Subterranean Homesick Blues (RIP Hillal Slovak) - The whole selection is great.

Beth, you truly rock my world.

I'll be thinking of you tonight when I know you will be at DBT - have fun.

At 9/28/2007 08:58:00 AM, Blogger landru said...

I hate to admit that it took me years to love Bob Dylan. In fact, it took seeing the film "Don't Look Back" for me to truly understand his impact as well as how electrifying his performances were. There is something heroic about one man or woman who can hold the attention of an entire hall with just a solo instrument and a voice. Dylan is clearly the template. Plus, he was always walking a few steps ahead. That’s something our generation doesn’t get, so it helps to see films to “edu-ma-cate” us.

Of course, I always appreciated his songs when other people did them. Bryan Ferry's interpretations are always interesting, while other more conventional covers (Hendrix, the Dead, Young) make you realize just how good the songs are on their own.

You should do a podcast. I see a Cup of Coffey radio show in the offing.

At 9/28/2007 10:10:00 AM, Blogger haahnster said...

I scanned the list, and there it was: Them's version of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue"...possibly only the Hendrix version of 'Watchtower' eclipses this Dylan cover for sheer brilliance. Van Morrison's arrangement is a KILLER! You are the queen of rock, there is none higher (sucker MC's should call you sire--apologies to Run DMC).

At 9/28/2007 10:57:00 AM, Blogger Splotchy said...

Nice collection of Dylan tunes!

Them's cover of Baby Blue is great. Have you ever heard the 13th Floor Elevators cover of the same song?

It's fantastic.

At 9/28/2007 11:18:00 AM, Blogger coffeypot said...

I enjoyed Stevie Wonder and Nick Drake's version of some old folk songs from my era; Dylan, PP&M, and that crew.

I guess you didn't want the autographed picture, huh?

At 9/28/2007 01:20:00 PM, Blogger DaBich said...

My boss just asked me what in the heck am I listening to??? lol

I'll have to send him some of these ;)

At 9/28/2007 01:21:00 PM, Blogger landru said...

I think that Robyn Hitchcock Baltimore show is on this site, if you want a copy. A good friend of mine was at that show.


At 9/28/2007 02:14:00 PM, Blogger BeckEye said...

My favorite is actually Sheryl Crow's cover of "Mississippi," because I think the original sucks. Ridicule me if you will.

I never was a big Dylan fan. Great lyricist, but I just can't get past the voice.

At 9/28/2007 06:39:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

You mean If Not For You isn't an Olivia Newton John original? Nice tunes Beth! I'm all about the covers when it comes to Uncle Bobby.

At 9/28/2007 07:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is like Christmas, I don't know which to listen to first.

Ok Waterboys cover is first!


At 9/28/2007 10:32:00 PM, Blogger Earl Cootie said...

I had to go for Isaac first. Mmmmmm, smooth as butter.

Yeah, I'm kinda with Beckeye. I prefer Dylan covers to the originals - with notable exceptions ("Tangled Up in Blue" springs immediately to mind).

At 9/28/2007 10:42:00 PM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

Girl of the North Country has always been a favourite of mine, and I have never heard that Waterboys cover.

Thanks a bunch - you rock so hard it makes my head spin.

At 9/29/2007 09:35:00 PM, Blogger jewgirl said...

Nobody knows music like you, Dame B. Nina Simone's rendition is tits. It's on my pod. I just discovered Iron & Wine. I didn't know they had a Dylan track coming out. Can't wait to listen to it.

Most excellent list, darlin.

At 9/30/2007 12:12:00 PM, Blogger anandamide said...

OK Beth, you're usually right on the money, but I have a couple bones to pick with you on this one:
-I have nothing against GnR, but that cover version blows.
-you left off what may be the single greatest Dylan cover: Elvis doing "Tomorrow is a Long Time".

At 10/01/2007 06:05:00 AM, Blogger jin said...

I <3 your mixed tape fridays.
You are currently my sole source of music. It's a damn good thing you have great taste or I'd be really pissy!!!

At 10/01/2007 10:07:00 AM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

AWESOME! I dig royally -- got to see Mavis Staples over Labor Day. Terrific.

Bob is obviously the Man.

At 10/01/2007 02:26:00 PM, Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

This is a home run, sweetie. Kind of like a starving southern boy comin' upon a mess of chickin-n-dumplins and greens.......


At 10/02/2007 11:15:00 PM, Blogger holly said...

Wow! I just stumbled upon this, and I must thank you for it. I can't wait to explore all you've compiled...

P.S. I freakin’ hate reggae too.


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