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
** 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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