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timschochet

100 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs- 1. Like a Rolling Stone 2. Tangled Up in Blue, Congratulations to Bonzai, winner of the contest

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69. “Dear Landlord” (1967, from John Wesley Harding

https://youtu.be/1C0wqltUKgY

This could be a protest song, I’m not sure because the lyrics are a little obscure: 

When that steamboat whistle blows, I’m gonna give you all I’ve got to give...etc. OK? Does that mean Bob will pay the rent, whatever that is (the price of his soul)? Musically this sounds an awful lot like “Ballad of a Thin Man” (coming up much later)- but hey what’s wrong with that? 

Covers So in her Beatles countdown thread, @krista4 made a few cutting remarks about Joe Cocker as a cover artist. It was one of the rare times I disagreed with her in that thread. I think Cocker was one of our great interpreters of other people’s music and I love how he gets as much blues as possible out of each performance. IMO, “Dear Landlord”, from his first album, is one of his finest efforts; he gives it an uptempo rock and roll version: 

https://youtu.be/mLsE7cVJQZE

Edited by timschochet

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In the spirit of @krista4 I will give $50 to the charity named by the person who can guess the most songs in my top 10. (If anyone is amazing enough to name all 10 songs I’ll make it $100.) 

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I do gift cards. JK.

I'm still tuning into the list, I just am not immersed enough in Dylan to really have a good feel about any curation of his work, so my comments are sparing. It looks like a good list and I'm clicking, so there's that. 

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i was just going to put my own top ten together and use that. Had to pull Maggie's Farm and Masterpiece because you already had them in. 

In no particular order I'll go with:

1. Visions of Johanna

2. Blowin in the wind

3. All along the watchtower

4. Forever Young

5. I shall be released

6. The times they are a changing

7. Like a rolling Stone

8. Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again

9. Shelter from the Storm

10. Hurricane

 

 

 

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1. Visions

2. It's Alright Ma, I'm only Bleeding

3. Like a Rolling Stone

4. Desolation Row

5. Times They Are a Changin

6. All Along the Watchtower

7. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

8. Tangled Up in Blue

9. Baby Blue

10. Chimes of Freedom

Edited by Apple Jack
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36 minutes ago, Apple Jack said:

1. Visions

2. It's Alright Ma, I'm only Bleeding

3. Like a Rolling Stone

4. Desolation Row

5. Times They Are a Changin

6. All Along the Watchtower

7. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

8. Tangled Up in Blue

9. Baby Blue

10. Chimes of Freedom

Ugh I hate this game. Desolation Row, tangled and baby blue where among my last cuts. 

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In the name of charity I thought I would jump in this.  I thought I would jot down my top ten and adjust a little to account for songs Tim has already ranked or ones I thought he would choose over my choices.  Two problems with this approach... 1) I could never try to understand the mind of Tim :P and 2) I wrote down my list and discovered I have 21 Dylan songs in my top ten list.  :loco:

 

ETA: So, after eliminating 3 that Tim already ranked and adding a couple of ones I overlooked, my top ten list now stands at 26.  :oldunsure:

Edited by Galileo

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68. “Most of the Time (Bootleg Original Version)” (1989, released in 1994) 

https://youtu.be/lAzcPg5LR5k

Originally recorded during the Oh Mercy sessions, here is another song that Daniel Lanois ruined with overproduction. The original version, released on his third bootleg album and linked here, is 1000 times better than what appears on the album. It’s a soulful, sad love song, and it also includes some of Dylan’s best ever harmonica IMO. 

Covers Swedish singer Sophie Zelmani does a haunting version of “Most of the Time” on the soundtrack for the film Masked and Anonymous:

https://youtu.be/Ts6gZFEiMkM

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17 hours ago, Galileo said:

In the name of charity I thought I would jump in this.  I thought I would jot down my top ten and adjust a little to account for songs Tim has already ranked or ones I thought he would choose over my choices.  Two problems with this approach... 1) I could never try to understand the mind of Tim :P and 2) I wrote down my list and discovered I have 21 Dylan songs in my top ten list.  :loco:

 

ETA: So, after eliminating 3 that Tim already ranked and adding a couple of ones I overlooked, my top ten list now stands at 26.  :oldunsure:

Only 26? I started out with over 40. 

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67. “Huck’s Tune” (2007, from the film soundtrack Lucky You

I don’t have a link. The film is supposed to be absolutely terrible. Dylan should stay away from any film that isn’t a documentary, it just doesn’t work for him. This is a great song though, a throwback to his folk days. 

Covers Forget it. Nobody decent has bothered. 

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14 hours ago, timschochet said:

67. “Huck’s Tune” (2007, from the film soundtrack Lucky You

I don’t have a link. The film is supposed to be absolutely terrible. Dylan should stay away from any film that isn’t a documentary, it just doesn’t work for him. This is a great song though, a throwback to his folk days. 

Covers Forget it. Nobody decent has bothered. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCqIvqV3k8Q

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66. “Only a Pawn In Their Game” (1963, from The Times They Are a Changin’)

https://youtu.be/KY2lQV3ADfc

A classic protest song about slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Yet when you listen to the lyrics and how they continue Dylan’s sophistication and subtle use of poetry, one gets the impression that the subject matter is secondary. What’s really going on here is Dylan is experimenting with tune, with words, with form, stretching the “rules” quite brilliantly. 

Covers I am aware that the Smiths lead singer Morrisey has a rather well known cover of this song but since I really can’t stand him I am certainly not going to link him here. So I will go with Dylan’s contemporary folk singer Barbara Dane, who gives a respectable effort here: 

https://youtu.be/YxS0gfTe3HE

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65. “Oh, Sister” (1976, from Desire

https://youtu.be/Tc2NpNqDgPE

This absolutely gorgeous song was recorded with Emmylou Harris singing backup. There is a great scene in Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Review in which someone in the audience yells out “play us a protest song!” Dylan gives an annoyed look, starts strumming the opening chords to “Oh, Sister” and says “here’s one for you,” before launching into the song. Of course it’s a love song; the only thing he’s protesting is her lack of belief in him. (This performance is also captured on the second bootleg album containing live performances.) 

Covers Not too many but Andrew Bird does a really nice version here: 

https://youtu.be/fjNSzlXBlWk

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19 hours ago, timschochet said:

66. “Only a Pawn In Their Game” (1963, from The Times They Are a Changin’)

https://youtu.be/KY2lQV3ADfc

A classic protest song about slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Yet when you listen to the lyrics and how they continue Dylan’s sophistication and subtle use of poetry, one gets the impression that the subject matter is secondary. What’s really going on here is Dylan is experimenting with tune, with words, with form, stretching the “rules” quite brilliantly. 

Covers I am aware that the Smiths lead singer Morrisey has a rather well known cover of this song but since I really can’t stand him I am certainly not going to link him here. So I will go with Dylan’s contemporary folk singer Barbara Dane, who gives a respectable effort here: 

https://youtu.be/YxS0gfTe3HE

Probably the most unsubtle of Dylan's critiques, using a straight Marxist critique of race relations in society. 

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1 hour ago, rockaction said:

Probably the most unsubtle of Dylan's critiques, using a straight Marxist critique of race relations in society. 

Still thrives today.

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64. “Percy’s Song” (1963, unreleased until 1985 on the Biograph collection). 

https://youtu.be/PRoJVfZAZrw

Great tune (although Dylan admits he stole the melody from another folk artist), recorded during the Times sessions but not included on that album. 

Covers Once again Sandy Denny and Fairport Convention released their version prior to Dylan’s for their breakthrough 1969 album. It’s absolutely lovely; in fact, along with “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” I regard this song as their finest effort: 

https://youtu.be/2C5EPmR7YdY

 

Edited by timschochet

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On 12/26/2019 at 12:33 PM, Jackstraw said:

I'm extremely biased but I think the Dead just slayed this one. Bobby doing what Bobby does best.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn5FQxSM9dU

 

Also a cool acoustic version by Bob and Rob Wasserman on this collection:

https://www.amazon.com/Fall-1989-Long-Island-Sound/dp/B00FXSIA10/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 

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63. “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)” (1966, from Blonde on Blonde”

https://youtu.be/Bq-bNR-z7Nk

This is a very engaging breakup love song from one of his very best albums. Personally I don’t find the lyrics to be particularly subtle but the so-called “Dylanologists” do; page after page has been written about the lyrics attempting to decipher every word. I totally get why Dylan often chose to troll interviewers in the 60s when they asked silly questions about deeper meanings. Sometimes lyrics are just lyrics. 

Covers Old Crow Medicine Show did the entire album last year and I really like it; I may use them a lot: 

https://youtu.be/3kEIFAdxSnw

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On 12/27/2019 at 6:54 AM, timschochet said:

70. “Dignity” (1989, released in 1994 on Greatest Hits Vol III)

https://youtu.be/2Dlh-X1fpoQ

Recorded during the Oh Mercy sessions, yet not chosen to be on the album at the direction of producer Daniel Lanois. A lot of critics give Lanois credit for the sound on that album, which is a swampy New Orleans feel; personally I hate it. Whether it’s this song, “Ring Them Bells”, “Shooting Star”, or one more upcoming, in each instance  I strongly prefer the original raw version which can be found on various bootleg albums to the over-produced Oh Mercy version which sounds like mud to me. In any case “Dignity” is far better than 75% of the rest of the album and I have no idea why it was left off. 

Covers So far as I know, there have been no covers of this excellent tune. 

Somebody got murdered on New Year's Eve
Somebody said dignity was the first to leave
I went into the city, went into the town
Went into the land of the midnight sun

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62. “If You See Her, Say Hello” (1975, from Blood On the Tracks

https://youtu.be/BWzMVNy0YwE

Such a beautiful song. And it might very well be Dylan’s best singing effort. Lyrically the song is not mysterious; it’s pretty much the same theme as “Girl from the North County”, but still poetic and haunting. 

Covers The late Jeff Buckley performed an amazing live version of this. It’s got a rather long introduction but it’s worth the wait. Great acoustic blues guitar. 

https://youtu.be/xZRkFucfZH4

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61. “Pressing On” (1980, from Saved

https://youtu.be/9igU6XZ4Fdg

These days few Dylan fans ever bother to listen to his 3 Christian albums outside of the most famous songs “Gotta Serve Somebody” and “Every Grain of Sand”. Yet I think these albums produced some of the finest gospel music of the last 50 years. “Pressing On” is a great example of this. It’s a gorgeous straightforward tune of worship, Sung earnestly wish the traditional keyboards and backup choir. 

Covers For the soundtrack to the Dylan bio film I’m Not There, John Doe (of X) alters the piano, keeps the choir, and sings with a heartfelt passion that exceeds the original and IMO rivals “Gonna Move Up a Little Higher” by Mahalia Jackson as the best gospel recording I’ve ever heard. 

https://youtu.be/bUOxXSEO7x8

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60. “Not Dark Yet” (1997, from Time Out of Mind) 

https://youtu.be/RZgBhyU4IvQ

As much as I ripped Daniel Lanois for Oh Mercy’s swampy production he redeemed himself on Time Out of Mind (I discovered today that he also produced one of my favorite Emmylou Harris albums, Wrecking Ball, so I have to give him credit for that too. Anyhow another gorgeous melody with poetic and evocative lyrics: 

Feel like my soul has turned into steel

I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal 

There’s not even room enough to be anywhere. 

It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there. 

So so good. 

Covers One of my favorite singers of the 90s, Robyn Hitchcock, does a fine cover of “Not Dark Yet.” As added bonuses, on the video he is backed by John Paul Jones and introduced by Billy Bragg. 

https://youtu.be/YwQupq_nrkg

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59. “She Belongs to Me” (1965, from Bringing It All Back Home

https://youtu.be/SRgk6v2o9RY

John Cale, original member of the Velvet Underground, always claimed this blues song was about Nico; others claim it was about Baez, his old girlfriend Suze, or his new wife Sara. But I find Cale’s claim intriguing because, like the unreleased “I’ll Keep It With Mind” (which he gave to Nico) this song actually sounds very much like a Lou Reed Velvet song, from the guitar to the lyrics: Compare 

She can take the dark out of the nighttime and paint the day turn black 

with 

She’s going to smile to make you frown (“Femme Fatale, 1965) 

I’m no doubt making too much of a connection here. In any case I think this might be Dylan's best ever straight blues effort. 

Covers So many great ones including the Dead. But I will go with one of Dylan’s favorite performers, the smooth Ricky Nelson ( though as with “Garden Party”, he insisted on being called Rick around this time): 

https://youtu.be/Bg8bw445ObA

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22 hours ago, timschochet said:

60. “Not Dark Yet” (1997, from Time Out of Mind) 

https://youtu.be/RZgBhyU4IvQ

As much as I ripped Daniel Lanois for Oh Mercy’s swampy production he redeemed himself on Time Out of Mind (I discovered today that he also produced one of my favorite Emmylou Harris albums, Wrecking Ball, so I have to give him credit for that too. Anyhow another gorgeous melody with poetic and evocative lyrics: 

Feel like my soul has turned into steel

I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal 

There’s not even room enough to be anywhere. 

It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there. 

So so good. 

Covers One of my favorite singers of the 90s, Robyn Hitchcock, does a fine cover of “Not Dark Yet.” As added bonuses, on the video he is backed by John Paul Jones and introduced by Billy Bragg. 

https://youtu.be/YwQupq_nrkg

This one helped drag me through a depressed period. I'm not sure why but melancholy songs make me feel better. 

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58. “You Angel You” (1974, from Planet Waves)

https://vimeo.com/312355743

Excellent pop song, a little similar to “If Not For You” from the previous album (though not as good.) But Bob knew how to write love songs with a good pop hook, even if that wasn’t considered his speciality. 

Covers The New Riders of the Purple Sage gave this tune a country rock feel: 

https://youtu.be/z3bXRmuWBx0

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Posted (edited)
On 1/2/2020 at 5:56 AM, timschochet said:

59. “She Belongs to Me” (1965, from Bringing It All Back Home)

I'm going Nico, too. And a great song, not just for the VU implications. I love she's nobody's child/the law can't touch her at all. It reminds us how human-made law is, and how some women will always be not subject to it, somehow. 

Ever feel like somebody's above it, and not in a bad way? That's sort of the experience of this song. Frustrating to ever get to know, almost impossible to be human around them. I remember a girl in college who was that way.

Here's that line

"She is a hypnotist's collector/you are her walking antique."

Perfect.

I love it. 

Edited by rockaction

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6 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I'm going Nico, too. And a great song, not just for the VU implications. I love she's nobody's child/the law can't touch her at all. It reminds how human-made law is, and how some women will always be not subject it?

Ever feel like somebody's above it, and not in a bad way? That's sort of the experience of this song. Frustrating to ever get to know, almost impossible to be human around them. I remember a girl in college who was that way.

Here's that line

"She is a hypnotist's collector/you are her walking antique."

Perfect.

I love it. 

Yeah that is an awesome line. (And again maybe just me, but it’s more the sort of line Lou Reed would write.) 

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57. “4th Time Around” (1966, from Blonde on Blonde

https://youtu.be/7wSIboHqtXY

We are starting to get into the real sublime stuff now and I’m not even half done. The story of this song is that Dylan was trying to send a not so subtle message to John Lennon and friends: stop ripping me off. So he copied “Norwegian Wood.” But who knows? He’s never acknowledged it so far as I know. In any case it’s pretty incredible in its own right.  

Covers Once again I went with the I’m Not There soundtrack, this time by Yo La Tengo: 

https://youtu.be/ZhXxHf1t-ao

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56. “Quinn the Eskimo (Mighty Quinn)” (1967, live version released in 1971 on Greatest Hits, Vol. II

https://youtu.be/Q2tbpGkrY4g

Kind of a joke novelty song that supposedly is based on Dylan having seen a movie about eskimos starring Anthony Quinn. But because of Manfred Mann having a huge hit it has become over the years one of Dylan’s most recognizable tunes, and he still enjoys performing it- the above video is from 2003.

Covers Of course Manfred Mann, and the Grateful Dead performed this song live for years. But recently I heard what I believe is the best ever cover of this song by Bradley Brown and the Reggae Rockers, and I thought to myself: of COURSE this is a reggae song! Why didn’t I realize it all along? 

https://youtu.be/3y3sYANVVq4

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55. "With God on Our Side" (1964, from The Times They Are a Changin')

https://youtu.be/BfHLYIms97A

Seems like it might be a fitting day to remember some of the lyrics of this classic protest song:

So now as I'm leavin'

I'm weary as Hell

The confusion I'm feelin'

Ain't no tongue can tell

The words fill my head

And fall to the floor

If God's on our side

He'll stop the next war

Covers Joan Baez is famous for her version, but I've never been a fan. So I will go with the Neville Brothers here, who did a haunting cover with their usual flawless vocals:

https://youtu.be/eH_6qdk8zAE

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54. “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” (1975, from Blood On the Tracks)

https://youtu.be/agdoeRpTfHg

One of what I like to call “great epic songs” by Dylan- the ones that are over 7 minutes long. He wrote a lot of these and they’re usually exceptional and many of them will dominate the upper half of this list. Strangely however I don’t think Dylan himself loved this one in particular, since according to his website he only ever performed it live once, back in 1976. 

Covers  Country singer/songwriter Tom Russell does a really nice version: 

https://youtu.be/uonjSyOku5Q

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53. “I Want You” (1966, from Blonde from Blonde

https://youtu.be/-iIS6ZZ9RVA

One of the most polarizing of Dylan songs between my wife and myself. I find it to have a catchy melody with incredible poetic lyrics such as: 

The drunken politician leaps 

Upon the street where mothers weep

And the saviors who are fast asleep they wait for you

Those lines are so distinctively Dylan and so brilliant. 

My wife on the other hand regards this song as emblematic of Dylan’s vocals at their most annoying- for her it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard and unlistenable. She acknowledges that the song itself might be a brilliant effort but so what? The singing ruins it. Obviously we don’t agree. 

Covers The Tallest Man on Earth, an artist that I was introduced to by this forum, does an interesting stripped down acoustic version of this song: 

https://youtu.be/UolgAA0J8OM

 

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7 hours ago, timschochet said:

53. “I Want You” (1966, from Blonde from Blonde

https://youtu.be/-iIS6ZZ9RVA

One of the most polarizing of Dylan songs between my wife and myself. I find it to have a catchy melody with incredible poetic lyrics such as: 

The drunken politician leaps 

Upon the street where mothers weep

And the saviors who are fast asleep they wait for you

Those lines are so distinctively Dylan and so brilliant. 

My wife on the other hand regards this song as emblematic of Dylan’s vocals at their most annoying- for her it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard and unlistenable. She acknowledges that the song itself might be a brilliant effort but so what? The singing ruins it. Obviously we don’t agree.

Both of you are right yet I side with you because the vocals have never been a problem to me. Always thought this was exactly as you describe it, distinctively Dylan.

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52. “One Too Many Mornings” (1964, from The Times They Are a Changin’

https://youtu.be/Ox42QVcfTtI

Dylan kind of mumbles his way through the original recording of this song, which is a slow ballad, but lyrically it has more in common with his later 70s material than it does with the protest songs typically on his third album. 

Covers The Man in Black recorded this the same year as Dylan; I think it may actually be his first cover of a Dylan tune (not sure about this.) The added percussion makes Cash’s version sound quite a bit like “I Walk the Line”- NTTAWWT. 

https://youtu.be/CrftnoTbOtI

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51. “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” (1964, from The Times They Are a Changin’

https://youtu.be/1jiYVUU1RXQ

Straight up protest story song, similar in format to the more famous “Hurricane” a decade later, though the latter was a rock tune and this one is pure old fashioned folk. 

Covers Paula Cole is someone that I kinda liked in the 90s (mainly that Dawson’s Creek song) but forgot about. I discovered that she did a soft jazz cover of “Hattie Carroll” just a couple of years ago and its really a nice version: 

https://youtu.be/cdjBUyMDDCA

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50. “You’re a Big Girl Now” (1975, from Blood On the Tracks

https://youtu.be/Vj_dLuRTjUQ

There are actually 3 different recordings of this song: the album version and 2 bootlegs. The linked version is to the 2nd bootleg released only a year ago. My personal favorite is the first bootleg that appears on Biograph, though I love the album version as well. This is one of my very favorite Dylan love songs. It was written as a goodbye to his wife Sara, and a plea for forgiveness: 

Time is a jet plane, it moves too fast 

Oh but what a shame if all we’ve shared can’t last 

I can change,  I swear oh 

See what you can do 

I can make it through 

You can make it too. 

At other times on this album he expresses great bitterness towards his wife, and we’ll get to those later because as songs they are even more brilliant than this. But here there is no negativity or anger, only sadness and an acknowledgement of his own culpability. In the end it turned out he could NOT change- at least not enough. 

Covers My Morning Jacket is a terrific band that I really haven’t heard enough of. They did a gorgeous cover of “You’re a Big Girl Now” for a recent 50 year Dylan tribute album: 

https://youtu.be/vzdMwKv0jDg

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49. “Workingman’s Blues #2” (2006; from Modern Times

https://youtu.be/YPPbQexwTR4

The #2 in the title refers to the fact that old time bluesman Brownie McGhee had a song called “Workingman’s Blues” from wayback; the two tunes are quite dissimilar in content. 

This is a protest song, written in the 21st century; Dylan takes up the voice of a worker living now and gives him modern day concerns: 

Well the place I love best is a sweet memory 

its a new path that we trod 

They say low wages are reality 

If we want to compete abroad 

Dylan’s vocals are old and cracked and somehow fit perfectly; this is a man who’s seen it all. Incredible song. 

Covers So far no artists of note has attempted this. I imagine it will come. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, timschochet said:

49. “Workingman’s Blues #2” (2006; from Modern Times

https://youtu.be/YPPbQexwTR4

The #2 in the title refers to the fact that old time bluesman Brownie McGhee had a song called “Workingman’s Blues” from wayback; the two tunes are quite dissimilar in content. 

This is a protest song, written in the 21st century; Dylan takes up the voice of a worker living now and gives him modern day concerns: 

Well the place I love best is a sweet memory 

its a new path that we trod 

They say low wages are reality 

If we want to compete abroad 

Dylan’s vocals are old and cracked and somehow fit perfectly; this is a man who’s seen it all. Incredible song. 

Covers So far no artists of note has attempted this. I imagine it will come. 

I'm surprised that you like this given your sentiments towards the utter populist wage floors and slightly anti-globalistic center he longs for.

Edited by rockaction
editing for some clarity here on my end

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Just now, rockaction said:

I'm surprised that you like his given your sentiments towards the utter populist wage floors and slightly anti-globalistic center he longs for are missed in your constant addressing of that issue.

My personal political views will never impact my delight in a song or play or art of any kind. I think you’re the same. 

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Just now, timschochet said:

My personal political views will never impact my delight in a song or play or art of any kind. I think you’re the same. 

I didn't know that in your case. Yeah, I'm exactly the same, man. I'd have no art if not for disagreement, I think.

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48. “When the Ship Comes In” (1964, from The Times They Are a’ Changin’

https://youtu.be/EVGU-McTUtU

As a (very) amateur guitarist, let me opine that this is one of the easiest Dylan folk songs to learn; the rhythm, melody and chord progression are very straightforward, accessible and catchy. The famous story behind it is that Dylan was regarded as too scruffy looking for a hotel and Joan Baez had to vouch for him. He wrote it in anger; later he cited Berthold Brecht as an influence. 

Covers With a song this easy to play there’s bound to be dozens of cover versions, and there are. But my personal favorite is by Shane McGowan and the Pogues- they manage to turn it into a British pub drinking song (like just about all of their songs, actually: great band): 

https://youtu.be/BXJlBGRLLWM

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47. “Went to See the Gypsy” (1970, from New Morning

https://youtu.be/O2x7HendVf0

The link here is to an outtake version that Dylan sang on piano. I’ve never heard it before but now I actually think I prefer it to the original. This song is supposed to be about Dylan going to Las Vegas to meet Elvis Presley, though that’s been later disputed. But it certainly fits the lyrics. Like so many songs on this album (more to come) its a forgotten classic. 

Covers Theres an oldtime  traditional singer I can’t get enough of named Martha Scanlan. She does a tremendous version of this: 

https://youtu.be/MQrqyPTFlDc

 

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46. “Hurricane” (1975, from Desire

https://youtu.be/1FOlV1EYxmg

This is a straightforward narrative protest song in the style of “Only a Pawn In Their Game” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”, though written over a decade later at a time when Dylan was thought to have evolved from such efforts. It’s a bit controversial because some of the “facts” are still disputed to this day (the excellent Denzel Washington movie of the same name has only added to the mythology of Rubin Carter- I’m not saying he was guilty of the murder he was charged with, he probably wasn’t though nobody can say for sure- but he certainly wasn’t the heroic figure the song and movie claim, and he NEVER would have been champion of the world.) 

That being said this is a great rock and roll song, well deserving of Dylan’s top 50. The only question is why I don’t have it ranked even higher: it’s one of his most famous songs and some critics have it in their top 10. The reason I don’t is because lyrically it lacks the poetic quality of the very best of Dylan’s music; it’s a little too basic, a little too unsubtle. Still a wonderful tune though. 

Covers The only cover I’ve been able to find for this song by a (somewhat) noteworthy artist is by Ani DiFranco, and I’m not going to link it because I think it’s awful. 

 

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5 minutes ago, timschochet said:

46. “Hurricane” (1975, from Desire

The reason I don’t is because lyrically it lacks the poetic quality of the very best of Dylan’s music; it’s a little too basic, a little too unsubtle. Still a wonderful tune though. 

 

 

This is excellent analysis and is why the song wouldn't dent my top 100. Unsubtle.

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41 minutes ago, timschochet said:

46. “Hurricane” (1975, from Desire

https://youtu.be/1FOlV1EYxmg

This is a straightforward narrative protest song in the style of “Only a Pawn In Their Game” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”, though written over a decade later at a time when Dylan was thought to have evolved from such efforts. It’s a bit controversial because some of the “facts” are still disputed to this day (the excellent Denzel Washington movie of the same name has only added to the mythology of Rubin Carter- I’m not saying he was guilty of the murder he was charged with, he probably wasn’t though nobody can say for sure- but he certainly wasn’t the heroic figure the song and movie claim, and he NEVER would have been champion of the world.) 

That being said this is a great rock and roll song, well deserving of Dylan’s top 50. The only question is why I don’t have it ranked even higher: it’s one of his most famous songs and some critics have it in their top 10. The reason I don’t is because lyrically it lacks the poetic quality of the very best of Dylan’s music; it’s a little too basic, a little too unsubtle. Still a wonderful tune though. 

Covers The only cover I’ve been able to find for this song by a (somewhat) noteworthy artist is by Ani DiFranco, and I’m not going to link it because I think it’s awful. 

 

Top 5 for me. I don't get your criticism of the lyrics - obviously it's based on a true story but I think he does a masterful job creating imagery and while maybe it doesn't have the "poetry" it certainly has his biting scathing style that he'll unleash when warranted.

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45. “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” (1969, from Nashville Skyline

https://youtu.be/9ZhLGP5dF2k

The link is to the smoothly sung and performed album version which I love, but I love even more the hard rocking Rolling Thunder live version which can be found in on his first bootleg release. This is just incredible: 

https://youtu.be/5l394wXm5k0

Years ago I saw Dylan at the Hollywood Bowl and he performed this song sticking close to the Rolling Thunder version, which was great for me. 

Covers There are all sorts of great versions of this beautiful song, but for me the very best is by soul vocalist Ann Peebles with her incredible bluesy skills: 

https://youtu.be/m0vMs5LzK50

 

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44. “Simple Twist of Fate” (1975, from Blood on the Tracks

https://youtu.be/sGnhyoP_DSc

OK remember when I wrote that there were nearly 50 Dylan songs in my top 10? It starts now. I have no idea how this song ended up at 44, there’s simply too many classics: 

People tell me it’s a sin 

To know and feel too much within 

I still believe she was my twin, but I lost the ring 

She was born in spring, but I was born too late 

Blame it on a simple twist of fate

Can lyrics get much better than this? Amazingly enough they can and do. 

Covers Brian Ferry, who has spent a good deal of his solo career covering Dylan, delivers an excellent upbeat version here: 

https://youtu.be/D8NCSx31gws

 

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