Saturday, September 27, 2008

My 100 Favorite Dylan Songs

Well, here they are in alphabetical order. After some intensive time in the STWOF listening room, I've come up with a list of my 100 favorite Bob Dylan songs. It wasn't easy, and I'm sure I'll change my mind within a week, but it was a fun process.

Thanks for all of the excellent comments and e-mails. As much as I loved Dylan before, putting this list together has reinforced my opinion that Bob is the greatest popular music artist of the 20th century.

1. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
2. Absolutely Sweet Marie - Blonde On Blonde
3. All Along The Watchtower - John Wesley Harding
4. Angelina - The Bootleg Series Volumes 1,2 & 3
5. As I Went Out One Morning - John Wesley Harding
6. Ballad Of A Thin Man - Highway 61 Revisited
7. Blind Willie McTell - The Bootleg Series Volumes 1,2 & 3
8. Blowin' In The Wind - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
9. Bob Dylan's 115th Dream - Bringing It All Back Home
10. Boots Of Spanish Leather - The Times They Are A-Changin'
11. Brownsville Girl - Knocked Out Loaded
12. Buckets Of Rain - Blood On The Tracks
13. Chimes of Freedom - Another Side of Bob Dylan
14. Dear LandlordJohn Wesley Harding
15. Desolation Row - Highway 61 Revisited
16. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
17. Every Grain of Sand - Shot of Love
18. Forever Young - Planet Waves
19. Fourth Time Around - Blonde On Blonde
20. From A Buick 6 - Highway 61 Revisited
21. Gates Of Eden - Bringing It All Back Home
22. Girl from the North Country - Nashville Skyline
23. Gotta Serve Somebody - Slow Train Coming
24. Highway 61 Revisited - Highway 61 Revisited
25. Hurricane - Desire
26. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight - John Wesley Harding
27. I'll Keep It With Mine - Biograph
28. I Believe In You - Slow Train Coming
29. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Met) - Biograph
30. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine - John Wesley Harding
31. I Shall Be Released - Biograph
32. I Want You - Blonde On Blonde
33. Idiot Wind - Blood On The Tracks
34. If Not for You - New Morning
35. If You See Her, Say Hello - Blood On The Tracks
36. Isis - Desire
37. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue - Bringing It All Back Home
38. It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) - Bringing It All Back Home
39. It Ain't Me Babe - Another Side of Bob Dylan
40. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry - Highway 61 Revisited
41. John Wesley Harding - John Wesley Harding
42. Jokerman - Infidels
43. Just Like A Woman - Blonde On Blonde
44. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues - Highway 61 Revisited
45. Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid
46. Lay Down Your Weary Tune - Biograph
47. Lay Lady Lay - Nashville Skyline
48. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat - Blonde On Blonde
49. Like A Rolling Stone - Highway 61 Revisited
50. Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts - Blood On The Tracks
51. Love Minus Zero/No Limit - Bringing It All Back Home
52. Maggie's Farm - Bringing It All Back Home
53. Mama, You Been On My Mind - The Bootleg Series Volumes 1,2 & 3
54. Man Gave Names To All The Animals - Slow Train Coming
55. Masters Of War - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
56. Million Dollar Bash - The Basement Tapes
57. Mississippi - Love and Theft
58. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) - Blonde On Blonde
59. Most Of The Time - Oh Mercy
60. Mozambique - Desire
61. Mr. Tambourine Man - Bringing It All Back Home
62. My Back Pages - Another Side of Bob Dylan
63. Neighborhood Bully - Infidels
64. Not Dark Yet - Time Out Of Mind
65. Obviously 5 Believers - Blonde On Blonde
66. One More Cup Of Coffee - Desire
67. One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later) - Blonde On Blonde
68. Only A Pawn In Their Game - The Times They Are A-Changin'
69. Oxford Town - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
70. Percy's Song - Biograph
71. Pledging My Time - Blonde On Blonde
72. Po’ BoyLove And Theft
73. Positively 4th Street - Biograph
74. Queen Jane Approximately - Highway 61 Revisited
75. Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands - Blonde On Blonde
76. Sara - Desire
77. She Belongs To Me - Bringing It All Back Home
78. Shelter From The Storm - Blood On The Tracks
79. Simple Twist Of Fate - Blood On The Tracks
80. Song To Woody - Bob Dylan
81. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again - Blonde On Blonde
82. Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bringing It All Back Home
83. Sweetheart Like You - Infidels
84. Tangled Up In Blue - Blood On The Tracks
85. Tears Of Rage - The Basement Tapes
86. Temporary Like Achilles - Blonde On Blonde
87. Things Have Changed - Modern Times
88. Tight Connection to My Heart - Empire Burlesque
89. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll - The Times They Are A-Changin'
90. The Man in Me - New Morning
91. The Times They Are A Changin' - The Times They Are A-Changin'
92. The Wicked MessengerJohn Wesley Harding
93. To Ramona - Another Side of Bob Dylan
94. Tombstone Blues - Highway 61 Revisited
95. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You - Nashville Skyline
96. Visions Of Johanna - Blonde On Blonde
97. With God On Our Side - The Times They Are A-Changin'
98. You're A Big Girl Now - Blood On The Tracks
99. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go - Blood On The Tracks
100. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - Greatest Hits, Vol. 2

The most represented album is Blonde on Blonde with 13 songs. The only album to place all of its songs on my list was Highway 61 Revisited, which is my favorite album of all time.

Considering how many great tunes Dylan has, there's a good chance I've left off your favorite. Sorry for that. It's my bad.

Dylan's Discography
Buy Bob Dylan

A few tunes from the list:

Bob Dylan - Every Grain Of Sand (buy)
Bob Dylan - I Shall Be Released (buy)

And a fun one that didn't make it:

Bob Dylan - Froggie Went A-Courtin' (buy)

Now for a couple of questions:

1. What was the most glaring omission from my list?
2. In case I feel like making another list, what are your favorite covers of Dylan songs?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The last piece of the Gram puzzle (and a case of honky tonkitis on the side).

Whoa, I’ve been away for quite awhile by STWOF standards. (Been busy listening to Bob Dylan’s entire catalog and trying to look important at work.) Anyway, here is the last song needed to complete your collection of the original versions of songs covered by Gram Parsons:

Carl & Pearl Butler – We’ll Sweep Out The Ashes (buy)

I just recently picked up this Carl & Pearl collection called A Family Affair. It's great. Pure honky tonky goodness. (The album also has a few tracks from Johnny & Jonie Mosby.) Check out this Carl & Pearl track, which is a re-recording of the “hit” version that I’m used to hearing. I think I like this version better than the original:

Carl & Pearl Butler – Honky Tonkitis (buy)

Boy, they sure don’t write ‘em like that in Nashville anymore. Just listening to it gives me a wicked case of honky tonkitis.

For more about Carl & Pearl Butler, see Geezer Music Club and AMG bio.

And for good measure, check out these guys:

Two Dollar Pistols – Honky Tonkitis (buy)

Hopefully I'll be back soon...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Any Dylan fans out there?

Because the cops don't need you and man they expect the same...

Bob Dylan - Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (buy)

I like to make lists. Especially ones that consist of arbitrary rankings. Tonight I decided to make a list of my 100 favorite Bob Dylan songs. Sounds like a good time, eh?

But I decided I better get your help before going any farther.

So, if you're so inclined, please send me a list of your favorite Dylan songs. I don't care how many you put in the list (1, 5, 10, whatever). I'm not going to tally them up. I'm just looking for help making my own list--which I will eventually publish here (if anybody cares).

And if you're feeling especially thoughtful, please ad some comments explaining your choices.

What about Bob?

Good stuff: Stipe on R.E.M.

If the wind were colors. And if the air could speak...

R.E.M. - Wendell Gee (buy)

There's an amazing thing going on over at Pop Songs. Michael Stipe is giving good answers to fans' questions about R.E.M. songs. Check it out!

Also make sure you check out Scott's recent R.E.M. post over at the always thought-provoking Pretty Goes With Pretty blog

Here is the wiki version of the Wendell Gee story.

Great 17-Year-Old Song Alert

There are things I want to do, but I don't know if they will be with you...

Check this one out. Great title. Great sound. Great lyrics. What's not to love?

Teenage Fanclub - Alcoholiday (buy)

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Last Of The Gram Parsons Originals - Gram's Solo Albums

Well, there you have it. This is probably the last of my series on the “original” version of Gram Parsons’ songs. This installment focuses on Gram’s solo albums.

The first three songs (1-3) were covered on Gram’s first solo LP, GP, released in 1972. The next three (4-6) were covered on his second solo LP, Grievous Angel, released posthumously in 1974. Songs 7-9 are the original verions of songs Gram and Emmylou recorded as outakes from the Grievous Angel sessions (available on various compilations, including Sleepless Nights). Finally, songs 10-11 are two that Gram played at his 1973 radio show recorded for WLIR in Hempstead, NY.

1. Tompall & The Glaser Brothers - Streets Of Baltimore (buy)
2. Gene Pitney & George Jones - That's All It Took (buy) (An odd pairing here, don't you think?)
3. J. Geils Band - Cry One More Time (buy)
4. Tom T. Hall - I Can't Dance (buy)
5. The Louvin Brothers - Cash On The Barrelhead (buy)
6. The Everly Brothers - Love Hurts (buy)
7. The Everly Brothers - Brand New Heartache (buy)
8. The Everly Brothers - Sleepless Nights (buy) (Great tune!)
9. The Louvin Brothers - The Angels Rejoiced Last Night (buy)
10. Merle Haggard - California Cottonfields (buy)
11. Larry Williams - Bony Maronie (buy)

So have we learned anything from this exercise? I guess we can conclude that Gram Parsons--the avatar of country rock, if you will--had four basic influences: (1) the honky tonk country of Merle Haggard, George Jones, and Buck Owens, (2) the close harmonies of country-pop brother groups like the Everlys and the Louvins, (3) the sixties soul music from the likes of William Bell, Aretha Franklin, and James Carr, and (4) good old rock'n'roll from the likes of Elvis Presley, Larry Williams, and the Rolling Stones.

There may be a few more Gram Parsons covers that I've missed (some Sweetheart outtakes maybe?). If you can think of any that should be included for purposes of completeness, let me know and I'll post 'em up.

*** An astute commenter notes that I left off "We'll Sweep Out The Ashes In The Morning" by Carl Butler & Pearl. I forgot to mention that. The fact is that I don't have it. Does anybody out there have it? ***

See also:
The Safe At Home Originals
The Original Sweetheart Of The Rodeo
The Flying Burrito Brothers Originals, Part I
The Flying Burrito Brothers Originals, Part II

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Some people out there in our nation don’t have maps…

But these great "directional" songs might help them find their way.

Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash – Girl From The North Country (buy): Two giants singing a reprise of one of Dylan's best songs. Nice music for a Sunday morning.

Willie Nelson – My Window Faces The South (buy): I really love this one. It's the pre-famous Willie of the 1960's. You know Willie loves his Western Swing, like any good Texan should.

Billie Holiday - East of the Sun (West of the Moon) (buy): Another favorite. Billie's rendition is a nice late night number.

Chris Isaak – Western Stars (buy): Here's a low key blast from the past. This song from Chris Isaak's first album has always been a favorite of mine. Love the steel guitar. (k. d. lang--she of no capital letters--did a nice cover version.)

Willis Alan Ramsey – Northeast Texas Woman (buy): Now let's go back to Texas for yet another lost classic. The world of music is full of them.

Do you have a favorite directional song?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Remember when you spilled Coke all over your blouse?

The perfect end-of-Summer song:
The Beach Boys – All Summer Long (buy)

[AMG Song Review]