January 21: The Jimi Hendrix Experience recorded All Along The Watchtower in 1968

“It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn’t think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day.”
– Bob Dylan (1995)

“I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way… Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.”
– Bob Dylan (booklet Biograph)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience began to record their cover version of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” on January 21, 1968, at Olympic Studios in London. According to engineer Andy Johns, Jimi Hendrix had been given a tape of Dylan’s recording by publicist Michael Goldstein, who worked for Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman.

“(Hendrix) came in with these Dylan tapes and we all heard them for the first time in the studio”
– Andy Johns

For me it is the only cover version of a Bob Dylan song that is arguably as good or better than Dylan’s own version.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower (audio):

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January 20: The Beatles released Meet The Beatles! in 1964 (USA)

Meet the Beatles! was not their first album released in USA, but as the first Beatles album released by Capitol Records, it was indeed the record where many millions of Americans were introduced to them.

It topped the popular album chart on 15 February 1964 and remained at number one for eleven weeks before being replaced by The Beatles’ Second Album. The cover featured Robert Freeman’s portrait used in the UK for With the Beatles, with a blue tint added to the original stark black-and-white photograph. Continue reading “January 20: The Beatles released Meet The Beatles! in 1964 (USA)”

January 20: Elvis Presley recorded In The Ghetto in 1969

In the Ghetto” (originally titled “The Vicious Circle“) is a song written by Mac Davis and made famous by Elvis Presley, who had a major comeback hit with it in 1969. It was recorded January 20th 1969 and released in April the same year as a 45 rpm single with “Any Day Now” as the flip side.

It is a narrative of generational poverty: a boy is born to a mother who already has more children than she can feed in the ghetto of Chicago. The boy grows up hungry, steals and fights, purchases a gun and steals a car, attempts to run, but is shot and killed just as his own child is born. The song implies that the newborn will meet the same fate, continuing the cycle of poverty and violence. The feeling of an inescapable circle is created by the structure of the song, with its simple, stark phrasing; by the repetition of the phrase “in the ghetto” as the close of every fourth line; and finally by the repetition of the first verse’s “and his mama cries” just before the beginning and as the close of the last verse. Continue reading “January 20: Elvis Presley recorded In The Ghetto in 1969”

January 20: The great late Huddie William Ledbetter (Lead Belly) was born in 1888

lead belly

 

The late Huddie William Ledbetter (Lead Belly) was born in 1888

“The blues is like this. You lay down some night and you turn from one side of the bed to the other all night long. It’s not too cold in that bed, and it ain’t too hot. But what’s the matter The blues has got you.”
~Lead Belly

I heard Leadbelly somewhere and that’s what got me into folk music, which was exploding.
~Bob Dylan (Joe Smith interview 1988)

Lead Belly was not an influence, he was the influence. If it wasn’t for him, I may never have been here. I don’t think he’s really dead. A lot of people’s bodies die but I don’t think their spirits die with them.
~Van Morrison

”Sang the blues wonderfully,but he was much bigger than that. He encompassed the whole black era, from square dance calls to the blues of the 30’s and 40’s”
~Alan Lomax

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January 19: Dolly Parton was born in 1946 – Happy Birthday!

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
― DollyParton

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
― Dolly Parton

“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.”
― Dolly Parton

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Classic concert: Dolly Parton Live and Well 2002 (full concert video)

Live and Well is a live album by Dolly Parton, released on September 14, 2004. It was recorded during her 2002 Halos & Horns Tour, her first in years; the performances on December 12 and 13, 2002 were used. A DVD of the concert was released simultaneously with the album. This was Dolly Parton’s first concert DVD.

“The show, also released as a double album, is far more successful with the visuals, since Parton is noticeably having a great time. Also, the patter that interrupts the flow of the audio-only version works to the advantage of the DVD as watching Dolly naturally interact with the crowd is so integral to her persona. Everything about the singer, from her makeup to her hair and curvy body is exaggerated, but with the songs conversely stripped down to their basics, the effect is impressive. Her voice is clear and strong so she doesn’t need costume changes, fancy light shows or backdrops, which would distract from her talent.”
Hal Horowitz (allmusic)

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