As I walked out tonight in the mystic garden
The wounded flowers were dangling from the vines
I was passing by yon cool and crystal fountain
Someone hit me from behind
You’re talking to a person that feels like he’s walking around in the ruins of Pompeii … A song is a reflection of what I see all around me all the time.
~Bob Dylan (to Mikal Gilmore, 25 September 2001)
This great song released on “Modern Times” August 29, 2006, has been played 118 times live by; peaking in 2008 with 42 performances.
First played live 20 November 2006:
New York City Center
New York City, New York
20 November 2006
If I hadn’t heard the Robert Johnson record when I did, there probably would have been hundreds of lines of mine that would have been shut down—that I wouldn’t have felt free enough or upraised enough to write.
— Bob Dylan
Chronicles: Volume One
“Come On in My Kitchen” is a blues song by Robert Johnson. Johnson recorded the song on November 23, 1936 at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas – his first recording session. The melody is based on the song cycle by the string band the Mississippi Sheiks, “Sitting on Top of the World” (1930)/Things About Coming My Way (1931)/I’ll Be Gone, Long Gone (1932)/Hitting The Numbers (1934).
Johnson’s arrangement on slide guitar (in open tuning, commonly thought to be open G) is based on Tampa Red’s recording of the same tune with the title “Things ‘Bout Coming My Way”. Tampa Red had recorded an instrumental version in 1936, and the song had been recorded earlier by him in 1931, and by Kokomo Arnold in 1935 (Tampa Red may in fact have been the first to use the melody with his song “You Got To Reap What You Sow” (1929) based on Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell’s version).
Johnson’s recording was released on the Vocalion label (no. 03563) as a “race record” – cheap records for the black consumer market. The song was among those compiled on the King of the Delta Blues Singers LP in the 1960s. (A slower alternate take was also later found and released on CD collections; this version also has ten extra lines of lyrics.)
Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower – The Best Dylan Covers
“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 (Biograph liner notes)
“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 (Fort Lauderdale Sentinel Sun, 1995)
“All Along the Watchtower” is a song written and recorded by Bob Dylan. The song initially appeared on his 1967 album John Wesley Harding, and it has been included on most of Dylan’s subsequent greatest hits compilations. Since the late 1970s, he has performed it in concert more than any of his other songs. Different versions appear on four of Dylan’s live albums.
Covered by numerous artists in various genres, “All Along the Watchtower” is strongly identified with the interpretation Jimi Hendrix recorded for Electric Ladyland with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Hendrix version, released six months after Dylan’s original recording, became a Top 20 single in 1968 and was ranked 47th in Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
It is almost too obvious, but it has to be included in this series of the best Dylan covers. It is after all, maybe THE best Dylan cover ever done!
Of the virtues, I suppose I think integrity is the most essential. Not dignity – a thief can have dignity.
~Bob Dylan (to Barbara Kerr, Feb 1978)
‘Dignity’, which describes so resourcefully the yearning for a more dignified world, would have been the album’s [Oh Mercy] ideal opening track. It scorches along musically, declaring its allegiance to the timeless appeal of the blues, while sounding, above all things, fresh. Its lyric, meanwhile, though ‘Dylanesque’ in that it sounds like no-one else’s work and sounds like a restrained, mature revisit to a mode of writing you might otherwise call mid-1960s Dylan, is fully alert and freshly itself, admits of no leaning on laurels, and has the great virtue that while not every line can claim the workaday clarity of instructional prose, the song is accessible to anyone who cares to listen, and offers a clear theme, beautifully explored, with which anyone can readily identify.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
Dignity was originally recorded for “Oh Mercy” in 1989, but Dylan wasn’t satisfied with it… and left it behind.
Officially there are 5 different versions available:
“I couldn’t quite grasp what [‘Caribbean Wind’] was about, after I finished it. Sometimes you write something to be very inspired, and you won’t quite finish it for one reason or another. Then you’ll go back and try and pick it up, and the inspiration is just gone. Either you get it all, and you can leave a few little pieces to fill in, or you’re trying always to finish it off. Then it’s a struggle. The inspiration’s gone and you can’t remember why you started it in the first place. Frustration sets in.”
– Bob Dylan (to Cameron Crowe)
He spoke of one song he was particularly proud of, that he’d written “a while back”, that successfully functioned on the level of complexity of his mid-sixties material, taking the listener outside of time (I don’t know that he actually used these phrases; I’m just recalling my impression of what he told me). He said the song was called “Caribbean Wind,” and that he’d try to play it if I’d phone his assistant some afternoon before a show and remind him of my request.
– Paul Williams (BD Performing Artist 1973-86)
We have 4 versions of this brilliant song, the best one is the live versions he played on November 12, 1980.
Pedal Steel version
Santa Monica, California 23 September 1980