Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding – Full Dylan album covered
John Wesley Harding is Bob Dylan’s eight album, it was released on December 27, 1967 by Columbia Records. Produced by Bob Johnston, the album marked Dylan’s return to acoustic music and traditional roots, after three albums of electric rock music. John Wesley Harding shares many stylistic threads with, and was recorded around the same time as, the prolific series of home recording sessions with the Band, partly released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes.
John Wesley Harding was exceptionally well received by critics and enjoyed solid sales, reaching #2 on the US charts and topping the UK charts. The commercial performance was considered remarkable considering that Dylan had kept Columbia from releasing the album with much promotion or publicity.Less than three months after its release, John Wesley Harding was certified gold by the RIAA. “All Along the Watchtower” became one of his most popular songs after it was recorded by Jimi Hendrix the following year.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 301 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Many Dylan albums have lent themselves to loads of covers over the years, many quite different from the originals. John Wesley Harding was one of the easiest album to find good covers from.
“Oh Mercy (1989) is a collection of 10 songs, best listened to at night, if you’re inclined to take that gypsy caravan down into a mythic Louisiana bayou, a world conjured up by Bob Dylan and producer Daniel Lanois. Virtually every song is a highlight, from “Political World” (which sounds just as immediate today) to the bittersweet “Shooting Star.” It’s quite an ethereal voyage from beginning to end and should withstand the test of time.”
– Josh Downham (user review, Amazon)
It is a great collection of songs and there are many artists that have tried their luck in singing them, none as good as Dylan’s original versions (as usual) but there are some good ones out there. I have tried to collect some of the best.
My favourites are Ron Sexsmith, Gordon Lightfoot, Tom Jones and Willie Nelson.
Dylan joins Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (who have just concluded their own set) on stage. Together they launch straight into “Clean-Cut Kid” followed by a blues song called “Shake,” seemingly a Dylan lyric set to the rune of Roy Head’s “Treat Her Right.” Then comes the live debuts of two Empire Burlesque songs, “I’ll Remember You” and “Trust Yourself,” both of which have Dylan dueting with Madelyn Quebec, who is clearly struggling to keep up with his idiosyncratic phrasing. A searing version of “That Lucky 0l’ Sun” follows, before Willie Nelson joins them on guitar for a romp through the highly appropriate “Maggie’s Farm.” Although the American TV broadcast, courtesy of the Nashville Network, manages to omit the first and fifth songs and cut the second, the excitement of the performance comes across, reaffirming Dylan’s power in concert after the very public disaster at “Live Aid ” The buzz from the concert is enough for him to suggest a more longterm collaboration with the Heartbreakers.
~Clinton Heylin (Bob Dylan: A Life in Stolen Moments Day by Day 1941-1995)
University Of Illinois Champaign, Illinois 22 September 1985 Farm Aid Concert
When things get really bad, you just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig, and that’s all you can do
– Leonard Cohen
“He (Bob Dylan) said, ‘I like this song you wrote called Hallelujah.’ In fact, he started doing it in concert. He said, ‘How long did that take you to write?’ And I said, ‘Oh, the best part of two years.’ He said, ‘Two years?’ Kinda shocked. And then we started talking about a song of his called I And I from Infidels. I said, ‘How long did you take to write that.’ He said, ‘Ohh, 15 minutes.’ I almost fell off my chair. Bob just laughed.”
~Leonard Cohen (quoted in Telegraph 41, p. 30)
Leonard Norman Cohen (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016) was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and romantic relationships. Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour.