Category Archives: Bob Dylan – The songs he didn’t write

The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan In My Time of Dying





“The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing, thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness”
– Psalms 41:3

In My Time of Dying (also called Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed or variations on this) is a traditional gospel music song that has been recorded by numerous musicians. Bob Dylan recorded it for his debut album as In My Time Of Dyin’.

It was (as most of the songs on the album) cut in one take.

” I can’t see myself singing the same song twice in a row. That’s terrible.”
– Bob Dylan

“Dylan had never sung ‘In My Time of Dyin’ ‘ prior to this recording session. He does not recall where he first heard it. The guitar is fretted with the lipstick holder [ makeshift slide ] he borrowed from his girl, Suze Rotolo, who sat devotedly and wide-eyed through the recording session.”
– Liner Notes, Bob Dylan (album, 1962)

Continue reading The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan In My Time of Dying

The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan House of the rising sun





The House of the Rising Sun is a traditional folk song, sometimes called Rising Sun Blues. It tells of a life gone wrong in New Orleans; many versions also urge a sibling to avoid the same fate. The most successful commercial version was recorded in 1964 by The Animals.

Bob Dylan recorded it, as House of the risin’ sun,  for his debut album released in 1962. He did it several more times both live and in studio.

Album version:

Like many classic folk ballads, The House of the Rising Sun is of uncertain authorship. Musicologists say that it is based on the tradition of broadside ballads, and thematically it has some resemblance to the 16th-century ballad The Unfortunate Rake. According to Alan Lomax, “Rising Sun” was used as the name of a bawdy house in two traditional English songs, and it was also a name for English pubs. He further suggested that the melody might be related to a 17th-century folk song, “Lord Barnard and Little Musgrave”, also known as “Matty Groves”, but a survey by Bertrand Bronson showed no clear relationship between the two songs. Lomax proposed that the location of the house was then relocated from England to New Orleans by white southern performers. However, Vance Randolph proposed an alternative French origin, the “rising sun” referring to the decorative use of the sunburst insignia dating to the time of Louis XIV, which was brought to North America by French immigrants. Continue reading The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan House of the rising sun

The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan See that my grave is kept clean





See That My Grave Is Kept Clean is a blues song recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson in two slightly differing versions in October 1927 and February 1928 that became one of his most famous compositions.

Bob Dylan recorded the song for his 1962 debut album Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan does a great interpretation of the song. It is the last song on the album, and what a send-off. It is stunning, great guitar playing, fantastic singing, understated and insistent at the same time. Dylan’s voice is remarkable Continue reading The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan See that my grave is kept clean

The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan Fixin’ To Die





In 1961,  Bob Dylan recorded “Fixin’ to Die” for his debut album, released the following year. The album liner notes indicate that it “was learned from an old recording by Bukka White”. However, Dylan’s arrangement uses a slightly different melody line and some new lyrics.

Album version:

The urgency and intensity of Dylan’s performance gets me every time, I love it. Continue reading The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan Fixin’ To Die

The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan You’re no good





You’re No Good
WRITTEN BY: JESSE FULLER

Appears on Bob Dylan’s eponymous debut album. Dylan’s take is a bit faster and with some small differences to the lyrics.

Jesse Fuller was an acoustic blues singer that Dylan claims to have met in Denver, Colorado in 1959. Fuller, was born in 1896 in Jonesboro, Georgia, and spent the majority of his life working at a variety of blue-collar jobs and playing music on the side.

Continue reading The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan You’re no good