“We all play folk music.”
– Thelonious Monk (to Dylan)
Jazz spans a period of over 100 years and encompasses a range of music from ragtime to the present day, and has proved to be very difficult to define. Jazz makes heavy use of improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation and the swung note,as well as aspects of European harmony, American popular music,the brass band tradition, and African musical elements such as blue notes and ragtime. The birth of Jazz in the multicultural society of America has led intellectuals from around the world to hail Jazz as “one of America’s original art forms”
Bob Dylan is Jazz at heart, what I mean is that he improvises, he elaborates on his own work. Sometimes his songs are unreckognisable to us. He goes with flow, he goes where the song takes him. He is very “jazzy”, but he does seldom sound like jazz.
I have had quite a few posts with Bob Dylan cover versions and today we are looking at Jazz artists doing their interpretations of his songs.
“See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” is a blues song recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1927 that became “one of his most famous compositions”. Son House used the melody on his 1930 recording of “Mississippi County Farm Blues”.
Bob Dylan recorded the song for his 1962 debut album Bob Dylan. He recorded it again with the Band, which is included on The Basement Tapes (complete) as One Kind Favor.
Then later I got to Woody Guthrie, which opened up a whole new world at the time. I was still only 19 or 20. I was pretty fanatical about what I wanted to do, so after learning about 200 of Woody’s songs, I went to see him and I waited for the right moment to visit him in a hospital in Morristown, New Jersey.
~Bob Dylan (to Ron Rosenbaum, Nov 1977)
Today is Woody Guthrie’s Birthday. Here are seven songs of his which Bob Dylan covers.
Ramblin’ Round Unidentified coffehouse
Ramblin’ around your city,
Ramblin’ around your town,
I never see a friend I know
As I go ramblin’ ’round boys,
As I go ramblin’ ’round.
Eunice Kathleen Waymon aka. Nina Simone was the sixth of eight children, she grew up in poverty in Tryon, North Carolina. Her family wished for her was that she should be the world’s finest classical pianist. She did not get into the schools she wanted and always blamed racism.
Born the sixth child of a preacher’s family in North Carolina, Simone aspired to be a concert pianist. Her musical path changed direction after she was denied a scholarship to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, despite a well-received audition. Simone was later told by someone working at Curtis that she was rejected because she was black. When she began playing in a small club in Philadelphia to fund her continuing musical education and become a classical pianist she was required to sing as well. She was approached for a recording by Bethlehem Records, and her rendering of “I Loves You, Porgy” was a hit in the United States in 1958. Over the length of her career Simone recorded more than 40 albums, mostly between 1958—when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue—and 1974.
Simone has dug deep into the american song tradition and it comes as no surprise that she has done several of Bob Dylan’s songs. She is an incredible interpreter of Dylan.
The first song is a contender for best Bob Dylan cover ever done (yes, I am aware of Hendrix’ Watchtower).
The Ballad of Hollis Brown(live,Mickery Theatre, The Netherlands in 1965, see coments…):
OLD post … You’re being redirected to a newer version……
Joan Baez was born in 1941 Happy Birthday
And Joan Baez means more to me than 100 of these singers around today. She’s more powerful. That’s what we’re looking for. That’s what we respond to. She always had it and always will, power for the species, not just for a select group.
~Bob Dylan (to Neil Hickey, Sept. 1976)
“I’ve never had a humble opinion. If you’ve got an opinion, why be humble about it?”
― Joan Baez
I went to jail for 11 days for disturbing the peace; I was trying to disturb the war.
~Joan Baez (Pop Chronicles interview – 1967)