“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)
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.
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→
“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.