The Best Dylan Covers: Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash – It Ain’t Me, Babe
It Ain’t Me Babe is a song by Bob Dylan that originally appeared on his fourth album Another Side of Bob Dylan, which was released in 1964. According to music critic Oliver Trager, this song, along with others on the album, marked a departure for Dylan as he began to explore the possibilities of language and deeper levels of the human experience.
Within a year of its release, the song was picked up as a single by artists who were forging the folk rock movement, including The Turtles ,The Byrds and Johnny Cash with June Carter Cash.
Well I taught that weeping willow how to cry cry cry,
Taught the clouds how to cover up a clear blue sky.
Tears I cried for that woman are gonna flood you big river,
And Im a gonna sit right here until I die.
Baltimore Arena Baltimore, Maryland 8 November 1999
Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
Charlie Sexton (guitar)
Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash became friends at the 1964 Newport Folk Fest where they both performed (they had corresponded some time before this and they bumpen into each other in New York in 63 backstage at The Gaslight cafe) , Johnny Cash the seasoned country legend and Bob Dylan the new golden boy. They spent the evening picking in Joan Baez’s hotel room with June Carter Cash, Joan Baez, Jack Elliot and others. As the story goes, Johnny Cash took Dylan aside and handed him his Martin guitar as a gift, a gesture of honor among country musicians.
Their paths crossed on several occasions, and they recorded and performed together many times.
Here are the songs I could find where Cash covers Dylan:
People sometimes seem surprised that Bob Dylan looks more and more as a country artist, but they forget that country and folk were essentially the same genre once, and rock’n roll began as the rockabilly side of country. Bob Dylan’s connection to country music should not be a surprise to anyone.
“Even at a young age, I identified with Hank Williams. I’d never seen a robin weep but could imagine it and it made me sad. When he sang ‘the news is out, all over town’ I knew what that was, even though I didn’t know. When he died it was like a great tree had fallen. Hearing about Hank’s death caught me squarely at the shoulder. The silence of outer space never seemed so loud.” – Bob Dylan
I have picked my favourite country versions of his songs, some I found only audio of. Some of the songs are by other artists and some are collaborations between Bob Dylan and other artists.
“I keep a close watch on this heart of mine . . . I must have recited those lines to myself a million times. Johnny’s voice was so big it made the world grow small.” – Bob Dylan
10. Kris Kristofferson – Quinn the eskimo, from the recently released Chimes Of Freedom in honor of 50 years of Amnesty International, wonderful and rough version:
9. Every grain of sand – Emmylou Harris, from her album Wrecking Ball (1995) my favourite Emmylou album.
Emmylou Harris live May 24 2016:
8. It Ain’t Me, Babe – Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, released on Orange Blossom Special in 1965. We have chosen a version from an Australian TV-show in 1973:
May 14: Legendary producer the late great Bob Johnston was born in 1932
“Is it rolling, Bob?” – Bob Dylan at the beginning of To Be Alone With You (Nashville Skyline)
“Johnston had fire in his eyes. He had that thing that some people call ‘Momentum.’ You could see it in his face and he shared that fire, that spirit. Columbia’s leading folk and country producer, he was born one hundred years too late. He should have been wearing a wide cape, a plumed hat, and riding with his sword held high. Johnston disregarded any warning that might get in his way. … Johnston lived on low country barbecue, and he was all charm.”
– Bob Dylan, Chronicles: Volume One
“I had the best in the world in my hand – there was no place I couldn’t go with him, so that’s where I went. I think Blonde On Blonde is the best record Dylan ever cut… Blonde On Blonde was the first symphony cut in Nashville!” – Bob Johnston (Uncut magazine)
Donald William ‘Bob’ Johnston (born May 14, 1932, Hillsboro, Texas, died August 14, 2015) was an American record producer, best known for his work with Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, and Simon and Garfunkel.