Freewheelin’ in it’s released form is essentially a “best of” from one of the most creative years in Dylan’s life. The lag between sessions resulted in an album whose sound metamorphosed at least twice.
~Clinton Heylin (BD – The Recording Sessions)
Dylan nailed 5 master versions for “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” @ this important recording session.
April 9: Bob Dylan released Nashville Skyline in 1969
Well, Jann, I’ll tell you something. There’s not too much of a change in my singing style, but I’ll tell you something which is true… I stopped smoking. When I stopped smoking my voice changed… So drastically, I couldn’t believe it myself. That’s true. I tell you, you stop smoking those cigarettes (laughter)… and you’ll be able to sing like Caruso.
~Bob Dylan (to Jann Wenner Nov 1969)
Anyway, on Nashville Skyline you had to read between the lines. I was trying to grasp something that would lead me on to where I thought I should be, and it didn’t go nowhere – it just went down, down, down.
~Bob Dylan (to Jonathan Cott, Sept 1978)
Released 48 years ago, it surely is one of his most controversial albums.. “Embracing” classic Country music & kicking off the “Country Rock” genre.
I’ve always liked this album… not a masterpiece, but a solid Dylan album.
#1 – Girl from the North Country (with Johnny Cash)
Bob Dylan Girl from the North Country – 6 decades 6 versions
“Girl from the North Country” (occasionally known as “Girl of the North Country” or “North Country Girl)) is a song written by Bob Dylan. It was recorded at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City in April 1963, and released the following month as the second track on Dylan’s second studio album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Dylan re-recorded the song as a duet with Johnny Cash in February 1969. That recording became the first track on Nashville Skyline, Dylan’s ninth studio album.
The song was written following his first trip to England in December, 1962, upon what he thought to be the completion of his second album. It is debated as to whom this song is a tribute; some claim former girlfriend, Echo Helstrom, and some Bonnie Beecher, both of whom Dylan knew before leaving for New York. However, it is suspected that this song could have been inspired by his then girlfriend, Suze Rotolo. Dylan left England for Italy to search for Suze, whose continuation of studies there had caused a serious rift in their relationship. Unbeknownst to Dylan, Rotolo had already returned to the United States, leaving about the same time that Dylan arrived in Italy. It was here that he finished the song, ostensibly inspired by the apparent end of his relationship with Rotolo. Upon his return to New York in mid-January, he convinced Rotolo to get back together, and to move back into his apartment on 4th Street. Suze Rotolo is the woman featured on the album cover, walking arm in arm with Dylan down Jones Street, not far from their apartment.
I like Johnny Cash a lot. I like everything he does really.
~Bob Dylan (to Nat Hentoff – Autumn 1965)
In the end, Nashville Skyline is a lovely album but not a heavyweight contender, though its effects were major ones. Country music was despised, hick music when Dylan took it up. People were divided into the hip and the non-hip. The counterculture was in full swing and riddled with its own self-importance and snobbery. Nashville Skyline was a hard pill to swallow: but it did ’em good.
~Michael Gray (Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
The 5th recording session for ‘Nashville Skyline’ took place on February 18, 1969. One master versions emerged.. the lovely “Girl from the North Country”. Johnny Cash shared vocal on all 38 takes…this is a highly bootlegged sessions… and people have uploaded most of it on youtube…
Some background from wikipedia:
Nashville Skyline is the ninth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in April 1969 by Columbia Records.
Building on the rustic style he experimented with on John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline displayed a complete immersion into country music. Along with the more basic lyrical themes, simple songwriting structures, and charming domestic feel, it introduced audiences to a radically new singing voice from Dylan—a soft, affected country croon.
The result received a generally positive reaction from critics, and was a commercial success. Reaching number 3 in the US, the album also scored Dylan his fourth UK number 1 album.