Neil Young is maybe the best interpreter of Bob Dylan’s songs, and it is so fitting, he is after all one of the “holy trinity” (with Dylan and Springsteen). Here are some great versions, sometimes alone and sometimes with other great artists.
Here is a fine clip from the Charlie Rose Show, Neil Young talks about Bob Dylan:
Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan July 12 1987 (full concert)
The Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead 1987 Tour was a concert tour by Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead taking place in the summer of 1987 and consisting of six concerts. Each concert began with a lengthy set by the Grateful Dead of their own material (sometime broken into a first and second set, per the Dead’s own practice), followed by a roughly 90 minute set of the Dead acting as Dylan’s backup band. The Dead had long performed many Dylan songs in their own concerts, so they were well-versed in Dylan’s repertoire.
“Dylan repainted his masterpieces. “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and “Ballad of a Thin Man” sputtered at first, but when Dylan and the Dead found the groove, the music soared. Whether prompted by a swirl from Brent’s organ, a bomb from Phil’s bass, or Bob Weir’s physical exuberance, Dylan found new paths to the soul of his creations. Watching the legends teeter towards disaster without a safety net made the ensuing crescendos more exhilarating.”
– Howard Weiner (Live for Live music)
Reviewer, “ing” at The Internet Archive:
“I was there and…
… listening back to this I think it is even better than I remember! The crowd was amped up. No doubt it was a lot of the newbie Touch of Grey fanbase there but it was an event and the energy fo the event was palpable (heh, running in from the gate, I tripped and fell and for a moment I looked up at the stampeding herd coming toward me and envisioned another Cleveland (The Who) happening (with me as the victim!)so I got up SO quick and hobbled toward the stage with my twisted ankle still smarting and laces still untied… but ultimately getting a fairly good spot not too far from the stage.
But LISTEN to this show… the band is pretty well on and the drums are particularly quite tight, something that I found annoying in many of the mid 80s shows (the loose drumming thing the guys seemed into most of the time). Jerry is singing pretty well and quite passionately, even getting some good crowd response (check out the Dew!). Jerry’s playing is really sweet. And: Pedal Steel! Need I say more? As to them playing rushed as some have said, I think it is more that they are playing tight… they aren’t as wasted… maybe they had to keep their heads together given the size of the crowd but I didn’t get the sense the show was rushed… it was a fun day.
And for the record, i have to say that I disagree with most people about not liking the whole Dylan and the Dead combo. I thought it was a great concept. Sure, it was a little thrown together due to their schedules and various habits said powers-that-be may have been battling at the time… But — hey that was part of what they were doing then and ultimately it was all about a sense of spontaneity and lighthearted fun and just putting it out there…”
“After an hour or so, it became clear to me that the band wanted to rehearse more and different songs than I had been used to doing with Petty. They wanted to run over all the songs, the ones they liked, the seldom seen ones. I found myself in a peculiar position and I could hear the brakes screech. If I had known this to begin with, I might not have taken the dates…. There were so many songs that I couldn’t tell which was which-I might even get the words to some mixed up with others. I needed sets of lyrics to understand what they were talking about, and when I saw the lyrics, especially to the older, more obscure songs, I couldn’t see how I could get this stuff off emotionally.”
– Bob Dylan (Chronicles Vol.1) after his first rehearsal with the Dead
Grateful Dead is a band that I’ve learned to love over the years, it has been a struggle. The reason for that is the not very good album collaboration with Bob Dylan (Dylan and The Dead, 1987). I bought it on casette and tried so hard to like it, but in my young and inexperienced ears this was all over the place and without energy. I like the album better now, but it is not among my favorite Dylan albums.
More important, it was unfair to judge Grateful Dead because of that record. I love American Beauty and I love Workingman’s Dead, and I think there are a lot of great live recordings of the band. With Bob Dylan and without Bob Dylan.
I think they are very skilful Dylan interpreters and they have even released an album with Bob Dylan’s songs.
Here are my top 10 Grateful Dead playing Bob Dylan:
Grateful Dead – Maggie’s Farm (19-09-1987)
Grateful Dead performs a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” for Farm Aid III live via satellite from Madison Square Garden. Introduction by Dick Clark.
Grateful dead – Knockin’ on Heaven’s door (07-07-1989)
FK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA
“Taking notes on vocal harmonies from friends Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Dead used the softer statements of their fourth studio album as a subtle but moving reflection on the turmoil, heaviness, and hope America’s youth was facing as the idealistic ’60s ended. American Beauty was recorded just a few months after its predecessor, both expanding and improving on the bluegrass, folk, and psychedelic country explorations of Workingman’s Dead with some of the band’s most brilliant compositions.” – Fred Thomas (Allmusic)
It took me a while to get into Grateful Dead, but when they hit me, they hit me hard! This is my second favorite of their albums (my number one is Workingman’s Dead) I should say studio albums, because I really love their early 70s live stuff.
American Beauty is the sixth album by the rock band the Grateful Dead. It was recorded between August and September 1970 and originally released in November 1970 by Warner Bros. Records. The album continued the folk rock and country music explored on Workingman’s Dead and prominently features the lyrics of Robert Hunter.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 258 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.