Tag Archives: John Wesley Harding

October 17: Bob Dylan first recording session for John Wesley Harding in 1967

bob-dylan-john-wesley-harding-1967

I heard the sound that Gordon Lightfoot was getting, with Charlie McCoy and Kenny Buttrey. I’d used Charlie and Kenny both before, and I figured if he could get that sound, I could…. but we couldn’t get it. (Laughs) It was an attempt to get it, but it didn’t come off. We got a different sound… I don’t know what you’d call that… It’s a muffled sound.
~Bob Dylan to Jann Wenner November 29, 1969

49 years ago today Bob Dylan started recording “John Wesley Harding”.

Some background from wikipedia:

Dylan went to work on John Wesley Harding in the fall of 1967. By then, 18 months had passed since the completion of Blonde on Blonde. After recovering from the worst of the results of his motorcycle accident, Dylan spent a substantial amount of time recording the informal basement sessions at West Saugerties, New York; little was heard from him throughout 1967. During that time, he stockpiled a large number of recordings, including many new compositions. He eventually submitted nearly all of them for copyright, but declined to include any of them in his next studio release (Dylan would not release any of those recordings to the commercial market until 1975’s The Basement Tapes; and by then, some of those recordings had been bootlegged, usually sourced from an easy-to-find set of publisher’s demos). Instead, Dylan used a different set of songs for John Wesley Harding.

Continue reading October 17: Bob Dylan first recording session for John Wesley Harding in 1967

Dec 27: Bob Dylan released John Wesley Harding in 1967





john-wesley-harding

I heard the sound that Gordon Lightfoot was getting, with Charlie McCoy and Kenny Buttrey. I’d used Charlie and Kenny both before, and I figured if he could get that sound, I could…. but we couldn’t get it. (Laughs) It was an attempt to get it, but it didn’t come off. We got a different sound… I don’t know what you’d call that… It’s a muffled sound.
~Bob Dylan (to Jann Wenner November 29, 1969)

“I didn’t intentionally come out with some kind of mellow sound……. I would have liked … more steel guitar, more piano. More music … I didn’t sit down and plan that sound.”
~Bob Dylan 1971

This quiet masterpiece, which manages to sound both authoritative and tentative (a mix that gave it a highly contemporary feel), is neither a rock nor a folk album—and certainly isn’t folk-rock. It isn’t categorisable at all.
~Michael Gray (BD Encyclopedia)

Continue reading Dec 27: Bob Dylan released John Wesley Harding in 1967

November 29: Bob Dylan – Third (and final) recording session for “John Wesley Harding” in 1967





bob-dylan-john-wesley-harding-1967

JW: John Wesley Harding – why did you call the album that?
BD: We… I called it that because I had that song John Wesley Harding. It didn’t mean anything to me. I called it that, Jann, ‘cause I had the song John Wesley Harding, which started out to be a long ballad. I was gonna write a ballad on… Like maybe one of those old cowboy… You know, a real long ballad. But in the middle of the second verse, I got
tired. I had a tune, and I didn’t want to waste the tune, it was a nice little melody, so I just wrote a quick third verse, and I recorded that. But it was a silly little song….
~Bob Dylan to Jann Wenner November 29, 1969

This quiet masterpiece, which manages to sound both authoritative and tentative (a mix that gave it a highly contemporary feel), is neither a rock nor a folk album—and certainly isn’t folk-rock. It isn’t categorisable at all.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

47 years ago Bob Dylan entered Columbia Studio A, Nashville Tennessee tempting his third (and final) recording session for “John Wesley Harding”.

Continue reading November 29: Bob Dylan – Third (and final) recording session for “John Wesley Harding” in 1967

May 14: Legendary producer the late Bob Johnston was born in 1932

Photo by Al Clayton
Photo by Al Clayton

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 DylanJohnny CashLeonard Cohen, and Simon and Garfunkel.

Great interview from youtube (by Harper Simon):

Continue reading May 14: Legendary producer the late Bob Johnston was born in 1932

Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding covered

covered

Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding Covered

John Wesley Harding is Bob Dylan’s eight album, it was released on December 27, 1967 by Columbia Records. Produced by Bob Johnston, the album marked Dylan’s return to acoustic music and traditional roots, after three albums of electric rock music. John Wesley Harding shares many stylistic threads with, and was recorded around the same time as, the prolific series of home recording sessions with the Band, partly released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes.

John Wesley Harding was exceptionally well received by critics and enjoyed solid sales, reaching #2 on the US charts and topping the UK charts. The commercial performance was considered remarkable considering that Dylan had kept Columbia from releasing the album with much promotion or publicity.Less than three months after its release, John Wesley Harding was certified gold by the RIAA. “All Along the Watchtower” became one of his most popular songs after it was recorded by Jimi Hendrix the following year.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 301 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Many Dylan albums have lent themselves to loads of covers over the years, many quite different from the originals. John Wesley Harding was one of the easiest album to find good covers from.

Here are my chosen 12.

1. Ron Sexsmith – John Wesley Harding:

2. Wovenhand – As I went out one morning:

Continue reading Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding covered