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.
A duet is a musical composition for two performers in which the performers have equal importance to the piece. It is often used to describe a composition involving two singers. It differs from a harmony, as the performers take turns performing a solo section rather than performing simultaneously.
Bob Dylan has done a lot of duets, we have collected some of our favourites and will present them in batches of three. This second post has three duets with some of country music’s greatest legends.
One Too Many Mornings Date: October 29, 1965 Location: Columbia Studio, Nashville, TN. Producers: Don Law – Frank Jones. Released: Johnny And June (1979), Bootleg Volume II: From Memphis To Hollywood (2011) & The Man In Black 1963-1969, Plus (1995)
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 4th recording session for ‘Nashville Skyline’ took place on February 17, 1969. Two master versions emerged.. the lovely “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” & “Nashville Skyline Rag”. Johnny Cash joined the session halfway through & they tried out “One Too Many Mornings”, “I Still Miss Someone” (Cash) & “Don’t Think Twice”. A video from one of the takes on “One Too Many Mornings” is available (& included in this post).. fantastic stuff!