Among his ten weakest albums, but it includes the brilliant “Brownsville Girl“.
Bob Dylan’s best songs – Brownsville Girl – #18
@ #18 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs.
It was originally recorded as “New Danville Girl” @ Cherokee Studio, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California 6 December 1984. Overdubbed May 1986 for the “Knocked Out Loaded” album.
It’s an amazing song with cinematic lyrics co-written with Sam Sheppard.
New Danville Girl (recorded 1984-12-06):
Lyrics to “New Danville Girl” added down towards the end of the post..
Dylan has only performed it once, on August 6, 1986 @ Mid-State Fairground – Paso Robles, California:
Paso Robles, California
6 August 1986
- Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
- Tom Petty (guitar)
- Mike Campbell (guitar)
- Benmont Tench (keyboards)
- Howie Epstein (bass)
- Stan Lynch (drums)
- The Queens Of Rhythm: Carolyn Dennis, Queen Esther Marrow, Madelyn Quebec, Louise Bethune (backing vocals)
“Dylan has invented himself. He’s made himself up from scratch. That is, from the things he had around him and inside him. Dylan is an invention of his own mind. The point isn’t to figure him out but to take him in. He gets into you anyway, so why not just take him in? He’s not the first one to have invented himself, but he’s the first one to have invented Dylan.”
– Sam Shepard (Rolling Thunder logbook)
Sam Shepard, was an American playwright, actor, author, screenwriter, and director, whose body of work spanned over half a century. He was the author of forty-four plays as well as several books of short stories, essays, and memoirs. Shepard received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983). Shepard received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master American dramatist in 2009. New York described him as “the greatest American playwright of his generation.” Continue reading Rest In Peace Bob Dylan collaborator Sam Shepard, he died July 27
The Best Dylan Covers: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy aka Will Oldham – Brownsville Girl
“Brownsville Girl” is a song from Bob Dylan’s 1986 album, Knocked Out Loaded, recorded in May of that year. It is notable for its length, over 11 minutes, and for being co-written by playwright Sam Shepard. The song is an overdubbed version of a December 1984 outtake from the Empire Burlesque sessions entitled “New Danville Girl”.
While as an album Knocked Out Loaded was poorly received upon release, “Brownsville Girl” is considered one of Dylan’s best pieces by some critics. Music critic Robert Christgau praised “Brownsville Girl” as “one of the greatest and most ridiculous of Dylan’s great ridiculous epics. Doesn’t matter who came up with such lines as ‘She said even the swap meets around here are getting pretty corrupt’ and ‘I didn’t know whether to duck or to run, so I ran’ — they’re classic Dylan.”
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy aka Will Oldham has played the song live, and it is a tremendous achievement. The size of the song, the amount of lyrics, man, it has to be tough to learn. Bob Dylan played it live one time, only one time, I mean, it’s a tough song to do. Not many artists have tried to do their version, Mr. Oldham has and he did a good job.