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.
The Best Dylan Covers: Dave Alvin – Highway 61 Revisited
Highway 61 Revisited is the title track of Bob Dylan’s 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited. It was also released as the B-side to the single “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” later the same year.
I’ve read somewhere that Dave Alvin recorded it at the Ashgrove sessions, that makes sense. His cover of Highway 61 Revisited would fit that album very nicely. The Groove and overall feel from Ashgrove is very present in his interpretation of Highway 61 Revisited. The song is not on the album (not the release that I have at least) but check out the album, it’s a classic (June 15, 2004)
Highway 61 Revisited by Dave Alvin was however included on a CD that came with an issue of Uncut Magazine, Highway 61 Revisited Revisited (2005).
In 1969, Johnny Winter covered “Highway 61 Revisited” on his second Columbia release, Second Winter. Winter’s rendition is regarded as “a career-defining track,” and the song continued as a live standard of his. A 10-minute version of the song appears on his 1976 live album, Captured Live !, and he also performed it live in 1992 for the The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration album, which saluted Dylan’s three decades as a recording artist. (wikipedia)
From “Second Winter” (1969) album:
Oh, God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe said, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
God said, “No” Abe say, “What?”
God say, “You can do what you want, Abe, but
The next time you see me comin’, you better run”
Well, Abe said, “Where d’you want this killin’ done?”
God said, “Out on Highway 61”
You got a lotta nerve
To say you are my friend
When I was down
You just stood there grinning
… I was gonna put Positively 4th Street on the other side, but, uh… I didn’t figure anybody could understand it so…
~Bob Dylan (Bob Fass/WBAI Interview, 26 Jan 1966)
Outside of a song like Positively 4th Street, which is extremely one-dimensional, which I like, I don’t usually purge myself by writing anything about any type of quote, so-called,
relationships. I don’t have the kinds of relationships that are built on any kind of false pretense, not to say that I haven’t.
~Bob Dylan (Scott Cohen, Sept 1985)
This masterpiece would have fitted nicely on “Highway 61 Revisited”.. where it did belong.