The House of the Rising Sun is a traditional folk song, sometimes called Rising Sun Blues. It tells of a life gone wrong in New Orleans; many versions also urge a sibling to avoid the same fate. The most successful commercial version was recorded in 1964 by The Animals.
Bob Dylan recorded it, as House of the risin’ sun, for his debut album released in 1962. He did it several more times both live and in studio.
Like many classic folk ballads, The House of the Rising Sun is of uncertain authorship. Musicologists say that it is based on the tradition of broadside ballads, and thematically it has some resemblance to the 16th-century ballad The Unfortunate Rake. According to Alan Lomax, “Rising Sun” was used as the name of a bawdy house in two traditional English songs, and it was also a name for English pubs. He further suggested that the melody might be related to a 17th-century folk song, “Lord Barnard and Little Musgrave”, also known as “Matty Groves”, but a survey by Bertrand Bronson showed no clear relationship between the two songs. Lomax proposed that the location of the house was then relocated from England to New Orleans by white southern performers. However, Vance Randolph proposed an alternative French origin, the “rising sun” referring to the decorative use of the sunburst insignia dating to the time of Louis XIV, which was brought to North America by French immigrants. Continue reading The Songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan House of the rising sun→
CBS is proud to introduce a major new figure in American folk music—Bob Dylan.
Excitement has been running high since the young man with a guitar ambled into a
recording studio for two sessions in November, 1961. For at only 20, Dylan is the most unusual
new talent in American folk music.
His talent takes many forms. He is one of the most compelling white blues singers ever
recorded. He is a songwriter of exceptional facility and cleverness. He is an uncommonly
skillful guitar player and harmonica player.
~Stacey Williams (“Bob Dylan” LP. liner notes – March 1962)
Dylan comes across as obsessed with the romance of dying, but the speed, energy and attack
in his guitar, harmonica and voice show how fresh and excellently ‘unprofessional’ he was.
Yet what comes through from the album as a whole is a remarkable skill and more than a hint
of a highly distinctive vision.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
March 19, 1962
November 20 and 22, 1961,Columbia Recording Studio, New York City, New York, United States
John H. Hammond
Bob Dylan is the debut album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in March 1962 by Columbia Records. Produced by Columbia’s legendary talent scout John H. Hammond, who signed Dylan to the label, the album features folk standards, plus two original compositions, “Talkin’ New York” and “Song to Woody”.