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Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding covered

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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:

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Today: Bob Dylan released “John Wesley Harding” in 1967, 46 years ago

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 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)

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Bob Dylan Albums @ alldylan.com

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I hear it sometimes on the radio or a record player and I see that it’s badly mixed and it doesn’t sound very good, but what can you do? I’ve got, on Columbia Records alone, 21 or 22 albums out. So every time you make an album, you want it to be new, good and different, but personally, when you look back on them for me all my albums are, are just measuring points for wherever I was at a certain period of time. I went into the studio, recorded the songs as good as I could, and left. Basically, realistically, I’m a live performer and want to play onstage for the people and not make records that may sound really good.
~Bob Dylan (Lynn Allen interview, Dec 1978)

A list of “Dylan album” posts @ alldylan.com:

-Egil

Bob Dylan second recording session for “John Wesley Harding”

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 (BD Ecyclopedia)

45 years ago Bob Dylan entered Columbia Studio A, Nashville Tennessee tempting his second recording session for “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.

It is not clear when these songs were actually written, but none of them has turned up in the dozens of basement recordings that have since surfaced. According to Robbie Robertson, “As I recall it was just on a kind of whim that Bob went down to Nashville. And there, with just a couple of guys, he put those songs down on tape.”

Those sessions took place in the autumn of 1967, requiring less than twelve hours over three stints in the studio.

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