Rock Me Mama/Wagon Wheel is a song originally sketched by Bob Dylan and later completed by Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show. Old Crow Medicine Show’s version was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 2013.
It is a big hit for Darius Rucker this year and nominated for a CMT award.
The chorus and melody for the song comes from a demo recorded by Bob Dylan during the Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid sessions.It is part of the famous bootleg Peco’s Blues, the Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid Sessions.
He started work on the soundtrack for Pat Garret on January 20th, 1973 in Mexico City. The next month he moved over to Burbank, California and was joined by Roger McGuinn, drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Terry Paul. The sessions gave us Dylan’s big hit Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, after finishing that classic they ran through 2 versions of Rock Me Mama.
It was never finished, and they probably forgot all about Rock Me Mama . The sessions got out as bootlegs and that’s how Keith Secor got to hear it.
Dylan had left the song as an unfinished sketch, Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show wrote verses for the song around Dylan’s original chorus. Secor’s additional lyrics transformed “Rock Me Mama” into “Wagon Wheel”. Secor has stated the song is partially autobiographical.
As Chris ‘Critter’ Fuqua of Old Crow told theislandpacket.com in May this year:
“ I’d gotten a Bob Dylan bootleg in like ninth grade and I let Ketch listen to it, and he wrote the verses because Bob kind of mumbles them and that was it. We’ve been playing that song since we were like 17, and it’s funny because we’ve never met Dylan, but the song is technically co-written by Bob Dylan. What’s great about “Wagon Wheel” is that it has grown organically. The popularity of it was all based on word of mouth. There was no radio airplay for it. We made a music video for it, but it wasn’t “November Rain” or anything. No one was like, “Oh my God, what’s this video about?” And 16 years later, it went gold, then Darius Rucker cut it.”
“It’d be my pleasure to dispel the myth and rumor about the song Wagon Wheel, or “Rock Me Mama” as Bob Dylan himself called the song when he recorded it down in Mexico in 1972 for the soundtrack of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. This song was not released, and it was not finished either, this is a demo of a practice session of him, Rob Stoner, and a couple of gals doing the chorus over and over again while the bass player learns the bass line. That’s what I heard on a German bootleg about nine years ago in high school. And I wrote the lyrics to the song because I loved the chorus so much and I sung it in my head for maybe a year straight, and then just penned what I penned, which is something of an autobiographical story about just wanting to get outta town, gettin outta school, and just wanting to go play music. It’s sort of autobiographical like that. But yeah, it’s sort of a Bob Dylan co-write with about 25 years inbetween.”
He works in the folk tradition that Dylan is definitely a part of, getting parts of melodies and lyrics and adding your own verses. He got the year wrong, it was in 1973.The version that he heard was probably the second version of the song, as he describes the chorus.
Continue reading The Roots of Wagon Wheel aka Rock Me Mama
Well, we crossed the panhandle and then we headed towards Amarillo
We pulled up where Henry Porter used to live. He owned a wreckin’ lot outside of town about a mile
Ruby was in the backyard hanging clothes, she had her red hair tied back. She saw us come rolling up in a trail of dust
She said, “Henry ain’t here but you can come on in, he’ll be back in a little while”
~Brownsville Girl (from: Knocked Out Loaded)
Amarillo /æməˈrɪlɵ/ is the fourteenth most populous city in the state of Texas, the largest in the Texas Panhandle and the seat of Potter County. A portion of the city extends into Randall County. The population was 190,695 at the 2010 census (105,486 in Potter County, and 85,209 in Randall). The Amarillo metropolitan area has an estimated population of 236,113 in four counties.
Amarillo, originally named Oneida, is situated in the Llano Estacado region. The availability of the railroad and freight service provided by the Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad contributed to the city’s growth as a cattle marketing center in the late 19th century. Amarillo is the regional economic center for the Texas Panhandle, and is economically important to Eastern New Mexico and the Oklahoma Panhandle.
The city was once the self-proclaimed “Helium Capital of the World” for having one of the country’s most productive helium fields. The city is also known as “The Yellow Rose of Texas” (as the city takes its name from the Spanish word for yellow), and most recently “Rotor City, USA” for its V-22 Osprey hybrid aircraft assembly plant. Amarillo operates one of the largest meat packing areas in the United States. Pantex, the only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility in the country, is also a major employer. The attractions Cadillac Ranch and Big Texan Steak Ranch are located adjacent to Interstate 40. U.S. Highway 66 also passed through the city.