This is a tremendous song with exceptional singing by Bob Dylan, one of the lost masterpieces that will finally come out with good (better) sound! It sounds as if it was intended as a parody, of sorts, but turns into something all together different. This is great gospel music. Clinton Heylin wrote in the Telegraph, “…this seven-minute testifying spiritual seems to be largely improvised, and wholly inspired.”
Sign on the Cross is actually one of Bob Dylan’s very best performances. This seven minute gospel gem is perfect, from Garth Hudson’s swirling church organ down to Bob’s inspired (and probably) drunken preachings. I have listened to the song over and over, and marvelled at the thought of this song not getting an official release! That is, until now. I am eagerly awaiting my box-set and hoping for a miracle sound wise, like we got on the last Bootleg release (vol.10)
Bob Dylan – Sign on the cross:
“This one sounds pretty straightforward at first, as Dylan leads the Band through some timeworn gospel changes. Robbie Robertson ekes out gorgeous guitar lines worthy of Curtis Mayfield and Garth Hudson’s organ swells at all the right moments, coaxing a truly remarkable vocal from their leader. Things take a turn for the weird, however, around 4:25, when Dylan slips into an off-the-cuff spoken monologue, coming off as a country-fried preacher who may have been dipping into his moonshine supply. What began as pure holiness starts sounding just a little bit creepy. “
Jan Wenner: Of all the versions of This Wheel’s On Fire, which do you like the best? Bob Dylan: Uh… the Band’s. Who else did it? Jan Wenner: Where was that done? Bob Dylan: Well, that was done out in… out in somebody’s basement. Just a basement tape. ~ Jan Wenner Interview Nov 1969
@ #100 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs. Recorded in the basement @ The Big Pink, West Saugerties, New York – June – October 1967.
Basement tapes version:
“This Wheel’s on Fire” is a song written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko. It was originally recorded by Dylan and The Band during their 1967 sessions, portions of which (including this song) comprised the 1975 album, The Basement Tapes. The Band’s own version appeared on their 1968 album, Music From Big Pink.
June 26, 1975
Bob Dylan, Rick Danko
Bob Dylan & The Band
Here’s a great live version from Stockholm 1998-06-09:
Michael Geoffrey “Mick” Jones (born 26 June 1955) is an English rock guitarist, vocalist and songwriter best known for his works with The Clash until his dismissal in 1983, then Big Audio Dynamite with Don Letts before line-up changes led to the formation of Big Audio Dynamite II and finally Big Audio. Jones plays with Carbon Silicon along with Tony James and is touring the world as part of the Gorillaz live band (which includes former Clash member Paul Simonon).
When he was 21, he and Paul Simonon were introduced to Joe Strummer by Bernie Rhodes (the self proclaimed inventor of punk rock)in a dirty squat in Shepherd’s Bush. The band practised in a disused railway warehouse in Camden and The Clash was formed. Jones played lead guitar, sang, and co-wrote songs from the band’s inception until he was fired by Strummer and Simonon in 1983. Jones’ lack of punctuality played a major role in his dismissal from the band.
For his time with The Clash, Jones, along with the rest of the band, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.