Navigating traffic on the way to Phish at Jones Beach last Friday, myself and four friends in the car started naming a bunch of great “rain” related Phish songs that could be played in honor of the impending weather. They didn’t play any of our ideas. Though I did take away my next selection for CW and that is this song off of the 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.
Every webpage out there supplying information on this song is quick to point out that the structure of the lyrics is based upon an old Scottish ballad titled Lord Randall. Have a look at the first verse…
O where hae you been, Lord Randall, my son?
O where hae you been, my handsome young man?
I hae been at the greenwoods, mother, make my bed soon.
For I’m wearied wi’ hunting, and fain would lie down.
Bill Frisell: Leading off this week we’ve got our only instrumental rendition and it’s from one of the greatest living guitarists, Bill Frisell. Bill has got a lot of great folk/rock instrumental covers out there, I am particularly fond of his performances of I Heard It Through The Grapevine and Have A Little Faith. Source: East/West
READ ON for the rest of this week’s Cover Wars contestants…
The audio above is simply a trio whereas this video has a lot more instrumentation going on:
Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians: Growing up, I am pretty sure I knew this version before I knew the original, in fact – it was probably a little while before I even knew it was a Bob Dylan song. I often say that my two biggest musical influences are my brother and my dad, and my brother definitely had this as a cassette single. Source: Born On The Fourth Of July: Motion Picture Soundtrack Album
Since I like her version so much, I’m going to include this live version as well, which starts out with some humorously botched lyrics – I dunno, she might be wasted. Check out the rest of this show for TONS of other covers from Paul McCartney, Stephen Stills, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Steely Dan, and The Rolling Stones.
Joan Baez: I dunno, something about the quality of young Joan Baez’s voice just isn’t dark enough to be singing about deep black forests and damp dirty prisons. It’s an interesting take on the song, but it just sounds too pretty. I think she is better suited, as far as Dylan covers go, for songs like the title track of this album. Source: Farewell, Angelina
I think it sounds better when she’s a bit older:
Leon Russell: Speaking of the song taking on a different feel, Leon Russell delivers a great groove on this interpretation from 1971. Also worth checking out is his version of It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry from the same release. A song that will likely see it’s own Cover Wars some day. Source: Leon Russell And The Shelter People
Video from Leon Russell later in his career:
Pete Seeger: This great performance from Pete Seeger comes from the same concert that made the song Little Boxes a hit. You might know it as the opening song for the Showtime television show Weeds. Source: We Shall Overcome: Complete Carnegie Hall Concert
Phil Lesh & Friends: While the Grateful Dead played a lot of Bob Dylan songs, this wasn’t one of them. “The Dead” however have played it as well as many members side projects that we are closing out with here. Jackie Greene has a Dylan vibe going naturally, so it makes sense he has a large presence in this cover. Source: 11-8-2007
Ratdog: Before it was introduced to the Phil Lesh & Friends repertoire, Ratdog had also incorporated the song as a live staple. Thankfully for the discerning listener, the arrangements played by Phil and Bobby are very different. Ratdog’s cover has more of a gradual build to iit and this particular performance features Steve Kimock on electric guitar. Source: 8-11-2007
Finally, checking in on a couple weeks ago’s edition, we are ready to declare 801 the winner of the Tomorrow Never Knows Cover Wars.