The Best Dylan Covers: Steve Earle – It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry

Steve Earle bergenfest photo-1

Well, I ride on a mailtrain, baby
Can’t buy a thrill
Well, I’ve been up all night, baby
Leanin’ on the windowsill
Well, if I die
On top of the hill
And if I don’t make it
You know my baby will

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” is a song written by Bob Dylan that was originally released on his seminal album Highway 61 Revisited, and also included on the compilation album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits 2 that was released in Europe. An earlier, alternate version of the song appears, in different takes, on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991 and The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home.

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October 17: Bruce Springsteen released The River in 1980


springsteen The-River

October 17: Bruce Springsteen released The River in 1980

But I remember us riding in my brother’s car
Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake
And pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now those memories come back to haunt me
They haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse?
~Bruce Springsteen “The River”

Put on your best dress baby
And darlin’, fix your hair up right
Cause there’s a party, honey
Way down beneath the neon lights
~Bruce Springsteen “Out In The Street”

 

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October 7: Steve Earle released El Corazon in 1997

el corazon

This album sort of wrote itself.  It was bigger than me and faster than me and so it took me awhile to get a handle on what it was about.  Basically, it comes down to stuff I care about.  That’s where the title comes from.

I always like to perform solo before I make a record.  It gives me the chance to try out new material on audiences.
– Steve Earle (steveearle.net)

…the album kicks off with a tremendous one-two punch, the rousing acoustic ballad “Christmas in Washington” and “Taneytown,” a harrowing story of race and violence backed with gale-force electric guitars. El Corazón is also a good bit more eclectic than much of Earle’s previous work, dipping into bluegrass (“You Know the Rest,” featuring backing from the Del McCoury Band), old-school country (“The Other Side of Town”), hard rock (“N.Y.C.,” co-starring the Supersuckers, and “Here I Am”), and vintage R&B (“Telephone Road”).

As its title suggests, El Corazón often deals with matters of the heart

– Mark Deming (allmusic)

Great album, one of Earle’s best!
It’s a mix of country, folk, rock, soul, pain, redemption and politics. What a magnificent brew it is ! Truly remarkable.

Taneytown (live, Sidney, 2013):

“This song, which is graced with Emmylou Harris singing backup, is told from the point of view of a 22 year old retarded black man.  I also wrote it in the form of a short story that will be in my book.  Taneytown is a real place – you can see it on maps of The Battle Of Gettysburg – but it (the story) could reallytake place anywhere racism exists.  I took a risk writing the story and a risk doing this song and I don’t claim to have it well…. But just taking the chance made it worthwhile for me.”
– Steve Earle

 

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Bob Dylan: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt) (Videos & Audio)

bob dylan townes van zandt

 

Bob Dylan: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)

 Living on the road, my friend,
Is gonna keep you free and clean,
Now you wear your skin like iron,
Your breath as hard as kerosene.
You weren’t your mama’s only boy,
But her favorite one it seems —
She began to cry when you said goodbye,
And sank into your dreams.

“Townes van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.”
~Steve Earle

Wikipedia:

Released 1972
Genre Country
Length 3:40
Label Tomato
Writer Townes Van Zandt
Producer Kevin Eggers, Jack Clement

Pancho and Lefty” is a song written by country singer and songwriter Townes Van Zandt. Often considered his “most enduring and well-known song,” Van Zandt first recorded it for his 1972 album, The Late Great Townes Van Zandt. Emmylou Harris then covered the song for her 1977 album, Luxury Liner and the song became a number one country hit in 1983 when Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson adopted it as the title track of their duet album Pancho & Lefty. Steve Earle performs “Pancho and Lefty” on his 2009 album Townes, which is composed of songs written by Townes Van Zandt, Earle’s friend and mentor. Canadian country artist George Canyon recorded a version of the song with Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy on Canyon’s album Classics II, released in November 2012.

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The Saddest Songs in History: Townes Van Zandt’s Marie


marie

Townes Van Zandt’s Marie from his album, No Deeper Blue

Marie is one of the most harrowing but touching songs ever written; if you’re not affected in some way by this tune upon hearing it, then you have no soul!  I’m kind of joking (but not much…)
No other songwriter brings out emotions the way Townes do, and that’s why his songs stand the test of time.

Willie Nelson recorded several of his songs, including this one. His version is on the album, Poet, a tribute album. He was nominated for a Grammy for it. Of course, he lost, but Townes’s music has often been like that–it is underappreciated  and mainly unknown by the  masses. Willie Nelson’s version is incredible, but it pales in comparison to Townes’s original.

Townes Van Zandt – Marie (Solo Sessions, January 17, 1995):

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