Today: Bob Dylan recorded the acoustic version version of “Blind Willie McTell” in 1983 – 29 years ago

Bob Dylan records the acoustic version of his 6th best song – Blind Willie McTell @ Studio A, Power Station, New York City, New York in 1983.
This was the 18th Infidels recording session. Produced by Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan.

5th of May might not have been an coincident.. as you you will find further down this post.

An electric version of this song is available on several bootlegs. In my opinion this version is even better.

Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem”
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, I heard that hoot owl singing
As they were taking down the tents
The stars above the barren trees
Were his only audience
Them charcoal gypsy maidens
Can strut their feathers well
But nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

See them big plantations burning
Hear the cracking of the whips
Smell that sweet magnolia blooming
See the ghosts of slavery ships
I can hear them tribes a-moaning
Hear that undertaker’s bell
Nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

There’s a woman by the river
With some fine young handsome man
He’s dressed up like a squire
Bootlegged whiskey in his hand
There’s a chain gang on the highway
I can hear them rebels yell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, God is in His heaven
And we all want what’s His
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is
I’m gazing out the window
Of the St. James Hotel
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Other May-05:

  • Blind Willie McTell (born William Samuel McTier May 5, 1898 – August 19, 1959), was an influential Piedmont and ragtime blues singer and guitarist. He played with a fluid, syncopated fingerstyle guitar technique, common among many exponents of Piedmont blues, although, unlike his contemporaries, he came to exclusively use twelve-string guitars. McTell was also an adept slide guitarist, unusual among ragtime bluesmen. His vocal style, a smooth and often laid-back tenor, differed greatly from many of the harsher voice types employed by Deltabluesmen, such as Charlie Patton. McTell embodied a variety of musical styles, including blues, ragtime, religious music, and hokum.
  • Virginia Wynette Pugh, known professionally as Tammy Wynette, (May 5, 1942 – April 6, 1998) was an American country music singer-songwriter and one of the genre’s best-known artists and biggest-selling female vocalists.She was known as the First Lady of Country Music, and her best-known song, “Stand by Your Man“, was one of the biggest selling hit singles by a woman in the history of the country music genre. Many of Tammy Wynette’s hits dealt with classic themes of loneliness, divorce and the difficulties of male-female relationships. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, she dominated the country charts, scoring 17 number one hits. Along with Loretta LynnLynn Anderson, and Dolly Parton, she defined the role of female country vocalists in the 1970s.
  • William Thomas “Bill” Ward (born 5 May 1948, Aston, Birmingham, England) is an English musician, best known as the original drummer for the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath. In addition to playing drums as an original founding member of the band, Ward sang lead vocals for two Black Sabbath songs; “It’s Alright” from Technical Ecstasy and “Swinging the Chain” from Never Say Die!. He also coined the term “downer rock.” Ward’s drumming often closely doubled the bass and guitar riffs. An example of this is the song “Iron Man” on the Paranoid album.
  • Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (born 5 May 1988), better known mononymously as Adele, is an English recording artist and songwriter. Adele was offered a recording contract from XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo on MySpace in 2006. The next year she received the Brit Awards “Critics’ Choice” and won the BBC Sound of 2008. Her debut album, 19, was released in 2008 to much commercial and critical success. The album is certified four times platinum in the UK, and double platinum in the US. Her career in the US was boosted by a Saturday Night Live appearance in late 2008. At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Adele received the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

-Egil