People sometimes seem surprised that Bob Dylan looks more and more as a country artist, but they forget that country and folk were essentially the same genre once, and rock’n roll began as the rockabilly side of country. Bob Dylan’s connection to country music should not be a surprise to anyone.
“Even at a young age, I identified with Hank Williams. I’d never seen a robin weep but could imagine it and it made me sad. When he sang ‘the news is out, all over town’ I knew what that was, even though I didn’t know. When he died it was like a great tree had fallen. Hearing about Hank’s death caught me squarely at the shoulder. The silence of outer space never seemed so loud.” – Bob Dylan
I have picked my favourite country versions of his songs, some I found only audio of. Some of the songs are by other artists and some are collaborations between Bob Dylan and other artists.
“I keep a close watch on this heart of mine . . . I must have recited those lines to myself a million times. Johnny’s voice was so big it made the world grow small.” – Bob Dylan
10. Kris Kristofferson – Quinn the eskimo, from the recently released Chimes Of Freedom in honor of 50 years of Amnesty International, wonderful and rough version:
9. Every grain of sand – Emmylou Harris, from her album Wrecking Ball (1995) my favourite Emmylou album. She sang this song in Johnny Cash’ funeral in 2003, and it sounds like a hymn:
8. It Ain’t Me, Babe – Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, released on Orange Blossom Special in 1965. We have chosen a version from an Australian TV-show in 1973:
7. Girl from the north country – Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, from the album Nashville Skyline, here in a great version from the Johnny Cash Show, 17 June in 1969:
6. Heartland – Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan, from Across the Borderline a 1993 album by Willie Nelson. The song is written by Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson and this duet is simply fantastic!
5. Oh Susanna – Billy 4, Suzie Ungerleider is a Canada-based singer-songwriter who goes by the stage name of Oh Susanna. This Bob Dylan song, titled ‘Billy 4′, was written for the soundtrack to the Sam Peckinpah film, ‘Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid’, and is found on Oh Susanna’s ‘Short Stories’ album:
4. Boots of spanish leather – Nanci Griffith, it is from the album Other Voices, Other Rooms, Nanci Griffith’s tenth album, released in 1993. She pays homage to other songwriters who have influenced her own career by covering their songs. Bob Dylan played harmonica on the song:
3. Shelter from the storm – Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris, From Crowell’s album The Outsider, here in a live version from the Late Night Show in 2006:
2. Don’t think twice It’s all right – Waylon Jennings, released on his debut album, Waylon at JD’s in 1964 (just one year after Dylan released it originally):
1. One too many mornings – Johnny Cash & Bob Dylan, There is not much footage of Dylan in the studio, but here is a fantastic clip from his 1969 sessions with Johnny Cash: