Saturday, November 14, 2009

Self Portrait originals

Dylan around the time he recorded Self Portrait

In 1970, Bob Dylan was getting tired of fans obsessing over him and ruining his private life. So to defuse the hype, he released an album of covers. Many at the time were outraged, and rolling stone started out their review of the album with the words "what the fuck is this shit!?!"

But a closer listen shows that Dylan had always been tuned into to what was playing on the country and pop charts. Hearing the album made me want to hear the originals, of course, and I've assembled a good collection here. I don't know if these are the versions Dylan used as his inspiration, since many of the songs were done by many different artists. Back then, if one artist had a hit with a song, other artists would also record it, hoping to cash in.

Blue Moon - Frank Sinatra
Copper Kettle - Bob Gibson
Days of '49 - Jules Verne Allen
Early Morning Rain - Gordon Lightfoot
Gotta Travel On - Billy Grammer
I've Forgotten More Than You'll Ever Know - Davis Sisters (2 different versions)
I've Forgotten More Than You'll Ever Know - Skeeter Davis
I've Forgotten More Than You'll Ever Know - Sonny James
It Hurts Me Too - Karen Dalton
Let It Be Me - Everly Brothers
Little Sadie - Clarence Ashley
Little Sadie - Doc Watson & Clarence Ashley
The Minstel Boy - The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem
Take A Message To Mary - Everly Brothers
Take Me As I Am (or let me go) - Dottie West
When Things Go Wrong With You (it hurts me too) - Tampa Red

Elmore James - It Hurts Me Too (1957)



the family cat said...

Rock critics? A loathsome breed of person few of whom understood just what Self Portrait was about.
The first ever Dylan LP was of covers.
Not only that but many of these songs have ended up on the Theme Time Radio Show in their original versions.
I think though It hurts me too was first made by Elmore James

Derik said...

Thank you for your comment. I've posted the Elmore James version.

jumprightin said...

When it comes to knowing what any Dylan new album is "about," time is a friend. First impressions, not always. Greil Marcus probably still hates it, though.
For "Blue Moon," I'm going with Elvis' moody version rather than Frank's jazzy one.
Dylan's "Minstrel Boy" is quite different from The Clancy Brothers' version or even the Civil War era standard, "The Minstrel Boy To The War Has Gone." Not a cover, IMHO.
Thanks for putting this together, and for adding Elmore James. Your list answers a lot of old questions.

Anonymous said...

hi, new to the site, thanks.