Playlist #55: Bob Dylan Cover Band

This week’s playlist is all Bob Dylan covers! Because I love me some Bob Dylan covers. Don’t forget to support me on Patreon.

  1. The Byrds, “My Back Pages”: Yeah, the Byrds make a bit of a career covering Dylan songs, and this is their best one.
  2. Faces, “Wicked Messenger”: Rod Stewart & Co. take an acoustic song from John Wesley Harding and make it rock.
  3. The Band, “This Wheel’s On Fire”: I mean, when you are Dylan’s backing band for several albums and use that as a jumping off point for your own separate career, you’re gonna borrow a couple of songs from the man. It only makes sense.
  4. George Harrison, “If Not For You”: I’ve always preferred Harrison’s version of this song to Dylan’s. That’s probably true of a lot of Dylan covers.
  5. The Gaslight Anthem, “Changing Of The Guard”: I have a soft spot for Street Legal, the album this song is off of, and the Gaslight Anthem provide a suitably raucous interpretation.
  6. Neko Case, “Buckets Of Rain”: You know how some folks seem to be made explicitly for certain songs? I think this is one of those cases.
  7. The Turtles, “It Ain’t Me, Babe”: The Turtles manage to pump quite a lot of energy into this song.
  8. My Chemical Romance, “Desolation Row”: It’s a tough song to cover, but they manage it in typical MCR style.
  9. The Hollies, “Mighty Quinn”: Did you know this song needed banjo? Because the Hollies did.
  10. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, “All Along The Watchtower”: I mean, you knew this one had to be on here, right? It’s the quintessential Dylan cover. Of course it’s on here.

Playlist #30: “Poor, Hard-Working Televangelist”

Happy Turkey Week, folks! Just two days of work for me this week, then it’s off to Ohio to visit some family and stuff myself with more food than is advisable because, hey, Thanksgiving. Before that, though, we have this week’s playlist, which features songs about religion!

  1. Jeremy Messersmith, “Jim Bakker”: The song that inspired this list all about the life of that “poor, hard-working televangelist.” If you don’t know, Jim Bakker was a snake-oil salesman of the worst sort and fleeced his lovely old congregants for every dime he could.
  2. Genesis, “Jesus He Knows Me”: Could also be about Jim Bakker, for all I know. I just remember how tongue-in-cheek this song sounded when I first heard it, and it still resonates with its strong anti-bullshit message even today.
  3. The Doobie Bros, “Jesus Is Just Alright”: I mean, he’s okay, I guess.
  4. Norman Greenbaum, “Spirit In the Sky”: How confident do you have to be in your soul’s eternal destination to write and record this song? Confident enough that Greenbaum, who is Jewish, said he had a friend in Jesus. That’s ballsy.
  5. George Harrison, “My Sweet Lord”: Admittedly, George was the most spiritual of the Beatles. While Paul was tossing out pop songs like most people breathe and John was pushing avant-garde art on anyone who came to close (and Ringo was…um…Ringo), George was the one who got into Transcendentalism and Eastern religions and the sitar and all that. “My Sweet Lord” isn’t the end result, it’s a symptom.
  6. The National, “Gospel”: What does this song actually have to do with anything related to the Gospel? Nothing, as far as I can tell. But it’s a beautiful song and lovely and I really like it, okay?
  7. Bob Dylan, “With God On Our Side”: Dylan’s a man who knows what’s up. This song was written in like ’64, which is damn-near peak Cold War (or near enough as it doesn’t matter), and he’s coming out so strongly anti-war that I’m surprised the FBI didn’t have a file on him a foot thick.
  8. Billy Bragg & Wilco, “Blood of the Lamb”: I love me some Mermaid Avenue, and this one – off the second collection – is a stompy, apocalyptic slice of what made the collaboration great.
  9. Aretha Franklin, “Son of a Preacher Man”: Damn, if this don’t just send tingles down your spine, I think you might be dead.
  10. Blind Faith, “Presence of the Lord”: More for Steve Winwood than Eric Clapton, really, ’cause Clapton’s finally shown his true (rather hateful) colors and eff that guy.

Playlist #22

Happy Monday, folks. Have a list of songs.

  1. Jay Farrar, “Feel Free”: For years, I thought NPR stood for “Non-Profit Radio.” It made sense, right? That is not what it stands for, by the by.
  2. The Gaslight Anthem, “Mama’s Boys”: The most Rolling Stones-iest song they ever recorded. It’s fun to sing along at the top of your lungs as you drive way too fast down the road.
  3. Ra Ra Riot, “Ghost Under Rocks”: I don’t even remember how it is I came to know about this band, but I’ve always liked the promise of this song (even if I haven’t cared as much for the rest of their output).
  4. Lil Nas X, “THATS WHAT I WANT”: First off, can we discuss the lack of an apostrophe in the title? That always annoys me. Grammar aside, the song slaps.
  5. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (Featuring John Paul White), “Driver 8”: Did you know the REM song “Driver 8” had discernable lyrics hidden within it? And that they’re about a train driver? True story.
  6. ABBA, “Waterloo”: I’m a sucker for songs about historical subjects, and this is the second-best song about the Napoleonic Wars ever (the best is the 1812 Overture).
  7. The Mountain Goats, “Get Famous”: The continued prominence of the Mountain Goats gives me hope that even someone with a voice like mine could someday make it.
  8. George Harrison, “Cheer Down”: Not enough has been written about the wordplay and wry humor of George Harrison’s songwriting. This song is a great example of all that, and the guitar work is killer.
  9. Rhett Miller, “The El”: The way I found out about the Old 97s was by hearing this album by Rhett Miller first. Then I found Too Far To Care and it was all downhill from there for me.
  10. Gillian Welch, “Revelator”: So damn downbeat and depressing, melancholy and bittersweet and beautiful. So beautiful.