Nashville Skyline is 50

Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline was released on April 9, 1969. It continued the country leanings of the last two songs on his prior album John Wesley Harding. It was a lot different than the albums he had produced just a few years earlier of image-laden organ-drenched pounding rock.

This was a straight country album and didn’t seem very ambitious. It was peaceful during a really turbulent time. The best songs have held up well – I prefer “I Threw It All Away” and “To Be Alone With You” to the hit “Lay Lady Lay”.

Covers: Carol

Chuck Berry recorded his song “Carol” in 1958. The Beatles performed it for the BBC in 1963 but that wasn’t released until 1994. The Rolling Stones also covered it in 1964. Both bands just sound really young to me. The Rolling Stones also covered it live in 1969; this is a much more confident and relaxed version.

A recent cover – a timeless song

Covers: Door Number Three

These are not really covers. They are two versions by the song’s co-authors, Steve Goodman and Jimmy Buffett. The song makes references to the TV show “Let’s Make a Deal” and name-checks three actual people on the show, the host Monty Hall and his sidekicks Jay (Stewart) and Carol Merrill. Buffett’s version was released in 1974 and Goodman’s version was released in 1975. Goodman’s version quotes lines from Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” which end with “Do you want to make a deal?”. Buffett’s version has some lines at the end that are not in Goodman’s recording.

example of Let’s Make a Deal

Covers: Elvis Costello – Get Happy!!

Get Happy!! (1980) is a very underrated album by Elvis Costello. Influenced by R&B, Elvis crammed 20 brief songs into the album. The reissue has 30 bonus tracks! Most were original but there were two covers. Both were great but very different from the original versions.

I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down

The 1967 original version by Sam and Dave was a slow ballad. Elvis really speeds it up. It was released as a single.

I Stand Accused

The original version was by Jerry Butler (1964). It was covered by Isaac Hayes (1970). Both of these versions are slow ballads. Elvis again cranks it up and speeds it up.

Blues guitar instrumentals from the 1950s

These were classified as blues but I think you can call them R&B too. They feature three of the best guitarists of the era playing loud.

“Canton Mississippi Breakdown” (1954) has Elmore James and Ike Turner on guitar.

“Boogie Uproar” (1953) is by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. “Space Guitar” (1954) is by Johnny “Guitar” Watson.

The sax solos look back to the 1940s but the guitar solos are headed into the future.