Sunday, April 27, 2008

City Songs: Hard Times In New York Town

Bob Dylan: Hard Times In New York Town


This is one of the earliest Dylan recordings, from the famous Minnesota Hotel Tape, recorded in 1961 on a hotel bed in Minnesota (although some apparently dispute this - I can't find an authoritative account of the event, can anyone else?). This is not a Dylan original, rather it's a Dylan derivative of another folk tune like so much of Dylan's (very) early work. He put the tune together after visiting Woody Guthrie in a hospital in New York CIty as I understand it (again, I'm lacking authoritative sources here).

The featured track comes from the marvelous Bootleg Series 1961-1991, Volume 1-3. Like all "b-side" and bootleg compilations, there are several forgettable, and even a few bad, songs on the three disc collection, but it's a must for any Dylan fan. You get to hear Dylan in the studio, alternate cuts, and rarities (some of which are just as good as any album cuts).