Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dylan Covers: All Along The Watchtower

Dave Mason: All Along The Watchtower

U2: All Along The Watchtower


All Along The Watchtower was written during Dylan's reclusive stay at Woodstock following his motorcycle accident.  Following Blonde On Blonde, and during the Summer of Love while every band on earth was trying to sound as big and important as they possibly could, it must have been a bit of a shock when Dylan released an album with only a bass, drum, and guitar. None of the songs on the album have a chorus, and most of the lyrics had allusions to biblical and religious figures and parables.  Like much of Dylan's work, this is definitely an album out of it's time.

Charlie McCoy, the bass player on the John Wesley Harding album, said, "Kenny and I were amazed at the change from Blonde on Blonde to John Wesley Harding.  The recording was different.  Of course, he sounded different.  He looked different.  We just flew through that stuff."  The three John Wesley Harding sessions totaled nine hours (while it took The Beatles five months to record Sgt. Pepper).

Again from McCoy, "We went in there and knocked 'em out like demos.  It seemed to be the rougher the better.  He would hear a mistake and laugh a little bit to himself as if to say, 'Great, man, that's just great.  Just what I'm looking for.'"

Jimi Hendrix had a huge hit with his cover of All Along The Watchtower only six months after the release of the original, but Jimi has already been featured on this theme, so I'm shying away from him.  Instead, here are covers by one of the founding members of Traffic, Dave Mason, and by U2.  This song has also been covered by at least 10 other artists.

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