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Tag Archives: Elvis Presley

Epic-sounding Collabrations You’ve Probably Never Heard of #2 – Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash

 Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash: 1969 was quite the year: the Woodstock music festival in the summer was the crown jewel of 60’s rock and roll. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Joe Cocker, CCR, CSN and myriad more all on the same stage. The Beatles were making great music while simultaneously breaking up, rock n’ roll was remerging from the psychedelic haze, regaining its roots and shooting off into many directions. Bob Dylan, on the other hand, was happily unheard from. Dylan had reached the pinnacle of his new electric style and fame with 1966’s Blonde on Blonde, but the momentum seemed to stop, or at the very least take a 90 degree turn. His 1967 John Wesley Harding introduced a striped down sound, and clearer voice, and shades of country music. He had retreated from the public eye and was holed up with The Band in a house in NY, working diligently on their albums and his own work (hence, The Basement Tapes). After 1 year with no new records, Bob began recording Nashville Skyline, debuting a new (and never revisited) voice and an unapologetic country style. Dylan began recording in Nashville (where he had recorded Blonde on Blonde) and frequently hung out with Johnny Cash, with whom he shared a mutual admiration. Dylan fans will remember the duet of “Girl from North Country” on the album.

What many don’t know is that the duet wasn’t just the one song. Although they just were jamming for the heck of it with no intentions of a release, a bootleg of “The Nashville Sessions” exists on record and CD which contains the two sharing  the traditional “You are my Sunshine”, Jimmie Rodger’s “T for Texas”, Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and “Wanted Man”, Carl Perkins’ version of Blind Lemon’s “Matchbox”, Elvis’ version of Arthur Cudrup’s “That’s Alright, Mama” and Dylan’s “One Two many Mornings”, and many more Cash, Dylan, and traditional tunes.

  Those who have heard Dylan’s new “Nashville” voice might cringe at the though of Dylan taking the harmony on “Ring of Fire”, but those who have actually listened to NS and recognize the quality of the musicianship and lyricism would expect something different. I myself, although a huge fan of NS,  had my reservations before giving this a listen. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is a simply wonderful album, with a real relaxed feel that works its way within and without the songs to take them to that much more of a higher level. Although I respect personal property and opinions, it is a real shame that these recording were not made commercially available.


 

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Epic-sounding Collaborations You’ve Probably Never Heard of #1 Elvis meets The Beatles

 There are good things in life: sandwiches, hammocks, fast cars, fire, money, dreams where you are flying, and studying quantum physics when you don’t have to have exams. The puzzling thing is that while many good things get better when enjoyed in conjunction with other good things, there are some that are not (this is true of maple syrup and anything that you can’t eat). Playing music with other people is one of the greatest joys of being a musician, and while it is no surprise that many famous musicians have played and even recorded together, it IS a surprise that some of these duets and jam sessions with major towering figures of popular music have been lost, unheard of by the majority of music listeners, only available in rare bootlegs, or sadder still, never recorded.

 Elvis meets the Beatles: August 27, 1965 is a date that would live in infamy if anyone would know about it. Perhaps it is best that this occasion is all but forgotten save for a paragraph in Beatle biographies… I don’t think music fans can ever really reach the top of Maslow’s pyramid if they all knew this story. The Beatles were on their second U.S. tour, and managed to swing a visit to meet their childhood idol, the man who introduced them single-handedly to rock and roll: Elvis Presley. They met in house in Bel-Air, but this is where the story goes downhill. They 5 of them met, played cards, listened to records, told jokes, and even had a jam session. There survives only one picture from that night, and it isn’t anything worthy of the occasion. Due to copyright issues, the image could not be posted here, but Google can help you out. In the foreground are able see John Lennon, and Elvis can barely be made out in the upper left-hand corner. This is unbelievable, as this was the first and only meeting between THE two names in popular music. You’d think SOME genius would have a camera for a promo shot or something… Sadder still is that none of the conversation nor the music was recorded.

 

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