Don’t Take Everybody to be your Friend

The Theme Time radio programmes resulted in at least one album: a double sided affair which includes “Don’t Take Everybody to be your friend” by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the Sam Price Trio.

Recorded in 1947 when Dylan must have been what, 3 or 4, this song edges all the others for its vibrancy and vitality. It is the sort of thing that Traveling Willburys might have recorded if they had been around some years earlier, and it is worth the price of the recording on its own.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe had a voice that was staggering, swooping up to the notes, hitting them hard, but beautifully, she doesn’t need to warm up – she’s there from the off. She gives you complete comprehension of the lyrics without stressing the words.

Meanwhile behind her the trio plays so stunningly brilliantly it is a track you can play over and over without ever getting bored. You listen to the lyrics, you listen to the piano, you listen to the bass… they are all masters.

The song is a simple 3 chord trick, with the 7ths and a hint of a minor 4th thrown in on the way down – it has been used a billion times. But never with such vigour and fun.

Some will cause you to weep, some will cause you to moan

Some will gain your confidence and cause you to lose your home…

How up to date do you want your music to be? This is such fine you just want to get up to jive, and then want to play it because you missed something. What Bob Dylan has done is highlight an absolute masterpiece of social realism set to be great beat. This is how it can be – not love, not lost love, not a song about dance, just a word of warning in hard times.

Oh yes. More please.

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