Dylan, McGuinn, Hillman, Clark… part 1: Dylan and Roger McGuinn


by Aaron Galbraith

I’ve been lucky enough in my life to see both Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman live in concert, although unfortunately Gene Clark died before I was of regular concert going age, he died in 1991 and I was only 14. I have also got to see, another ex-Byrd, David Crosby on many occasions…but he will be covered in a future article in this series, with his band mates in Crosby, Stills and Nash.

I decided this time to focus purely on the three ex-Byrd’s solo endeavours and ignore, for the time being their excellent work in the Byrds as a group (I might get around to them in a future article).

First up in this article, let’s look at Roger McGuinn’s dalliances with Dylan. Straight away on first album “Roger McGuinn”, track one is “I’m So Restless”, which not only has a verse about Bob but he also shows up on harmonica!

Hey, Mr D., do you want me to be
A farmer, a cowhand, an old country boy?
To get up in the a.m. and tend to the chore
And leave all my troubles behind a locked door
Laying with my lady and strummin' on my toy
Oh, I know what you mean and it sounds good to me
But, oh, Mr D., I'm so restless

On the third album “Roger McGuinn & Band”, McGuinn started a run of three albums in a row which contained a Dylan composition.

Here we have “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” from “Roger McGuinn & Band”

“Cardiff Rose” was recorded hot on the heels of McGuinn’s participation in Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue. Much of the album was co-written with Jacques Levy, and it was McGuinn who introduced Dylan to Levy in the mid-70s. Levy would go on to co-write “Desire” with Dylan. “Cardiff Rose” contained the first released version of the amazing “Up To Me”.

“Thunderbyrd” followed in 1977. This time the Dylan track was “Golden Loom”. Again, this was the first time this track appeared on record.

In 1989 Roger McGuinn teamed up again with Chris Hillman and the Nitty Gritty Road Band for their “Will The Circle Be Unbroken: Volume II” album. McGuinn and Hillman duetted on a fine version of “You Ain’t Going Nowhere”.

Since around mid-96, Roger McGuinn has run a website called the “Folk Den”. Every month or so he uploads a new song, so far there are a couple of hundred tracks and you can listen to or download each one for free(!!). Each track is McGuinn’s own version of an old folk, bluegrass or other old-timey song. You can spend hours there just browsing through his back catalogue. He usually writes a little bit about each track such as the origins of the track and how he learned it. It really is an outstanding piece of work. Please do check it out at:


Amongst the many, many gems you will find several tracks you would also associate with Bob Dylan including “This Old Man”, “Barbara Allen”, “Pay Me My Money Down”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Silver Dagger”, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”, “Delia’s Gone”, “House Of The Rising Sun”, “Lily Of The West”, “Dink’s Song” and “Golden Vanity”.

From time to time he will also release a specially curated CD of some of the tracks from the Folk Den including “CCD”, “22 Timeless Tracks” and “The Folk Den Project” 4 disc set. And from “Limited Edition” here is “Shenandoah”

A second version of “Up To Me” was released on a cover mounted CD called “Dylan Covered” given away with the Mojo magazine in the UK in 2005. The whole CD is excellent if you can find it. Here is McGuinn’s contribution.

What else is on the site

You’ll find some notes about our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page.  You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.

The index to all the 590 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found on the A to Z page.

We also have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with over 2000 active members.  (Try imagining a place where it is always safe and warm).  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

If you are interested in Dylan’s work from a particular year or era, your best place to start is Bob Dylan year by year.

On the other hand if you would like to write for this website, please do drop me a line with details of your idea, or if you prefer, a whole article.  Email Tony@schools.co.uk

And please do note   The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews


  1. A bit of a fan of Roger McGuinn (first 45 I ever bought was Byrds,Mr Tambourine Man}but if I heard his version of Up To Me first before Dylan’s I probably never would have given it a 2nd listen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *