Dylan’s Lost album: track 6. Lucky old Sun

By Aaron Galbraith and Tony Attwood

Just recently we’ve been engaged in a project listening back to some of the outtakes from the 1986 and 1987 sessions that produced the majority of Bob Dylan’s “Down In The Groove” album, as well as some of the live shows from the era.

And between us we reached the conclusion that, as many people said at the time, the album is, to be fair, not very good.

So we decided to see if we could compile a better album ourselves from the outtakes and live shows from the period. Just in case the guys upstairs fancy issuing a new version when they run out of materials for the Bootleg series.  (Our charge to the record company for being the researchers on this project will be modest, although Tony is insisting that there is a sleeve credit with his surname spelled correctly.  “Two t’s please,” is the phrase being used.)

The track we have chosen to open side 2 of the vinyl edition of “Sheep In Wolves Clothing” is this take of “That Lucky Old Sun”.

This was recorded at a rehearsal with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and we have to be grateful that the cameras were rolling to capture this wonderful performance on tape. It’s a great vocal performance from Dylan and would make a great start to side 2 of the album.

The song itself is one of the all time greats. Written in 1949 by Beasley Smith and Haven Gillespie, everyone who is anyone has recorded this track. From Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles to Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. Brian Wilson even wrote an entire song cycle around the track in 2008 with his wonderful “That Lucky Old Sun” album.

Here’s one of, no correct that, here is THE great classic early version – just as everyone recorded it, so everyone in the post-war world would have known this song and probably this recording.  This was the big hit version of the song; number 1 in the USA charts, where it stayed for 22 weeks.  The Sinatra’s version got to number 16.  It was a song that was utterly perfect for the post-war world.

Dylan himself returned to the song for his “Shadows In The Night” album and subsequent tour.

The lost Dylan album – the tracks so far




  1. ‘Lucky Old Sun’ revives and revises ‘Old Man River’ made famous by Paul Robeson in ‘Showboat’ …. Dylan’s “Watching The River Flow” (and even ‘ Like A Rolling Stone’) also bears the mark of ‘Old Man River’.

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