Dylan and the RPO

by Aaron Galbraith.

Back in 2015 RCA & Legacy Records had a massive worldwide hit album, “If I Can Dream,” using the original vocals of Elvis Presley and newly recorded backing tracks from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. This led to further albums, two more from Elvis, two from Roy Orbison, a Beach Boys set, Buddy Holly, Rod Stewart and there is even one from Cilla Black.

Then this month came Johnny Cash’s set, which included amongst the tracks a new version of Bob and Johnny’s Girl From The North County duet from the Nashville Skyline album. It is stunning! See what you think.


I got goosebumps listening to this! I have quite a few of these “… with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra” albums..couple of Elvis, two Roy Orbison, a Beach Boys and a Buddy Holly..but this Johnny Cash one might be the best of all!

Could there be a full Dylan with The RPO album? Based on this one I think it would be tremendous, but I’m not sure what tracks they would choose!

This track is a start… but man this was tough to whittle this down to just 12 to make a album. I tried to steer away from just including the 60s classics and tried to throw a few curve balls in also. Really wanted to include “Living The Blues” for some reason! I just thought it would work well. Also thought about “Tell Ol’ Bill”, maybe these two could be bonus tracks on the deluxe special edition!

Here’s what we came up with.

  1. Boots Of Spanish Leather
  2. Forever Young (Rod Stewart’s rewrite already appeared on his RSO album)

  1. Sugar Baby (just came across this great version)

  1. I Shall Be Released
  2. Tomorrow Is A Long Time
  3. Up To Me
  4. Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You
  5. Mississippi
  6. Only A Pawn In Their Game
  7. Abandoned Love
  8. Blind Willie McTell
  9. Blowin’ In The Wind

Of course the album doesn’t exist… but maybe someone from the RPO might see this idea and think about the possibilities.

Or perhaps they already are working on it.  But just in case they need a bit of help here’s a remembrance of time past…

and by way of variation

Footnote from Tony: (sorry Aaron, I just can resist jumping in)

I’m not sure about Blowin in the Wind – its been done so often in so many ways, so I think it would be good to challenge the orchestrator with one of those Dylan songs that has only one or two lines.   I’ve written so much about the “Drifter’s Escape” in this regard of late I won’t torment you with any more (although I am contemplating an article on Dylan’s two line songs) but if they really want a challenge and a half after orchestrating Abandoned Love, and  how about working on this piece of genius…

Explanation: In case you have not come across “Aaron and Tony” articles before – Aaron lives in the USA and Tony in the UK.  Our only communication is via these articles – Aaron kicks them off and does all the work, and Tony jumps in at the end and pontificates a bit.

We quite enjoy it, and it keeps us happy, and not too many other publications indulge in this sort of thing.   But if you have an idea for an article or a series that goes off in some other weird direction, please do send it in, preferably with a sample of what it would look like.  Tony@schools.co.uk


12 years of Untold Dylan

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As for the writing, Untold Dylan is written by people who want to write for Untold Dylan.  We welcome articles, contributions and ideas from all our readers.  Although no one gets paid, if you are published here, your work will be read by a fairly large number of people across the world, ranging from fans to academics.  If you have an idea, or a finished piece send it as a Word file to Tony@schools.co.uk with a note saying that it is for publication on Untold Dylan.

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