A Dylan cover a Day: Number 11 – Ballad of Hollis Brown


Of course Hollis Brown itself is a cover – a cover of a traditional song.  But we tend to treat it as a Dylan composition, so it can have a place in my search for a Dylan cover a day.   And you may be noting this edition  of the daily Dylan Covers article is being published much later than usual – which is because (if you are interested) I am a member of the walking group the Ramblers, and it was the AGM of my local branch today.  I doubt that you have the slightest interest in this but in the million to one chance that you do, here’s a link to the web site that I run for the group.  Rambling is rather important in England in the battle to keep ancient footpaths open, and keep the older generation fit.  Quite a few of us in my branch are Dylan fans.  Which just goes to show….

But enough of that.  Hollis Brown is problematic for the cover artist in that it really consists of just one chord and two lines a verse (one of which is repeated.)  What are you to do with that?

Well, here’s an answer.  And what an answer it is.  I do hope you enjoy it.  If the video below shows as a blank in your part of the world, do go for a search of Hollis Brown by Paula Cole.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

And please play it to the end.


  1. It’s rare to find a cover of this song which matches the poignant power of Dylan’s straightforward style. But here is Nina Simone providing authoritative power, pathos, and anger to the lyrics and single chord. No one like Nina.

  2. I fully agree with Daniel Miller.
    I am most ciritical about Dylan-covers and to be honest I never found one that impressed me more than the original, except for Mrs. Simone’s.

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