By Tony Attwood with data provided by Jochen Markhorst and Aaron Galbraith
Note, due to the publisher’s incompetence the recording of “Rock me Baby” was omitted originally. It has now been added. Sorry about that.
- The David Bromberg sessions: the missing Dylan album. Part 1: Kaatskill Serenade
- The Bloomberg sessions part 2: Polly Vaughan, Sloppy Drunk
In the earlier episodes of this little series (above) we looked at three recordings that were possibly part of a new album. There are a number of articles on the internet about the songs that were recorded, and details of the musicians, but there is no universal agreement as to what was what, and for the most part the articles are statements of fact without any backup evidence. And more to the point, no recordings.
So it is all a spot of guesswork. And in that mode, we’re offering some recordings of tracks that might or might not have been part of the sessions. Just to complete the album, as it were.
Jochen notes, “A song that is close to Dylan’s heart anyway, of course. I have a couple of versions. I think Jim Kweskin is closest to a Bromberg/Dylan approach. But Willie Dixon and John Sebastian are nice too, of course.”
Here’s John Sebastian
It certainly sounds like a song that Dylan would engage with and enjoy.
Just Because You Didn’t Answer
Jochen: “Was recorded by Bromberg, and also by the writer himself, Thom Bishop (Bromberg regularly played along in the Tom Bishop Band). Great song, by the way.”
Tony: This is interesting for me, because I can’t quite imagine what Bob would have done with this, except for sing it straight. It’s the chorus I can’t quite place with Bob’s voice and his style of arrangements. But that’s probably my lack of musical imagination.
Would You Lay With Me
Jochen: Dylan probably had the original by David Allen Coe or the Willie Nelson version in his head, but I like Johnny Cash, who put the song on Solitary Man (American Recordings part III) in 2000.
Tony: I agree Bob would have been influenced by the Johnny Cash version, but I find the David Allen Coe version a much more approachable version, but that’s just me.
Annie’s Going To Sing Her Song
And here of course we have a Dylan recording.
Tony: This is just an early run through and I suspect Bob would have wanted to make a few changes if he was going to release it formally. But if you listen from about 1 minute 33 onward there is a much greater certainty of how the whole performance should work. Another couple of run-throughs and I think they would have had a really superb version of this.
And to be clear I am not trying to suggest I have a superior musical knowledge to Bob – the speed at which he can often get to the finished version is amazing. A couple of run-throughs would be a very little time to get to the finished version.
This is a David Bromberg song. And here he is… and oh yes I can hear Dylan doing this…
Rock Me Baby
Jochen: This was also on Bromberg’s repertoire. I suspect that Dylan has B.B. King’s under his skin. Or Lightnin’ Hopkins. Or Jimi Hendrix.
Tony: BB King will do for me.
Send Me To The ‘lectric Chair
Jochen: Another Bromberg favourite. Dylan appreciates the original by Bessie Smith, I suppose. I myself am fond of Hugh Laurie’s version.
Tony: The Bessie Smith version was the original…
But my vote is with Jochen with Hugh Laurie and Jean McClain
Gotta Do My Time (Doin’ My Time)
Jochen: On number 9 is “Gotta Do My Time”, which must be “Doin’ My Time”. Has been under Dylan’s skin since Johnny Cash’s first LP. I actually like every version. Jeff Johnson, Flatt and Scruggs, Marty Stuart… indestructible song. Makes me curious to hear what Dylan and Bromberg make of it.
Tony: All the way through I am trying to imagine Dylan doing the songs. I could do it to a degree at the start, but this is all too overwhelming. I’ll need to go back and take it more slowly. Which is what makes these joint writing ventures rather fun. I do enjoy trying to write and listen at the same time, but the real pleasure comes later in the day, just listening.
Jochen: As a bonus, I added Bromberg’s “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry”. Boy, what a tasteful, elegant guitar player that guy is.
Tony: Dylan has always innovated so having all the tracks by not by Dylan, and then adding Bromberg covering Bob as the last item, (or if the unimaginative lunatic advertising department got hold of it and Bob wasn’t looking, “The bonus track”) would be an ideal ending to the album.
But it is far more than just a last track. This is a total reimagining of the song – exactly the sort of thing I’ve been looking for in my little “Dylan Cover a Day” series. This is staggering, gorgeous, imaginative, exquisite… and just carry on using words of that type because it is all of those things and then some.
This is the music to put on very last thing at night, when all is quiet, and it’s been an ok day, no unexpected bills have arrived, the family are doing all right, the heating is still working, the car will probably start in the morning, and there is some hope out there that tomorrow could be an ok day, but first, one just has to have a little sleep.
And so the album ends.
But just watch out if you have turned up the volume – the song ends and drops straight into another Bromberg video. Really worth hearing maybe another time, but the volume is utterly different. And besides, it spoils the effect of having this version as the last track.
Very many thanks to Jochen and Aaron. I’ve written the piece above, but all the credit should go to them for coming up with the idea and finding the tracks.