Dylan Cover a Day: Obviously Five Believers

By Tony Attwood

This is one of those Dylan songs that has always seemed to me to be a bit of a rush and a bit of a mess – and besides is so very closely related to “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” (of which the less said the better) that it is really would not be remembered at all unless Dylan had written it and put it on the album.

And yet the origins wouldn’t matter if there was something new, or some particular insight in the song, but I’ve hardly ever found that to be the case.   There’s a review of the song by me on the site, but I’m not too sure that takes us very far – so if you want to learn more, Jochen has far more insight than me.    Interestingly though, with both came up with Toni Price’s version as one worth considering.

However ….

Old Crowe Medicine Show, as you will know if you are a regular reader, is a band I really admire, not least because they have given us a version of “Visions of Johanna” which is how I really think it should be performed.   And they have great fun with this piece – which is once again, really how it ought to be treated in my view.   And yes I know it was originally called “Black Dog Blues” with the suggestion that it is about depression, but I’ve never been able to find that concept in the music, and besides, Dylan chose to change the title, which either means the title is irrelevant, or it wasn’t about depression in the first place.

If you have time please do listen to the whole track – it is just fun, with brilliant musicians who have taken the idea and simply said, “let’s really go as fast as we can and see what happens.”  And what happens is just something else.

There is another version by the same band which is even crazier, via this link…


I just love the fun of that version, not because of the difficulty of playing it at that speed (and yes I have tried and failed).  I can sing it at hyper speed but it’s the music that makes it not the lyrics.

After that Eric-Scott Bloom seems almost sedate – and this is where I am on dodgy ground, for I may be getting people confused here.  I think that this is the same person who is known as Modartist (Facebook.com/modartist) but this could be one of my occasional confusions.  If you know more please say.

The music is fun, not pretentious in any way.

Top Jimmy and the rhythm pigs, face the same sort of problems that anyone has in trying to cover this song – there is just so much in there, and most of it is seemingly unrelated, that it is difficult to know what to do without a total musical rewrite.  But the band really do manage to keep my interest and the accompaniment doesn’t overwhelm, which can always be the temptation with this sort of music.

There’s a great instrumental break with the saxophonist really knowing where’s he’s going which certainly makes this version worth hearing.

There is another problem however, in that Dylan’s instrumentation is so distinctive that everyone feels the song cannot exist without retaining it, so one version of the song does tend to merge into another.  (Which is incidentally yet another reason why Old Crowe stands out.)

Toni Price is the only female vocalist who seems to have taken this on and released a recording, and there are odd moments that took me by surprise, but not really enough to make me want to go back and listen again.

All things considered, these are all worth hearing, if you have a mind to listen, but no one can beat the Old Crowe.  And not for the first time.

The Dylan Cover a Day series

I’ve cleaned up the list of past articles in this series and it seems like we’ve reached 100 here, as well as with Mike’s “Never Ending Tour” series.  Although no one has checked my counting so I might be wrong.

  1. The song with numbers in the title.
  2. Ain’t Talkin
  3. All I really want to do
  4.  Angelina
  5.  Apple Suckling and Are you Ready.
  6. As I went out one morning
  7.  Ballad for a Friend
  8. Ballad in Plain D
  9. Ballad of a thin man
  10.  Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
  11. The ballad of Hollis Brown
  12. Beyond here lies nothing
  13. Blind Willie McTell
  14.  Black Crow Blues (more fun than you might recall)
  15. An unexpected cover of “Black Diamond Bay”
  16. Blowin in the wind as never before
  17. Bob Dylan’s Dream
  18. You will not believe this… 115th Dream revisited
  19. Boots of Spanish leather
  20. Born in Time
  21. Buckets of Rain
  22. Can you please crawl out your window
  23. Can’t wait
  24. Changing of the Guard
  25. Chimes of Freedom
  26. Country Pie
  27.  Crash on the Levee
  28. Dark Eyes
  29. Dear Landlord
  30. Desolation Row as never ever before (twice)
  31. Dignity.
  32. Dirge
  33. Don’t fall apart on me tonight.
  34. Don’t think twice
  35.  Down along the cove
  36. Drifter’s Escape
  37. Duquesne Whistle
  38. Farewell Angelina
  39. Foot of Pride and Forever Young
  40. Fourth Time Around
  41. From a Buick 6
  42. Gates of Eden
  43. Gotta Serve Somebody
  44. Hard Rain’s a-gonna Fall.
  45. Heart of Mine
  46. High Water
  47. Highway 61
  48. Hurricane
  49. I am a lonesome hobo
  50. I believe in you
  51. I contain multitudes
  52. I don’t believe you.
  53. I love you too much
  54. I pity the poor immigrant. 
  55. I shall be released
  56. I threw it all away
  57. I want you
  58. I was young when I left home
  59. I’ll remember you
  60. Idiot Wind and  More idiot wind
  61. If not for you, and a rant against prosody
  62. If you Gotta Go, please go and do something different
  63. If you see her say hello
  64. Dylan cover a day: I’ll be your baby tonight
  65. I’m not there.
  66. In the Summertime, Is your love and an amazing Isis
  67. It ain’t me babe
  68. It takes a lot to laugh
  69. It’s all over now Baby Blue
  70. It’s all right ma
  71. Just Like a Woman
  72. Knocking on Heaven’s Door
  73. Lay down your weary tune
  74. Lay Lady Lay
  75. Lenny Bruce
  76. That brand new leopard skin pill box hat
  77. Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
  78. License to kill
  79. Like a Rolling Stone
  80. Love is just a four letter word
  81. Love Sick
  82. Maggies Farm!
  83. Make you feel my love; a performance that made me cry.
  84. Mama you’ve been on my mind
  85. Man in a long black coat.
  86. Masters of War
  87. Meet me in the morning
  88. Million Miles. Listen, and marvel.
  89. Mississippi. Listen, and marvel (again)
  90. Most likely you go your way
  91. Most of the time and a rhythmic thing
  92. Motorpsycho Nitemare
  93. Mozambique
  94. Mr Tambourine Man
  95. My back pages, with a real treat at the end
  96. New Morning
  97. New Pony. Listen where and when appropriate
  98. Nobody Cept You
  99. North Country Blues
  100. No time to think


  1. The long-standing ‘canonized’ version of Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett-influenced song is “Because this is just my friend”

  2. ie, Some analysts of “Waiting For Godot” suggest that Vladimir and Estragona are aging homosexuals.

  3. Art for art’s sake Bloom is mixed-media “Modarist”.
    Greatly influenced by Dylan, but more of a what might-be-labelled “Postmodernist”, Eric is definitely not waiting for Godot.

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