A Dylan cover a day: Outlaw Blues – prepare to be amazed

By Tony Attwood

I suspect that those whose minds allow them occasionally to let Dylan songs slip away from their memories, may well have forgotten “Outlaw Blues,” even though it appears on one of the most popular Dylan albums of all time.

Bob only played it once on stage, and it sits on “Bringing it all back home” swamped by “Gates of Eden,” “Tambourine Man”, “Love Minus Zero…” etc etc.

So as I say, it is possible you might have forgotten it, and as an introduction here’s the official Dylan video

Now given just how standard a 12 bar this is, you might suspect the number of covers is very small.  And yes thayt is true.  Indeed not only is the number small, but some of them are really just straight re-runs of this 12 bar played with the classic R&B chugging accompaniment, with the first line repeated, and then a third rhyming line.  Here’s one (but believe me there is better to come).

Indeed from my younger days I also remember Dave Edmunds having a bash at it.  It’s ok and there’s an interesting instrumental break, but not much more to say about it.  Actually, I remember Dave Edmunds better for “Queen of Hearts” which I recall playing endlessly in my youth, although I am not 100% sure why.  Funny to hear it again after all these years – its on the link a couple of lines above in case you are interested.

Anyway, here’s his Outlaw Blues – but please if by now you are thinking that I am really struggling to find anything interesting to offer here, please, please, please keep going…

So to follow my earlier point: is there a cover worth noting here?   Well yes there is.  And it really, really is good in every sense.  As a musical production, it is superb in itself, but additionally, as a re-arrangement of a classic 12 bar it is something very unusual.  I do hope you have a moment to listen to it.

The Morning Benders renamed themselves Pop Etc, supposedly after being told that the word “bender” had an unfortunate connotation in the UK.  And they have indeed had some success, particularly with the album “Talking through tin cans” (Best indie album of 2008 according to iTunes).

This recording really does show that no matter what the starting point is with a Dylan song, and no matter that hardly anyone else wants to know about it, there is always something else that can be done.

The Dylan Cover a Day series

  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
  101. Obviously Five Believers
  102. Oh Sister
  103. On the road again
  104. One more cup of coffee
  105. (Sooner or later) one of us must know
  106. One too many mornings
  107. Only a hobo
  108. Only a pawn in their game

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