A Dylan Cover a Day: Someday Baby

By Tony Attwood

This series is supposed to be simple: a look at a few of the cover versions of Bob Dylan’s songs, picking out a few highlights along the way.   But what is one to do when Dylan’s “original” song is itself a cover – as is the case here?

I guess the easiest thing to do is to start with the original recording

But then where do we go?  The problem is that it is a 12 bar blues, and Bob did make some remarkable changes to the way the song can be performed.  And although I don’t normally come back to Bob’s version (as this is obviously a series about covers) I think it is worth doing so to remind ourselves just how far he took it in his re-written version.

There is a gentle feel to this rocking blues, with all the instrumentation completely under control.  So what have others done, either by starting from the original or going on from Bob’s version?

I feel Peter Poirier tried to get a midway point between Bob and the original, and it makes a nice rocking jazzy blues feel – which of course is a complete contradiction, but I can’t find a better way of describing what he has done.


Homesick James however will have none of this, and takes us back to the traditional blues version.  A straight 12-bar blues – except it isn’t, for liberties are taken with the rhythm and what we actually have is an 11 bar blues (or is that a 10 and a half bar blues – it is so unexpected, what the singer does, coming in with his vocal line half a bar too early on various occasions that I got totally taken by surprise.   It must have been a nightmare to play.)

Scott Biram gives us the “one man and an amp” treatment, which is interesting …. for about 30 seconds in my case, but maybe you feel it is worthy of the whole song.  I’m never sure about this type of treatment.  Does it give me anything new?  Not really.  Although an amusing end.

Duke Robillard stays with the blues, complete with strummed acoustic guitar, harmonica, and a banjo playing from time to time behind both of them.  It’s got a bounce too.

So by now you are completely excused for thinking, “what more can be taken from this song?”   And I guess that is my point – for the answer is far more than one might imagine.  RL Burnside goes somewhere utterly and completely different with the same simple origins.   Even if by now you’ve now got into the habit of just playing the first few bars of each track and moving on, I would urge you to give this a full listen.   I am not saying this is great music, but it is highly inventive, and inventiveness is what all the arts need all the time otherwise they turn into nothing beyond being endless repeats of the past.

“Is there much more of this?” you may ask.  It is after all a 12 bar blues.  How often do we have to hear it?   And actually, I was planning to stop with the Burnside version above, but as you are still here, here’s another variant that is fun.

The key point I take from all this is that Bob did come up with a completely original version of the song in a crowded field.  His version, for me, really does stand out.  And believe me there are hundreds of other versions of this classic.

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. BoB Dylan’s 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
  109. Outlaw Blues – prepare to be amazed
  110. Oxford Town
  111. Peggy Day and Pledging my time
  112. Please Mrs Henry
  113. Political world
  114. Positively 4th Street
  115. Precious Angel
  116. Property of Jesus
  117. Queen Jane Approximately
  118. Quinn the Eskimo as it should be performed.
  119. Quit your lowdown ways
  120. Rainy Day Women as never before
  121. Restless Farewell. Exquisite arrangements, unbelievable power
  122. Ring them bells in many different ways
  123. Romance in Durango, covered and re-written
  124. Sad Eyed Lady of Lowlands, like you won’t believe
  125. Sara
  126. Senor
  127. A series of Dreams; no one gets it (except Dylan)
  128. Seven Days
  129. She Belongs to Me
  130. Shelter from the Storm
  131. Sign on the window
  132. Silvio
  133. Simple twist of fate
  134. Slow Train

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