The Covers We Missed: the most amazing versions of “As I Went Out One Morning”

I don’t know what it means either: an index to the current series appearing on this website.

For more details on this new series on cover versions of Dylan songs that were not considered in the last series, please see the intro to the first article in this series.

Recordings researched and suggested, and commentary by Jürg Lehmann.  An index to the songs covered in the original “Cover a Day” series is given at the end of the final article in the series.


As I Went Out One Morning

The history of cover songs starts two years after Dylan’s release in 1969 with a rather psychedelic version by The Rainbow Press

The Rainbow Press released two albums in 1968 & 1969 then they disbanded. In 2018, the band was reunited after 50 years for fans of the Beatles, ELO, Utopia and Coldplay.

Only 16 years later Tribe After Tribe covered the song again with much energy and sheer force


Formed in Johannesburg and fronted by the uncompromising vision of guitarist Robbi Robb, Tribe After Tribe were one of the hardest-hitting rock bands of the mid to late 80’s. Formed in Johannesburg in 1984, they released their debut album ‘Power’ and the cover of ‘As I Went Out One Morning (Damsel)’ as a single in ‘85.

Tribe After Tribe reflects the members’ African background in a deft fusion of world music rhythms, chant vocals and guitar-driven alternative rock. Soon after the release TAT moved on to greater things in the U.S., releasing several critically acclaimed albums over the following 18 years.

Referring to Greil Marcus’ commentary on the song Jochen Markhorst comes up with the conclusion that “Dylan’s texts on John Wesley Harding are not encrypted philosophical tracts, encoded political pamphlets or veiled autobiographical confessions. They are neutral colouring pictures; the lines are drawn and everyone may colour it in as it pleases him. The right colour does not exist. Not “in fact” either. To a certain extent, this also applies to the music. Dylan’s original (of ‘As I Went Out One Morning’) is breathtaking in its simplicity and naked beauty. Simple melody, stripped-down chord progression and starkly arranged, like all songs on the album. Hence, a lot of room for the covers.”

You can’t say that the cover artists have really explored this space. Most of them have started tentatively into their expedition, decorating and expanding the original a bit without giving us any new insights. The results often sound nice, but it’s really nothing that would captivate you.

 Other covers

Stan Ridgway (1996)

Dr. Robert (1997)

Mira Billotte (2007)

Sfuzzi East/West (2008)

Dirty Projectors (2010)

Yoni Wolf (2014)

Jessica Rhaye and The Ramshackle Parade (2019)

Doing justice to the simplicity and beauty of the original without making a flat copy or a trashy knock-off is quite a challenge. Wovenhand (2009) has done it by reducing the austere original once again

 By the way, there are also several YouTube contributions that have succeeded quite well in capturing the dreamy, impressionistic atmosphere of the song, for example

Why? (2008)

Alec Martin (2015)

Jedan Tutuhatunewa (2017)

Thea Gilmore wakes us from our slumber with a rocking version on her superb tribute album John Wesley Harding (2011)  Gilmore fleshes the original and breathes fresh life into the song, as the BBC review puts it.

But if your claim to a cover song is “that you discover something new in the music, that it reveals to the willing listener an insight previously unrealised,” as Tony Attwood puts it in his review then you must not miss the contribution of Jef Lee Johnson (2009)



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *