The many cover versions of If You Gotta Go + Bob’s rarest single!

 A kind of quest… By Aaron Galbraith

I was having a read through Tony’s 2015 review for If You Gotta Go (Go Now) and it spurred me to write a quick look at several of the more interesting versions of the track that have came out over the years. I’m going to ignore Manfred Mann and Fairport Convention’s excellent singles as these are both well known and well loved.

As Tony noted The Beatles influence it might intrigue you to know that the very first release of the song was on a 1965 7” single by a group called The Liverpool Five. Curiously, none of the five were from Liverpool in fact they hailed from London and had a penchant for Beatles’ style poses in their promotional photographs and record sleeves!

 Anyway, here it is and a very fab version it is too!

Unfortunately they turned out to be one of the least successful British Invasion bands and the single didn’t chart anywhere! I have to say I do like the version and am bit surprised it didn’t give them a much deserved hit.

With the exception of the Manfreds and the Fairport covers the other most famous version has to be The Flying Burrito Brothers (yet another failed single for this track). Great countrified version here, I love both Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman so this is right up my street.


And then there is this by Mae West


I’m not really sure what to say about this, except it’s kinda mad!  This would definitely rank in anyone’s top 10 oddest Dylan cover versions. I wonder what Bob made of this one! 

West’s version was released on the 1966 Way Out West album. The album also contains covers of Day Tripper and Twist And Shout among others. Great album cover too!

Here’s a great rollicking version by the Cowboy Junkies, some great drum fills and splendid vocals. This was originally released as a b side to the Southern Rain single, and later on a b sides and rarities compilation album. It’s so good it was also included on the great Dylan covers album May Your Song Always Be Sung Vol 2. They also use the lyric “it’s not that I’m asking you to take part in any kind of quest” as opposed to “it aint that I’m questionin’ you to take part in any quiz’ – hence the title of this article!

My all time favourite cover version takes the track down a completely new and previously undiscovered path. It was released as a bonus track on the tribute album ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues: A Tribute To Bob Dylan’s ‘Bringing It All Back Home’’. This recording is by J. Tillman (AKA Father John Misty), this one blew me away the first time I heard it and still does today whenever it pops up on my playlist. Give this a listen, you won’t believe where he takes this one. Spellbinding.

 Then there was an official Dutch only 7” by Bob himself which leaked out in 1965. Again, no chart action and it’s a release that not many know about, the original single will set you back a few quid on eBay. As it’s a different version to any other releases and it’s never came out in cd as far as I’m aware… luckily YouTube is your friend again for this one!!

What else is on the site

You’ll find an index to our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page.  You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.

The index to the 500+ Dylan compositions reviewed is now on a new page of its own.  You will find it here.  It contains reviews of every Dylan composition that we can find a recording of – if you know of anything we have missed please do write in.

We also have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

And please do note   The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews.



  1. The official Dutch only 7” by Bob himself leaked out not in 1965 but in 1967. For what it is worth (an that’s a lot I can tell you, having bought the single some years ago by myself here in the Netherlands).

  2. Also ‘Gotta Go’ is a track on Trade Mark of Quality 1973 vinyl bootleg album called ”Stealin”.

  3. HI the Bob version appears on the Official bootleg 1991 bobs first of the series on disc 2

  4. Lovely article, Aaron. Mae West is new to me.

    I suspect that Dylan himself is most charmed by Ricky Nelson’s version. In
    Chronicles he devotes, admiringly, more than a page to Nelson:

    “Ricky’s talent was very accessible to me. I felt we had a lot in common. In a few years’ time he’d record some of my songs, make them sound like they were his own, like he had written them himself. He eventually did write one himself and mentioned my name in it.”

    The live version from 1969 is beautiful (on In Concert: The Troubadour, also to be found on YouTube (

    For the sake of completeness, two unnamed versions that in any case do stand up to my scrutiny:

    The Dane Brødrene Olsen with a slightly affected, but still fun version (Rockstalgi, 2001)
    The Danish band På Slaget 12 with a delightful, thoroughly nostalgic cover (Let’s Dance 2, 2002)

    The Danes can be found on YouTube as well.

    Groeten uit Utrecht,

Leave a Reply

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