Bob Dylan: "It's only an album"
Bob Dylan has an odd habit of leaving some of his best recording work unreleased. Here are some greatest-hits-worthy tracks that he threw in the closet like whatever, NBD.
- •Let Me Die in My Footsteps (1962)Outtake from The Freewheeling Bob Dylan. I'm convinced that this would have been as famous a protest song as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" if he had released it, which he did not until 1991.
- •Lay Down Your Weary Tune (1963)Outtake from The Times They Are A-Changin'. I don't even know what to say about this one. It's mind-boggling that he would leave a track this great off the record.
- •Farewell Angelina (1965)Outtake from "Bringing It All Back Home". A haunting piece of poetry. Most songwriters would be pretty psyched to have written it.
- •I'll Keep It with Mine (1965)Another outtake from Bringing It All Back Home. Just Bob and the piano and a pretty little gem.
- •Visions of Johanna (1965)Yes, the Nashville version of the song appeared on Blonde on Blonde, but he first recorded it with The Band a year earlier, and holy cow, take 5 ROCKS! How can I explain? Wow, it's so hard to get on!
- •Quinn the Eskimo (1967)A lame live version was released on Self Portrait in 1970 (and again on his greatest hits volume 2), but how is it that the gorgeous original was left off of the Basement Tapes album? How? Seriously, Robbie, how??
- •Sign on the Cross (1967)Bob belted out this half-finished gospel song during the "basement tapes" recordings, and with such feeling that it gives me the chills. Then his voice breaks, and he starts giggling and getting silly, and the song ends. Does he do a second take? No. Does he go back to the studio and re-record it on a later date? He does not. Does he forget that this magnificent thing ever existed? Apparently.
- •This Evening So Soon (1970)One of the standards he recorded for the ill-fated Self Portrait album, and also one of his most gut-wrenching performances of that entire period. Did he find room for it anywhere on that big double album? Nope. See also "Railroad Bill" and "Tattle O'Day".
- •Up to Me (1974)Extra song from Blood on the Tracks. This one wasn't left off perversely, there just wasn't room. It is a testament to how great that album is that this was the ELEVENTH BEST song of the bunch.
- •Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar (1981)Recorded during the Shot of Love sessions, and originally only released as a B-side, though it ended up being so popular that it was added to later pressings of the album. Because it rocks like a motherfather.
- •Blind Willie McTell (1983)Outtake from Infidels. Many would argue that this was one of his best songs from the 1980s. If I remember the story right, someone from the band got bent out of shape when he found out that this was being left on the shelf. Bob's response: "it's only an album."
- •God Knows (1989)Outtake from Oh Mercy. Just a pop song. A really good pop song.
- •Red River Shore (1997)Outtake from Time Out of Mind. Similar to "Up to Me", it's just a case of an album with too much good material … though maybe he could have swapped it with the sixteen-minute shaggy dog story "Highlands".
- •Marching to the City (1997)Same as above. The slow build on this one is incredible; by the end he's belting it out like his butt is on fire.