Two legendary artists headline a new anthology arriving on June 16, 2015 from Legacy Recordings. Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, a 2-CD, 36-track compilation, serves as an audio companion and soundtrack to the exhibit of the same name currently on display at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame through December 31, 2016. Like the exhibit, this new release explores the timeless sounds created at the intersection of country, folk and rock in Nashville between, roughly speaking, 1964 and 1975.
Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash formed a mutual admiration society beginning with their shared experiences at 1964's Newport Folk Festival. Both men had already been aware of each other's music. The Man in Black wrote in his autobiography, "I took note of Bob Dylan as soon as the Bob Dylan album came out in early '62 and listened almost constantly to The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in '63." The bard of Hibbing, for his part, reflected after Cash's death that "in '55 or '56, 'I Walk the Line' played all summer on the radio, and it was different than anything else you had ever heard. The record sounded like a voice from the middle of the Earth. It was so powerful and moving."
A champion of the younger man's work, Cash recorded Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe" with future wife June Carter in 1965, scoring a hit with the track originally recorded on Another Side of Bob Dylan. Dylan and Cash connected in the studio in 1969, recording more than a dozen duets in two days of sessions. Most of these still haven't seen official release, but one did. "Girl from the North Country" was selected as the opening track of Dylan's Nashville Skyline. It opens the second disc here, and three other Dylan recordings are also included: "Absolutely Sweet Marie," recorded in Nashville for the seminal double album Blonde on Blonde; "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" from John Wesley Harding; and a previously unreleased take of "If Not for You" recorded in 1970 with Nashville session man Lloyd Green on pedal steel. Dylan the songwriter is also represented on songs by The Byrds, Flatt and Scruggs, and Ian and Sylvia - as well as Johnny and June's "It Ain't Me, Babe."
In addition to "It Ain't Me Babe" and "Girl from the North Country," Dylan and Cash also features Johnny on a rip-roaring version of "Matchbox" with fellow Sun legend Carl Perkins and Derek and the Dominos from The Johnny Cash Show, previously issued on DVD. The exhibit posits that there were three driving forces behind the migration of many of rock's finest artists to Nashville's Music Row studios: Blonde on Blonde; Cash's 1969-1971 television program taped at the Ryman Auditorium; and the presence of the studio group - informally called The Nashville Cats - that holds a place alongside The Wrecking Crew, MFSB, The Funk Brothers, The Section and the other famed "house bands."
Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats celebrates the contributions of these cats (among them David Briggs, Kenny Buttrey, Fred Carter, Jr., Charlie Daniels, Pete Drake, Mac Gayden, Lloyd Green, Ben Keith, Grady Martin, Charlie McCoy, Wayne Moss, Weldon Myrick, Norbert Putnam, Jerry Reed, Hargus "Pig" Robbins and Buddy Spicher) on songs by a "Who's Who" of popular song including Gordon Lightfoot, The Byrds, The Beau Brummels, The Monkees, Simon and Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Kris Kristofferson, Linda Ronstadt, Leon Russell, and three Beatles - George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. (Ronstadt, Young, Lightfoot and Dylan, of course, were among the artists featured on Cash's variety show.) Compositions by Kristofferson, John Hartford, Steve Goodman, J.J. Cale and Jerry Jeff Walker all represent the generation of Establishment-challenging country songwriters.
Blending hits and rarities, Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats looks to explore one of the most fertile periods of creativity in the histories of rock and country-and-western, during which time the lines of blues, country, folk, bluegrass, rock, pop and beyond were blurred. The 2-CD set arrives from Legacy Recordings on June 16, and you can pre-order at the links below!
Various Artists, Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City (Legacy, 2015) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
- Absolutely Sweet Marie - Bob Dylan
- Harpoon Man - Charlie McCoy and the Escorts
- It AIn't Me Babe - Johnny Cash
- Down in the Flood - Flatt and Scruggs
- The Way I Feel - Gordon Lightfoot
- I'll Be Your Baby Tonight - Bob Dylan
- You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - The Byrds
- This Wheel's on Fire - Ian and Sylvia
- Gentle on My Mind - John Hartford
- Some of Shelly's Blues - The Monkees
- Turn Around - The Beau Brummels
- I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - Tracy Nelson
- If You Don't Like Hank Williams (1968 Demo) - Kris Kristofferson
- Bird on a Wire - Leonard Cohen
- Hickory Wind - The Byrds
- Blowing Down That Dusty Road - Country Joe McDonald
- The Boxer - Simon and Garfunkel
- Stone Fox Chase - Area Code 615
- Sweetheart of the Rodeo (Radio Advertisement) -The Byrds (Bonus Track)
- Girl from the North Country - Bob Dylan with Johnny Cash
- Driftin' Way of Life - Jerry Jeff Walker
- Behind That Locked Door - George Harrison
- Beaucoups of Blues - Ringo Starr
- Going to the Country - The Steve Miller Band
- The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - Joan Baez
- City of New Orleans - Steve Goodman
- Blue River - Eric Andersen
- Heart of Gold - Neil Young
- If Not for You - Bob Dylan with Lloyd Green
- Crazy Mama - J.J. Cale
- Seven Bridges Road - Steve Young
- Will the Circle Be Unbroken - The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
- Silver Wings - Earl Scruggs and the Earl Scruggs Revue with Linda Ronstadt
- A Six Pack to Go - Leon Russell as Hank Wilson
- Sally G - Paul McCartney and Wings
- Matchbox - Derek and the Dominos with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins
CD 1, Track 1 from Blonde on Blonde, Columbia 841, 1966
CD 1, Track 2 from The World of Charlie McCoy, Monument 18097, 1967
CD 1, Track 3 from Orange Blossom Special, Columbia 9109, 1964
CD 1, Track 4 from Changin' Times, Columbia 9596, 1968
CD 1, Track 5 from The Way I Feel, United Artists 6587, 1966
CD 1, Track 6 from John Wesley Harding, Columbia 9604, 1968
CD 1, Tracks 7 & 15 from Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Columbia 9670, 1968
CD 1, Track 8 from Nashville, Vanguard 79284, 1968
CD 1, Track 9 from Gentle on My Mind and Other Originals, RCA Victor 4068, 1968
CD 1, Track 10 from Missing Links, Volume 2, Rhino R2 70903, 1986
CD 1, Track 11 from Bradley's Barn, Warner Bros. 1760, 1968
CD 1, Track 12 from Mother Earth Presents Tracy Nelson Country, Mercury 61230, 1972
CD 1, Track 14 from Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends, LITA 050, 2010
CD 1, Track 16 from Thinking of Woody Guthrie, Vanguard 6546, 1969
CD 1, Track 17 from Bridge Over Troubled Water, Columbia 9914, 1970
CD 1, Track 18 from Trip in the Country, Polydor 24-2025, 1970
CD 1, Track 19 from Sweetheart of the Rodeo: Expanded Edition, Columbia/Legacy CK 65150, 1997
CD 2, Track 1 from Nashville Skyline, Columbia 9825, 1969
CD 2, Track 2 from Driftin' Way of Life, Vanguard 6521, 1969
CD 2, Track 3 from All Things Must Pass, Apple 639, 1970
CD 2, Track 4 from Beaucoup of Blues, Apple 3368, 1970
CD 2, Track 5 from Number 5, Capitol 436, 1970
CD 2, Track 6 from Blessed Are..., Vanguard 6570, 1971
CD 2, Track 7 from Steve Goodman, Buddah 5096, 1971
CD 2, Track 8 from Blue River, Columbia 31062, 1972
CD 2, Track 9 from Harvest, Reprise 2032, 1972
CD 2, Track 10 rec. 1970, previously unreleased
CD 2, Track 11 from Naturally, Shelter 8908, 1972
CD 2, Track 12 from Seven Bridges Road, BCS 505, 1971
CD 2, Track 13 from Will the Circle Be Unbroken, United Artists 9801, 1972
CD 2, Track 14 from I Saw the Light with Some Help from My Friends, Columbia 31354, 1972
CD 2, Track 15 from Hank Wilson's Back, Volume 1, Shelter 8923, 1973
CD 2, Track 16 from Venus and Mars, Apple single 1875, 1975
CD 2, Track 17 from The Best of the Johnny Cash Show DVD, Columbia 8697-04026-9, 2007
What an odd collection. A lot of good music, but an odd collection.
Shame this isn't an official release of the Dylan/Cash sessions.
Not to mention only one (!) new unreleased track if I'm not mistaken. I'm not really sure if it will be worth purchasing the album in full just for one unreleased track. I think I'll just take a selective route and just download the tracks that interest me...
Exactly... Lots of great songs here, but I already have many of them. If the unreleased, alternate Dylan track is available for download, I'll go that route. Maybe snag a few others that I don't have, as well.
Patrick Callaghan says
Very happy to see Mike Nesmith's Nashville work during his Monkees sessions represented. He deserves a lot of credit for helping create country-rock.
So does Rick Nelson, but he never gets any. His name wasn't even mentioned in the Eagles doc as the band Meisner was in before he joined the Eagles. But they mentioned Poco, a band he was only in briefly. I guess to them it's cooler to say he was in Poco rather than The Stone Canyon Band. Not in my opinion. Rick and his band made some great country rock albums but get very little mention when the genre is discussed
But I digress. I will be purchasing this collection. It will be nice to just put it in the player and let it go.
Patrick Callaghan says
True that! And there is at least one Nesmith /Monkees track that sounds like a Rick Nelson outtake-- "Of You." Rick deserves country-rock props too.
Yeah... Great song!
Along with wanting an official release of the Dylan/Cash sessions, how about a release of Nesmith's complete 60's Nashville sessions? I'd happily shell out for that.
I recall watching the Cash TV show with Derek and the Dominos, and Cash and Perkins joining them for "Matchbox." In more recent years, I've seen that performance on YouTube. However, I'm not aware that it's available on DVD. My 2-CD set of performances from Cash's show includes only the group's "It's Too Late," before Cash and Perkins joined them.
My mistake. I just pulled out the DVD set and "Matchbox" is indeed on there