Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Backstory on Dylan's Wagon Wheel

It's a showpiece in the Cowboy Angel Blue repertoire. And also a favorite in the playlist for Tom O'Keefe and Friends during Dylan Fest.

"Rock me, Mama,
like the wind and the rain,
Rock me, Mama,
like a southbound train....
Hey, Mama, rock me."

The chorus is catchy, the tune is catchy, it's easy listening and expressive... and it has become a Northland favorite in Duluth Dylan circles, but where did it come from? It's not on any Dylan album. In fact, I never really associated it with Dylan at all.

Yet, truth be told, Wagon Wheel does indeed have Dylan roots. The song was birthed during the 1973 making of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Dylan had been hired to produce the soundtrack. (He also famously played a character in the film named Alias.)

According to Rolling Stone journalist Andy Greene it had an underground life of its own till recorded in 2004 by Old Crow Medicine Show in 2004. A few years go by and in 2013 Darius Rucker (Hootie & the Blowfish) records his version, propelling it to number one on the Billboard Country Songs chart.

Here's a paragraph from the Andy Greene story:
He (Dylan) started work on the disc on January 20th, 1973 in Mexico City. The next month he moved over to Burbank, California and brought in Byrds frontman Roger McGuinn, drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Terry Paul. The sessions yielded Dylan’s comeback hit “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” and just a few takes after finishing that classic they ran through two versions of “Rock Me, Mama.” It was far from finished, and they soon moved onto the main title track of and probably forgot all about the sketch of a song. Somehow or another, the sessions got in the hands of bootleggers and “Rock Me, Mama” began its slow, unlikely journey to the top of the charts as “Wagon Wheel.”

Follow the link to read the rest of the article, somewhat hilariously titled How Bob Dylan Co-Wrote Darius Rucker’s ‘Wagon Wheel,’ 40 Years Ago.

* * * *
For all you folk who enjoy the song Wagon Wheel, I'm willing to bet you were unaware that there's a Wagon Wheel Appreciation Thread out there in cyberspace.

For more info on wagon wheels, visit the Wagon Wheel Wikipedia page.

BONUS TRACK
Moments ago I just received notice about the North American Premiere of GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY, at the NEWMAN Theater in New York. To access Tickets In Advance Before the Public, visit  https://publictheater.org/Public-Theater-Season/Girl-from-the-North-Country/?src=51940 

Access tickets before the general public 
by using the code DULUTH​ at publictheater.org before July 26th, 2018. 

Show opens September 11 and runs thru November 4


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