Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Listen to JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE by Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.
Listen to JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE by Johnny Paycheck.
Listen to JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE by Dave Van Ronk.

Here a few songs that I had high hopes for, but that don't quite work. First is the third--Dave Van Ronk. Last year I read Van Ronk's book, The Mayor Of MacDougal Street, and loved it. Loved it--it's a great read, especially if you have any interest at all in the history of the Village, the folk movement of the 50s and 60s, Dylan, and all that. Even if you don't, it's very agreeably written. Van Ronk comes off as an incredibly appealing, engaging character, who was involved in every little thing that happened in the New York folk scene. The problem was I had never heard his music, and was pretty disappointed when I went and tracked it down. Closer Walk is as good an example as any. It was recorded around the time Little Richard recorded his version, and it's in the same uptempo style, but its light years away in interest. He just doesn't really have the chops or the charisma. Which is no sin, but read the book, skip the tunes.

When I saw Johnny Paycheck had a version of Closer Walk, I jumped to download it. Paycheck was unfairly pigeonholed as a one hit wonder, when he had a great run of songs on the Little Darlin' label in the 60s. (I'm sure Corbett will get around to doing a retrospective on him someday.) But leaving that aside, this is a deeply boring performance.

Finally, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, performed by Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, part of the legendary lost "Nashville Skyline" sessions. Incredible! Not incredible! In fact, these sessions are mostly disappointing (notwithstanding some cool moments). These two don't actually have that much chemistry on record to my ears, and what's more, Bob doesn't even know the words to the song! (Listen to the very beginning. Bob suggests, hopefully, they try Closer Walk With Thee. Then listen to the very end. "What's one you know, Bob?" This makes me smile.)

Photo: Most Holy Redeemer Church (3).


1 comment:

Philip said...

that is awesome. meaning johnny cash. 'whats one you know bob?' heh.
also nice pics of the church this week.