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Bob Dylan – Hard Times (1993)

There’s a song that will linger forever in our ears


We’ve written before about Stephen Foster’s magnificent and timeless Hard Times Come Again No More and posted a nice performance by Kate & Anna McGarrigle and friends.

Here’s s fine Bob Dylan performance of the song from a recording at Austin City Limits Studio back in 28 April 1993.

Bob of course recorded the song under the shortened title Hard Times on his excellent 1992 LP Good as I Been to You.

This album, Dylan’s 28th studio album, was composed entirely of traditional folk songs and covers, and was Dylan’s first entirely solo, acoustic album since Another Side of Bob Dylan in 1964. It was also his first collection to not feature any original compositions.

Good as I Been to You helped to restore Dylan’s critical standing following disappointing reviews for Under the Red Sky.

Bob recorded the song using an arrangement by renowned Irish folk band De Dannan, who had recorded the song in 1983. Interestingly, the album notes identifies “Hard Times” as public domain, as it was published in 1855, and naughtily excludes a credit to Foster!

Dylan here delivers a great, sparse, acoustic interpretation in the live setting, with a beautiful arrangement helped to no little extent by a top class band.

This comes from the TV Special – later released on DVD – called Willie Nelson: The Big Six-O celebrating Willie’s 60th birthday.

The birthday tribute, with an all star cast was filmed as a TV special over two days in April ’93 and shown on TV in late May ’93.

The TV Special included musical performances of songs either written by or performed by Nelson, as well as birthday greetings and favorite stories about the singer by his friends.

Musical performers included the likes of Bob Dylan, Waylon Jennings, and Neil Young, while a wide array of well wishers ranged from Jane Seymour to Kris Kristofferson to Bill Clinton!

Yap, Billy loves Willie!

We thought Clinton was too busy inserting cigars in strange places back in those days to appear on tributes to C&W stars!

Willie Nelson has included Hard Times in his repertoire for years and would later record the song with David Grisman, on Darol Anger’s Heritage in 2005.

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February 25, 2009 - Posted by | Bill Clinton, Stephen Foster, Willie Nelson, _BOB DYLAN, _MUSIC, _VIDEO

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