Top Five One Off Collaborations

Posted: May 5, 2012 in Bob Dylan, Uncategorized

I have a number of friends who are very accomplished musicians and who often indulge my less well honed musical abilities in my bold attempts to make music with them.  I find I usually rise to the occasion, and try and bring my best.  I often wonder whether it is the same with folks who make music for a living.  Listening to the tracks that follow, something tells me it is.  Or maybe it is just the whole being bigger than the sum of the parts.  Regardless, here are my Top Five picks for one off musical collaborations.

1. Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”

Stevie Nicks was a surprise guest when I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Seattle about four or five years ago.  Tom introduced her as having hung around so much, they should have made her an honorary Heartbreaker.  This classic is everything one could hope for in a collaboration:  unexpected pairing, great contrast in voice and simply a damn fine song.

PS  I do know this isn’t a one off, there being at least “Leather and Lace”, if not another.  But close enough and its my blog.

2. Lucinda Williams and M. Ward. “Oh Lonesome Me”

I have been a fan of Lu since my pal Gordo gave me a copy of “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” upon its release back in the late 90’s. I have been a fan of M. Ward ever since I heard he played with Zooey Deschanel, the other half of his She and Him incarnation..  There.  I said it.  Regardless, Lu does it up just fine with M. Ward, covering a song I know as a Neil Young song, but is really a tune written by Don Gibson in the 1950’s.  Makes me want to cry just typing about it.

3. Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, “Girl From the Northcountry”

This track off “Nashville Skyline”, which could easily have been in last week’s Top Five list, needs no introduction.   As fine as it comes.  In an era where use of  the word “icon” is beyond overused,  I will use it here to perfectly describe each of these greats.

PS  Same caveat.

4. Levon Helm and Keith Richards, “Deuce and a Quarter”

Levon and Keith on vocals, Levon on drums and Keith on guitar would be plenty.  But this comes complete with Scotty Moore, Rick Danko, DJ Fontana, Garth Hudson and Stan Lynch (the Heartbreakers’ original drummer) among others.  Perhaps the best song ever written about a car, being the Buick Electra which measured a whopping 225 inches long. Hence the title.  Hearing Keith and Levon together is a treat, two masters at their craft. Love this tune.

5. Rick Danko, Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia

This is the complete opposite end of the spectrum from the others in the list. At times incomprehensible this clip from the “Festival Express” has three of the greats making music of sorts in a rail car somewhere in Canada.  It is not without humour but ultimately quite sad when you think about the endings all three had.  I included it simply because it is the only recording I know of with the three of them.  May they all rest in peace. If anyone knows what song they were playing, please let me know.

  1. earthboy011 says:

    I’m going to give an honourable mention to Up Where We Belong as performed by Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes. It’s a great song written by Canadian Buffy Sainte-Marie. While there are some things I don’t like about this performance they really nail the chorus and that carries the song.

  2. topfivevinyl says:

    Good call. It is sort of the M. Ward and Lucinda contrast in reverse.

  3. Cranky Cowgirl says:

    I believe it’s Aint No More Cane by Leadbelly…

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