Dylan & Otis Rush

Over on his website, Bob Dylan is giving away this tune– Beyond Here Lies Nothing, to promote the upcoming album from which it was culled. It’s a great tune, in fact I think it’s my favorite Dylan song in decades, maybe since the Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid soundtrack, but it sounded awful familiar. It took a bit of brain racking but it finally dawned on me where I’d heard the tune before, it’s Otis Rush’s All Your Love (Cobra) with new lyrics. It’s not just the melody and riff that Dylan copied but the entire ambiance of Rush’s Cobra recordings are recreated on the Dylan tune. The saxophone has the same haunting, hollow tone, the echo of the room is nearly identical, he really went out of his way to channel the sound of that Rush got on his Cobra recordings (his first and best sides, you can find the complete Otis Rush on Cobra for download here, in two parts, note the password, but you should buy them and hear them properly). It was Rush’s Cobra discs that Lester Bangs (who was turned on to them by Bob Quine and me who were raving about them when Flyright re-issued them in ’80, I already had heard six of the tunes from a record trade with Jeff “Mono Man” Connelley which netted me three Rush Cobra 78’s for a Sonics Etiquette 45) described as sounding like “being mugged by an iceberg”. I haven’t heard the rest of the Dylan record which is called Together For Life and is due to be released on April 28th, but I hope he just took the best Otis Rush Cobra tunes and re-wrote the lyrics. Is this plagiarism? I’m not so sure, I mean maybe Otis Rush got the tune from somebody else. As far as stealing “riffs”, gimme a break, no one’s come up with a new guitar riff since 1956. Let’s face it, if you hold a guitar long enough you’ll play a blues scale, and if you play a blues scale enough ways you’ll play every rock’n’roll riff there is, if you play the blues scale backwards you’ve just played Rumble. Anyway, I don’t really care if Dylan stole the tune or not, I just thought I’d bring up the subject since it’s obvious Dylan’s been listening to Otis Rush’s Cobra recordings, and if you are a Bob Dylan fan you should listen to the Otis Rush discs too. Why? Cuz they’re great records and you don’t need Bob Dylan to tell you that. That’s what I’m here for.

%d bloggers like this: