When you are the most prolific songwriter of this century, there is little need to cover the songs of other writers. After his first album, Bob Dylan recorded 9 albums before he put another cover song on an official release (Self Portrait 1970). That said, there are many unofficial Dylan recordings that pay homage to Bob's musical taste and early influences.
With that thought in mind, I would like to inaugurate a new series of posts on the blog called Covered By Bob. To start off, let's turn to a song from the legendaryBasement Tapes. This version of You Win Again was recorded with members of The Band in the summer of 1967 at the little house in Woodstock, NY that was later immortalized by the album Music from Big Pink.
It is a classic tune by Hank Williams, who was on of Dylan's earliest music influences. Dylan mentions Williams in Chronicles Volume One: "Even at a young age, I identified with him. In time, I became aware that Hank's recorded songs were the archetype rules of poetic songwriting." There is a good chance that Bob was listening to 78rpm versions of Hank's hit as a boy in Hibbing, MN
You Win Again is great example of Hank's sad songs of heartbreak and unanswered love. It is a personal favorite and always a choice when I hit the jukebox at Frank's Cafe.
Ray Charles covered the song on his groundbreaking country album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. Bob occasional plays it live on the Never Ending Tour. There is a live version from Bonneroo 2004 in circulation.