Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday Music: He Was a Friend of Mine

"He Was a Friend of Mine" comes from a folk song that Bob Dylan heard from Eric von Schmidt. The first recorded version was in 1934 when folk musicologist John Lomax recorded James "Iron Head" Baker singing what was then known as "Shorty George." Dylan sang the song and recorded it in 1961, though that version was not released until much later with The Bootleg Series.

The Byrds recorded a version of the song to lament the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and The Grateful Dead recorded it in Road Trips, Vol 4. There is even an obscure Gospel rendition recorded by Dallas Holm in the 1970s which is patterned after The Byrds' recording.Willie Nelson's rendition was used in the soundtrack for the movie, Brokeback Mountain. Such is the life and influence of an authentic folk song.

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