Thursday, June 5, 2008

Evolution of a Song........

i've got plans for a new recurring post here at This Mornin'....
It's called Evolution of a Song and it will consist of different versions of a song highlighted chronologically. Sometimes the songs have changed titles, lyrics, or arrangements and often are done by various artists.


First up is Rock Me Mama/Wagon Wheel
Made most famous by Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor when he put original verses to a chorus that Dylan recorded during the Pat Garret & Billy The Kid sessions (1973), this song is quickly becoming a contemporary folk standard.

1973: Bob Dylan - Rock Me Mama
from The Genuine Bootleg Series, Vol. 1
Just a simple impromptu recording of one of many snippets of tunes that Dylan had running through his head.

2000: OCMS - Cumberland Gap
from Greetings From Wawa (out of print)
The original Old Crow recording of a tune that would carry them to folk/bluegrass popularity.

2001: OCMS - Wagon Wheel
from Troubles Up & Down The Road [EP] (out of print)
Another version of the song Ketch re-worked, this time with a swing-country feel.

2004: OCMS - Wagon Wheel
from Old Crow Medicine Show
The version most of you have probably heard. Their self-titled debut is stellar, so go get it yourself.

2005: Against Me! - Wagon Wheel
from PROTECT: A Benefit for the National Association to Protect Children
A band of Punk Rockers slow their pace to cover Ketch's version of the tune.

2007: Jason Webley & Reverend Peyton - Rock Me Mama
from 2 Bottles of Wine (out of print)

This one is really cool. In the Dylan bootleg, he sings a verse, but it is nearly inaudible. Jason Webley took what was barely heard and created a whole new song out of it.

If i missed one that you know about, hit me up.....


  1. Matt Anderson does a nice cover of Wagon Wheel on "Live at Liberty House," available on emusic.

  2. I did a piece on this same subject last year. You can see it here if you're interested:

  3. You can also find and buy the Matt Anderson version on his Myspace site:
    Thanks for this blog! I've been looking for this info for awhile.

  4. Hey, that's Don Helms on pedal steel on the EP version. Imagine - these whippersnappers playin' with a guy who was in Hank Williams' band when HE was a whippersnapper! The Old Crow Boys have a lot of local connections here in upstate NY and they sure knew how to recruit the old folks to their cause once they got down south. (one of their earlier festival bios said the band moved to a rural farm "where they tried like hell to live in the 19th century."

    I am amazed that they released that version too, I thought it was just somethin' special they sent me a long time back around the time of the Wawa or Eutah albums. Willie explained it to me as 'halfway a Bob Dylan song' - which drove me insane in trying to verify/research it at the time - and their pal Marty Stuart helped them to clear all the rights...

    Anyway, we all love 'Wagon Wheel' round these parts - tons of people, myself included, play the song at jams, open mics, etc. so it is indeed becoming a standard if it isn't already one.

  5. thanks for the info D.

    i read a bio once that talked about them living self-subsistent lives (growing their own food, pot, etc) in a farm house.

  6. The NPR show Here & Now did a piece on the evolution of Wagon Wheel, tracing it back further than Dylan to bluesmen Arthur Crudup and Big Bill Broonzy. Find the story here, about 35 mins in.

  7. Hi! Can you repost the "Cumberland Gap" version of Wagon Wheel? Thanks!

  8. oh my goodness,, such a mind blasting comic blog,, love to visit again and again,,