This morning, I was tinkering with a partially written (but long ignored) post from a trip to Nashville in 2017– wondering if it was worth reviving, completing, and posting. Somewhere into this thought process, somewhere toward the bottom of a cup of coffee, as I was figuratively walking away from that post– leaving it once again in blog-post-purgatory– the universe began pelting me with spitballs, each one hitting me with a ping that whispered “Nashville.” So, yes, that post will pop up some day. But first, I bring you a little info of note– the spitball that hit me right in the eye/the delicious morsel of Nashville trivia that popped up, unbidden but perfectly timed, in my news feed this morning.
On this day in 1969, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash recorded an album. It was never released.
Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. Recorded. An. Album. Together. And it was never released.
How is this possible? That’s like panning for gold and throwing back a shiny nugget. Maybe the tracks weren’t up to snuff? Maybe they just didn’t congeal together as an album and didn’t fit well with anything that came after? Maybe people just forgot about them? (Could a recording session with Dylan and Cash be so mundane that you just forget about the tracks it produces?)
According to an article from the website Open Culture, “On February 17 and 18, 1969, Cash and Dylan recorded more than a dozen duets. Only one of them, a version of Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country,” made it onto the album, Nashville Skyline. The others were never officially released, but have long been circulating as bootlegs.” (You can access the article and a recording from Dylan and Cash here.)
So, there you go. A random post, but too shiny a nugget to throw back. Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash recorded an album, and, if you are resourceful enough, you might be able to scare up a few tracks somewhere. Cash and Dylan, and their rough around the edges but pure poetry music, is too good let lie in silence.