Song of the Day #1,540: ‘Blowin’ in the Wind (Witmark Demo)’ – Bob Dylan

One of the downsides of a truly random selection — such as that of my Random Weekend Songs of the Day — is that you wind up with clusters.

I haven’t checked the numbers, but it seems like tracks from Dylan’s Bootleg Series have turned up here on a pretty regular basis. Granted, he has released nine volumes of those bootlegs — all double-CD sets — so those songs make up a healthy percentage of my music collection. Around 3 percent, to be exact.

But 3-in-100 odds aren’t exactly the sort you’d bet heavily on in Vegas. Mathematically, these songs are over-performing.

I don’t mean to complain. These are all great songs. They provide a glimpse into Dylan’s beginnings (as in today’s demo version of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind,’ recorded in 1962 as Dylan tried to land a contract), as well as a chance to hear songs that didn’t make official albums for some inexplicable reason and iconic live performances.

But I count on Random Weekends to stay away from repeats. I want The White Stripes followed by Frank Sinatra followed by The Beach Boys followed by John Mellencamp. I want to be delighted by songs I forgot I owned and embarrassed by songs I’d rather people now know I own.

You hear that, Random iTunes Fairy? Thanks for the Dylan song… it’s a good one. But tomorrow, please surprise me!

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ’n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,540: ‘Blowin’ in the Wind (Witmark Demo)’ – Bob Dylan

  1. Dana says:

    I think it’s funny that your random iTunes fairy ethics won’t allow you to skip a track to get to a more interesting or less duplicative selection.

  2. Clay says:

    That would defeat the entire premise of Random Weekends! Never!

  3. Shawn says:

    Interesting to listen to this version and the other stuff on this volume of the Bootleg Series. But you gotta give it to the Freewheelin’ take. He had to know that one was for all time. Remember, though, by ’62 Dylan had a contract with Columbia. He signed with them around Nov ’61.

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