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Bob Dylan Records in Nashville

"It was like Dylan endorsed Nashville. He put the stamp of approval on it.
He told all those people from the folk rock world that it was okay to come here, and boy did they ever"
– Charlie McCoy –

+ Transcript

- [Narrator] By the mid 1960s the Nashville sound had returned country music to prominence, and Music Row session players were gaining respect. Rock musicians who had once threatened the very existence of Nashville's recording industry would soon turn to the city's well of incredible talent.

- I was hired to play on a Dylan session in New York, and I thought it was by accident, turned out it was not. I was there to go to The World's Fair. The producer Bob Johnson asked me if I'd come by the studio and meet Bob Dylan. So I went over there, and he introduced me to Bob Dylan, and Dylan said, "Hey I'm gonna do a song, "why don't you get that extra guitar and play along?" Okay, the song was called, Desolation Row, off of an album Highway 61 Revisited. And we did two takes, that was it, that's all there was time for. Song was 11 minutes long. And I was doing my best of what would Grady do? I was trying, I was struggling man. It was nothing but guitar the whole song. And so, five, six months passed by, and Bob Johnson called me, "Get the guys together I'm bringing Bob Dylan to town." "Really?" He said, "Yeah, I guess you know I was using you for bait." So I guess I was the bait .

- I think that in Nashville, then and now, you're not so bound by rules and regulations. And if your session goes over, and the music's good, the musicians are willing to do that extra thing for you. They're willing to work it out on the spot. Bob Dylan when he came to town didn't even have the songs written. And the musicians just hung, and when he had one ready to go they recorded it. That's the way Nashville works. It's very much a, we're in it for the music kind of a place. We're not sitting here watching our clock and seeing how much time is it taking to do something, or anything like that. And I think, two, Southern hospitality is no myth. I mean I really believe that. I don't think that we're better than Los Angeles or New York. I think we're nicer. And that goes a long way when people come here to record, and I don't care what genre you are.

- It was like Dylan endorsed Nashville. He put the stamp of approval on it. He told all those people from the folk rock world that it was okay to come here, and boy did they ever.

- After Dylan recorded at Columbia, well then The Byrds recorded, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and Leonard Cohen came from Canada and recorded there. All of the sudden Nashville was sort of opening up and a lot of the folk and rock artists were coming here and they were recording on Music Row at Columbia, and some RCA Studio B.

- I love that pickers that were on Patsy Cline records are on Jimmy Buffett records, and are on as it evolves Neil Young albums. That you just wouldn't suspect that they're the same guys. They're just versatile pickers that could play and could fit into the situation. And that's such a good overview of what Nashville's about. And we really try to fly that flag here at the museum, that Nashville is more than country. We're proud of it. We're proud of what country came out here, but there's so much more to it.

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