#17. Buckets of Rain – The Booglerizers (2007)
New Jersey acoustic bluesmen whose instrumentation includes a tuba, the still-active Booglerizers haven’t made an album since 2007’s superb Ironbound Blues. Their pre-war influences shine on “Buckets of Rain,” which is given a barrelhouse treatment that would make its roots-music enthusiast author proud. The album, which includes nine Rich DiPaolo originals and five more excellent covers, can be purchased at cdbaby.com.
#18. Baby, I’m in the Mood for You – Dion (1965)
Cut during Dion DiMucci’s Columbia Records stint from 1962-65 but not released until his Bronx Blues anthology in 1991, this infectious recording is a lost classic among Dylan covers. Though it would have made an excellent single, it was likely held back due to a rollicking folk-rock arrangement that was different from the sound that Dion’s AM radio fans were accustomed to.
#19. Don’t Think Twice – Mike Ness (1999)
A heartrending breakup song and one of Dylan’s best-loved ballads, “Don’t Think Twice” wields considerable clout on a raging performance by Social Distortion’s leader that brings the cynical lyrics to a mighty boil. In addition to stressing the anger in the words, the rollicking track highlights an irresistible melody that is among Dylan’s finest.
#20. I Shall Be Released – Marion Williams (1969)
Considered by some gospel aficionados as a rival to Mahalia Jackson’s “Queen of Gospel” throne, Williams brings a sense of redemption to a song that implies a literal release from prison. The recording has reemerged in pop culture twice in recent years: first in a 2007 Nike commercial that celebrated LeBron James’ first appearance in the NBA finals and again during the closing credits of Adam Leon’s 2012 film Gimme the Loot.
#21. Shelter from the Storm – Rodney Crowell & Emmylou Harris (2005)
The third Blood on the Tracks entry in this mix is a gorgeous duet by two of American music’s premier performers of the past 40 years. Included on Crowell’s The Outsider, the song’s plea for refuge from loss and regret greatly benefits from the uncanny chemistry between the singers. This makes it as devastating as Dylan’s original, though in its own way.
#22. Lay Down Your Weary Tune – Coulson, Dean, McGuinness, Flint (1972)
This The Times They Are A-Changin’ outtake is rendered definitive on Lo and Behold, a Dylan rarities album cut by a quartet of scruffy Brits. After an a capella intro that features lead singer Dennis Coulson backed by the other three members, the volume swells in thrilling fashion as Dylan’s lyrics compare the sounds of various instruments to aspects of nature.
Photo (circa 1965): American rock singer and songwriter Bob Dylan playing the piano and the harmonica simultaneously with the use of a harmonica holder. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)