Trying Out Google’s New Music Service And a Renewed Appreciation for Bob Dylan

Those who know me personally or who follow me on social media are probably aware of my recent interest in Bluegrass music. I started going to weekly jams at “Today’s Pizza & Salad” in Encinitas. It’s a bit of a drive for me but it’s worth it.

Naturally the group plays a lot of the same songs, although last night was pretty different. Among the repertoire two songs have stood out to me. One being “You Ain’t Going Nowhere”, the other “Wagon Wheel.” It turns out the writing credit for both of these songs belongs to Bob Dylan, but neither were originally commercially released by him. “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” was first sold as a Byrds song, although Dylan had already done a recording of it, he did not release his version for another 3 years. “Wagon Wheel” has an even stranger story, because Dylan didn’t release it, or even finish it at all. The Old Crow Medicine Show heard a sketch of this song Dylan had started on a bootleg and decided to finish and record it, thirty years after Dylan apparently gave up on it.

Reading about all of that, especially the Wagon Wheel thing, just got me thinking on how tremendous of an impact this one guy had on the history of American music. Even a song he once threw away became a hit. I’ve always had an appreciation for Bob Dylan, especially his more classic albums like “Blonde on Blonde,” but when you lay out a list of his work it’s truly amazing. Here’s just a short list of his greatest songs that I threw together (therefore I’m undoubtedly missing some obvious ones), I’ll put some covers in brackets:

  • One More Cup of Coffee [The White Stripes]
  • Tambourine Man [The Byrds]
  • Like a Rolling Stone
  • All Along the Watchtower [Jimi Hendrix]
  • Maggie’s Farm [Rage Against the Machine]
  • Girl From the North Country
  • Lay Lady Lay
  • Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright
  • Blowing in the Wind
  • Masters of War
  • Forever Young
  • Just Like a Woman
  • You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere [The Byrds, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band]
  • Knockin on Heaven’s Door [Guns ‘n Roses]
  • The Time’s They Are a Changing
  • It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
  • Wagon Wheel [Old Crow Medicine Show]

Google just launched a music service (May 15th), and they are offering a 30-day free trial as well as a discounted price to anyone who signs up before May 30th. So I jumped on it. This couldn’t have happened at a better time since I’ve been going crazy at the library checking out bluegrass cds to try to soak up as much about the genre as I can. I love the service. It’s supposed to be an answer to Spotify. It seems to offer about the same service as the premium plan for spotify for a couple of dollars less, but I haven’t explored Spotify so I can’t really compare.

So far I’m really liking it. I haven’t come across any missing artists, just a few missing albums. Of course I don’t listen to I have a few issues with the usability of it. I haven’t quite figured out how to control what songs go on my cell phone. The first day I streamed a bunch of music and used about 250mb, which is unacceptable with my data plan, so getting this download thing figured out is going to be the deal breaker after the 30 day trial is up.

Okay, I just did a test I knew expected to fail. I found a major artist who isn’t on there, Tool. On the plus side, there are a lot of comedy albums on there, I can finally hear these albums Marc Maron keeps referring to on WTF.

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