Bob Dylan is the prototypical lone songwriter. It’s difficult to picture songs like ‘Hey Mr Tamboruine Man,’ ‘Blowin’ In The Wind,’ and ‘Girl From The North Country’ being recorded with a group; Dylan’s lyrics depend on a feeling of detachedness. His words’ nonchalance permits them to depict the ever-changing environment so effectively.
That’s not to suggest Dylan never indicated a desire to work with musicians. His work was influenced by New Orleans jazz bands, bluegrass bands, and folk groups. Even on legendary records like Blonde On Blonde and Highway 61 Revisited, one gets the impression that Dylan had an urge to satisfy, and in the 1970s, he formed The Traveling Wilburys with Tom Petty, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison.
Here are the bands that Bob Dylan wishes he could have been a member of:
King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band
Although stories from the time imply that the albums barely teased at the strength of the live ensemble, Oliver’s band laid down the first significant number of records by black jazzmen. Thirty-seven copies survived the time, including various other takes, with the majority recorded in 1923.
The Country Gentlemen
Dylan’s folk years were overshadowed by rock ‘n’ roll periods, but his passion for folk music from his hometown survived. The Country Gentlemen, one of the best bluegrass ensembles of the 1950s, was established in Washington D.C. and performed in many versions until the passing of the group’s leader Charlie Waller in 2004.
The Memphis Jug Band
The Memphis Jug Band, which included Will Shade, Will Weldon, Hattie Hart, Charlie Polk, and Walter Holden, was the quintessential jug group of the 1920s and early 1930s. Many excellent performers from the ensemble went on to have successful solo ventures, notably Memphis Minnie, Johnny Hodges, and Jab Jones.
Muddy Waters Chicago Band
Dylan was a major Waters admirer. The guitarist’s ensemble, which included Little Walter Jacobs on harmonica, Otis Spann on piano, Jimmy Rogers on guitar, and Elga Edmonds on drums, was brimming with talent. Although being on the same lineup at The Last Waltz, the two never crossed paths on stage.
Crosby, Stills & Nash
Crosby, Stills, and Nash is the only group on this roster that Dylan had a chance of joining. When David Crosby was a member of The Byrds, he had many successes with Dylan’s compositions, the most noteworthy of which being ‘Hey Mr Tambourine Man.’ On a handful of occasions, Bob played live with The Byrds, and Crosby Stills & Nash frequently did a version of ‘Girl From The North Country’ throughout their shows.