Since the beginning of Bob Dylan’s imprint on popular culture his material has had the rare ability to transcend race, space and time. While you may have a number of these covers scattered throughout your collection, there is no denying Ace Records did a commendable job last year gathering up and framing twenty Dylan tracks covered by black America. The collection’s focus concentrates on the 1960s and 70s highlighting big names in soul and r&b; e.g. Nina Simone, Solomon Burke, Howard Tate, Booker T, etc.
Dylan’s early ‘protest’ songs have long lent themselves to, and were informed by, the African American spiritual traditions of the deep south. Not surprisingly it is this era of his career that feels the most congruent amongst the selected covers; as evidenced below by O.V. Wright’s rendition of “Blowin’ In The Wind” and the Staple Singers haunting take on “Masters of War.”