With millions of people forced to stay home amid strict social distancing measures, we’re dipping back into the Far Out vault to remember Neil Young’s brilliant cover of Bob Dylan.
The song, originally written and recorded by Dylan in 1965, was first released on the album Highway 61 Revisited before later being added on the compilation album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II.
When discussing the track during a performance in Australia, Dylan said: “This is, this is called Tom Thumb. This story takes place outside of Mexico City,” while explaining the origins of its inspiration. “It begins in Mexico City and it ends really in Des Moines, Iowa, but it’s all about this painter, he’s a quite older fellow, he comes from Juarez, Juarez is down cross of Texas border, some few feets, and he’s a painter.”
Dylan continued: “He’s very very well-known painter in the area there and we all call him Tom Thumb and when Tom Thumb was going through his blue period, this is one of the most important times of his whole life and he’s going to sell many many paintings now taken from his blue period and this is all about Tom Thumb and his early days and so we name this Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.”
The track, considered by many as some of Dylan’s greatest work, has since been reimagined by a host of iconic figures such as Nina Simone, Judy Collins, Frankie Miller, Linda Ronstadt, the Grateful Dead and, of course, the great Neil Young.
Young, who was performing at the 1992 ’30th Anniversary Concert Celebration’ of Bob Dylan, took to the stage at Madison Square Garden in New York City to pay tribute to his close friend. While the show included appearances from the likes of Lou Reed, Eddie Vedder, Stevie Wonder, Ronnie Wood and many more, it was Young’s wonderful rendition of ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’ that remains the lasting highlight.
Listen to his rendition, below.