Baby, Let Me Follow You Down

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"Baby, Let Me Follow You Down"
AKA "Baby, Let Me Lay It On You"
Written by traditional, often credited to Reverend Gary Davis
Language English
Form traditional folk / blues
Recorded by Bob Dylan, Eric von Schmidt, Dave Van Ronk, The Animals, Bryan Ferry, Medeski Martin & Wood

"Baby, Let Me Follow You Down" is a traditional folk song popularised in the late 1950s by blues guitarist Eric Von Schmidt. The song is best known from its appearance on Bob Dylan's debut album Bob Dylan.

Early years of the song[edit]

The song was first recorded as "Don't Tear My Clothes" in January 1935 by the State Street Boys, a group that included Big Bill Broonzy and Jazz Gillum.[1] The next few years saw several more versions, including "Don't Tear My Clothes" by Washboard Sam in June 1936,[2] "Baby Don't You Tear My Clothes" by the Harlem Hamfats in May 1937,[3] "Let Your Linen Hang Low" by Rosetta Howard with the Harlem Hamfats in October 1937[4] and "Mama Let Me Lay It On You" by Blind Boy Fuller in April 1938.[5]

The song was adapted by Eric Von Schmidt, a blues-guitarist and singer-songwriter of the folk revival in the late 1950s. Von Schmidt was a well-known face in the east coast folk scene and was reasonably well-known across the United States. According to his chronicle of the Cambridge Folk era, also called "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down, Eric had first heard the song via the Blind Boy Fuller recording. Von Schmidt credits Reverend Gary Davis for writing "three quarters" of his version of the song [6] (the melody is very similar to Davis's "Please Baby"). Van Ronk's version became a feature in the coffee houses of Greenwich Village in the early 1960s. The song was later picked up by the young, up and coming folk singer Bob Dylan, who made it famous on his Columbia Records debut.

The Animals' "Baby Let Me Take You Home" (1964), is said to be an adaptation of "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down".[citation needed]

Lightnin'Hopkins 7/13/1961 recorded "Baby Don't You Tear My Clothes" using the same tune as Baby Let me Follow You Down. It was recorded in Houston and was on "The Very Best Of Lightnin' Hopkins." His real name was Sam Hopkins.[citation needed]

Dylan years[edit]

"Baby, Let Me Follow You Down"
Song by Bob Dylan from the album Bob Dylan
Released March 19, 1962
Recorded 1962
Genre Folk
Length 2:37
Label Columbia/Capitol (US)
Writer Reverend Gary Davis, Dave van Ronk, Eric von Schmidt,[7]
Bob Dylan track listing

The song became very popular amongst Dylan's following and was a regular feature of Dylan's song list. During his 1966 World Tour, Dylan electrified the sound of the song, playing it on electric guitar with a five-piece electric band as backing. A decade later, he performed the song with a medley of "Forever Young" at The Band's Last Waltz concert.

Additional verses[edit]

An early version of the song contained two verses and a main chorus. Bob Dylan added another verse to the song which appeared regularly. The song has also been edited and changed over the last half a century.

Dylan albums containing the song[edit]

Other recordings[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dixon, Robert M.W., John Godrich and Howard Rye. "Blues & Gospel Records 1890-1943," 4th ed., page 861 (1997) - ISBN 978-0-19-816239-1
  2. ^ Dixon, Robert M.W., John Godrich and Howard Rye. "Blues & Gospel Records 1890-1943," 4th ed., page 984 (1997) - ISBN 978-0-19-816239-1
  3. ^ Dixon, Robert M.W., John Godrich and Howard Rye. "Blues & Gospel Records 1890-1943," 4th ed., page 352 (1997) - ISBN 978-0-19-816239-1
  4. ^ Dixon, Robert M.W., John Godrich and Howard Rye. "Blues & Gospel Records 1890-1943," 4th ed., page 407 (1997) - ISBN 978-0-19-816239-1
  5. ^ Dixon, Robert M.W., John Godrich and Howard Rye. "Blues & Gospel Records 1890-1943," 4th ed., page 279 (1997) - ISBN 978-0-19-816239-1
  6. ^ von Schmidt, Eric, with John Kruth: Remembering Reverend Gary Davis. Sing Out! 51(4) 67-73 2008.
  7. ^ von Schmidt, Eric, with John Kruth: Remembering Reverend Gary Davis, Sing Out! 51(4) 67-73 2008

External links[edit]