When I Paint My Masterpiece

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"When I Paint My Masterpiece"
Song by The Band from the album Cahoots
Released September 1971
Genre Folk rock
Length 4:21
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer(s) The Band
Cahoots track listing
"Life Is a Carnival"
"When I Paint My Masterpiece"
"Last of the Blacksmiths"
"When I Paint My Masterpiece"
Song by Bob Dylan from the album Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II
Released November 1971
Recorded March 1971
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:22
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer(s) Leon Russell
Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II track listing
"Tomorrow is a Long Time"
"When I Paint My Masterpiece"
"I Shall Be Released"

"When I Paint My Masterpiece" is a 1971 song written by Bob Dylan. It was first released by The Band, who covered the song on their album Cahoots. Dylan himself recorded the song in the March 1971 sessions that were produced by Leon Russell. From these sessions came the "Watching the River Flow" single and this track. Both appeared later in the year on Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II. (An outtake of the song, from the same March sessions, was released in 2013 on The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969–1971).)

Dylan and The Band performed the song together live, in the early hours of January 1, 1972, at a New Year's Eve concert by The Band; a recording was released as a bonus track on the 2001 CD reissue of The Band's live album Rock of Ages.

In popular culture[edit]

Dylan's recording is played during the closing credits of the 2013 documentary Tim's Vermeer.

The Band's version of the song was featured in the 2009 film Observe and Report.

Dylan's recording is played during the closing credits of the 2007 documentary My kid could paint that about child painter Marla Olmstead.

Dylan's recording was used over the ending of the 2002 film Comedian and over the closing credits of the 2013 film Tim's Vermeer.

Cover versions[edit]

"When I Paint My Masterpiece" was frequently performed by the Grateful Dead in concerts starting in 1987; the song was sometimes played alongside several other Dylan songs. Though Grateful Dead vocalist Bob Weir sang lead on the song when it was played by the band, lead singer Jerry Garcia had played the song as early as 1972 with Merl Saunders and John Kahn, both of whom would become members of the Jerry Garcia Band.

Chris Whitley recorded a blues version of the song for his last album, Dislocation Blues, which was released with Jeff Lang in 2005.

Elliott Brood performed "When I Paint My Masterpiece" on CBC Radio 2's "Up Close" program,[1] and include it in some of their concerts.

Tim O'Brien recorded a bluegrass/country version of the song on the album "Oh Boy! O'Boy" (1993, Sugar Hill) with Mark Schatz and Scott Nygaard.

Emmylou Harris recorded a version of the song for her album Portraits in 2008.

The bluegrass band Greensky Bluegrass included a live version of the song on their 2010 live album "All Access: Volume 1" recorded at The Riviera Theatre in Three Rivers, MI on Nov. 27, 2009. The song has a regular rotation in their live performances.

Personnel for the studio versions present in Cahoots[edit]


  1. ^ Elliott Brood on CBC Radio 2's Up Close
  2. ^ http://www.geocities.jp/hideki_wtnb/bandplay-4.html