My choices for the Quintessential ‘It’s Alright Ma’ Dylan Playlist


The other day I got a message from a friend and former professor of mine from our Malone days, John David Geib, who is in the middle of facilitating a class on all-things Dylan. He’s calling the class, “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m only Bleeding) Deconstructing The Song That Deconstructs Heads from The 60’s till Now” or something to that effect.  Anyways, back in college him and I would talk about Dylan and the possibility of having a class on his stuff someday and hearing the news that he is actually doing it made me happy (though I will confess a little jealousy too). I had similar visions of grandiose (or should I say Johanna) when I was at Fuller. Ryan Bolger and I often semi-joked around about doing a class on the “The theology of Bob Dylan.” Anyways, these are all still dreams and with my PhD studies relegated to the part-time moments when I can steal away from other responsibilities (and social interactions online) it feels far off.

In the meantime, I’m digging through a pile of bootlegs I happened upon from a fellow Dylan fan and compiling “Quintessential” lists of Dylan songs I wouldn’t be the same without; I was also asked by the owner of our local Camas Coffee shop, Cafe Piccolo Paradiso, to come up with a playlist for the cafe I found myself at multiple times a week now. Creating a playlist for our Camas coffeeshop is a win win situation for me, she gets great Dylan tunes, and I get to listen to it while I do work and drink a latte!

So anyways, when John Geib bragged about his Dylanology class, I thought I’d set him the task of compiling, in his opinion, the 12 most important Dylan songs, or what we’re calling the Quintessential “It’s alright Ma” Dylan Playlist (It’s Alright Ma is Geib’s favorite song).

I decided if I was going to ask such a hard task of him, I should be willing to make my own, so here it is (it is subject to change of course!).

  • Love minus Zero/No Limit
  • Girl from the North Country
  • To Romona
  • Boots of Spanish Leather
  • I Shall Be Released
  • Kingsport Town
  • It’s Alright Ma, I’m only Bleeding
  • My Back Pages
  • Lovesick (Live Version)
  • Black Cross (Audio available here)
  • Gotta Serve Somebody
  • Masters of War
  • Bonus track: One More Cup of Coffee
  • Bonus track: All Along the Watchtower
  • Bonus track: Ballad in Plain D

Listen to the playlist on Spotify and view all the lyrics to these songs here.

What’s your twelve? (Okay, you can also have a bonus track).