There is a long history behind the song Wagon Wheel. Yesterday, we posted some lyrics on Facebook and someone commented, “I love Old Crow Medicine Show” while the next commenter stated “You mean the Darius Rucker song?“. It seems this will just be the beginning of the argument over “who did it best” as more and more bands cover, what was originally…a Bob Dylan lyric picked up and finished by Old Crow Medicine Show front man Jay “Ketch” Secor. The story is all over the internet, but according to Secor, “I heard a Dylan song that was unfinished back in high school and I finished it . . As a serious Bob Dylan fan, I was listening to anything he had put on tape, and this was an outtake of something he had mumbled out on one of those tapes. I sang it all around the country from about 17 to 26, before I ever even thought, ‘oh I better look into this.” Those pieces of lyric were originally from a movie recording soundtrack in 1973, and Dylan credited them, referring to them generally as Rock Me Mama, to legendary bluesman Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, who probably heard it in a Big Bill Broonzy recording, who probably picked it up in some little joint along the way. Secor finished the lyrics and he and Dylan signed a co-writing agreement, giving both copyright on the song and the rest, as they say in old Americana songs…is history!
But now the decision over who did it better? Old Crow Medicine Show or Darius Rucker, who covered it and released it last month, already reaching #25 on the Country Music Charts? Well, that’s really a matter of choice, isn’t it. We’ve been listening to both versions all day today and quite frankly, we love both for different reasons. It will be an interesting question, though, as through the years, more and more bands cover this song and revel in the old tradition of, who did it best and who did it first. And the fact of the matter is, we may never know, making it one of the greatest modern day American songs ever!
Check out both versions below and let us know what you think! And don’t miss the original recording by Bob Dylan from the soundtrack for Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, which we’ve included below!
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