Hear Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash’s Original Demo for ‘Wanted Man’
Bob Dylan’s archivists have released the original demo for “Wanted Man,” a song Dylan wrote for Johnny Cash in 1969.
The demo recording, which features the two musicians dueting on the song with Carl Perkins playing the guitar, will be featured on the upcoming box set Bob Dylan (Featuring Johnny Cash) – Travelin’ Thru, 1967-1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 15.
Cash debuted “Wanted Man” on his 1969 live album, At San Quentin, and would later release a studio version. (It was later covered by artists such as Nick Cave and George Thorogood.) Amazingly, Cash had only learned the song a week prior — at the same informal Nashville session with Dylan and Perkins that was captured on the demo recording — before opening his San Quentin set with the number.
As can be heard on the demo, Cash didn’t exactly have the lyrics down right away, and there’s a lot of stumbling about, laughing and improvising.
You can also hear the voice of June Carter Cash at the beginning of the recording, warning Cash, “Honey, I don’t want to interrupt your train of thought, but be sure that Bob puts the melody to that song, that ‘Wanted Man’…you forgot the melody.”