Have been meaning for some time to feature some cover versions of this great song – possibly my favourite folk song -here. The song is probably best known today as the source for ‘Bob Dylan’s dream’ on Freewheeling, but the original song is a superior one to Dylan’s version in almost every way. It deals in an imaginative way with a real tragedy, whereas Dylan’s song, as Michael Gray has pointed out, is weighed down by a ‘ponderous’ (and rather egocentric) nostalgia.
Will start with my two favourite versions – this is, I think, the definitive one by Kevin Burke and the late great Micheál Ó’Domhnaill:
A close second to it is this great version by Martin Carthy (from whom Dylan learned the song):
This version (a sample only, unfortunately) by John Renbourn – from his Live in Italy cd – also brings a distinctive sensibility to the song and features some remarkably deft guitar work:
This is my favourite Renbourn version of the song, but another full one can be seen here: