As the story goes, the Byrds invented country rock in 1968 with the arrival of new guy Gram Parsons, the album known as Sweetheart of the Rodeo. It didn’t sell that well. There were no big deal hit singles. Mr. Parsons himself would be gone before the next album, chasing his own particular dreams and oblivions. But it seemed to stick anyway – the notion of putting country’s yearning and twang in service of the rock. It certainly worked for You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere, a Bob Dylan nugget from perhaps the world’s most famous basement, wherein winter’s a-howling and Genghis Khan is running low on sheep for his kings, but the times are good regardless.
In which Julie Driscoll + Brian Auger + The Trinity score a big deal UK hit with a then unknown Bob Dylan song concerning a burning wheel about to explode and other suitably apocalyptic stuff. The time was 1968 and it turns out the song was one of very many to emanate from what would come to be known as the Basement Tapes, the fruit of Mr. Dylan’s previous year spent hanging out in the basement of a big pink house with the band known as The Band, just messing around, drinking wine, having loose, sloppy, sometimes brilliant fun. And then, inevitably, tapes started to proliferate, such that some decades later, Absolutely Fabulous (the TV show) would have itself a suitable theme song.