"I woke up this morning. There were tears in my bed. They killed a man I really loved. Shot him through the head."
The song "George Jackson" is a little-known Gospel-style folk gem relegated to a dusty corner of Dylan's immense discography. Released as a single in late 1971, it is somewhat dated lyrically (in a way Dylan's work rarely is) but a great, memorable song just the same. I first heard the Band Version of the song on the Australian compilation Masterpieces and was never able to find it anthologized anywhere else. I suspect that Dylan might not be eager to resurrect this song for one of the Official Bootleg compilations because it is very uncharacteristic of his post-Folk career. Rarely did Dylan make political statements this straightforward after 1964 and certainly not this topical. In addition, the subject of the song was a Black Panther accused of murdering a prison guard at Soledad Prison in 1970; Jackson had become something of a "cause célèbre" at the time, attracting the attention of many artists and celebrities. The single contained two versions of the song: an Acoustic Version (which is amazing) and the Band Version (complete with Gospel back-up singers). These MP3s are a rip (unfortunately not my own) of the original vinyl single.
George Jackson EP (Original Vinyl)
1. George Jackson (Acoustic Version) (3:40)
2. George Jackson (Band Version) (5:35)