It was on this day in 1962 (48 years ago when I wrote the first version of this post) that Columbia records released the 20 year old Bob Dylan's first album. Of the 13 tracks on the LP, only two were written by Dylan: Song to Woody and Talkin' New York. The former sounds today like a sweetly open and honest, if not doting, appreciation from a young musician to one of his artistic influences and inspirations. The latter is an application of the "talking blues" form that no doubt had many undocumented folk practitioners but was first institutionalized by Christopher Allen Bouchillon and later much further popularized by the same Woody Guthrie that Dylan had written the other song for.
Even though he only wrote two original songs for his debut album, I've always thought you can get a sense of some of Dylan's subsequent compositions from the folk and blues songs he covers (like Led Zeppelin, Dylan has been accused of a little too much Love and Theft from blues and folk songs of yore). Does anyone else hear a rough draft of the guitar riff from It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) in Dylan's cover of Curtis White's Highway 51? This is a live version as the studio track from Dylan's first album has been taken down from YouTube, but you'll get the idea.
Now give this a listen:
I'm sure I'm not the first person to make or write about the connection between the two songs ... but you feel a sense of ownership, maybe even pride, when you've done it yourself, regardless of who has been there before.
Here are the two originals from Dylan's first: