By Tony Attwood and Aaron Galbraith
We launched “The Dylan Nobody Knows” series with the article on Wynton Marsalis and Jacek Kaczmarski – details of this and other articles in the series are at the foot of this piece.
So now we in the series are deliberately travelling in a different direction with Dylan’s cover of “He’s Funny That Way,” which he recorded for a LGBT themed compilation EP, plus Dylan’s Christmas recitation.
“He’s funny that way” is not on YouTube yet but it is on Spotify and avaialble without payment. If you don’t have an account you just have to sign up – no credit card details or anything are required.
The album is called “Universal Love,” and Dylan’s voice really does sound good. It also very much sounds like a one-take recording – there is a slight uncertainty at the start, but once Bob settles down it is a quite remarkable rendition.
And there is a benefit of hearing it on Spotify – the six tracks just run one after the other, and it really is a joy to behold – brilliant versions of songs you’ll already know, performed in a way that, before you hear them, are unimaginable.
Other artists on the album Kesha, St. Vincent, Ben Gibbard, Valerie June and Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, and it was recorded in 2018.
Of course it is not an original idea to change the pronoun in a song – or indeed in this song, many others have done it along the way since the song was released as part of the 1931 film “Gems of MGM”. (Incidentally, this is not one of the movies that we’re going to include a clip from – it is really pretty dire).
But what is interesting is that Variety revealed that the album was funded by MGM Resorts International as a way of promoting the pieces as wedding anthems for same-sex couples. Apparently around a quarter of the wedding ceremonies that take place in the company’s 15 hotels in Las Vegas, are for same-sex couples.
Also, according to the same source, Bob Dylan did not just agree to take part in the project but also said immediately “Hey, I have an idea for a song.”
And while we are here, we could perhaps also venture into the Dylan recitation Of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas
This was released as the b side of this rather cool looking red vinyl 7” single for Must Be Santa…it brings to mind the two tracks released in the last few weeks!