By Tony Attwood
(Writer’s note: there’s a long preamble here of no particular significance or importance. If you just want to hear the cover version that maybe you’ve never heard before, and which might surprise you, skip the chitchat and go scroll straight to the end. You won’t miss much).
Anyway, before I started this site, 13 years, 2430 articles and 10,126 comments ago, I didn’t really have much interest in covers of Bob Dylan records. I’m not sure why, but it simply hadn’t happened even though my life changed in 1988 when Ashley Hutchings recorded “Angelina”. But then people like Jochen, Larry and Aaron came along and through one route or another, I became much more focussed on just what covers could do for my understanding of Dylan’s work.
Of course, I had a few favourites before starting this site, and knew all the famous covers (Hendrix, Byrds etc) but those covers didn’t really get to the centre of my consciousness until I began to realise how listening to another musician re-work a Dylan song gave me a much deeper understanding of the music than I ever had before. The lyrics of course tend to stay the same in cover versions, and I don’t think many of us actually want a cover musician to start messing around with what Bob wrote. After all, he does enough of that himself. But the music does change.
So a while back, instead of seeking out another recording of Bob playing the song the latest article on this site was about, I started (as is my right as the editor/publisher!) to slip in cover versions instead, to illustrate a point being made in the article.
Aaron and I then started our little game which often involves Aaron supplying cover versions of Dylan songs and me writing a review in the time it takes to play the song. I have no idea if anyone else thinks that’s interesting, or instead finds it a pretentious load of old tripe – but then that’s the beauty of a blog. There’s no use of paper, and if you don’t like today’s article, well there are 2430 previous ones on line, and another one tomorrow.
But I must also mention Jochen who appears to have a knowledge of everything musical far beyond mine (which is annoying since I’m the one who worked as a musician – albeit an unsuccessful one) and liberally illustrates his articles with musical examples, and Larry who kindly leaves it up to me to pick which musical examples go into his pieces – as indeed happened this morning where Bob Dylan And The Dylavinci Code (Part XX) which has a staggeringly beautiful rendition of “Not Dark Yet” tucked away within it.
And so now I have got to the notion of thinking: aside from all these opportunities, why don’t I just pick out one cover version a day, and put it online for you, a person who is kind enough to read my ramblings (and the much more illuminating articles by my pals who so kindly give of their time in keeping Untold Dylan going). Just in case you are interested. A Dylan cover a Day in fact.
Or better said, A somewhat obscure Dylan Cover A Day.
Maybe I’ll write a few words about the selected version, maybe not. Maybe you’ll listen, maybe not. Maybe you’ll come back tomorrow to see what odd piece I have chosen. Maybe not. I’d like it if you did, but really, in the nature of things, it’s up to you. With a bit of luck Untold Dylan will last a few more years before they take me away to the Old Writer’s Home, where, when I turn up the CD player too loud they’ll say “Oh give the old sod some paper and tell him to write about Bob Dylan”) so there should be time to pick up tomorrow what you don’t pick up today.
And if the series stops because I get bored with it, maybe someone else will pick it up. But at least after today, you won’t have to read a long rambling piece of nonsense explaining something that really doesn’t need explaining at all. I’ll just put in a link back to this page.
I’ve decided to go in alphabetical order. Which means we start with 2×2. Don’t blame me – numbers just always come before letters in alphabetical lists. I don’t know why. But anyway, if you don’t know it, try it. It might surprise you.
PS: If any aspiring band would like to bribe me to include their version of a song as my selected cover, my bank details are available on request.