By Tony Attwood
- Dylan cover of the day: Number 1. The song with numbers in the title.
- Dylan cover of the day. No 2: Ain’t Talkin
- Bob Dylan cover of the day No3: All I really want to do
- Dylan cover of the day No4: Angelina
- Dylan covers of the day No 5. Apple Suckling and Are you Ready.
- Cover version of the day No 6: As I went out one morning
- Dylan cover of the day No 7: Ballad for a Friend
- Dylan Cover of the Day No 8: Ballad in Plain D
Ballad of a thin man: oh where to begin? Having struggled to find any covers at all of oh so many Dylan songs so far, I’m now swamped with choices.
One thing I have discovered since starting this journey is the existence of delightful instrumental versions of Dylan songs… something I love, I think, because of my own musical background. While many people quite reasonably focus exclusively on the lyrics, there is music there as well as these instrumentals remind us of that.
Of course the instrumentalist has to work so much harder – Dylan’s songs are by and large strophic, meaning that you get verse, verse, verse etc. And if the lyrics change and are interesting you can get away with that. But in an instrumental… the challenge is much greater.
Thus these instrumental versions do help us focus on what Bob the musician was doing, and remind us that we are listening to music, not poetry recitals with background sounds.
First off, here are two versions, one of which keeps us in touch with the origins of the piece
the other of which goes into a country related to the original, but for which you certainly need a passport and visa to enter.
For those who try to do the song as the song, the problem is that we all know the lyrics so well, and that chord structure is so distinctive, it is hard not to try too hard, which is what I think most of the re-workers are doing. In short every one seems to be trying just that bit too hard, forgetting that they can do pretty much anything they like. It doesn’t have to sound like the original!
And it doesn’t have to get more and more frantic.
I was getting to the end of my search thinking that maybe the closest to my ideal of a vocalised version comes from our old pals, The Dylan Project. Fond memories here of a great evening out with Pat (who encouraged me so much to start, and then keep going with this site).
But in the end I did find something that was refreshingly original and for me, insightful. I had almost given up, but it was worth the search.
So a bit of a run around today. But I found what I wanted in the end. A new insight. Is that too much to ask?
Another song tomorrow.