Dylan cover of the day No 13: Blind Willie McTell

By Tony Attwood

The list of previous episodes is to be found at the end of the article.

If you have been paying attention you’ll know by now that the cover versions I am choosing are the ones that offer something new to the understanding of the song, or simply offer a different level of entertainment.

So I listen for different accompaniments, a new style of vocal delivery, that sort of thing.  And yes for Blind Willie, Chrissie Hynde certainly delivers.   And it’s not just her vocal delivery, it is the accompaniment which evolves during the course of the performance.


And then of course as you listen to the second cover that one has to be different not just from Dylan’s version but also the previous cover.   This second one took me by surprise at the start because I had enjoyed Chrissie Hynde’s reworking of the song so much.   But Patterson Hood and Jay Gonzalez don’t disappoint because although they have the same sort of vision as the version above they go elsewhere – and that’s really what I want.

The integrity of the song remains but the notion of what we have within the song changes.   This is exquisite.

There are a number of other versions that base their interpretation on the slowing down of the song just about as far as it can go, but I’ll end today with one that give us a bit of speed and beat.

Of course it all depends on your taste and why you are listening.  I explore these for the fun of hearing where the original piece takes different musicians and producers.  I can only hope you find a reason for listening – and perhaps even returning to the series tomorrow.

This final version I stumbled on by chance and it was a refreshing moment after the dedication within the two songs above.  I don’t know if the end is meant to be like that – but still, up to that point, it’s fun.

Previously in this series…


  1. Not meant to end like that?

    No, it didn’t.

    The Dream Syndicate flew too close to the sun with this blues song, their rocknroll wax-feathers melted, and they crashed into the sea.

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