Dylan cover of the Day 30: Don’t fall apart on me tonight

By Tony Attwood

The next song in the alphabetical list is the lesser known “Dirty Lie” which has one superb cover version by The Secret Sisters.   But I’ve already raved about that here, so if you want to hear that cover, and the original from which the song was derived, that’s the place to go.

I’ve also replaced the source of the Dylan recording of the song in that article – the previous one linked to was no longer available.  It’s a fun piece of music, and so is the cover version.

So moving on, “Don’t fall apart from me tonight” is next – one of the songs that Bob has never chosen to perform.  But others have.

During the first lockdown in England I discovered what Chrissie Hynde was up to, recording Dylan songs for the fun of it, and “Don’t fall” was one of them…

She really has that ability to get inside the lyrics.  I’m not at all sure about video, but I do love this recording.   It really shows to me that these songs that many Dylan fans will have completely forgotten, have so much in them.  They are worthy of being kept alive…

Just listen to what she does with the “These people walking toward you” section – that is stunningly brilliant.

And to prove how brilliant that recording above is I am going to include three other covers that fail to get there.

Overall Bettye Lavette’s contribution to the cause really is something to behold.  But this isn’t my favourite reinterpretation of a Dylan song.  However I feel it deserves to be noted simply because of how much she has done to bring the songs to more and more people’s awareness.  Yet it shows that no matter how much talent and background understanding one has, success with a Dylan song is not guaranteed.

These next two covers also provide a further warning.  Just playing and singing the song as another pop ballad, without any extra insight (as opposed to a load of emphasis to try and suggest that the singer is really really really feeling it) doesn’t quite make it worthwhile.

Aaron Neville (below) takes it more gently and seeks to use his voice as the prime input but the instrumentation for me trivialises what’s left.  The insight has gone.

And so again I think it is worth hearing these three versions just to show the magnitude of what Chrissie Hynde achieved.  Once you’ve had enough of this, go back to that opening recording on this page, if you have the time, and hear just what can be achieved with a person who really feels that this is a Dylan song, not just another song.  Listening to these alternative versions I just feel that Chrissie has not only understood the lyrics and music, but understood Dylan.  Not only Dylan in this song, but Dylan generally.

The series so far…

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