Dylan cover a day: Down along the cove

By Tony Attwood

“Down along the cove” is not one of my favourite Dylan compositions, simply because there isn’t much there.  The lyrics seem to me to be profoundly ordinary, the song doesn’t fit with the rest of the album, and it’s just a simple 12 bar blues without any variation.  In short, it has all the hallmarks of being a filler to complete the album, written I suspect for when Dylan played at a location called “The Cove”.

So would any cover version make anything worthwhile of the song?  Well, yes this one does.

David Kincicky is one of those instrumentalists – he’s a fiddler – who knows how to retain something from the original song, while transmuting it into something else.  And more, for all the while he is showing that he understands the essence of the original.   And he manages to deliver perfectly arranged gentle vocal harmonies, which is much harder than it sounds.

Now forgive me while I meander off piste for a second to offer David’s take on Dire Straits

But now, since I must, back to the Cove. Thea Gilmore has to cover this because she has done the whole JWH album as a cover.  She takes it very gently although somewhat breathlessly, and once again I find it enjoyable and fun.  Not that memorable, but still enjoyable.

So I’m not going to dig it out to play again, in the way that I would with a few pieces from that album (and her Drifters’ Escape is definitive in my world), but it’s fine.   The song still doesn’t make any sense in relation to the rest of JWH, but at least the instrumental break relates to the way the rest of the track goes.

And that’s about it.  There are others, but mostly they involve someone saying “Hey, let’s try it faster” or “Hey let’s try it slower.”   And really, most of the time that ain’t enough.

At least not for me.

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1 Response to Dylan cover a day: Down along the cove

  1. Larry fyffe says:

    “doesn’t make any sense”….in Attwood’s opinion, I take it

    The mockingbird of the bleak human condition flies away from the House of the Rising Sun for a break … for some enjoyment down along the Cove

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