Dylan Cover of the Day 33: Crash on the Levee

By Tony Attwood

The trouble with this song is that although it isn’t a 12 bar blues it feels as if it ought to be created as one, and that thought has obviously sunk into the minds of many of the artists covering the song.  As a result, a lot of the covers sound pretty much the same.

But although The Derek Trucks Band don’t turn it into a ballad they do keep a lot of the obvious feel of the piece, while at the same time do that magical thing of taking us somewhere else.

And then rather unexpectedly at around 3 minutes 30 seconds they create a coda which feels absolutely part of the song, and yet at the same time gives us new insights, new feelings, new emotions, and above all a new sense of catastrophe, which contrasts with many other recording in which the only catastrophe is that the cover version was made at all.

But of course, really this is a blues song, and Jimmy LaFave (pictured at the top of this article) gave us a fair old working through of the song in this style tinged with some solid rock and roll.  He really was a sublime performer who incidentally championed the work of Woodie Guthrie.  Jimmy died tragically of cancer in his early 60s, never missing a gig.

I can think of no talent more deserving than a place among this daily look at Dylan covers.  Utterly stunning.

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