By Tony Attwood
Moving on through the Dylan songs in alphabetical order I was not especially surprised to find the paucity of covers of Day of the Locusts, which is a very personal song, but I was interested and slightly taken aback by the lack of versions of “Dead Man Dead Man”, which musically I feel has a lot of potential.
However, it’s not for me to tell artists what they ought to be putting out to the great wide public, so on we go and “Dear Landlord” turns up more. Including an offer from Diva de Lai (Dylan at the opera). At first, I thought it might just be an operatic voice with vibrato cashing in on the song, but no it is much more than this. I love the harmonies later and the male chorus which also appears later. Great fun.
I have no idea how long Thea Gilmore and her colleagues actually took to work out the arrangements for the John Wesley Harding album, but the great thing about it is that each arrangement really does start from a different position, each related to the essence of the song. It would have been so easy to take a style (which is after all what Bob did for all the songs apart from the last two extra tracks, seemingly thrown in to make it long enough to be an album), but they resisted. I get the feeling each and every song was considered in depth, the new arrangement always starting from scratch.
Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker in their own versions of the song have given it a regular rock n roll beat and although musically it is possible, I just don’t think it works for the essence of the lyrics. So I move on finally to…
… Joan Baez… I really don’t feel this bouncy rhythm works. Ms Baez is easily adept enough to fit the lyrics and variations of the melody to this, but the rhythm behind her makes no sense in the context of her singing, nor in the context of lyrics. Indeed you can hear the pianist getting rather desperate to fill in his/her part around it all. Artistically it is the equivalent of taking a famous picture and saying “Ok let’s turn it upside and add a load of paint sploshes around the edges; that might work.”
It’s not Ms Baez fault – she’s not the producer, although she might have had the power to say, “let’s not put that one out”. In that context, the picture of her (below) is just about right.
- 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
- Dylan Cover of the Day No 9: Ballad of a thin man
- Dylan cover No. 10: The stunning reworking of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
- Dylan cover of the day No 11: The ballad of Hollis Brown
- A Dylan cover a day No 12: Beyond here lies nothing
- Dylan cover of the day No 13: Blind Willie McTell
- Dylan Cover of the Day 14: Black Crow Blues (more fun than you might recall)
- Dylan Cover of the Day 15: An unexpected cover of “Black Diamond Bay”
- Dylan Cover of the Day 16: Blowin in the wind as never before
- Dylan Cover of the Day 17: Bob Dylan’s Dream
- Dylan Cover of the Day 18: You will not believe this… 115th Dream revisited
- Dylan cover of the day 19: Boots of Spanish leather
- Dylan cover of the day 20: Born in Time
- Dylan cover of the day 21: Buckets of Rain
- Dylan cover of the day: 22 Can you please crawl out your window
- Dylan cover of the day 23: Can’t wait
- Dylan Cover of the Day 24: Changing of the Guard
- Dylan Cover of the Day 25: Chimes of Freedom
- Dylan Cover of the Day 26: Dear Landlord
- Dylan cover of the Day 27: Desolation Row as never ever before (twice)
- Dylan cover of the Day 28: Dignity.
- Dylan Cover of the Day 29: Dirge
- Dylan Cover of the Day 30: Don’t fall apart on me tonight.
- Dylan cover a Day 31: Don’t think twice
- Dylan cover a day 32: Down along the cove
- Dylan Cover of the Day 33: Crash on the Levee
- Dylan cover a day 34: Country Pie
- A Dylan cover a day 35: Dark Eyes
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