Dylan cover a day: Heart of Mine

By Tony Attwood

A list of the previous articles in this series is given at the foot of the page.

Inevitably Jochen got to this song before I started work on this little article today, but as I generally do, I decided to make my selection without referring back to his, just to see if we both came out the same.  And I have taken the opportunity to update the links in my earlier review of the song – they are very pesky things these links to internet recordings.

But onwards…

I love the start of the Blake Mills version – the first selection today.  Obviously, we know what track we have chosen to play but even so it takes a moment to realise that it really is “Heart of Mine”.  The artists here are Blake Mills & Danielle Haim.

I also love the way this is understated until the percussion comes in for the instrumental break.   In fact, every moment within the accompaniment seems to emphasise that the heart can be broken – there’s a sort of fragility within the music which is very difficult to balance with the regularity of the heartbeat I think they want to portray.  But it works.

The sheer difference between each of these cover versions shows just what a magnificent song this is.  And this version below has awoken me to just how interesting the lyrics actually are.   I mean, the title “Heart of Mine” could well be just a simple song about simple emotions and feelings.   But it is so much more than this.

Also in the Mountain version below the instrumental break is aggressive and strong – and this is a song about “this heart of mine” – how can that work?   I am not sure, but I think a lot has to do with the lead guitarist who doesn’t seek to push him/herself forward but plays always around the vocalist.

And if you have time, and the inclination, listen to the song again, and just focus on the lead guitar.   This musician really knows what’ s what.

Next is the version that Jochen highlighted.  I’ve always had time for the work of Norah Jones, and I’d love to know how much input she has in the arrangements.  Is she “produced” or does she have the ideas?  Or indeed does she tell the band, “this is how we are doing it”?  I think the latter – including such beautiful elements such as pulling back the start of the verse, that fraction further than one might expect.

Lovely restrained instrumental break as well – yes let the percussion bang on, because that’s the heart beat – but all around it, the music represents the essence of the emotions.   The heart beat / drum beat is there, as it has to be / but it’s not the essence.

Love the lead guitar too.

And now, if you’ve been following this series since it began, you’ll know I have a fascination with non-English performances since when they are in a language I have no knowledge of (which is most of them) it allows me to consider the music further.

What’s interesting is that almost everyone seems to want to keep the strong drum beat (except Norah J0nes) presumably because they think it represents the heart (ok, but really is that the most important part of it all?)

There’s an extra strength in these vocals and in the guitar solo too.  Delicacy has gone out of the window.  In this version he’s taking control of his emotions.  And why not?



Untold Dylan was created in 2008 and is published daily – currently twice a day –  sometimes more, sometimes less.  Details of some of our series are given at the top of the page and in the Recent Posts list, which appears both on the right side of the page and at the very foot of the page (helpful if you are reading on a phone).  Some of our past articles which form part of a series are also included on the home page.

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