A Dylan cover a Day: Hurricane

By Tony Attwood

Dramatic, powerful, message dominated… what can you do with Hurricane?

The opening of Ani DiFranco’s version really is challenging and menacing, which is of course a big contrast with Bob’s original which always seems to me to be designed to incorporate his interest in boxing as much as to express outrage.

It is of course the bass that conveys that new feeling, but it is not just that, for there are other instrumental contributions that edge in and out.  Nothing really obvious, it is all thought through, and the pull-back at the start of each verse returns our attention to the lyrics.

There is also a sense of absolute weirdness in some of this, which for me is how it should be because I have always felt the sport was itself weird.  But that’s just me of course.  Even the moments between the verses change each time.  And the bit I don’t like the “triple murder” line which I find musically awful in the original, she makes work.

It’s not a piece I want to play over and over, but as an interpretation of Dylan’s original, it is something to think about.

And so by way of contrast the Vitamin String Quartet who we have met before.  It is an interesting choice for them because there really isn’t too much they can do here… yet even the brief interlude between verses is handled excellently.

I suppose I like it as a contrast with Ani DiFranco telling us how it really is, and Dylan’s love of the sport.   And besides whoever heard of a string quartet playing a piece about boxing?

The coda from 2 minutes 36 seconds onward is completely unexpected too – a superb ending.


A list of previous songs reviewed is given below.

Untold Dylan was created in 2008 and is currently published 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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One comment

  1. VSQ ..,,between what verses?….I don’t hear no stinkin’ verses ….

    Beautiful music, yes …..

    But the original song depends on the long narrative for its total impact ….

    I suppose a listener who from memory is able to repeat all the lines therefrom word for word doesn’t need them!

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