Dylan Cover a Day: Idiot Wind

By Tony Attwood

I can’t imagine that one could be a Dylan fan and not be moved by “Idiot Wind”… by which I mean that there are Dylan songs I really don’t care for very much, and wouldn’t choose to play, but my feeling is, if you don’t like “Idiot Wind”, really how can you be a Dylan fan.  The song is so utterly Dylan.  It is unique.

Which makes doing a cover version of the piece quite difficult – but people do try and occasionaly (in my personal estimation) really add something to the original.

Lucinda Williams toured with Dylan and Tom Petty, so if she’s good enough for Bob…

I must admit that I nearly didn’t think of including this track, largely because I remember the start which someone just doesn’t work for me, but listening again after a while that seems far less of initial.

Above all she adds a real feeling of anger of her own which develops – one might almost say “matures” as the song progresses.   I think it is that unique way of singing; you can both see and hear that there either her own personal input from experience in the execution of the song, or she is really inside the song.   Like a superb actor, she has become the part and one forgets it is her.

Some really interesting hesitations in the timing add to the feeling, and the band are exactly there as well, fully appreciating what she is bringing to the production.

Just an advance note, on my computer the screen goes black after three minutes or so.  But really it is the music that is what we are here for.

The Coal Porters are described as “alt bluegrass” and bluegrass needs some “alt” for me to appreciate it.  I guess I just come from the wrong culture to understand what the appeal is.

But this is brilliant.  Even the banjo is kept under control – I mean, just think about it.  A plucked banjo on Idiot Wind!!!???   But it is fun (which again is another contradiction) and it works.

And I really don’t understand how it can work, because how can a thoroughly nasty composition become a piece of fun without either the music destroying the lyrics or vice versa.  But it works.

Gerard Quintana and Jordi Batiste have developed a series of Catalan covers of Dylan, who Quintana says is his musical inspiration.  They formed ‘Miralls de Dylan’ (‘Mirrors of Dylan’), and released a series of albums featuring Dylan’s songs.

I live this because so much feeling comes across – which of course is double hard when singing in what is not your native tongue.  (I mean I struggle even to get the words right let along put emotion into them, when attempting French).

Of course we all know the song off by heart, but somehow a little extra flowed from this performance into my soul (if I have a soul that is).

The Minch Mins

For this final version you’ll have to click on this link…

https://theminchmins.bandcamp.com/album/even-more-blood-on-the-tracks

And then scroll down to track four and click on that.

There is a fantastic energy and invention in this song which takes us to the edge, but never over it.  I find it really refreshing and exciting – and that takes some doing with a song that we’ve probably all heard a thousand times.

The extra energy that the production puts into song is so easy to get wrong because it just becomes more and more emphasis on every note and word but the band get there by changing the arrangement as the singer throws in more emphasis.

And I do love the instrumental section at the end (although don’t quite understand why the radio voice is added, but maybe it means something that I just don’t get – unless it is a simplistic representation of what mindless talking is all about… but then I think I knew that.).

There is precious little about the singer and band on the internet so I’d be grateful to learn some more.   What I did find on the website that has this recording is this

“This track by track re recording of Bob Dylan’s ‘Blood On The Tracks’ wast the brainchild of creative genius yet humble space tech wizard James Minchau. Upon hearing of this quest the thick string’d yet nimble sir, Richard Cummins breaketh through the fourth mure and hath reached into yond dimension, collecting souvenirs to ordain the garden.

“and thither t wast”

It’s a tough song; I think these performers each help me understand it that little bit more.

There’s a list of the other songs covered in this series below.

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Untold Dylan was created in 2008 and is currently published once or 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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1 Response to Dylan Cover a Day: Idiot Wind

  1. Larry Fyffe says:

    I happen to like “Idiot Wind” but to anoint oneself judge and jury as to who is and is not a true Dylan fan based on the song as a test is an act of hubris

    …especially when everyone is assured that the writer of the piece above is one who can attest to which Dylan’s songs are not so deserving.

    Such a conceited comment is not really necessary to begin with.

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