Dylan cover a day: It’s all over now Baby Blue

By Tony Attwood

Varied melody, rhythmic amendments, repeated lines, change of chord sequence, bars cut in half, different accompaniment…    I’ve often said that if one is going to do a cover version one should make changes – otherwise what is the point.

And it is rather as if Sing Sing Sing have read my comments and taken note (although of course I am sure they haven’t in reality) for they really do work to create an arrangement that gives a completely new feel and new insight.

I really like that, although I am not quite sure it was also necessary to change the name of the song as well – it now appears as “Baby Blue”.  Interestingly, when the same band recorded “My Back Pages” they did it as a straight reproduction of Dylan’s version.

Continuing with the notion of complete re-arrangements of the song, it is difficult to imagine anything further from the original than Bad Religion’s version…

However they achieve this by only affecting the rhythm, which goes punk, yet the melody and chords stay the same.  It doesn’t hold the same interest level for me as Sing Sing Sing’s version.  More like someone said, “Let’s do it as a punk version” and then didn’t think on it any further.

However, it is true that I do prefer versions that don’t try too hard.  Sholi gets that right as far as I am concerned, except for the electronic additions.  I am not quite sure why they are there or what they achieve, but I do like the way the melody changes by the time we get to the seasick sailors.   And I really do get the feeling that the arrangers had thought a lot about the meanings within the music – which may sound an obvious requirement, but is not always something that is fulfilled.

But in all these versions, and the hundreds of others available, in one regard they all lack the sense of deep, deep, sadness that I find there is in the song.   Except maybe this one final submission

Run for Cover seems a thoroughly appropriate title for the album.  This is the one recording that for me adds something to a song that I first heard 57 years ago, and which I find a truly valuable addition.   And indeed when you’ve had a song with you for that long, then for a new version to make an impact it really does have to be something else.   Which this is.

Here’s a list of most of the articles from this series…

One comment

  1. The “completely new” insight (????)and feel by Sing Sing Sing surely has to do with the female voice;

    Nevertheless, the sorrowful tone of both the music, and the words remains in tact.

    As also in the Shannon version.

    Too much change in the feel of the song forced by the music can be for the worse as the Punk tract shows.

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