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…
- The song with numbers in the title.
- Ain’t Talkin
- All I really want to do
- Apple Suckling and Are you Ready.
- As I went out one morning
- Ballad for a Friend
- Ballad in Plain D
- Ballad of a thin man
- Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
- The ballad of Hollis Brown
- Beyond here lies nothing
- Blind Willie McTell
- Black Crow Blues (more fun than you might recall)
- An unexpected cover of “Black Diamond Bay”
- Blowin in the wind as never before
- Bob Dylan’s Dream
- You will not believe this… 115th Dream revisited
- Boots of Spanish leather
- Born in Time
- Buckets of Rain
- Can you please crawl out your window
- Can’t wait
- Changing of the Guard
- Chimes of Freedom
- Country Pie
- Crash on the Levee
- Dark Eyes
- Dear Landlord
- Desolation Row as never ever before (twice)
- Don’t fall apart on me tonight.
- Don’t think twice
- Down along the cove
- Drifter’s Escape
- Duquesne Whistle
- Farewell Angelina
- Foot of Pride and Forever Young
- Fourth Time Around
- From a Buick 6
- Gates of Eden
- Gotta Serve Somebody
- Hard Rain’s a-gonna Fall.
- 42 Heart of Mine
- 43: High Water
- 44: Highway 61.5
- 45: Hurricane
- 46: I am a lonesome hobo
- 47: I believe in you
- 48: I contain multitudes
- 49: I don’t believe you.
- 50: I love you too much
- 51: I pity the poor immigrent.
- 52: I shall be released
- 53: I threw it all away
- 54: I want you
- 55: I was young when I left home
- 56: I’ll remember you
- 57: Idiot Wind and More idiot wind
- 58: If not for you, and a rant against prosody
- 59: A Dylan cover a Day: If you Gotta Go, please go and do something different
- 60: If you see her say hello
- 61: Dylan cover a day: I’ll be your baby tonight
- 62: I’m not there.
- 63: In the Summertime, Is your love and an amazing Isis
- 64: It ain’t me babe
- 65: It takes a lot to laugh