Dylan cover a day 71: Lay Lady Lay

By Tony Attwood

What can you do with a song that is not only incredibly famous in terms of its original but has had such a vast number of covers that it is pretty difficult to imagine anything else being possible?

One answer seems to be to produce a vast number of instrumental covers, many of which are, well, rather bizarre and odd.  Take these two…

I am not going further down that road, but there are plenty more out there if you find that interesting.

Meanwhile, we’ve already done an article on how Lay Lady Lay can be used as the basis for something else, with Lay Lady Lay: The Sampler Sessions.

And Jochen has also chosen his selection of winning covers with versions by Magnet, Ministry, Cher and Isaac Hayes, and that selection is most certainly worth looking into.

So is there anything else?   Indiana Nomma goes somewhere else again, and has the virtue of sounding like she really believes it and wants to be performing the song.   It is perfectly arranged and performed, and nothing in the production shows any sign of someone saying, “we need to do something else here guys.”  It just is, it sounds complete.  I could almost believe that this is how the piece was initially imagined.

Of course, some have really tried to play around with the chords, the melody and rhythm to see what happens.   And the answer usually is nothing very exciting.   But here’s one that I would give 10 out of 10 to, for inventiveness and production.   It does show that differences can be made even with songs we know 100%.

Moving on, the next track is a version that does nothing new, and treats the song as it is, without trying to go anywhere else.  And yet contains far more than enough for me to want to keep listening, even though I know exactly where it is going.

How does that happen?  I guess, by no one trying too hard, and just accepting the fact that the song as written is complete in itself.  It needs an accompaniment, but that’s it… It is, and us listeners simply need to take it for what it is.

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

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