A Dylan Cover a Day: Mozambique

By Tony Attwood

Opinions on Mozambique are divided – did it belittle the struggle of the country for independence from Portugal, or was it actually a celebration that the fight was over, or simply did the name of the country fit with a song that was emerging?

Of course with Bob we never know, but I have always enjoyed it as a piece of music as such without worrying about the connotations of the lyrics.  Besides, I’ve never blamed Bob for not making his political views clear.  After all, “Times they are a changin” actually says quite clearly in the lyrics that the world changes as time goes by, not that we the people make the changes or need to make changes.  It happens, adjust to the new ways rather than say the old days were better, is the clear message in the lyrics.   But then, who cares what the lyrics say, when we have our views to implant on the top of them?

Cover versions of Mozambique are rare, and of those around not all are really innovative nor beautiful nor intriguing enough to warrant a specific mention.   But “A Nod to Bob 2” (a tribute on his 70th birthday), really did involve artists listening and re-thinking.

I’m not overwhelmed by the intro but am so glad that I persevered and discovered this interpretation; it has become one of my favourite reworkings.   This is because this cover keeps enough of the original for us to recognise exactly what it is, but puts in so much in terms of new material that I just have to listen.

I’m also not too sure many of my pals would enjoy this, but if you listen all the way through please do pay special attention to the harmonies and the way the instruments weave around them.

This is what I call a tribute.

In fact I only have two cover versions of Mozambique that I enjoy, and both of them play with the melody and focus on the enjoyment and lightness of the songs.

And yes I know “Kids sing Bob Dylan” is a bit twee and a bit of a strange idea, but I still enjoy this.  It brings a certain lightness to my day, in a world when not all days are light.

The Dylan Cover a Day series

One comment

  1. “Who cares what the lyrics say” – the motto of the Sound School of Dylanology- is
    a dubious one indeed.

    Postmodernism allows for audience participation, but any meaning derived has to backed up with ‘evidence’ from the lyrics and the mood set by the music.

    For example, contending almost every song is about Jesus overrides the ambiguity often found in Dylan’s lyrics.

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