A Dylan Cover a Day: My back pages, with a real treat at the end

By Tony Attwood

There are some cover versions of Dylan songs which I fear the casual listener may never get to hear simply because he/she listens to the opening 20 seconds or so and then makes a decision not to go on.

Such could be the case with the the Keith Jarrett Trio version.  I am not saying everyone will enjoy this approach to the song, but the very slow introduction is not directly related to what happens thereafter in terms of pace and variation.  It is a scene setter, and none the less interesting for all that, but it does have that disadvantage that because we are used to recordings of Dylan songs adopting the same approach throughout this expectation will pervade every Dylan cover we come across.

But it shouldn’t.

And while we are on the subject of instrumental versions of the song, let me offer another.  This again goes its own way, but its own way is closer to the original throughout, and so offers different insights into the music.

These two instrumentals contrast significantly with the way many vocalists have treated the song, venerating Bob’s approach, rather than innovating through using the original as a basis.

But the trouble with the versions with the full vocal incorporated is that they tend for the most part to play the song without much innovation.

Jimmy LaFave does do a reworking but somehow this doesn’t work for me; it is that problem of knowing the song so well, that the slowed-down versions seems to make the song drag.  If I didn’t know the song at all I might well be drawn to this rendition but sadly now, I just know it too well, so I’m not.

Of course, this problem of knowing the song’s lyrics is overcome if the song is sung in Japanese.

The version below from the Masked and Anonymous soundtrack was first featured in the 200 greatest covers series, and where possible I’ve tried not to replicate that series’ choices with this occasional review, but sometimes it seems worthwhile, just in case you missed it last time.

There have been a number of attempts to take the song very, very slowly, but again the problem with knowing the lyrics off by heart means that a lot of drama is lost.

But all is not lost overall, if you see what I mean, for I can offer one more version which I really do rather enjoy.  I like the way the beat is given more prominence, the way the melody is slightly modified in places, how the rhythm has subtle changes, and how the harmonies work.

All these changes are slight, but together they offer me not exactly a new song, but an interpretation that I find refreshing and worth contemplating even though I know the piece off by heart.  And indeed suddenly after listening to this version, I love the song again.   In fact of all the versions I have listened to this morning in order to put this little piece together, this is the only one I have played more than once.  In fact it is now playing for the fifth time.

And actually on a day when I don’t feel the need to be uplifted, I am nonetheless quite uplifted by this.   And given that I am now of a certain age, the notion of being “younger than that now” really does appeal.  It is, well, as I said, uplifting.

Do play it to the end.  It’s Georgia Whiting…

Now I must admit Ms Whiting is not a musician whose work I have come across before – which is obviously my loss.    If you like this music you might like to see her Facebook page and there is other information here.

For me, this one is quite a find.  Hope you like it.

The Dylan Cover a Day series


  1. Terrible version of Ms Whiting and the fact that in the clip she never changes chords makes you wander is she can play at all or if it’s just a pose, hell, she feel asleep reading chronicles 😉

  2. What on earth do you mean she doesn’t change chords. You can see her hand changing chords but more to the point hear the chord changes. I’ll forgive you the grammatical errors since English might not be your first language, but if one is going to comment upon the music or the visuals one should listen and watch, surely.

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