A Dylan cover a Day: Political World

By Tony Attwood

Bob Dylan’s music is known for many things, one of which is the interesting chord changes that he incorporates into some of his songs.   But Political World turned that upside down by giving us a song that stayed on one chord all the way through.

And when that happens one needs something else to keep the momentum – such as rhythm and an exquisite lead guitar part, which this recording by Dylan demonstrates perfectly.

I’ve cited that version above because it does show what a challenge anyone wanting to cover the song has – how do you keep up the momentum and excitement without any chord changes at all?

Betty Lavette and co decide to give us an introduction and then add a reggae rhythm without any reference to the chord at all – the melodic instruments are playing their own melodies as a counterbalance to the vocal.  Thus rather than have one chord there are no chords until…. the instrumental section, which just suddenly changes key.

Now a sudden key change is often an utterly naff thing to do since it basically says “sorry can’t think of anything else to do” but here, making it the instrumental section in contrast to no overt chord playing before, it works.  A clever idea and one that really does add to the whole piece, rather than just being a clever idea.

Tuomo and Markus are not names I know – or at least didn’t know until this moment.  And that is simply because I am not totally au fait with Finnish soul and jazz.  But judging by this I ought to be.  It once again is highly inventive and as a way of illustrating the lyrics really worth hearing – unless of course you only like music that keeps to the beat.

Which brings us to the Chimes of Freedom version by Carolina Chocolate Drops which I have raved over before in relation to an article written in liaison with Aaron.   The vocal harmonies are magnificent, the violin playing is a perfect foil for the vocal verses – oh what a joy this version is.

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