By Tony Attwood
In my original article about Dylan’s lesser known song “Well, well, well” I raved over a version by Dylan’s co-composer for this piece. That was some six or seven years ago and I still do play the recording, and still do think that is a masterpiece of live performance and arrangement.
But despite my ravings, (or more likely probably, because of them), the song has remained as unknown now as it was when I wrote that original piece.
However, Francesco Garolfi, whose work was mentioned in the “Dylan Cover a Day” series, and who then subsequently got in touch with Untold Dylan to say thanks, which was I thought incredibly kind of him.
And just to show he has not forgotten us, Francesco has been back into touch offering us a recording of him performing Dylan’s “Well, Well, Well”. And when a talented artist is kind enough to take note of this site, the very least I can do is pass on the recording. Although in truth I’d want to include it on Untold Dylan, because I not only love the song that Dylan co-composed, I also do love this totally new arrangement
The recording was made just after Francesco received the Italian Blues award – which explains the unexpected array of abandoned amps and instruments around him.
What I love about this performance is the scene setting at the start of the music, which somehow seems both relevant to the stage setting, and which in a curious way gives me the feeling of tumbling water. But more than that I think it is really interesting to compare this with not only the Danny O’Keefe version but also the Ben Harper recording, which is also featured in the original review (see the link above).
But there is more, for what it also shows, I feel, is that talented musicians with the ability to re-think a song from the very start, really can take a song to a totally new place, without utterly losing the connection with the original piece.
Now just to make life more confusing than it already is, there are a couple of other songs with the same title, one written (I think) by John Lennon, but to be clear there is no connection with this lesser known Dylan co-composition.
And to the best of my knowledge, the recordings presented here and on the previous article linked above are the only recordings of the song (given that Dylan did not record it himself), which seems an awful waste. When we listen to the way in which Francesco Garolfi, Ben Harper and Danny O’Keefe interpret the song it really gives an insight into the inventiveness of these musicians and the potential of the lyrics Dylan created.
Although for completeness I should add there is also a version by Steve Howe on the “Portraits of Bob Dylan” album. It is not freely available on the internet, but it can be found on Spotify. However I wouldn’t really push you in that direction; that version is one that seems to me to lose track of the original piece completely. So I am not just raving over any and every version of this song; there are limits. Much better to listen to Francesco Garolfi’s version above.
And just in case you think I am out on my own with my feelings about Francesco’s work, you might care to have a look at this page, which opens with a comment from Peter Walsh, who produced the works of Peter Gabriel, Scott Walker, Simple Minds and others. He said, “Francesco Garolfi is one of the best musicians I’ve ever worked with.”
So, you see, it is not just me!
There are over 100 tracks by Francesco on Spotify, but if you don’t have a subscription or the time for anything else, do listen to his version of “Buckets of Rain”