The Covers we Missed: 2 by 2 – Saturday Night Fish Fry



I don’t know what it means either: an index to the current series appearing on this website.


Songs and recordings researched and suggested by Jürg Lehmann.  Opening commentary by Tony Attwood

Way back in November 2021 (well it seems like “way back” but in fact it actually wasn’t that long ago) I started a series called “A Dylan Cover a Day” in which each day I took a Dylan song and looked for some covers of that song which were on the internet, and then picked a few of them and wrote a bit about each one.

That series finished very recently with You gonna make me lonesome when you go – and at the end of that review there is a list of all the 177 songs previously covered in the series.

Now obviously that left a lot of Dylan songs not included, and of course even in the 177 articles, there were many excellent covers that were missed.

And so now the series is over, Jürg Lehmann has suggested we might go back and revisit a few songs, and perhaps include some of the songs that I missed first time around (which I often did simply because the song was not particularly one of my favourites) and add some more reviews.

So it is still me writing the commentary, but this time not me selecting the tracks.

Jürg’s first selection is 2×2 with which I started off the “Cover a Day” series.  And his comment is simply, “There’s a very good cover by Saturday Night Fish Fry”.

This comes from the album Dirt Road Blues, and I must say the band does a wonderful job with the song – the track is beautifully performed and produced and the arrangement really takes us in a new direction.  As it is not a song that I have particularly rated, I am amazed that the band spent so much time on the arrangement and recording – obviously not because I don’t think much of the original, but because I really couldn’t see where else it could be taken.

But I am so glad they could see what I couldn’t.  Of course me not rating a song is neither here nor there; the main point is that I’ve been reintroduced to a Dylan song that really had passed me by before.  I can only hope it does the same for you.

And… I do like to expand my musical education as I go along, and here I need some help.   Obviously one can look up most things on Google and the like, but “Saturday Nite Fish Fry” is not only the name of this band but it is also the name of a very famous song from the 1930s which I have the feeling my dad played on sax when he was in a dance band at the time.   And also the band’s first album was called Saturday Nite Fish Fry (although with the words “volume 1” added.)

Which makes it had to find other versions of the song (if there are others) on the internet.  But you can find the whole album by the band on line here if you want to take this further.

But what about what happens if you go searching for “Saturday Nite Fish Fry” on the internet?  Well, this is where you are quite likely to end up.

And I know this is several thousand miles away from what Jürg intended but I love this journey.  This recording comes from 1949, but the song goes back much further than that.  But sadly I can’t find any earlier recordings.

However I must come back to the version of 2×2 Jürg has come up with. It really does illuminate what Bob put into that song as a composition, but (in my view) didn’t manage to bring out in the performance.

And just in case you have forgotten it, here’s Bob’s version

What makes all the difference for me is the bass guitar part.  In Dylan’s original version here it is just pounding away on the bass note of each chord, and it just makes the whole piece rather tedious for me before we get to the “How many” line.

Go back to the Saturday Night version, and not only has the song been slowed down but that bass guitar line has been really improved.  The changes are not enormous in themselves but the impact of the change is to make me listen to the rest of the band, and not be put off by the bass.

So I’m really glad to hear this version that Jürg provided, as it gives me another Dylan song that I can listen to, even if I still find the original difficult to take in.  I’m so glad the band persevered with it.

If you were to go back to our 2021 article “220 selected cover versions” you would find that 1 by 1 is not on the list.    If we get round to doing that piece again, it would be.


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