The Covers We Missed: All the Tired Horses


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

For more details on this new series on cover versions of Dylan songs that were not previously considered in the last series, please see the intro to the first article in this series.

Songs and recordings researched and suggested by Jürg Lehmann.

All the Tired Horses

 Surprisingly, there are quite a number of covers. This doesn’t seem obvious for a song that is so reduced in musical and lyrical terms, but obviously this reduction also opens up space for the performers. Unfortunately, only a few know how to utilise this, but those who dare to do so achieve fantastic results.

An emotive version by Irish folk musician Lisa O’Neill soundtracks the climactic ending to Peaky Blinders in the 2022 series finale, “Lock And Key”

O’Neill, who wrote a song called “Bobby D” about her admiration for Dylan, is a big fan of “All The Tired Horses”, but a straight re-creation wouldn’t work for the scene.

“I had to do something different with it,” she explained in a 2023 Songfacts interview. “I guess I went in the opposite direction, and they slowed it right down. I had to figure out how low I could go with my voice and how high I could go.”

O’Neill had help from fellow Irish musicians, who contributed ideas and played on the track. They recorded the song over the course of two days at an old horse stables in Cabinteely, South Dublin, by constant candlelight in honor of O’Neill’s friend, the Irish singer/fiddler Mick O’Grady, who was dying at the time. “This all contributed to the energy and the charge of the final track,” O’Neill noted.

Another cover comes from Tim Heidecker (2012)

Tim Heidecker, half the duo responsible for Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!.

During his traveling promotion of Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, he found the time to record a dreamy rendition of All The Tired Horses.

“I was sitting around in my hotel in Austin, reading this article about the new Dylan covers CD called “Chimes of Freedom.” I had some spare time and thought it’d be fun to try and make my own Dylan cover on my laptop and post that I was angry Amnesty International cut mine from the record.”

Heidecker announced on Twitter that he was looking for a studio to record in while in Chicago. Local band The Earth Is A Man were happy to help out. The result is a cover reminiscent of the soft 70s rock that has played a huge role in Heidecker’s previous musical endeavours. Eventually Heidecker’s cover was not included on the Amnesty album.

Other covers come from

The Sports (1981)

Ellie Come Home – Milion Dollar Bash (2006)

Autumn Dirge – Forever Autumn (2009) 

The Narrator (2013) 

Patrick Chabot (2014), who calls his rendition “a requiem”

Tobacco City (2021)

Family Values (2023)

The most convincing cover version in terms of musical quality is by American songwriter, lyricist and composer Ashley Raines&The New West Revue. In fact, it is superb, a real gem.

One critic has described Raines’ music:

Ashley Raines wants you to think about the spaces between a whisper and a shout. If you can’t do that on your own, his voice and the words he sings might be able to help you. Many music critics have compared him to the likes of Tom Waits and Nick Cave, but he’s having a completely different conversation than anyone before him.

While those other singers might know the darkness like an old friend, Ashley asks the listener to discover it for themselves, along with his humble aid. It might be more prudent to compare his songs to a Lynch film. Moving beyond the obvious aesthetic commonalities of the blues and the underlying darkness in all stories, Raines ends up giving a bit of realistic hope that the darkness and the light can live together in harmony. Listen in to hear a flock of doves being released into an endless night.



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