By Tony Attwood
When Jochen Markhorst made the comment that he had collected about 9000 Dylan covers over which roughly 1200 are worth a second listen and that “out of those 1200 there are (so far) 152 really, really good covers – some of them surpass the master” I was perhaps a little unbelieving.
But I certainly wanted to investigate the list of he gave me. The first of these was Tangled up in blue by the Indigo Girls. I then abandoned listening to the rest because I became so hypnotised by this version.
Why is it so good? Of course the song is brilliant in itself which helps, but also they do things with it that I would never have thought of. They build it from a simple start, which is not what the lyrics imply at all. They change the chord sequence slightly which nerdish musicians like me always pick up. And the instrumental break is something to behold.
1 Tangled Up In Blue – Indigo Girls
But then I did go on, and here is the rest of that top ten.
2 Not Dark Yet – Severa Gjurin
Oh so gentle, with notes held a fraction longer than you expect.
3 Down In The Flood – Derek Trucks Band
OK by now I am thinking that our correspondent is a genius. Where is he finding these versions? Is this a full time occupation?
4 Is Your Love in Vain? – Barb Jungr
Here I got stuck. I can’t find a video and it is not listed on Spotify where I am (in the UK – it might be different in other countries). If anyone can locate a version on the internet please do tell.
5 Acapulco – Jim James and Calexico
At last one that I actually knew, so I could stop feeling like I had been writing this web site while looking in the wrong direction. I agree – this is haunting.
6 To Ramona – Alan Price
As I have mentioned about 2 million times before, one of my slight claims to fame is that I played in a band that was a warm up for the Animals when Alan played in the band. This is a surprisingly delicate rendition; his electric piano is delicately added.
7 Visions Of Johanna – Chris Smither
If you have been exploring on this site you’ll know that Visions is always in my top 2 Dylan songs (Tell Ol Bill is the other) and that I went berserk when the Old Crow version came out – as the headline confessed the first hearing of their version, it literally had me in tears because it was the version that I had always imagined could exist ever since I had first heard the song.
This is a delightful and thoughtful and gentle reinterpretation. For me, personally it is not up there with Old Crow, but wow, this is sure worth a listen and then some.
8 Clothes Line Saga – The Roches
If you had asked me if this was possible I would have laughed. I could not believe anyone could make this much out of this song. I shall have to go back and totally re-write my review of the original on this site.
9 The Mighty Quinn – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
This is what started it. My revised review including the link to the Manfred Mann album version is now on the site.
10 Lord, Protect My Child – Susan Tedeschi with the Persuasions
And we finish with one that I knew. Yes it is something to behold.
By now I am suffering mega overload, and my colleagues in editorial are ringing to ask where the adverts are that I should have written this morning. But how can I possibly go on? I mean who needs advertisements when there are recordings like this around to be listened to?
Actually, that’s not right, because it is the ads that pay my salary that pays the mortgage and buys the food and wine. But wow what a morning I’ve just had.
Jochen Markhorst I owe you.
What else is on the site?
You’ll find an index to our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page. You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.
The index to the 500+ songs reviewed is now on a new page of its own. You will find it here. It contains reviews of every Dylan composition that we can find a recording of – if you know of anything we have missed please do write in.
We also now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook. Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link
And please do note The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews