One thing an artist of a certain age and standing might attempt to do is to release an album of re-recorded or reworked versions of their own songs. Looking through my own CD collection I found these ones that I particularly enjoy:
- Joni Mitchell – Travelogue
- Electric Light Orchestra – Mr Blue Sky
- Kate Bush – Director’s Cut
- Peter Gabriel – New Blood
- Steve Hackett – Genesis Revisited I & II
- Paul Simon – In The Blue Light
- Van Morrison – Reworking The Catalogue
- Brian Wilson – I Wasn’t Made For These Times
Now is this something that Dylan is likely to do himself? Perhaps… however like most things he has been doing it for years already!
Here are a few examples of Dylan covering himself that I have come across over the years. My criteria for inclusion being a) they have been officially released and b) they are not from a live album.
The earliest example that I have come across appears on, that’s right, you guessed it, Bette Midler’s 1976 album Songs For The New Depression. It is a duet with Bob on Buckets Of Rain.
What we have here is a very showbiz-y version with Bob’s vocals prominently featured, and yes for some reason they do decide to sing “Nugget’s Of Rain”. Judging by Bob’s little half laugh towards the end and Bette vamping away “Bobby…Bobby” it sounds like a splendid time was had by all in the studio.
Next up we have an interesting take on The Ballad Of Hollis Brown released on Mike (brother of Pete) Seeger’s 1994 album Third Annual Farewell Reunion.
With Bob in fine voice and Mike’s banjo bringing a certain menace to the track I’d rank this one as pretty good and certainly worth the time of all involved and worthy of a listen.
Moving on, we have Bob’s contribution to the soundtrack of the 1999 TV movie “The 60s”. Here we have a duet with Joan Osborne on Chimes Of Freedom.
Whilst I don’t feel that the pair’s voices work all that well together, Bob’s electric guitar and the addition of the Hammond Organ makes this early 60s classic sound like it comes from the later Highway 61 era.
Released on the Grateful Dead’s splendid Dylan covers roundup album Postcards Of The Hanging In 2002, we have a version of Man Of Peace recorded in 1987. I don’t have my copy of the CD to hand right now but if memory serves me this was recorded during rehearsals for The Dylan And The Dead tour.
A fine performance by all, with some quality soloing mid way through, its right up there with the original album track and is in my opinion better than most of the live album released from the tour.
Now here is something extra special, A Hard Rain’s A- Gonna Fall recorded in Tokyo with a full orchestra backing. I know, I said I wouldn’t include any live tracks, but this one if so different from the original that it makes it impossible to exclude, and it was officially released but only on the Dignity CD single so might be new to a few people.
I can’t really say to much about this version as it blows me away every time I hear it. Truly amazing.
Dylan also went on to re-record several of his classic tracks for the Masked & Anonymous film, but as only 2 of these songs made the soundtrack album I can only include these two: Cold Irons Bound…
and Down In The Flood.
Both excellent versions with the touring band backing Bob wonderfully. Hopefully one day we will see a release of all the tracks he recorded for the movie.
Last up we have Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking recorded with Mavis Staples for the Gotta Serve Somebody album in 2003. An amazing version which betters the original in so many ways for me. Unfortunately it doesn’t exist on YouTube but can be found on Spotify. You really should check this one out if you haven’t heard it already…even if you have, give it another listen now!
I’ll leave you with this version of Most Of The Time recorded around the time of Under The Red Sky album. I believe this was only ever released as a promo single. Listen and enjoy this amazing alternative version of a great track!
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