Monday, January 17, 2011

These are Songs Bob Wrote

This mix has been a long time coming. A lot of people I know get all up in arms about Bob Dylan; they either love him or hate him. Regardless of the man's vocal talents or personality flaws, I've gotta say I deeply respect his songwriting skills above all. Prolific, prophetic...probably something else that begins with 'P'. Anyway, in that vein, I thought I'd compile a mix of my favorite Dylan covers. I figured this would be a great test of Bobby D's songwriting abilities...how his work fares in the hands of others. I have heard a lot of shitty Dylan covers in my lifetime (and in my iTunes), so I had to sift through and pick out my absolute favs.
DISCLAIMER: many of these songs come from the I'm Not There original soundtrack. This is not my fault. Many of those songs  flat out rock, and it's the best collection of Dylan covers ever assembled by human beings. Fact.
Running Time: Aprox. 1 hr. 34 min. (Don't bitch, it used to be longer!)
Track Pick: Ani Difranco - Most of the Time

I have a huge thing for cover songs in general (though I'm not quite as fanatical as the bloke who does Cover Lay Down), but with these songs in particular, I love to hear how different artists interpret the words and tone of Dylan's compositions. The "Highway 61" cover is definitely the most fun, while "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" adds a new mournful layer to that tune. So beautiful! The Ani cover of course stands out for me 1) for it's clutch use of the banjo and 2) for being 100x better than the original song (featured in High Fidelity). Semi-interesting tidbit: The People's Republic of Gefiltestan is the Oberlin band I credit with launching my entire college destiny.

One additional note: the onelinedrawing cover on the playlist is different than the version I have, which is unfortunately from the iTunes store and is a huge pain in the ass to convert. It still gets the point across, though.

Anyway, I'm not sure if this mix will convert any Dylan haters, but perhaps it's a good conversation starter. :-P

Cate Blanchette: Best Dylan cover incarnate.

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