Bryan ferry - Dylanesque
So then Bryan Ferry completes his album of Bob Dylan covers and leaves us with, unsurprisingly, a mix of the two.
Bob Dylan is recognised as one of the best singer-songwriters in the world, with the emphasis on the songwriter. His lyrics are peerless, his musicianship and music are renowned. Yet his singing is dire. Enough to put off most of the world's music listeners.
What better way to do it than give a batch of his songs to be covered by one of the great singers of our time. Depending on your tastes of course. For many, Bob Dylan's rough tones are preferable to Bryan Ferry's dulcet ones.
Not for me.
As regular listeners may have noticed I am quite a fan of Bryan Ferry. His voice appeals to me and I love his musical arrangements. The icing on the cake for us, as vinyl lovers, is that his records always sound simply gorgeous.
And Dylanesque is no exception. From the initial Boogie woogie of @Tom Thumb's Blues' to the final 'All along the watchtower' the album is a sheer delight to listen to. incidentally, I have also listened to this collection of songs on mp3 and there is no similarity. The vinyl is heaven, the mp3s sound weedy and insignificant.
With this record, it has to be said, the songwriting is better than Ferry's own. Although he is well capable of churning out some classics, Dylan's is stronger and more consistent. For this reason, the songs here stand out more than the production than on Ferry's own. eg. the still excellent Bete Noire.
My favourites are 'Just like Tom Thumb's blues' a gyrating piece of fun. 'Simple twist of fate' is given a light bouncy makeover. Its poppy and enjoyable rather than serious and includes an excellent harmonica solo by Ferry himself. Ferry romps through a version of 'The times they are a changing' in fine form altogether. Its propelled along by a real smooth rhythm section.
Side two's 'Knockin' on heaven's door' is a successful reworking of this classic into Ferry's style. Think of what he did to Jealous guy. Its beautiful. It keeps goin with the hushed tones of Ferry and the bluesy guitar, dreamlike, hypnotic.
'Positively 4th street' is delicately sung over piano. Very touching. 'If not for you' has a great backing track, again, getting you boogeying. There is no way anyone can go wrong with 'All along the watchtower'. Perhaps in a nod to Hendrix, there is the heaviest guitar work on the album here. It leaves a powerful impression.
For Dylan fans this will probably revolt them. Its super smooth and super slick. It sounds simply gorgeous. For anyone who has wondered what all the fuss is about Dylan, perhaps this is a good introduction before going onto maybe Oh Mercy, Blood on the tracks or Blonde on Blonde. Ferry fans will find all they love here already.
The full tracklisting is as follows
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues 3:50
Simple Twist of Fate 5:18
Make You Feel My Love 3:22
The Times They Are A-Changin' 3:40
All I Really Want to Do 2:29
Knockin' on Heaven's Door 6:14
Positively 4th Street 3:45
If Not for You Dylan 2:40
Baby, Let Me Follow You Down 2:13
Gates of Eden 5:12
All along the watchtower 4:00
Packaging is attractive. Glossy outer and inner picture sleeves. Picture and colours a bit gaudy. Vinyl pressing is pretty good, quite heavyweight, and the sound as mentioned is excellent. Bob Ludwig is credited in the cleevenotes as mastering engineer, but his initials are not in the deadwax. If there is a US vinyl edition, perhaps he will cut that lacquer.