During my freshman year of college, I was trolling the virus prone and often improperly labeled file sharing service Kazaa, and stumbled upon a batch of Jeff Buckley downloads. Included in the bunch was a 1992 recording of WFMU‘s “The Music Faucet” that featured a phoned-in rendition of Bob Dylan’s oft-covered “I Shall Be Released.” Given the hackneyed song selection and gimmicky nature of singing from the phone, all signs pointed toward disaster. However, this is Jeff Buckley we’re talking about. An artist that covered Dylan as well as anybody. For evidence, check out the incomparable live compilation Live at Siné. There, he demolishes classics “Just Like A Woman”, “If You See Her, Say Hello”, “Dink’s Song” and the aforementioned “I Shall Be Released“, reforming them into fluid, perfectly toned electric guitar sketches. Buckley’s WFMU take adheres relatively closely to the original, calling to mind the grandiose send-off on The Last Waltz. Buckley is effervescent by the end of the song, clearly taken with the performance. Even his impromptu harp solo is pulled off without a hitch, taking on the aesthetic of an early blues field recording through the telephone wires. Listen to an uncut version of the recording, featuring a lengthy – albeit fun – introduction via Soundcloud or a shortened version focusing on the song via YouTube.
Written by Rob Peoni
Bob Dylan turns 71 today. A rough calculation that fails to account for leap years and other variables makes this morning Bob Dylan’s 25,915th. This blog began with an attempt to rank Dylan’s 70 greatest songs of all time. For my money, “Visions of Johanna” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” offer some of the most brilliant, subversive lyrics that any songwriter has ever put to paper. These days, though, I rarely find myself reaching for that portion of Dylan’s catalog. More often than not, I’m spinning his 1970 album New Morning.
The dozen tracks that comprise New Morning, find Dylan relaxed and understated. At the time, critics like Rolling Stone’s Ralph Gleason heralded the release as a return to earlier Dylan. In retrospect, this appears more a reaction to their disdain for Self Portrait (released just 4 months prior) than an accurate assessment of the work. Sure, the album marked the return of Dylan’s nasal voice, but the songs’ structures are closer to pop than folk or even rock. While New Morning may not merit consideration among Dylan’s best albums, it nevertheless showcases the range of an artist once pigeonholed as a folk singer. The release touches on gospel: “Father of Night”, jazz: “If Dogs Run Free”, and more. Listen to the title track below, and give thanks for another “New Morning” with Bob.
You Might Also Like:
Morning Music: Bob Dylan’s Modern Times via The Dingo Club
Notes of Note: A Breath of Fresh Air – Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” via The Dingo Club
Written by Rob Peoni
Yesterday, Pitchfork debuted a new song from Beck. The cover of Bob Dylan’s “Corrina, Corrina,” will be part of an upcoming compilation in support of maternal-health advocacy group Every Mother Counts. The album was created, in a partnership with Starbucks, to raise funds for efforts to reduce maternal mortality around the world, and will be available on May 1. It also features tracks, many new or previously unreleased, from David Bowie, Lauryn Hill, Patti Smith, Sade, Coldplay, Bono and the Edge, Rufus Wainwright, Eddie Vedder, and more. Listen to Beck’s contribution at Pitchfork.