Monday, March 05, 2007

Bryan Ferry "Dylanesque" [iTunes Link]

Long a Bob Dylan fan, Bryan Ferry remade "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" for his 1973 self-titled album of covers. This time around, the celebrated Roxy Music leader turns in Dylanesque, recasting 11 Dylan classics during a single live-in-the-studio week that leaves the album sounding vibrantly faithful to the original numbers. Far be it for the imaginative contrarian to retrace Dylan's steps, and sure enough--despite an omnipresent harmonica--Ferry does just the opposite. The raw rocker "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" becomes a seductive British pop song, while despair and loneliness turn into effervescence for the driving "Simple Twist of Fate." Ferry's ageless tenor injects a modern momentum into early Dylan imprints "Positively 4th Street" (with strings!), "All I Really Want to Do," and "The Times They Are A-Changing," and gloriously respects the more recent "Make You Feel My Love" (from 1997's Time out of Mind). But the best is yet to come, as the oft-covered "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" may never have received better treatment and "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down" loses not a beat of its original knock-down luster. The record closes with "All Along the Watchtower," a twin tribute to Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, the visionary for this adaptation.

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