Friday, 1 June 2018
Bryan Ferry - Dylanesque (2007)
Released March 2007
It is an easy thing to criticise this album. Laid back master of the lounge bar releases an album of covers of songs from possibly the most talented singer/songwriter the world has ever known. Lots of reviewers have queued up here to exactly that. I am not going to do that. I like Bryan Ferry. I like Bob Dylan. Of course, there is no comparison with the originals. That doesn't matter. They are good songs. Bryan Ferry likes them and he wants to cover them. Fair enough. I don't have a problem with that.
1. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
2. Simple Twist Of Fate
3. Make You Feel My Love
4. The Times They Are A-Changin'
5. All I Really Want To Do
6. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
7. Positively 4th Street
8. If Not For You
9. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down
10. Gates Of Eden
11. All Along The Watchtower
Most of the songs are approached by a highly competent band, with a highly competent rock feel to them. My own personal favourites are "A Simple Twist Of Fate", which is speeded-up into a full band rock song, similarly "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", with its excellent guitar, harmonica and backing vocals. "The Times They Are A-Changin'" is also given the full band treatment and I like that too, So what. There is a great bit of guitar at the end of it. I also have a weakness for Ferry's opening take on "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues". I just love the backing on this one too - bluesy guitar, rock harmonica and "whoop-whoop" backing vocals. I love Ferry's voice on it too. Ditto "Baby Let Me Follow You Down". The band just have a great sound on all these tracks - guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, Ferry on harmonica - pretty basic but top notch. Chris Spedding and Oliver Thompson on guitar; Paul Carrack on organ; Colin Good on piano; Andy Newmark on drums. These guys can play. That should not be forgotten in dismissals of this album.
"Make You Feel My Love" is a great song, whoever covers it, and here it is hauntingly beautiful, as indeed is "Gates Of Eden". "If Not For You" is as gently pleasing as was George Harrison's (or indeed Dylan's) version, more rocky, in fact. You know, I do believe I prefer this one to either. "Positively 4th Street" is a song, which, unfortunately, I don't feel can really be sung by anyone but Dylan, but actually, I also prefer Ferry's "All I Want To Do" to Dylan's. "4th Street" does have a sad feel to it though and Lucy Wilkins's violin at the end is stunningly beautiful.
"All Along The Watchtower" doesn't quite come off though. Obviously, Hendrix's is better as, actually, is Paul Weller's.
Bob Dylan is an artist whose work has been covered by lots of artists, often enhancing the songs in comparison to Dylan's sometimes questionable vocals. This is one more artist covering the great poet's songs. Nothing wrong with that. People will be doing it for many, many more years to come. I enjoy this album every now and again and am perfectly happy to admit it. Listening to again as I write this and loving it.