May 232011
 

Dylan Covers A-Z presents covers of every single Bob Dylan song. View the full series here.

Bob Dylan turns 70 tomorrow. We pondered long and hard how to celebrate. This seemed to us deserving of more than the usual They Say It’s Your Birthday collection, and we knew we could do better than another Best Dylan Covers list. We wanted to do something truly special.

So we’re celebrating Dylan’s birthday this week by doing something no one’s ever done before: compiling covers of every single Bob Dylan song. If he released it on a regular studio album, we’ve got it, for a grand total of 279 songs.* Our entire staff has dug deep to find the hidden gems alongside the classics. We’ve got your “Ballad of a Thin Man” and “Tangled Up in Blue,” sure, but we’ve also got your “Cat’s in the Well” and “Po’ Boy.” Heck – we’ve even got the Jesus stuff! Continue reading »

Apr 202010
 

Omigod, you just have to hear this new Bob Dylan cover.  You know that folksy ballad, “All Along the Watchtower”?  Well some afro-headscarf weirdnik named Jimi rocked it so hard that…  What’s that?  You’ve already heard it?  You say it tops every single list of the best Dylan covers that has ever been made with absolutely no exceptions so don’t bother looking to try to prove me wrong?  Ah.  Well, Mr. Music Snob, try these ten lesser-known covers on for size, spanning from Bob’s folk origins until his post-Blonde on Blonde motorcycle crash.

Grand Panda ft. Dawn – Ballad of a Thin Man
This grinding synth slow-burn comes via comp curator extraordinaire Béatrice Ardisson, whose Dylan Mania contains sixteen of the most fantastically weird covers you’re likely to hear.  [Buy]

Mobius Band – I’ll Keep It With Mine
Though Dylan wrote this song in 1964, his own version didn’t see the light of day until 1985’s Biograph compilation.  It indicates he was experimenting with what he called “that thin, wild mercury music” several years before Blonde on Blonde[Buy]

The Roots – Masters of War
Outside of free jazz and the Dead, there aren’t many songs where a blogger must decide whether to post the ten-minute version or the twenty.  I went with the conservative length, but I’ll probably post the longer one on Twitter this week.  Now with extra ?uestlove drum solo!  [Buy]

Dion – Spanish Harlem Incident
When Dion opened Dylan’s New York concerts last fall, he missed an opportunity to deliver this swinging gem to an appreciative audience.  It’s not like he had to worry about stepping on Bob’s toes; the man has only performed it one time himself.  [Buy]

40 Thieves – Subterranean Homesick Blues
“Subterranean” has been described as the first rap song.  40 Thieves make the argument by ripping through the lyrics over a funky Public Enemy-esq beat.  [Buy]

Martin Simpson – Boots of Spanish Leather
Dylan’s finger-picking from the early days should get more credit than it does (see “Don’t Think Twice”), but even at his best he had nothing on this guy.  Listen those funky bass note slaps.  [Buy]

I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business – Positively 4th Street
This song seems even angrier in a polite acoustic guise.  By the time singer Arthur “Ace” Enders makes it to that cutting last line, you wonder what he’s capable of.  [Buy]

Mike Ness – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright
Putting Dylan’s acoustic songs to a heavy rock beat is not a novel concept, but the Social Distortion frontman handles it particularly well.  What song doesn’t improve with a little growl?  [Buy]

The Magokoro Brothers – My Back Pages
Even for critics underwhelmed by the incoherent storyline of Dylan’s 2003 film Masked and Anonymous (people, plot is so twentieth century), few could object to the cover-heavy soundtrack.  The Magokoro Bros’ translation of “My Back Pages” into Japanese works because it doesn’t.  Each line has three times as many syllables as will fit, so the singer always seems to be playing catch-up.  [Buy]

Douglas September – Girl from the North Country
The word haunting gets overused, but it has never been more appropriate.  September’s hoarse whisper is devastating and that gusting wind raises the hairs on your neck.  [Buy]

Read Part 2: After the Crash.