Pat Guadagno is a singer-guitarist from New Jersey who is known for his live musical tributes to Dylan and his contemporaries. His latest covers venture is an album collecting covers of songs from 1964. It features multiple Dylan and Beatles covers as well as a collection of songs that were hits in that pivotal year.
One of the first songs released from this new tribute is Guadagno’s version of “Boots of Spanish Leather.” Where Dylan’s version is just Dylan on both vocals and guitar, Guadagno’s version is (relatively) more elaborate. Another New Jersey singer, Mary McCrink, takes the other role in the song, bringing the lyrics to life as it now actually sounds like a conversation between two people, rather than just reads like one. They are joined by Yuri Turchin on what I am assured is a fiddle but which sometimes sounds to me like a keyboard meant to sound like a fiddle (and other times sounds like a fiddle meant to sound like a keyboard).
The recording is nearly as sparse as Dylan’s original (save that fiddle) and is quite faithful. But the the pairing of two voices makes the only thing more explicit and poignant. And that fiddle does add a distinct, modern touch in contrast to the more traditional sound of the vocals and lyrics.
Well damn, that sounds good! I’m a fool for Dylan’s version, but I have a real soft spot for covers of his songs … I’ve collected about 1,700 so far (iTunes tells me).