Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Best Obscure Dylan Covers of ALL Time

A few years back I somehow acquired a compilation of Dylan covers several GBs large. Hundreds of cover versions, with pretty much every song represented and often more than 10 or 20 versions of a single song. One thing I noticed is there's a lot of crap. Anyone who thinks cover versions of Dylan are better than the originals should listen to this. The only covers that are truly better than the originals to my mind are Hendrix's "Watchtower" and the Jeff Buckley cover I list below.

Combining this huge compilation with additional sources of Dylan covers, which seem to spew endlessly from the bosom of Isis herself, I have compiled a list of my favourite obscurities.

1          Jeff Buckley - Mama you been on my mind

Jeff Buckley is famous for having popularized the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah" by doing a cover version that was much better than the original. Only in delivery of course, and only to my ears perhaps. With this cover of an early and relatively obscure Dylan classic, he has again bested the original. It was recorded in the same recording session that produced his version of "Hallelujah", and it sounds like it was recorded on the same day, and possibly immediately following the other, with the same signature Jeff Buckley sound, style and grace. As far as I know this was never released but comes only as a bootleg.

2          Werner Lammerhirt - All Along The Watchtower

Maybe not awesome in the same way as the Jimi Hendrix cover, but this version gives the song a cool and creepy folk-bluesy feel, with a fantastic pan-flute solo!

3          George Gerdes - Girl From The North Country

Cool version of this.

4          Cat Power

Oh sister/Knockin on Heaven's Door

Paths of Victory

I Believe in You

5          John Mayer - Don't Think Twice It's Alright

         Neko Case - Buckets of Rain

7          Darren Criss - New Morning

It was tough sifting through the 75 tracks on the amnesty international Dylan tribute album that came out last year. There is some good stuff on there, and this is one of the better ones to my ear. I don't know who this guy is, but apparently he's on Glee.

8          My Morning Jacket - You're a big girl now

Another good one from the amnesty international collection. I can't listen to this anymore because the first 30 seconds has been my ring tone for almost a year now and I'm deathly sick of it.

9          Hendrix - Please crawl out your window

Although Hendrix is known for famously embellishing and popularizing "All along the watchtower", he did three other Dylan covers. Besides "Drifter's Escape", and his live version of "Like a rolling stone", I really like this lesser known studio version of a lesser known Dylan song. 

10          Phish - Quinn The Eskimo

Love this. Skip to the solo at 2 minutes if you get bored.

11        Feist - Someday Baby

12        Weird Al Yankovic - Bob

Weird Al's cover version of "Subterranean Home Sick Blues", "Bob". Gets an honourable mention for the best Dylan cover version composed completely of palindromes. ¡Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog!

Phil Collins - The Times They are a Changin'

I have put this here as an example of a really bad cover-version. This is possibly the worst cover version of any song ever recorded. Completely superfluous and a useless waste of time and hard-drive space. Maybe good for a laugh.

See below for links to a couple of my own Dylan cover versions.

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