Tangled Up in Blues: Songs of Bob Dylan

Tangled Up in Blues: Songs of Bob Dylan

(House of Blues)

First Appeared at The Music Box, November 1999, Volume 6, #11

Written by John Metzger

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Over the course of his career, Bob Dylan has never really strayed from the folk-blues sound on which he originally leaned. His first album was filled with renditions of songs by blues legends like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Blind Willie Johnson. A majority of the songs that Dylan has written since his debut are easily adapted for an acoustic guitar around a blues motif. During the past decade, Dylan has revisited his early roots, working many classic blues cover songs into his set lists. In addition, he recorded a pair of albums (Good as I Been to You and World Gone Wrong) that paid tribute to many of his heroes.

With the release of Tangled Up in Blues, the latest volume in the rapidly expanding This Ainít No Tribute series on the House of Blues label, everything has come full-circle. A dozen classic Dylan tracks are reinterpreted across a spectrum of blues, R&B, and gospel grooves, and the final result is pure magic.

Larry McCray rips through All Along the Watchtower with a fury that showcases both his powerful vocal presence as well as his stunning guitar pyrotechnics. On the spiritual Gotta Serve Somebody, Mavis Staples allows her exquisite voice to interact with a choir against a backdrop of funky, effervescent rhythm.

Itís probably no surprise though that the best track on the album comes from The Band. After all, the group's close relationship with Dylan and his music no doubt has helped to make its interpretations of his songs feel extraordinarily natural, and its easy-going take of One Too Many Mornings is yet another example of how good the ensemble is at reaching into the heart of Dylanís music. Rick Dankoís voice drifts over the laid-back organic groove, and he extends the end of each lyrical line with a Dylan-esque sneer. As always, no one interprets Dylan with quite the same results as The Band. starstarstar Ĺ

Tangled Up in Blues: Songs of Bob Dylan is available
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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 1999 The Music Box