Yesterday I asked you on Twitter what your favourite Dylan cover was, and I received a wide variety of answers, although Jimi Hendrix’ All Along The Watchtower seems to be a universal favourite.
Since I started this show, people have been asking me when I’d do an episode on my favourite Dylan covers. And, you might have guessed it, the answer is, this week! In this hour I want to play you some of my favourite covers of Bob Dylan songs, and spoiler: they don’t include Jimi Hendrix. Nor the Byrds! Some might consider that blasphemy, but in the episode, I explain why I decided to forego these giants among Dylan cover versions.
This week, I’m positing the thesis that a cover version is a form of translation. To explain what I mean, I’m getting some help from critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin, who had some thoughts on the matter of translation that I think can also be applied to the cover of a song.
In the episode, I talk about the way cover versions can help us discover new sides to a song. In episode 9 I talked a bit about how a song’s perspective can shift if it is sung by the other gender. But how does our perception of Dylan’s protest songs change when it is performed by a person of colour? What impact does it have whether the person singing is young or old, whether the cover is faithful to Dylan’s album version or radically different?
Of course I could fill this post with honorary mentions that I didn’t have time for, but I’d actually rather return to the subject some other time to do a Part 2.
But here are a few links that I talked about.
The video of Heart of Mine that I talk about
The full version of The Ballad of Hollis Brown
Sorry if I sound a bit raspy in this episode, I have a cold!