Wednesday, July 12, 2006


If you love a song, sometimes you just have to let it go

The cafe where I ate lunch today was playing a CD of a female jazz vocalist performing a "jazz" version of Bob Dylan's You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. She sang it in the same smooth, down tempo, low energy way she sang the jazz standards that filled up the rest of the album.

I suppose that musicians who do a cover of a song probably really like the song and usually intend their interpretation to be a tribute to the original. There are many fine pop covers that are, in their own way, as good or even better than the original, and many cover artists who can really get to the heart of someone else's song.

Then there's this thing. The singer had a rich voice to be sure, but many songs just don't lend themselves to jazz reinterpretations. I suspect most Bob Dylan songs are in this category; certainly this one is. The cover sounded like a big, steamy pile of poop.

I would like to identify by name the vocalist who made Dylan's hard edged love song sound so sappy. But then I'd have to do research which would require me listening to her again, and I'm mad at her.

Dylan's gravelly tuneless singing voice fools many people into thinking he was a "bad" singer, but he had a way of putting his songs across that's hard to top. Jazz singers, who by profession are generally not songwriters and whose repertoires consist mostly or entirely of cover songs, tend to think they are consumate song-stylists. But they have to realize that many of their songs are a short step away from elevator music. If they're not careful, they can take a tune that has pace and tension and deceptive simplicity, and just let all the air out of it.

I think you're probably mad at Madeleine Peyroux:

And I don't mind it when someone reworks a Dylan tune...I appreciate him, absolutely, but I never mind hearing what someone else can do with his lyrics. And I think Madeleine is a tremendous talent.

Word verification:

MHPBCNOE: I'M HaPpy Being in a CaNoOE. Best I can come up with today.
Ever since your first Dylan post, I've been seeing his name all over the place in varying contexts.

I've never really liked his stuff done by him. I did like Hendrix's version of "All Along the Watchtower".

And weren't the Manhattan Transfer his backup singers? (or am I thinking of "The Band"?)

fexil - A drug to cure fecklessness, from the makers of Paxil.

and because I forgot to type "fexil" in the box,

sdxstng - (1) "seduce sting" - a con where the object is seduction (2) sad exes: the next generation - a show about the dissolution of second and later marriages.
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