Monday, February 12, 2007

Epic Album Cover

A little more on Blood On The Tracks before I move on. What do you do when one of your favorite albums is covered by a relatively unknown alt-country band, which has the nerve to record the event and release it on a CD? I must admit I felt a little uneasy when I learned of Blood On The Tracks: Recorded Live at Arlene Grocery, recorded in 2001, by a band called Mary Lee’s Corvette. I learned of this CD when it came out, but hesitated, and only picked it up very recently. Although Dylan himself enjoyed the recording and streamed part of it on BobDylan.com for a while, surely no one could do this record justice, particularly live in a casual club setting. It would be a mockery, right? Or did I fear that I would like this better? After repeated listening, the verdict is mixed.

Lead singer Mary Lee Kortes has a good voice, reminiscent at times of Chrissy Hynde blended with the likes of Neko (see previous post). She does best with the slower songs like Simple of Twist of Fate and You’re A Big Girl Now, but can’t muster the energy or venom in the album’s high point, Idiot Wind. She seems to lose focus and stamina on the longer songs, and allowing an audience member to begin the marathon 15-verse Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts in a mocking Dylanesque whine nearly spoils the entire set. The arrangements are pretty similar to Dylan’s own, but the playing is more than adequate, with some especially nice guitar fills here and there. The most overlooked track on Dylan’s record is the bluesy Meet Me in the Morning, and it’s well done here too. Overall, the disk is enjoyable, but not a knockout performance. If you’re a Dylan fanatic, you probably need this record. If not, proceed with caution. However, the album has prompted me to seek out some of her own material, and it may do the same for you.

Buy It

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