Like the film it serves, the music on this perky set of diverse covers (plus handful of Dylan performances) is episodic, fragmented, oftimes surreal, occasionally ridiculous, multicultural, urgent, and off-balance. All grounded in questions of history and integrity.
1. My back pages - Magokoro Brothers
Cracking opener. Nothing effete about the Mag. Bros. A brave, if foolhardy, literal translation of the lyrics into Japanese that has the MBs galloping along to keep up. Which they do, just.
2. Gotta serve somebody - Shirley Caesar
Straightahead gospel from Dame Shirley Ann.
3. Down in the flood (new version) - Bob Dylan
4. It's all over now, baby blue - Grateful Dead
Giving the lie to Dylan and the Dead debacle. Simpatico!
5. Most of the time - Sophie Zelmani
Swedish SSW manages to equal Oh Mercy original and thankfully erases images of drenched rat John Cusack. Result.
6. On a night like this - Los Lobos
Otra vez, simpatico! Swinging too. Esta noche tu!
7. Diamond Joe - Bob Dylan
Now this is more like it. Turn of 21st century backing band (Charlie Sexton, he be the man) rip into old timey country folk rollick:
Diamond Joe come and git me,
My wife done quit me.
Diamond Joe, you better come git me, Diamond Joe.
Quite. Choice banjo.
8. Come una pietra scalciata (like a rolling stone) - Articolo 31
Frantic hip-hop built around LARS chorus. Audacious.
9. One more cup of coffee - Sertab
Turkish pop diva (and winner Eurovision Song Contest 2003...) masses Asia Minor strings, transporting original from US-Mexico to Arabia.
10. Non dirle che non e' cosi' (If you see her, say hello) - Francesco de Gregori
Popularly known as Il Principe Poeta ("The Poet Prince"). Wonder why he signed up? Slinky.
11. Dixie - Bob Dylan
The voice, the arrangement, the sentiment....fabulous.
12. Senor (tales of yankee power) - Jerry Garcia
Goes on a bit.
13. Cold irons bound (new version) - Bob Dylan
More rock stomp and less Lanois languor = a good thing.
14. City of gold - Dixie Hummingbirds
Cracking closer. Up-lifting and elegiac.
Oddi wrth y brawd
Look out for choice detail in promo vid. Y brawd particularly appreciates the Dr. Benway name check. Hang around for the last minute or so of Dylan close up like a shrunken and ineffably cool Vincent Price