Monday, March 21, 2011

Dylan Cover #7 Anthony da Costa "Boots of Spanish Leather"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune comes from Anthony da Costa and is a live cover of "Boots of Spanish Leather

Thoughts on Dylan's Original: One of the first Dylan songs that really bowled me over.  I know on the "Times They Are a-Changin'" there are a ton of epic songs but this was the track that stayed with me the longest.  It is ghostly in it's presentation and still just as dynamic now as when he wrote it back in 1963.  My favorite show I have seen Dylan play live was back in 1999 at the RPI Fieldhouse.  The whole night was great, my favorite backing band of his since The Band, a tiny venue and a setlist that was magical.  One of the major highlights was "Boots of Spanish Leather", I need to break out that bootleg this week and re-live that great night. 


Thoughts on Cover Artist: One of the things I was looking forward to the most with this series was finding artists that I never heard of covering Dylan.  Anthony da Costa falls into that category so I can check out his cover with no knowledge whatsoever which is refreshing. 

Thoughts on Cover: This is hearfelt and direct.  It manages to be delicate and still forceful, while some of the singing can be overly dramatic, the passion is palpable.  Obviously young Mr. da Costa is a large admirer of the Bard from his style and playing; this is a worthy cover to add to this series.  While I tend to enjoy the covers that stray from the originals a bit more it is hard to argue with anything presented in the live setting here.  It does make me want to check him out when he plays NYC next. 

Grade: B+   Solid take on a great song, hard to want more after this one.

Wilson's Take:
I first saw Dylan play Boots in Syracuse shortly after the millennium. It was the finest four minutes of the show - an old man visiting an ancient longing before a smokey crowd of six thousand. Anthony da Costa does an admirable rendition. Covers like these, from the unmasked and anonymous, speak to Dylan's reach. They are a testament to his accessibility; his power as a songwriter in that he writes lyrics so bold, clear and simple that he writes himself right out of them. That is the elusive talent of the great ones - giving the art a life that's independent of the artist. Boots fits into that canon, and Anthony da Costa issues a cover that reminds us of the universality of a perfect song. Anyone can step on a Dylan song with equal authority because the work is self-contained and all-powerful - like the author.

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