Monday, April 11, 2011

Dylan Cover #10 PJ Harvey - "Shot of Love" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune comes from PJ Harvey and is a live cover of "Shot of Love

Thoughts on Dylan Original- The title track on his last "Jesus" album is this opener, "Shot of Love".  While the studio version is OK, it suffers a bit from 80's silliness it is a decent effort, while not the best on the album.  The slower pace doesn't really help, making it sound a bit like "Slow Train's" little brother.  The fadeout hints that the song won't end, but I never really mind when it does...Overall this album's playing, songs and singing were the weakest of his three Christian jaunts but this song itself is for from unlikeable.


Thoughts on Cover Artist:  Second week in a row with an initialed lady covering the old Zimmerman, but the comparisons probably stop right there between KT. Tunstall and this weeks PJ Harvey.  While Tunstall writes nice pop rock, Harvey experiments all over the map, she is a true artist who is willing to try any/everything to get her vision across, unafraid of failure or critical reprise she manages to almost reinvent herself with each release.  While persoanlly she has never been one of my favorites I respect her craft and have her newest album Let England Shake downloaded and ready to check out if I ever get some time to do so.

Thoughts on Cover:  Holy Cow Yes!!  This is it...I love the idea of taking a "lesser" Dylan tune and making it your own, and Harvey does just that.  Heavy stomping drums come crunching in, supporting her dynamic voice... as the tension grows the need for love becomes palpable.   Showing enough respect towards the original while tossing it away and adding life to a song Dylan himself hasn't played live in over 20 years.    The lyrics sound desperate and the band sounds ferocious; this performance is a keeper, all you can ask for in a cover...

Grade: A+

Wilsons Take:
PJ Harvey wraps her voice around "Shot of Love" like a bored driver finally getting her hands on Ferrari; opening it up, cornering it atop blistering guitar chords and breathing an energy into the song. So many Dylan tunes avail themselves to that possibility. As with much of Dylan's work, the bard has laid the foundation. The cover artist's primary job is to elevate the energy level. Hendrix famously accomplished the feat on "All Along the Watchtower", and yet "Shot of Love", being a lesser-known song, offers the greater challenge. Harvey not only met the challenge but made a tune from Dylan's quiet years gloriously-loud.

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