Monday, April 25, 2011

Dylan Cover #12 Steven King "Dirge"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune comes from Steven King and is a cover of "Dirge

Thoughts On Dylan Original:
Ahh what a cheery tune for this Monday!  Dylan does anger and hatred so well, I am sure we will get to a few others, but "Dirge" is up there contending for the title of most brutal.  Opening with "I hate myself for loving you/and the weakness that it showed" sets the tone and he never flinches in his assault on the ill fated lover. 
Found on the very underrated Planet Waves album, the shocking thing is this song comes directly before the sweet and pretty "You Angel You".  Dylan was masterful at arraigning powerful screeds around gorgeous sonic ditty's, and Planet Waves seems to fluctuate between both creating a huge scope of a record.   

Back in the day I thought about doing hardcore metal covers of classic rock tunes, and my friend Mattie mentioned Dylan would be ripe for it.  At the time I wasn't as well versed with his full catalog, but I think "Dirge" would work wonders in a heavy setup...but that's not what we get today... 
Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Another random find, I have no idea who Steven King is.  With a bit of clicking (hard to call it research) I found out he is from Liverpool, England and has posted a bunch of classic rock covers, with just him and his acoustic guitar. 
Thoughts on Cover:
In the comments to this song someone mentioned it sounded like Tom Waits covering Dylan, and I can hear a bit of that.  The voice certainly adds gravity but it is unfair to judge against Waits who is a master at his voice, King's lower tone and congested delivery (in a good way) do however add a sense of longing. On the original Dylan sounded defiant he needed to break out of this relationship and even strained when singing the hurting lyrics.  Mr. King's cover sounds more reserved and depressed, which suites this tune. 

If the tempo of his playing and delivery were even slower on his cover I think it would have worked better.  It seems to pick up speed at the end and loses a bit of the gloom.  Wallowing in the hate could only help this type of song/performance, taking longer pasues and just slowing down allowing the lyrics to sink in and stab.  That stated, the end result is certainly sturdy and worth a listen.

Grade: C+ 

Wilson's Take:

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