Monday, May 21, 2012

Dylan Cover #47 Legion of Mary "Tough Mama" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a live cover by Legion of Mary playing "Tough Mama"

Thoughts on Original:
One of my favorite Dylan songs off of the underrated Planet Waves disk.  "Tough Mama" has a groovy beat that The Band plays perfectly and some engaging lyrics that contain bite and humor while never going for jokes or becoming mean spirited.  One of Dylan's best and a hidden gem if people have never heard it. 

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We have talked a lot about the Grateful Dead on our site, but not so much about spin off projects.  Legion of Mary hold a special place because of Jerry's tight friendship with Merl Saunders and the horn/flute playing of Martin Fierro who adds extra color to the mix.  A side project that cooked, unfortunately it didn't last very long. 

Thoughts on Cover:
Like most things Jerry Garcia related the magic is in the in-between sections when the band can get hairy and cut loose.  Garcia leads thing with his magical guitar tone and the band plays the music to the song about 3 times through clocking in at over 8 and half minutes.  Things aren't too wandering though as the solo's are focused on the songs theme, and Fierro in particular adds a spice withe the Sax.

One of the coolest things about this cover is when it was recorded it was still super new, just having been released the year before, it was fresh and alive for Bob, just as it was for Legion of Mary.

Grade B+  

Wilson's Take:

Janasie's Take:
"Tough Mama" is THE motha-luvin' jam - literally.  It contains the phrase "hotter than a crotch" and yet can still be taken seriously.  If that ain't song writing brilliance, what is?  Jerry and company bust out another version of this gem as the opening track on the 2005 Legion of Mary release and, wow, what an opener.  The rest of that two-disc joint pleases the ears as well, so give it a listen.  Buy stock in this cover, it bears a big stamp of approval.

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