Monday, June 4, 2012

Dylan Cover #48 Liam Clancy "Rambling Gambling Willy/Restless Farewell"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a few live covers by Liam Clancy playing "Rambling Gambling Willy" and "Restless Farewell"

Thoughts on Original:
 Since we took last week off there is a two-fer today with "Rambling Gambling Willy" which is a gorgeous little number about someone I would like to have a beer with before we get "Restless Farewell".  One of Dylan's many tunes based off of a old Irish folk song, this time it is "The Parting Glass".  Lyrics seem bittersweet as time often is, and I always go back to the version he and his crack band played at the Frank Sinatra's 80th Birthday Party, you can see the video here.  I always loved that version, with the added strings, and I am intrigued why he chose to play that song for Frank Sinatra's 80th birthday, when every other performer was doing Sinatra tunes, odd all around.  Far from his sweetest song, but you can sense that Irish longing, behind lines and phrases which makes Liam covering it ideal.    


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
One of the first voices I ever heard sing songs outside of my family was Liam Clancy.  I can remember the 8 tracks stuck in the radio of my fathers car as he sang along with The Clancy Brothers as we drove around.  I love the man and have seen him multiple times here in the states, it is easy to see why he has so many fans in this clip.  His history lesson is as engaging as his songs as he talks about the White Horse Tavern, where I just happened to drink at this St. Patrick's day with Ceez.  Dylan himself is quoted as saying Liam was the "best ballad singer I have ever heard in my life."  What more could you want?!? 
Thoughts on Cover:
Fantastic, stripping the songs down, and letting the voice take over, with some excellent backing flairs, like the Ukelele in "Rest Farewell" and by leaving out the last verse, he takes some of the bitter sting out of the tune.  "Rambling Gambling Willie" is pretty straight ahead and not much is needed to make it special.  When Liam passed in 2009 an epic voice was silenced, videos like this though will always live on and feel alive forever.  Raise a pint and sing along.   
Grade: A

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