Monday, April 15, 2013

Dylan Cover #83 Widespread Panic "Baby Let Me Follow You Down"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. This month we have a special focus on Artists who will be playing this years Jazzfest in New Orleans.  Today's artist: Widespread Panic with a live cover of "Baby Let Me Follow You Down"  
(Widespread Panic plays on 5/2 headlining the Acura Stage

Thoughts on Original:
A basic folk number that isn't a Dylan original (Eric Von Schmidt wrote it) yet this is one of the few covers Dylan brought out of the coffee houses and to the masses on his first release.  While the original is a nice, wanting tune of pure lust, the track really jumped to new heights when Dylan busted it out at The Last Waltz.  That version book-ended his appearance with The Band and breathed new life into the song, making it more then just an early spin though, it became a live show juggernaut especially with The Band backing The Bard.       

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Widespread Panic are a talented group of musicians whose members I enjoy when they play in different outings (Dave Schools- Gov't Mule, The Fog. Jimmy Herring- Phil & Friends) but as a cohesive unit they have never really won me over. John Bell's voice may have something to do with it, but I think it lies more in their overall jam band esthetic and song delivering.  The southern based roots are just fine, but it is their middle of the road-ness for some reason I have never fallen in love with. Perhaps I am unfairly against them, but outside of Phish there are no "newer" jambands that I would say I dig on a constant basis.  Oh well, I can't love them all.    
Thoughts on Cover:
Panic did the righteous thing here using The Last Waltz version as the basis for ending their live show on 9/30/11 in Tuscaloosa, AL. This version has the piercing guitar from Herring reminiscent of Robbie Robertson and the thudding drum drops from Todd Nance recalling a smiling and the stomping Levon Helm.  John Bell doesn't need to sing like Dylan, he has his own polarizing rasp, one that I do not care much for, but for a set ending tune, things are just fine.  
 Grade: C+

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