Monday, March 31, 2014

Dylan Cover #132 The Hollies "Quinn The Eskimo"

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 The Hollies playing "The Mighty Quinn"

This month we are doing another special focus on Dylan covers, we have focused on The Byrds and the lesser known Coulson-Dean-McGuiness-Flint. Now the spotlight shines on The Hollies and their Hollies Sing Dylan album.

Thoughts on Original:
Not officially released until 1970's audience and critic defying Self-Portrait "Quinn The Eskimo" first found life with Manfred Mann, before a lot of the world heard Dylan sing it himself. It had been on The Basement Tapes though and lots of bootleggers, underground fans and admiring fellow artists got to bask it its rollicking glory. A fun old ride that makes everyone from children to adults smile. A favorite purely because it is one of the plain funnest songs in Dylan's catalog one of my personal highlights regarding the song has nothing to do with the playing, it has to do with what Dylan himself wrote about it in Chronicles:  
"On the way back to the house I passed the local movie theater on Prytania Street, where The Mighty Quinn was showing. Years earlier, I had written a song called 'The Mighty Quinn' which was a hit in England, and I wondered what the movie was about. Eventually, I'd sneak off and go there to see it. It was a mystery, suspense, Jamaican thriller with Denzel Washington as the Mighty Xavier Quinn a detective who solves crimes. Funny, that's just the way I imagined him when I wrote the song 'The Mighty Quinn,' Denzel Washington."

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
I think we have said enough about The Hollies this month, if you want more, they have a robust Wikipedia page detailing their history and here is their current website.
Thoughts on Cover:
While the banjo takes the spotlight to start things on this live version it is the huge instrumental breaks that take over, in particular a flute rings through the orchestrated breaks. While the pomp that the Hollies have used on other Dylan covers this month really don't work very well, here on Quinn things are fine, let everyone in on the party. The shortness of the version helps too, things float right by with ease. Just try not to clap along with the Brits in the rhythm there, but killer hair cuts...

In retrospect most of The Hollies covers this month have been underwhelming, but different approaches to Dylan's tunes are always respected, thanks for producing this album all those years ago fellas.  

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