Monday, February 20, 2017

Dylan Cover #264 Mountain "Highway 61 Revisited"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Mountain playing "Highway 61 Revisited":

This month we will focus on the band Mountain's fairly recent Dylan Cover album Masters of War

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
A great blues rock number that has a touch of silly from Bob with the "Siren Whistle". The original version of this tune found on the album of the same name strikes me as a bit of a put on, Bob obviously loves the historic feel and the bizarre middle American heritage but the lyrics and whistle soften the blow. The track gets increasingly better in the live versions where Dylan's backers can rev up the honky-tonk and boogie down south as the group did for us up in Saratoga back in 2000. Tony Garnier the bass player for the group lead things on a thumping rollick in the encore and the band all hopped on board as Dylan sang about God/Abraham. It was the last rocker the group played that night putting fourth a ton of 6-string energy. (They would go on to finish with the crowd singing along to "Blowing in the Wind").

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
January we are going to focus on Mountain. Here is some info on the group, we have never really known them or been a fan outside of classic rock radio. Regarding the bands decision to do a full album of Dylan covers here is the rationale:
After 5 to 6 years on a recent worldwide Mountain tour, we were asked to record a new CD. During the touring Leslie heard Neil Young's rendition of Blowin in the Wind and decided to perform it acoustically at our shows. The reaction was clearly overwhelming leaving Les and I to a serious look, again, at the musical and political significance of Bob Dylan's repertoire. I personally felt that Leslie's vocal power would match the power in Dylan's lyrics. The melodies simple and direct would match Leslie's lyrical guitar expressions. The drum feels were spontaneous and most of the basic tracks were first takes in the studio. Personally, I just tried to punctuate the hell out of the song. It took about 3 years to contemplate exactly what Dylan material we would decide to record Mountain style. The final result is Mountain CD MASTERS OF WAR
Thoughts on Cover:
This one isn't our favorite this month as the "hard rock" posturing is a bit much. The swagger helps some songs, but not this one. Until next week...

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