Monday, February 11, 2019

Dylan Cover #362 George Harrison "Absolutely Sweet Marie" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's artists, George Harrison doing a live cover of "Absolutely Sweet Marie" 
Thoughts on Original:
The first time we tackled a cover of this tune (is one of the most popular in this series):
Color me shocked that we are 36 covers into this series and just now we are getting to someone covering "Absolutely Sweet Marie". The original was one of the most complete songs Dylan has written even if you are never quite sure what he is addressing.  He likes the song but surprisingly never played it live until 1988, I find that kinda odd. He dove into this songs' lyrics specifically during a 1991 interview published in Paul Zollo's book Songwriters on Songwriting, Dylan gives an idea of how he sees the song in his explanation of a line about a "yellow railroad":

That's about as complete as you can be. Every single letter in that line. It's all true. On a literal and on an escapist level.... Getting back to the yellow railroad, that could be from looking someplace. Being a performer, you travel the world. You're not just looking out of the same window everyday. You're not just walking down the same old street. So you must make yourself observe whatever. But most of the time it hits you. You don't have to observe. It hits you. Like, "yellow railroad" could have been a blinding day when the sun was so bright on a railroad someplace and it stayed on my mind.... These aren't contrived images. These are images which are just in there and have got to come out.

Tight taught and still somehow allusive, pretty cool and totally Dylan at his finest and a real Blonde on Blonde jam.
The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the Blonde on Blonde album. It's that thin, that wild mercury sound. It's metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up.
Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
George Harrison is the Beatle who was closest with Dylan, as he orchestrated the amazing Traveling Wilburys and wrote/recorded with Bob on a few other occasions. Bob even covered "Something" live in tribute to Harrison.There was a deep connection, friendship and respect between the two and it is palpable.

Thoughts on Cover:
Coming from the mammoth 1992 concert at MSG which celebrated Dylan's 30th Anniversary of his first Columbia release Harrison nails it on this one with GE Smith and the band cooking behind him. This was a highlight on a night full of them and a fantastic addition to our monthly Masters series.

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