Monday, April 8, 2019

Dylan Cover #370 Boz Scaggs "Visions of Johanna" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's artists, Boz Scaggs performing a live cover of "Visions of Johanna" 

This month we have a special focus on Artists who will be playing the 2019 Jazzfest in New Orleans. Today we highlight the legendary, Boz Scaggs who headlines the Blues Tent, Saturday, April 27th.

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
One of the clear high points in Dylan's poetic songwriting, "Visions of Johanna" is a complete stunner, especially the first time you encounter it. Now (on a personal note) if that first encounter just happens to be a hot sweaty night, in the heart of the urban village which Dylan roamed about 30 years before and you happened to be doing the same god damn thing, then so be it. Even if your personal take is different it is hard to wrap your brain around the lyrics and the more you listen the more the mystery deepens. It is elusive, bright, cunning, dismissive, iconic, ironic and tossed off all at once. It is mega and it is nothing...and I can't be more vague than that. Musically he couldn't get it right until he went down to Nashville and it says something that he stuck with this song (unlike say..."She Belongs To Me") and got a version that is magical musically as well, just listen to that bass line throughout from Joe South...a crowning success all around.
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.

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We have never really dug too deep into Boz Scaggs as an artist. In fact when RtBE thinks of Boz the first thing that comes to mind is Duane Allman because Boz's cover of "Loan Me A Dime" with Duane on guitar is our personal highlight when it comes to Mr. Scaggs. He is one we should take future time to listen to. The fact that he is playing the first weekend of Jazzfest and we will be there the second doesn't help things.

Thoughts on Cover:
A pretty powerfully sung live version of Scaggs singing one of Dylan's best tunes at a birthday tribute to the Bard at the Ryman in Nashville. Scaggs playing is nuanced and rings out sweetly in the old venue. A nice cover on this Monday, it would be pretty proper if he busted it out in a few weeks when he headlines the Blues Tent.

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