Cover Story

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Since I'm technically on Christmas break and technically have a little bit more free time, I thought it was time to bring back TBT. I feel like I've been listening to a lot of junk food-type music lately {read: Taylor Swift's new album on repeat.}and it's time to get back to that soul food stuff that hits you right in the gut. So here's the story behind All Along the Watchtower:

I've always loved this song. It's kind of got this foreboding feeling you can't quite shake after it's over. Written the year after Dylan was in a motorcycle wreck, it was recorded in the same studio where he created Blonde on Blonde and features on the album John Wesley Harding. In a biblical twist, the lyrics have been linked to Isaiah chapter 21:

Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise ye princes and prepare in the shield. / For the Lord hath said unto me: Go set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. /And he saw a chariot with a couple of horses, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels, and he harkened diligently with much heed/... and behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground. 

 Now, as all good Rock n' Roll nerds know, Jimi Hendrix has covered 3 of Dylan's hits {and possibly a fourth? and a fifth!}. This is my personal favorite. Recorded in London and finished up in NYC, Dave Mason actually ended up playing bass on it. {cool, huh?} It was actually Hendrix's only Billboard top 20 hit, solidifying my belief that Billboard rankings amount to squat.

Dylan's take on the cover:

It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn't think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day.

and from a separate interview:

I like Jimi Hendrix's record of this and ever since he died I've been doing it that way...Strange how when I sing it, it's a tribute to him in some kind of way.
Pretty moving, when you think about it. I love how covers can evolve beyond the original creator in that way.

And since we've got a new {and probably the only} reader with us,  I'd like to take a minute to introduce my Dad to Meraki and Agape:

Introducing the only father I know who can be unbelievably dorky and unbelievably cool at the exact same time. Thanks for following along, Papa bear. (:

How's everyone out there in computerland doing? Getting your Christmas on yet? Hannukah? Something completely different?

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