Thursday, December 27, 2007

Friday Beats - Various Artists, "I'm Not There"

I think I would recommend the movie over the soundtrack, but seeing the movie might well make you want to get the soundtrack. For the most part (I'd say 65-70%) the movie uses the original Bob Dylan versions of these songs. The exceptions are really quite striking though, including Jim Jones and Calexico's version of "Going to Acapulco" played over a small western town funeral (a town where everybody celebrates Halloween all the time and also one in which the zoo animals have just been set free). Or the laid back cover of Tombstone Blues by Richie Havens (in the movie it incorporates Marcus Carl Franklin, and he acquits himself well, but the album version is better).

But most of the sound track is covers of Bob Dylan Songs that didn't appear in the movie. Cover albums are a mixed bag by their very nature, but this one connects more often than it misses, and there are at a dozen really great tracks here. Including Eddie Vedder and the Million Dollar Bashers version of "All Along the Watchtower," the aforementioned "Going to Acapulco" and "Tombstone Blues," "Fourth Time Around" by Yo La Tengo, "Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)" by Willie Nelson, "Just like a Woman" by Charlotte Gainsbourg (who also acts in the movie), "Wicked Messenger" by The Black Keyes, and "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" by Ramblin' Jack Elliot. It's just a great album.

Yeah there are some clunkers, but even the clunkers aren't hideous misfires, just dull compared to the more lively tracks. So if you like Dylan's music at all, check it out.

Here is a live version of "Going to Acapulco." The sound quality isn't great, but it's still pretty good.

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