Wesley Harding album review
Bob Dylan's album John
Wesley Harding's music takes a modern approach to folk. Instead of
just an acoustic guitar and harmonica Dylan added a tight back-up
band consisting of a bass and drummer that often add drama to the
material, performing in lockstep with Dylan.
The songs generally offer a
similar format; a brief harmonica introduction, and then Dylan
performing story like songs, arguably monotonous. Among the material
is the classic "All Along the Watchtower."
The album strays from the
format with "Dear Landlord" that features Dylan playing
piano giving a slightly different feel than the other songs. The vocal tone
on "I Pity the Poor Immigrant" foretells Nashville
Peter Drake adds pedal
steel on the last two tracks, again showing the direction of his
next album, Nashville Skyline. First, "Down Along the
Cove" offers superb jamming with the harp and pedal steel
trading off solos to a back drop of a piano led rhythm backing. The
more popular song "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" is more laid
back, and is a pure country song, a la Dylan.
John Wesley Harding is
certainly a strong album that offers much for fans of Dylan's folk
and story songs. by
Barry Small ©
Any Grateful Dead or Jerry
Garcia band fans?
The Grateful Dead performed
"All Along the Watchtower," on a regular basis.
Dylan and The Dead - During
their tour with the Dead backing Dylan in 1987, they performed:
"I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" - featured Garcia on pedal
"All Along The Watchtower"
"The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"
The Wicked Messenger."
Jerry Garcia and Merl
Saunder's band Legion of Mary from 1975 performed:
"The Wicked Messenger"
Jerry Garcia and David
Grisman included a rendition of "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and
Judas Priest" on their 2004 release Been
All Around This World.