Various Artists

Tangled Up in Blues: Songs of Bob Dylan

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While covering Bob Dylan songs certainly isn't a novel idea, it's potentially a very interesting idea to have contemporary blues musicians perform Dylan compositions indebted to that form, since it's sometimes easy to overlook the deeply traditional roots of his music in light of the vast new territories he opened up. So, perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Tangled Up in Blues: Songs of Bob Dylan is the fact that it doesn't sound that deeply traditional -- these are, after all, contemporary blues musicians making contemporary recordings, which means that the production is often polished almost to the point of sterility. That said, though, Dylan's songs do sound tremendously authentic in this context anyway, and most of the artists present give them sympathetic readings. The styles aren't uniform either: Isaac Hayes is present with a smooth soul rendition of "Lay Lady Lay," Mavis Staples goes the gospel route with "Gotta Serve Somebody," and rootsy rockers the Band (Dylan's former backing unit, of course) appear with "One Too Many Mornings." Other highlights include R.L. Burnside's "Everything Is Broken," Alvin Youngblood Hart's "Million Miles," and Taj Mahal's "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry."

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