Dylanesque – Bryan Ferry | CD

(Virgin/EMI) 4 stars

Bob Dylan has inspired generations of musos, from Joan Baez and the Grateful Dead to Bryan Ferry, whose first effort was a soulful 1973 version of ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’.

Since then the elegant Brit has added occasional Zimmerman staples to what he terms his “ready-mades’’ – including two on 2002’s `Frantic’.

An entire Dylan CD is not for the faint-hearted, but Ferry has carried it off with characteristic panache.

He admits several arrangements were influenced by well-known covers such as the pulsating `All Along The Watchtower’ (Jimi Hendrix) and folksy `All I Really Want To Do’ (the Byrds).

This – plus Ferry’s classy harmonica – gives `Dylanesque’ its edge.

He spent about a week recording 20 tracks in the studio with his touring band, emerging with 11.

The exception was `Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’, basically put together eight years earlier with guitarist Robin Trower.

This six-minute version is the album’s centrepiece and a highlight, along with the killer opener ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’, irresistible, rhythm-heavy `The Times They Are A-Changin’ and haunting `Positively4th Street’.

Strangely, Ferry has never met Dylan.

“What would I say if I did meet him?’’ he asks. “I hope you don’t mind.’’

- Mike Daly

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