04 March 2007

Bryan does Bob

Horrific piece in Saturday's Telegraph warning of an album by Bryan Ferry of Dylan covers.

The sub-para reads, "Bryan Ferry tells Neil McCormick about divorce, M&S, and his new album of Dylan songs".

I genuinely read it as "S&M" and mentally applauded the truth serum that had McCormick spotting it as sado-masochism on Dylan fans everywhere.

The less said about this grotesquerie the better. On to the pop record review section where David Cheal drools over the Ferry album but in such a hammy malapropist way as to read like a winner of one of those comps where readers write rave reviews that between the lines make clear what a absolute stinker the whole package really is.

I'm sure Cheal is a paid-up devotee of both artistes, but this week's trophy for a hatchet job goes on his shelf for even *suggesting* that,

"If anyone has the credentials to record an album of Bob Dylan songs, it's Bryan Ferry: his version of A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall on his 1973 These Foolish Things album remains unimpeachable, while his last solo album, 2002's Frantic, also contained two terrific Dylan covers.

So here he is, re-inhabiting and reinventing 11 songs with verve, swagger and breezy confidence; recorded in a week, it sounds fresh, urgent and compelling.

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, Times They Are a-Changin' and If Not For You are smouldering blues-rockers, driven by the chugging guitar of Chris Spedding and illuminated by splashes of Ferry's harmonica, while and Gates of Eden take a spookier, more atmospheric approach, sounding, in fact, like out-takes from Dylan's own Oh Mercy album; Simple Twist of Fate is like a whirlwind of song.

And it's all sung in a voice which is becoming old, stretched and thin - the perfect match for Dylan's timeless melodies and haunting lyrics."

"Old, stretched and thin ... verve, swagger and breezy confidence." Pass the sick bag, Alice.

Someone had better hope that Dylan himself never *ever* reads this diabolically apt description of the mother of all mismatches.

Positively 4th Grade: I can't work out if these posts are blessing or depressing. From his prowls along the watchtower, Wells sahib sends this nightmare clip of Ferry surpassing badness.

Had Master Cheal seen this travesty - complete with lèse majesté mincing hand on hip - he would never have besmirched the honourable Telegraph with such a groveling eulogy.

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