South Florida Sun Sentinel - Dylanesque - Album Review - Tue 26th Jun

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by Sean Piccoli

Bryan Ferry misses the boat on Dylan collection

Proceed immediately to the 10th track on Bryan Ferry's new CD of Bob Dylan covers: Gates of Eden is when Ferry — the eccentric, pretty voice of Roxy Music — solves the material he's taken on. A whispered vocal set in a smoky chamber of sound yields a perfect match of performer and composer. Eden is Dylanesque, as in vaguely ominous and ineffably cool, but it's also vintage Ferry, as in elegant and seductive.

If only it didn't take Ferry so long to hit a sweet spot in the Dylan songbook. The preceding nine tracks are a hash of near misses, dubious picks and stock arranging. Some of these interpretations are simply ... wrong. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, the opener, sounds like the artist impersonating his muse: Ferry bends that birdlike vibrato downward to affect a low mumble, with embarrassing results.

Make You Feel My Love, in Dylan's hands, was a song about conquest with a selfish, obsessive narrator. Ferry wants to make Love more of a two-way street, and it's a great idea to undermine the conceit of the original. But he sings it so gently and beseechingly it turns to vapor. His backing band does him few favors on this or other selections. The rhythm section is mostly inconsequential. The chugging guitar work on The Times They Are a-Changin' and All I Really Wanna Do is strikingly uninspired.

Considering the depth of Dylan's repertoire, Ferry also makes some awfully obvious picks. At this point in history, covering Knockin' on Heaven's Door and All Along the Watchtower is like scheduling more Paris Hilton updates on E! There's not a lot left to be learned from material that's been so thoroughly picked over.

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