The LA Times - Dylanesque - Album Review - Sat 23rd Jun

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by Kevin O'Donnell

He's comfortable with the territory

Rating: Three Stars out of Four (Good)

The term "Dylanesque" is one of the biggest clichés in music criticism, an overused analogy lazily used to compare a singer-songwriter to Bob Dylan. So at first, the title doesn't seem to bode well for Bryan Ferry's new disc of Dylan covers.

Thankfully, the Roxy Music frontman reinvents these 11 tunes with an electronic sensibility that works surprisingly well. (Ferry gets negligible production help from his Roxy Music cohort Brian Eno on one track.) While Ferry plays harmonica and acoustic guitar, to be sure, those touches are tastefully enveloped within the overall sonic architecture.

Ferry has expressed how comfortable he feels with Dylan's tunes, and this isn't the first time he's covered the bard's songs: He's previously recorded "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." So you'd think such an ardent Dylanite would choose less obvious cuts. Alas, the usual suspects appear. "Knocking on Heaven's Door," one of the most covered songs in pop, sounds downright canned, especially those backup soul vocals and Ferry's phoned-in croon. And who can do justice to "All Along the Watchtower" when Jimi Hendrix's version remains unparalleled?

Still, there are a few winsome tracks. "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" and "The Times They Are A-Changin' " swing plenty. But the best cover is the most obscure — and the most imaginative. On "Gates of Eden" Ferry turns Dylan's acoustic version into an ambient ballad that is heartbreaking and majestic.
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