Here are some notes on my upcoming Bob Dylan covers album to be recorded this spring….Songs covered from his gospel albums and a few more of my other favorites
This album has been thirty one years coming….
At that tender age of seventeen when I lay on backyard blanket, with Bob Dylan’s “Desire” LP wafting “Hot chile peppers in the blistering sun….” through neighboring row houses, I had no idea those mesmerizing hours spent fascinated by Spanish drug lord’s daughters, and mysterious heartbreakers named “Sarah,” would eventually lead me here.
As “they [ran] to the water their buckets to fill,” I was filling buckets of tears. I believed every single line of it. Every heart wrenching melody broke my heart, and I shivered on a cold night with outlaw lovers while bullets flew overhead. I agonized the haunting cry of “No llores, mi querida, Dios nos vigila, soon the horse will take us to Durango. Agramme, mi vida. Soon the desert will be gone. Soon you will be dancing the fandango,” though I understood none of it.
I was young and impressionable. I’d been raised by an honest woman who lived on the edge of normalcy in complicated righteousness. Bob seemed to fit us. I knew that. Mommy didn’t always get it and often yelled for me to turn it down or off, to get out and meet people, and to stop lying in the sun all day.
But a romance was blooming. It was strong and true and lasted many years. Then I got married to a “real person,” and there was no room for Bob. I got civilized. No one else our age was listening to him anyway. He was already fast becoming a “has been” and certainly not something the respectable Christian folk were listening to (which I was).
Fast forward thirty one years, I’m still a Christian, but not as respectable. There it is, that edge of normalcy again, that complicated righteousness. Is it any wonder I found my way back to Bob? How can it be that his same truths that rang curiously sound way back then, still ring true to me all these years later?
I guess true love really does last a lifetime. Some lights (and some people), are strong enough to never wane and never leave your soul.
Turns out, I sing and write a bit too. Oh, nothing like the way Bob can write a song. I play a notoriously bad guitar which you still may be able to hear if we didn’t get it completely drowned out in the mix. I have a pretty good singing voice, but more than anything, I think I qualify because I’m a die hard fan. I don’t like everything he ever did, but who likes everything about another person? Where I lack in talent, I pick up in heart. I wanted to speak his voice in my voice since I’ve been so intricately knit with him, and so affected, for so long. It just seems a natural next step. I think all of these songs are so good and so life changing that they deserve to be heard one more time with a slightly different take. Anything I can do to make you listen to Bob will be counted as success for me. I even learned to harmonize in the making of the record because I really want to give it my best.
I’m making this recording for my children, because I want them to know what moves me, and what I used to groove on at their age. I think they can find me in here, as so many Bob fans find themselves in his music. I suppose that is what makes a great writer, and I suppose that is why he is still referred to as the greatest songwriter of all time.
As for me, I have had as much fun making this music as I did listening to it thirty one years ago, and on a scale of one to ten of all the best things in my life, listening to my favorite Bob songs ranks right up there as a nine and three quarters.
Be blessed as you hear this. Be forgiving. But above all, be open to where it can take you.