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Bryan Ferry - Dylanesque

Released on Virgin, 6/26/07

As far as vocal stamps go, Bryan Ferry’s musical crest has come a long way from Roxy Music unto the present. With Dylanesque, he pays tribute to none other than counterculture hero, Bob Dylan, eleven times over with his choice of iconic Dylan tunes.

Listening to Dylanesque is like watching the latest installment of the Harry Potter films. All the main characters are the same actors who’ve played them but they look different and sound different so they aren’t as you remembered. Well, that’s what Dylanesque is like, Bryan Ferry’s voice isn’t exactly like the velvety-swagger you remember, and not readily recognizable as it once was.

The jeweled fact of Dylanesque is that the entire album was captured live in the studio. On “If Not for You” Ferry gets a little love from ex-band mate, Brian Eno of Roxy Music.
Dylan’s songs are mainly approachable as remakes and one can move in almost any diversified direction within the genre as long as it's soulful and true. Ferry doesn’t take away from the originals but yet he doesn’t quite giveth.

He doesn’t quite do much with his choice of covers. There is such a sense of detachment melding through the final display, mainly an inability to transmit unity, warmth and the working class spirit that Dylan exudes with his short, lazy but spiked vocals. The ever-present harmonicas are seemingly present though not always present in his choice of tunes. Ferry does play harmonica on Dylanesque including one of his better cuts, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” It is noted as a positive Ferry cover because that song has a soul of its own and can’t be disowned no matter how bad a musician flubs it up.

“All Along the Watchtower” sounds much like a tamed Muzack version you might catch in a yuppie supermarket. It tries hard to rock out but in style, it turns out to be a small hush. If you’re gonna do a cover of “All Along the Watchtower”, you best do it right and right was done by Jimi Hendrix. Not much is comparable to that source of energy...

There’s always a tune that sticks out from among the rest and in Dylanesque, that tune is “Gates Of Eden”. The intro starts like something reminiscent of Roxy Music’s "Avalon". With that it churns into another version of soulless Muzak.

Dylanesque makes a very forgettable experience. While Ferry’s sincerity is omnipresent, the entire album finds something, amiss, out of place.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars