Label: EAGLE ROCK
Roxy Music founder Ferry first covered “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” as the leadoff track of his 1973 solo debut. It went Top 5 in the U.K. and spawned a primitive video (included here as an extra) but it took another 34 years for Ferry’s return to Zimmerland on Dylanesque. Shortly after its recording, Ferry reconvened some of the players for a somewhat stripped down, live-in-the-studio video session of its dozen tracks. The result is an unpretentious yet inspiring romp as the ever cool Ferry, seated on a stool and reading lyrics from a music stand, leads a six-piece band plus a female bi-racial vocal quartet-all arranged in a circle-through easygoing, yet invigorating versions of predominantly popular Dylan fare. Each performance is introduced with a brief spoken prelude articulating what attracted him to the song and how the arrangements were constructed. The camera work is smooth and professional, the surround sound clean and crisp, the lighting appropriately subdued and the playing tight, yet relaxed. It’s a lovely, unhurried affair that, while staying true to the melodies, infuses Ferry’s offhand British bon vivant style to classics that would seem to be impervious to better interpretations than Dylan has already bestowed on them. While it won’t make you forget the originals, this video adds depth and insight into a project that obviously came from the heart.