The internet is full of Bob Dylan Covers lists so we thought we’d do another one! Presenter of Sunday Soul show, Jo Bowler has always been an avid fan of Bob Dylan. These are her personal picks for the outstanding cover versions of the great singer-songwriter’s output over the years.
Masters of War – Vieux Farka Toure & Julia Easterlin
Few songs are as filled with more righteous indignation than Masters of War. Easterlin can spit venom in the most melodious of ways and Farka Touré’s kora playing has a persistent defiance to it. This is an undoubtedly beautiful rendition of one of Dylan’s angriest songs. Masters of War has always reminded me of namesake, Dylan Thomas’ poem ‘The Hand that Signed the Paper’ and both always stir a sense of fury in me that is as important today as it has ever been.
Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright – Odetta
Sometimes I think I’d just like to play Odetta‘s music 24/7. Rarely has an artist hold my attention for as long as Odetta has. Dylan was a great fan of her music and she of his. This seems like such a perfect rendition that all others pale in comparison.
Gotta Serve Somebody – Mavis Staples
It’s testament to Bob Dylan’s songwriting skills that such a variety of artists have adopted his work. Gotta Serve Somebody has become a gospel standard and it really should come as no surprise. The Staple Singer’s version of A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall is definitely worth checking out too!
Knocking on Heaven’s Door – Anthony and the Johnsons
Prepare to have your heart broken. There have been some pretty brilliant cover versions of Knocking on Heaven’s Door (I’m including Guns’n’Roses here) but Anthony Hegarty turns this power ballad in something of extraordinary sadness. My heart aches and my stomach sinks when I hear this. What more to say….. getting a bit weepy now……must sob into my sleeve…..
I know there are tens if not hundreds of amazing Bob Dylan covers out there but these are the 5 that I love right now. What would be on your top 5?
Need some more suggestions?
Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Bob Dylan Covers – Rolling Stone
Ten of the best classic Bob Dylan covers – Independent