willie 5

Willie Nile
River House Records

CBGB’s Punk Rock & Roller Blows The Dust Off Dylan’s Classics.

I can’t stand Bob Dylan’s voice…..never could; but have always appreciated the Genius that created so many musical masterpieces between 62 and 76; so when I heard a whisper that after playing at a party to celebrate Dylan’s 75th birthday last year RMHQ favourite Willie Nile was recording a record of his favourite Dylan songs I was rubbing my hands with glee.
Before we go any further, any boring Dylanophiles will hate this on principal, so should stop reading now. Gone? Good.
What else could Our Willie start the album with but the timeless The Times They Are A-Changing? Nile’s band apply the musical defibrillator and turn this hoary old Folk song into a Modern day anthem that should be played at 100 decibels outside Trump Towers on the hour, every hour!
Without time to take breath the band fire up Rainy Day Women #12 & #35 making it something that the Clash could have played as an encore; but didn’t.
With a 1,000 or more songs to choose from Nile has somehow whittled everything down to just 10; and put his own inimitable Doc Marten stamp on Blowin’ In The Wind, Hard Rain and Subterranean Homesick Blues; but it’s a couple of other inclusions that have tickled my fancy.
Perhaps the aficionados will tell me that Love Minus Zero/No Limit is similar to the original; but Willie Nile’s gives it a nice modern lick of Americana paint; making it very easy on these jaded ears; and it’s a similar story with You Ain’t Going Nowhere, which does sound like the Byrds version I knew from my teens, but with added joie de vivre and a massive shot of NYC adrenaline.
As I stopped being force fed Dylan music when Brother Magpie #3 left the nest in 1976 I’m deliberately not aux fait with his latter works; so the inclusion of Every Grain of Sand and Abandoned Love may (I say ‘may’) make me review my thoughts on Dylan’s latter works; but more than likely I will stick to listening to Willie Nile bringing new/old music to my ears.
After all these years I’m a bit embarrassed to say I’ve loved this album; thankfully owing as much to Willie Nile’s amazing voice; which brings me to the two songs that tie for the title of RMHQ ‘Favourite’.
One is an oldie that I only vaguely recognised; I Want You, with Willie giving it large on his acoustic guitar while the band roll along behind him now sounds as fresh as a glass of cold home-made lemonade; with just as much tang in the after taste.
The other is a song I’d not heard before; Abandoned Love. Seemingly a very ‘rare’ song; but a majestic choice by Mr. Nile as it perfectly closes the door on a refreshingly dandy set of interpretations of a tiny fraction of Bob Dylan’s back catalogue and Willie sounds like he was having a great time recording them.

The album artwork is pretty damn fine too!

Released June 23rd 2017


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