- Bryan Ferry - Dylanesque Live
_ Dylanesque Live _ is a straightforward live-in-the-studio recreation of Mr. Ferrys most recent studio album, and despite the fact that Ferry would never top anyones list of Great Dylan Interpreters, there is quite a bit to recommend here.
While not at all similar in any way whatsoever, Ferrys voice is every bit as distinctive as Dylans is, and that definitely works to this collections advantage. The best songs here are ones when Ferry takes a song and makes it entirely work within his rumpled (and now slightly aging) European smoothie routine. The result is more Ferry than Dylan, but at least it produces mostly interesting results. It helps that he is accompanied by a crack band that includes such luminaries as Guy Pratt and Chris Spedding, and Ferry himself provides some terrific (if unexpected) harmonica solos. Unfortunately, it doesnt all work, but by and large, thats simply the result of the song choices.
Dylans more obscure moments seem to provide better source material for Ferry. Theres a tremendously atmospheric take on Gates of Eden that has some beautiful slide guitar, and Make You Feel My Love fits Ferry so perfectly its hard to believe its not his own song. The slinky funkiness that propels If Not For You wouldnt be out of place at a tasteful European discothe, and A Simple Twist of Fate provides a more up-tempo delight with some very nice interplay between Ferry (on harp) and the slide guitarist. On the better known songs, Ferry stumbles a bit. Theres an atrocious reggaefied Knocking on Heavens Door that fits Ferry as well as a purple tutu, a pedestrian All I Really Want to Know that veers into adult contemporary territory, and a completely forgettable stab at All Along the Watchtower.
Is Dylanesque Live worth buying? Certainly if youre a Ferry or a Dylan fan this is a must-have, but its a bit of a mixed bag for the rest of us. Nevertheless, the format is refreshingly simple (no frills live in the studio— albeit a very nicely lit studio), theres a bonus of Ferrys wild video from 1973 when he covered A Hard Rains Gonna Fall, and there are a couple of songs here that are really damned good. However, for the most part, this release feels less essential and more like something youd quite enjoy if you stumbled across it accidentally on PBS late one Saturday night.