Friday, February 13, 2009

All Along The Watchtower by XTC: strikingly radical reinterpretation

As expected, tonight’s Sings Dylan (cover versions) on BBC4 was mostly yawn-inducing.

The procession of pop and folkpop acts from the BBC archives presented pale imitations of the real thing: nobody sings Dylan like Dylan.

My semi-comatose state was disturbed twice, though.

XTC’s incendiary New Wave live radical reinterpretation of All Along The Watchtower was exciting, one of the most striking Dylan covers I’ve seen in a long time. I must check out that band (25 years too late!)

And Bryan Ferry’s lovely It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue, from his Frantic CD (or was it Don’t Think Twice, from the same Ferry album?) also had me awake - momentarily, until I realised that he and backing band were only pretending to make music.

You can probably see the programme online - some BBC TV programmes are accessible online via iPlayer for a short period after transmission (though copyright restricts the territories in which they’re available):

Gerry Smith