Bryan Ferry. Remember him? King of the lounge lizards. Mister suave. Vocalist for Roxy Music, the band with the sexiest album cover art anywhere. Well, in the early 70s he released his first solo album, and it was a strange, but infectious collection of covers, all done up in Ferry's own inimitable style. I loved it. And the centrepiece was his rendition of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall". Followup solo records followed a similar format, and were always enjoyable. There was something about the juxtaposition of Ferry's louche persona and traditional, or familiar songs. He has just released a new CD called Dylanesque wherein he covers a dozen Dylan tunes. As an addendum he has put together a DVD called Dylanesque Live: the London Sessions which shows his band in the studio playing the tunes (and a couple extras) from the CD. On first viewing I was struck by the lack of visual interest. OK the girl backing singers are attractive, but Ferry sits on a stool, with the lyrics on a music stand in front of him; he sort of wiggles his shoulders and delivers the text in a whispery croon. The band is hot though. Colin Good is bandleader & pianist, Chris Spedding, Leo Abraham and Oliver Thompson play guitars, Guy Pratt is the bassist, and Andy Newmark drums. Ferry adds a touch of harmonica and noodles on the Farfisa. The girls are Me'sha Bryan, Sarah Brown, Anna McDonald and Tara McDonald. It's all to do with style, I guess. And Ferry has more than his share of that! The interplay of the 3 guitars is cool.
Anyway...I'm listening to my favourite album of the past year...Vince Gill's extraordinary 4 disc set These Days...and it still works for me. I don't think I've listened to anything as much as this album in a long time. There is such a breadth of material, styles and such solid playing and singing. I hear Vince filmed his shows at the Ryman for an upcoming DVD. I sat in the third row for his show at Niagara Fallsview in January, and if the Ryman set is anything like that show...the DVD will be fantastic.