I don’t encounter many tribute albums in the field of reviewing. Paupers, Peasants, Princes & Kings: The Songs of Bob Dylan is self-explanatory enough. The roster of familiar participants helped spark my interest. I’m not going to pretend that I’m a Dylan junkie, because honestly I’m more familiar with the artists doing the covering.
The majority of the songs I was looking forward to met my hopes. Jim Ward, frontman of Sparta, has a role with “Lay Lady Lay.” It sounds like Sparta during its light hints of distortion, but it also has a midwestern flare to fit the material. Alt-country outfit Limbeck adds “Tonight, I’ll Be Staying Here With You” to the tribute. The band’s heartfelt rendition could easily pass for a Limbeck original. Read Yellow’s angular and frenetic version of “If Not For You” is proof that band deserves some recognition for its strides in post-hardcore.
There were a couple surprises I encountered near the end of the 13-song tribute. Unfortunately, Gatsby’s American Dream fumbles with a quirky translation of “Don’t Think Twice, it’s Alright.” The band’s past cover attempts (The Cure) outshine this rushed disappointment. On a happier note, my other observation was a Wes Eisold (American Nightmare) project that I’d never even heard of, called Panama Jerk.
For a tribute to Bob Dylan, this has serious crossover appeal. I must say that Doghouse Records did an excellent job assembling this compilation.