Joan Osborne

Songs Of Bob Dylan
212
Joan Osborne
Songs Of Bob Dylan

Osborne could sing a dictionary and make it sound good, and though she’s written much of her best material, she’s proven to be a stellar interpreter – be it Motown, blues, Americana, or Hendrix. The Dylan songbook has been fertile ground for covers, from the Byrds to Johnny Winter to Link Wray, so the mere idea of Osborne tackling the Great White Wonder’s catalog is cause for celebration. In typical fashion, she doesn’t disappoint.

Osborne co-produced the project with longtime collaborators Jack Petruzzelli and Keith Cotton, on guitars and keyboards, respectively. Those are generalities. As with the Fab Faux, Petruzzelli handles electric, acoustic, slide, baritone, and various keyboards, while Cotton plays piano, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer electric, and synth.

Some arrangements stick close to Dylan’s original treatments (“Tangled Up In Blue”), while the 6/8 arrangement of “Highway 61 Revisited” features reverby slide from Petruzzelli, and “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” turns a Salvation Army novelty into spooky blues (this time featuring Andrew Carillo’s slide). Dylan’s banjo-led rendition of “High Water” was sparse; Osborne’s take is an energetic swirl of percussion, organ, guitars, and electric sitar.

Throughout, solos are succinct and meaningful; the focus is on Dylan’s lyrics and melodies and Osborne’s voice – the type of thing Cotton and Petruzzelli do masterfully.


This article originally appeared in VG February 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.