A Nod to Bob 2
A decade ago, when Bob Dylan turned 60, Red House Records, the superb folk music label based in Dylan’s home state of Minnesota, released a sublime tribute album called A Nod to Bob, that featured Red House artists of the day – including Rosalie Sorrels, Greg Brown, Eliza Gilkyson, John Gorka, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Guy Davis, Lucy Kaplansky and others – each doing a Bob Dylan song.
Now, with Dylan turning 70 this coming Tuesday, Red House has released another fine tribute featuring 16 of its solo artists or bands – including seven who were on the first Nod to Bob in 2001 – each doing a Dylan song or, in the cases of Spider John Koerner (“The Days of Forty-Nine”), Hot Tuna (“Mama, Let me Lay It On You”) and Guy Davis (“House of the Rising Sun”), great versions of traditional songs from Dylan’s repertoire.
Among my favourite tracks are John Gorka’s beautiful version of “Just Like a Woman,’ a gorgeous take on “Buckets of Rain” by Danny Schmidt, Meg Hutchinson’s haunting piano-based arrangement of “Born in Time,” and Jimmy LaFave’s intense folk-to-rock version of “Not Dark Yet.” There’s probably no other current artist who understands Dylan’s fusion of folk music and rock ‘n’ roll intensity better than Jimmy LaFave.
I have to admit that I much preferred the songs that Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson chose for Nod 1 to the ones they chose for Nod 2, but, still Lucy’s version of “Every Grain of Sand,” and Eliza’s live version of “Jokerman,” are both first-rate. As are almost all of the rest of the tracks.
I would say that if you’re looking for the best-ever various artists tribute album to Dylan, my vote would probably go to 2001’s A Nod to Bob. If you’ve got that one and want a more-than-worthy sequel, A Nod to Bob 2 is highly recommended.