08 October 2010

Your Weekly Dylan Cover [#20]

Susan Tedeschi
"Lord Protect My Child"
Original Dylan version found on The Bootleg Series: Volumes 1-3 (1991)

Bob Dylan's 22nd studio album, Infidels, was released in October 1983. Co-produced with Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler, it was trumpeted in the media as Dylan's return to secular music.

The previous four years had seen Dylan in the midst of what is now popularly known as his "Christian period." Musically, he had been quite prolific; three LPs had been generated, with public reactions ranging from positive (Slow Train Running) to mixed (Shot of Love) to downright negative (Saved).

While Infidels contained some songs that were overtly political ("Neighborhood Bully" and "Union Sundown"), there were some spiritual numbers cut during those sessions. But they were left on the shelves. The two most notable were "Foot of Pride" and "Lord Protect My Child." Both would surface on the first of the Bootleg series released by Columbia in 1991.

"Foot of Pride" is a fire and brimstone corker. Dylan and his band are literally and figuratively electric.

"Lord Protect My Child" is surprisingly transparent; a mother struggles with the weight of the world and the dangers that confront her son on a daily basis. She desperately clings to the thread in her life that doesn't let her down: faith.

Italian-American Susan Tedeschi was born and raised in the Boston, Massachusetts area. The story goes that Susan was attracted to music from an early age and didn't much care for singing staid hymns in the choir at her family's Catholic parish. She started to attend predominantly African-American churches and found the musical selections "less repressed and more like a celebration of God."

Tedeschi's take on "Lord Protect My Child" from her 2005 album Hope and Desire reveals an artist in the middle of her sweet-spot as a singer. The affecting vocal thrills the listener with the ultimate "Sunday-go-to-meetin'" vibe, and is complimented nicely by the deft dobro skills of her husband, Derek Trucks.

Original Listening: Bob Dylan, "Lord Protect My Child"

Another Cover: The Lost Dogs, "Lord Protect My Child" (Scenic Routes, 1992)

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