21 December 2010

Your Weekly Dylan Cover [#28]

"She Belongs To Me"
Bob Weir, Phil Lesh & Jerry Garcia
Original Dylan version found on Bringing It All Back Home (1965)

It is well known that the Grateful Dead - as well as its family tree of side projects - has accumulated a treasure trove of performances of Bob Dylan songs. Indeed, Dylan has toured with The Dead. So we won't spend time going down that road when there are many more ardent followers of that prolific band who continue to aptly record that history.

But we did find a fairly rare, and touching, take by the three core members of The Dead playing Dylan's "She Belongs To Me." Apparently, this is a clip from a VHS tape circa 1992 called Backstage Pass. Bob Weir trades verses and then harmonizes with a fragile looking Jerry Garcia. Phil Lesh provides a solid bass bottom and Garcia his signature guitar picking.

The song itself is a deceptively gentle, waltz-like melody partnered with another classic Dylan lyric. Speculation has always centered around Joan Baez as the artist who commands constant attention bordering on idolatry from her lover, but cannot be conquered by a mere male: She's nobody's child/The law can't touch her at all.

"She Belongs To Me" is curiously placed on Bringing It All Back Home between two rockers which train a laser on the social ills of the day (the two singles released from the album: "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and "Maggie's Farm"). Produced by Tom Wilson and recorded at Columbia Recording Studio in New York City on 14 January 1965, Dylan (on harmonica and acoustic guitar) is backed by John Hammond Jr and Bruce Langhorne on electric guitar as well as William E. Lee on bass and Bobby Gregg on drums.

Original Listening: Bob Dylan, "She Belongs To Me" (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965)

Another Cover: Leon Russell, "She Belongs To Me" (Leon Russell & The Shelter People [CD bonus track], 1971)

Yet Another Cover: Buffalo Tom, "She Belongs To Me" (Velvet Roof [EP], 1992)

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