Music Reviews

Ben Sidran

Dylan Different



Formats available: CD

This album from 2009 is a tribute to a poet and his lyrics. Ben Sidran has taken Dylan’s words and recreated them in an original, unique and exquisite fashion. Sidran refreshes Dylan, who by now is an icon to a generation, and his large band of co conspirators breathe originality and life in to his mesmerising lyrics on a scale that allows the album to be considered an original.

The sound is best described as Steely Dan meets avant-garde with Mose Alison joining in, it is soulful, jazzy, poppy and almost entirely addictive. I own a large number of Dylan covers and IMHO his versions of ‘You’ve Got To Serve Somebody’, ‘Maggie’s Farm’, ‘Subterranean Blues’ and ‘Rainy Day Woman’ are simply beyond comparison, they make the Bob more Bob and add a lot more Dylan to the Dylan in the process.

The album is the brainchild of Ben Sidran, an American artist who has released 35 albums, fusing jazz, pop, rock and blues. His early days included time with the Steve Miller Band and contributions to albums by the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison and Rickie Lee Jones among others. He is a song writer, musician and producer who plays keyboards and has a voice and singing style that will remind some of Donald Fagen. There is another recognisable voice on Dylan Different, that of Georgie Fame who collaborates with Sidran on one of the tracks. The album like many others was recorded and produced by Sidran’s son Leo.

This mostly happy-clappy-funky-jazzy-funny and witty musical treat is generated by a sizable band made of supremely talented musicians, they are: Rodolphe Burger, guitar, vocals,  Jorge Drexler, vocals; Georgie Fame, organ, vocals; Amy Helm, vocals; Marcello Giuliani, bass; Alberto Malo, drums; Mike Leonhart, trumpet;  Bob Malach, saxophone, and Leonor Watling, vocals. The recording is very good, the bass is fast the sound is warm and the joy is spread all across the frequency band. Best track award goes to ‘Maggie’s Farm’ followed closely by ‘Subterranean Blues’.

Reuben Klein

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