I'm Not There - Original Soundtrack
It's taken me a little while to get around to listening to all of this soundtrack, which has been out for a few weeks now, well in advance of (for the UK anyway) the film release. Or maybe Chichester is truly horrific and we'll never get the film; either way i'm glad I at least got to hear the soundtrack, because overall it's pretty tremendous. It feels like the sort of thing that would be perfect to introduce your idiotic friends who for some reason haven't got into Dylan yet, featuring as it does a cavalcade of genuinely great artists, which is unusual for this sort of relatively mainstream film. You would probably expect Annie Lennox and Sting; in reality you get members of White Magic and Mountain Goats, Iron & Wine, Calexico, plus a host of older Dylan-related artists, such as the very underappreciated Richie Havens, Roger McGuin and even Willie Nelson. There are a few horrific blunders; somehow Jack Johnson snuck his way on, but overall people prove themselves pretty admirably. The only exceptions I would say come from Sufjan Stevens, who doesn't add very much, and Steve Malkmus, who features on three numbers but doesn't seem to be putting much effort in (even for a guy with a notoriously slacker/effortless vocal style). It lags slightly during the second disc in places, but otherwise I can't recommend it enough.
I thought i'd give you five of the 34 tracks to check out. I've notably picked three women; because it seems that on this set they tend to bring forth more confident, fun performances. I feel maybe this is because some of the guys, singer songwriters themselves, are a little too in awe of Dylan to 'put themselves out there' as such, because some of the male led bands do admirably, The Hold Steady making Can I Please Crawl... sound like one of their own. I've also given you a great take on Senor from a Willie Nelson led Calexico, and from Antony & The Johnsons one of the only versions of Knocking that doesn't make me want to die. Enjoy.
Antony & the Johnsons - Knockin' On Heaven's Door
Cat Power - Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
Karen O and the Million Dollar Bashers - Highway 61 Revisited
Mira Billotte - As I Went Out One Morning
Willie Nelson and Calexico - Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)