Thursday, 7 May 2015

Art of the Cover - Rhiannon Giddens and Iron & Wine's "Forever Young" (2015)

Carolina Chocolate Drops chick, Rhiannon Giddens along with Sam Beam aka Iron & Wine, recently released this single version of Bob Dylan's classic Forever Young.

And what a beautiful rendition it is too.

There was a clamour for this fine interpretation of the song after it was used in the final episode of the NBC series Parenthood.

Produced by Joe Henry, the song features vocals and acoustic guitar from Beam with vocals and violin from Giddens.

Dylan's original recording, (more of which anon) from the 1974 album Planet Waves, has been Parenthood's theme song since it first aired in 2010. 

The new version by Giddens and Iron & Wine, was played at the show's Luncheonette recording studio during the episode.

The song dropped Jan 29th on Nonesuch Records.

The original "Forever Young" first appeared  - in two different versions, a slow and a fast - on Dylan's 1974 album Planet Waves. The fast version was used as the Parenthood theme song 

A demo version of the song, recorded in New York City in June 1973, was included on Dylan's majestic 1985 compilation Biograph - a box set spanning his career. Consisting of a massive 53 released and unreleased tracks from 1962 to 1981, the box set was released as both a five-LP set and a three-CD set.

In the notes included with Biograph, Dylan is quoted as saying that he wrote "Forever Young" in Tucson, Arizona, "thinking about" one of his sons and "not wanting to be too sentimental."

A live version of the song, recorded in Tokyo on 28 February 1978 was included on Dylan's album Bob Dylan at Budokan; a live performance in Tokyo where arrangements on the songs are radically altered from the originals, using the same musicians that backed his Street-Legal. LP and tour.

Rhiannon's been a real busy gal these past few month.

She has just released her fine debut solo record, "Tomorrow Is My Turn".

The T Bone Burnett produced album is a wonderful collection of interpretations of great songs made famous by Patsy Cline, Odetta, Dolly Parton, and Nina Simone, among others.

This debut album comes hot on the heels  of Giddens' excellent contributions to the Bob Dylan project,  Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes by the collective The New Basement Tapes - aka Rhiannon and some unknowns called  Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith and Jim James!

Meanwhile, Sam Beam, most recently released the critically acclaimed Ghost on Ghost on Nonesuch in 2013. 

Exciting news is that Beam is now beginning an archival release series on his own label, pulling from tapes found in the back corners of closets and dusty shoe boxes to gather previously unreleased home recordings, covers, and live sets from his entire career. 

The first in a series of releases will be Archive Series Volume No. 1, available on February 24th (click link.)

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