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John Wesley Harding

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (2 May 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Full Fill
  • ASIN: B004W7G1K0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,813 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Thea Gilmore's interest in Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding began when she recorded 'I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine' a number of years ago for her Songs From The Gutter album. Now, in her own words, she has gone back to the studio and 'cut the whole bloomin' lot'. Such a bold move might set alarm bells ringing about the potential pointlessness of such a project. While Dylan's songs have received copious cover treatment over the years, the concept of re-recording an entire album, albeit a more unfamiliar one like John Wesley Harding, might seem a tad ambitious.

In fact, such fears prove to be groundless. Gilmore breathes new life into most of the songs on the album. Things start sedately enough with a distinctly Dylanesque harmonica on the title track. On the touchstone of 'All Along The Watchtower' she does not fall into the trap of attempting to reproduce either the Hendrix version, arguably better known than Dylan's original, or the all-out rock thrash of Neil Young's version that appeared on the Dylan 30th Anniversary Tribute album (and indeed in live concert). Instead the song is turned into an attractive blues shuffle that doesn't outstay its welcome. There are rocked out versions of 'Drifter's Escape' and 'As I Went Out One Morning', a piano-accompanied 'Dear Landlord', and a ringing Byrdsian take on 'I Pity The Poor Immigrant'. Production by other half Nigel Stonier, who also supplies backing vocals and multi-intrumentals, is crisp and crystal clear. Thea Gilmore's live performances, as well as her 2004 album Loftmusic prove that she is no stranger to a judicious cover version. This reinvention of one of Bob Dylan's entire albums is a worthy addition to the extensive catalogue of an artist who for this reviewer can currently do no wrong.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Thea continues her run of outstanding albums with this wonderful release. Her take on "I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine" is already recognised as one of the best Dylan covers ever but the rest of these tracks are just as good if not better! Thea re-invents the album in her own unique style. Her voice is just amazing and the way she gets under the skin of these magical songs is spine tingling. The band behind her pull out all the stops. Drummer Paul Beavis, Robbie McIntosh and Nigel Stonier all deserve acclaim and all play out of their skins. This is a must-buy album by one of the best female singer-songwriters in the business.
My personal favourite track is "The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest" which Thea just lives and makes her own. A superb release that deserves success.
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WOW THIS IS BRILLIANT. THIS LADY HAS A GREAT VOICE AND THE INTERPRETATIONS OF BOB DYLAN'S JOHN WESLEY HARDING LP FROM THE MIDDLE SIXTIES IS BY FAR THE BEST DYLAN TRIBUTE I HAVE EVER HEARD. I MUST ADMIT THAT DYLANS VERSION OF THIS ALBUM WAS NOT MY FAVOURITE OF HIS FROM THE SIXTIES BUT AFTER LISTENING TO THEA GILMORE'S VERSION IT HAS REKINDLED ANOTHER LISTEN TO DYLAN. ITS GREAT TO HEAR ACOUSTIC/ELECTRIC GUITAR BASS DRUMS AND MANDOLIN BEING PLAYED TO GREAT EFFECT WITHOUT THE INTRUSION OF BARING TRUMPETS OR SAXOPHONE. THE BEST SONG IS I PITY THE POOR IMMIGRANT WHICH IS SUNG WITH GREAT PASSION AND BELIEF IN THE PROJECT. THEAS STYLE IS PUNCTUATED ALL OVER THIS RECORDING AND I RECOMMEND IT HIGHLY. I WOULD SUGGEST YOU PURCHASE THE LIMITED EDITION WHICH HAS THE CD ENCASED IN A LOVELY BOX ACCOMPANIED BY VARIOUS POSTCARDS (PAINTED) WITH THE LYRICS SYMPATHETICALLY PRINTED ON THE REVERSE. EXCELLENT
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Brilliant, and probably one of Thea's best albums. All songs taken from the original album by Bob Dylan, and all written by him. Much as I like Bob Dylan, I would never have bought his version of the album, and would have missed out on many gooid songs about the outlaw. Thea's albums are almost entirely made up of her own songs, and this one and the album which she recorded at the request of Sandy Denny's Executors are the only ones to break the mould. Don't Stop Singing was recorded by Thea from Sandy's own written words. Sadly due to Sandy's death at an early age, she never had the opportunity to record them herself. At least her daughter Georgia has been able to hear the songs, if not sung by her mother.

I strongly recommend all of Thea's albums, and am sorry I did not get to hear about her much earlier. Why not try one yourself? May I suggest '[Loft Music', one of my favourites. The Lipstick Conspiracies is very difficult to find.
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I've been a fan of Thea's since discovering her covers album "Loft Music" and was intrigued by the idea of her covering an entire album as she does here.

Stand-out tracks for me are "Pity The Poor Immigrant" (which comes close to the soul wrenching of Joan Baez's version)and "I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine" closely followed by "All Along The Watch Tower" is a fascinating reinterpretation that stays away from Dylan's own and from Hendrix too. Probably one of the most effective uses of double tracked echo I've heard. Excellent!

Thea's voice is ideally pitched for these songs and the sparse backing and simple production fit them well.

The CD jewell case comes in a box with a nice pack of 12x12 cards - one for each track with some artwork on one side and the song lyrics on the other. It won't stop the rush to digital download from solid disks but it's a nice add on (as it was on Thea's last album, "Murphy's Heart"). Warning though - If you're OCD about alphabeticising your CD collection and have fixed size shelves, the box won't fit!

"Never known to make a foolish move" must apply to Thea's musical choices too.
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