Is It Rolling Bob? A Reggae Tribute To Bob Dylan - Vol. 1
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
The music of Bob Dylan has long been highly valued in Jamaica (the Wailers recorded an odd, eerie version of "Like a Rolling Stone" as early as 1966), and given the amazing elastic mutability of his songs (and the equally elastic adaptability of reggae rhythms), it should come as no surprise that a collection of reggae covers of his compositions should pop up now and again. Is It Rolling Bob? is a two-disc affair, presenting 14 reggaefied versions of Dylan songs on the first disc, with a second bonus disc of dub remixes of eight of them, and while nothing is patently awful, the truth is that most of these tracks are more curious than inspiring or memorable. The fact that Jamaica was once essentially an island slave plantation (and given that Toots Hibbert could sing the want ads and make them stick) gives "Maggie's Farm" an added poignancy here, while "Mr. Tambourine Man" makes an amazingly fluid transition to reggae in the hands of the great Gregory Isaacs, but tracks like "Lay Lady Lay" by the Mighty Diamonds mostly just sound strange, even slightly off-kilter. Disc one closes with a remix of Dylan's vocal version of "I and I" done by Doctor Dread, and aside from being a bit more atmospheric than the version from Infidels (which already had the great Jamaican rhythm section of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare on it), it is surprisingly close to the original mix. Disc two is another matter, however. Dub mixes of Bob Dylan: how can that not be interesting? Well, it is more interesting than the rest of this package, and the ultimate cut here is a dub version of "I and I" that has Dylan's voice echoing and stuttering against a backdrop as deep as the sea. Serious Dylan collectors are going to want to have this track, and in the end, that's the audience who will be happiest with Is It Rolling Bob? For the casual listener, these versions will simply be mildly interesting curios. --Steve Leggett, All Music Guide
Bob Dylan's songs have been covered by everyone from the Byrds to Muzak. But performers from other traditions, unhampered by the original historic and social contexts and subsequent decades of awe-struck veneration, can just relax and sing their hearts out. Producer Dr. Dread has picked material from Dylan's Woody Guthrie-influenced early career ("Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol"), his anarchistic yet tender middle period ("Just like a Woman"), and even his brief foray into born-again Christianity ("Gotta Serve Somebody"). Each selection is rhythmically revamped while the lyrics are sometimes reinterpreted via the Word according to Jah. But if the straightforward arrangements tend to mitigate Dylan's sly sophistication, his melodies, which so often took a back-seat to his poems, emerge in all their glory. Other than a rare, Dylan-sanctioned remix of a tune he recorded with Sly & Robbie, there are few earth-shaking revelations, but this engaging album is well worth owning. --Christina Roden
Top Customer Reviews
If you are a fan of Bob and/or reggae music it will have you engaged, bemused and amused.
From the opening introduction to The Times They Are A-Changing "Is it rollin' Bob?"
To the final track featuring Bob himself it covers a range of Dylan's hits in a suprisingly varied way. If you are one of those people who think all Reggae tunes sound alike - then just take a listen to this album.
The stand-out tracks for me are "Gotta Serve Somebody" and "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (watch the parking meters!)
At this price you can't go wrong. Add it to your collection - don't think twice!