The Best Dylan Covers: Alicia Keys – Pressing On

AK_MuscleShoals_PressingOn

The Best Dylan Covers: Alicia Keys – Pressing On

Saved is the twentieth studio album by Bob Dylan, released on June 23, 1980. Among the songs are the hymn-like song, Pressing On.

“Two stand-out tracks, nonetheless: the turbulent ‘Pressing On’ (Dylan creating convincing hot gospel) and the intelligently submissive, courageous address (including a lovely, aptly devotional harmonica) that is ‘What Can I Do For You?””
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

The album was recorded at Muscle Shoals and was produced by Barry Beckett and Jerry Wexler. In 2013 Alicia Keys chose Pressing On as her song for the documentary about “The Muscle Shoals sound”.

muscle shoals

Muscle Shoals is a 2013 documentary film about FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the ‘Singing River’ as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals changed the world and sold millions upon millions of copies. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, he brought black and white together in Alabama’s cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations while giving birth to the ‘Muscle Shoals Sound’ and ‘The Swampers’. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Bono, and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals’ magnetism, mystery, and why it remains influential today.
– IMDB

Alicia Keys gives us a powerful gospel hymn. I love that she doesn’t exaggerate and keep the “voice gymnastics” in check, and it has a nice build-up, it sounds like a classic soul ballad. Some veteran session players gathered for the session.

Alicia Keys went into the studio with David Hood (bass) and Jimmy Johnson (guitar) and other local musicians at FAME Recording Studios to record Pressing On for the documentary. They were joined by Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame songwriter and keyboardist Spooner Oldham, guitarist Larry Byrom (Steppenwolf), and drummer Brian Owings (see the video clip below).

‘There’s nothing about that girl I don’t like.’
– Bob Dylan

Great result!

Video clip from the documentary Muscle Shoals, Alicia Keys – Pressing On (sorry for the commercial, but this was the only one I could find):

Alicia Keys – Pressing On (the complete song from the soundtrack album):

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Other entries in the series:
The Best Dylan covers: Stevie Wonder – Blowin’ in the wind
The Best Dylan Covers: George Harrison – If Not For You
The Best Dylan Covers: Emmylou Harris – Every Grain of Sand
The Best Dylan Covers: Them – It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
The Best Dylan Covers: Joan Baez – Farewell Angelina
The Best Dylan Covers: Roger McGuinn – Up To Me
The Best Dylan Covers: Jeff Beck Group – Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You
The Best Dylan Covers: Susan Tedeschi – Lord Protect My Child
The Best Dylan Covers: Lucinda Williams – Tryin’ To Get To Heaven
The Best Dylan Covers: Jerry Garcia Band – Simple Twist of Faith
The Best Dylan Covers: Bruce Springsteen – All Along The WatchTower
The Best Dylan Covers: Patti Smith – Changing Of The Guards
The Best Dylan Covers: Johnny Rivers – Positively 4th Street
The Best Dylan Covers: Antony and The Johnsons – Knocking On Heaven’s Door
The Best Dylan Covers: Dave Alvin – Highway 61 Revisited
The Best Dylan Covers: 16 Horsepower – Nobody ‘Cept You

– Hallgeir