The Best Dylan Covers: Roger McGuinn – Up To Me
Stylistically, the album varies from traditional sounding folk and sea chanty music (such as the aforementioned “Jolly Roger”) to hard, gritty rock tunes strongly influenced by the burgeoning punk rock movement (such as “Rock and Roll Time”).
“Roger McGuinn’s inspired participation with Bob Dylan’s epic 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour led the bard to offer McGuinn this exquisite outtake from Blood on the Tracks for his inclusion on Cardiff Rose, perhaps his finest solo album. Easily on a par with all of the excellent songs on that album, McGuinn did here what he does best with outside material: he synthesized it to make it sound like his own. A multi-layered and first-person confessional ballad, it’s a love song that is akin to a painting or a film, complete with flashbacks, allegories, and foreshadowing. The powerful sense of dignity and responsibility here is, as always, engaging, and stands up to repeated listening as much as any Dylan material from this period. McGuinn does it extreme justice, with a rocked-up, energetic arrangement that is quite different (but equally as effective) as Dylan’s original, which has been often bootlegged.”
– Matthew Greenwald / Allmusic
Written by Bob Dylan and recorded by Dylan during the Blood on the Tracks sessions of 1974. Dylan’s original is very reminicent of “Shelter From the Storm,” keeping roughly the same melody (but not quite). Roger McGuinn does it a bit different. Like he did in his Byrds days, McGuinn electrified the song and turned it into a folk-rock gem.
The acoustic Dylan version wasn’t released until
the early ’90s when it appeared on the The Bootleg Series Vol. I-III. 1985 when it appeared in the box-set Biograph (thank you, Chris Burke).
Cardiff Rose (1976 album) version by Roger McGuinn:
Up to me – Roger McGuinn (Audio, studio version, from a Mojo magazine compilation):
Up To Me – Roger McGuinn (Live, Pepperdine University in Malibu California on October 9, 2009):
Cardiff Rose [Columbia, 1976]
“I’d written him off before Rolling Thunder, too, but this record, produced by fellow Roller Ronson and featuring various tour buddies, rocks wilder than anything he ever did with the Byrds. “
– Rober Christgau
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