Tengo Does Dylan. Nice.
Yo La Tengo Does Dylan (Sunsquashed Archives)
Every year during Yo La Tengo’s Hanukkah shows at Maxwell’s, the band takes time to pay tribute to some Great Jewish Songwriters — and inevitably, a certain Robert Zimmerman’s tunes show up from time to time. YLT has long had an affinity for Dylan, stretching at least back to the version of “I Threw It All Away” which capped off President Yo La Tengo back in the 80s. Bob and Ira Kaplan are also linked by their Gerdes Folk City connections — Dylan played some of his earliest shows at the positively-4th-Street club and Ira booked the infamous “Music For Dozens” shows there in the early 80s. Ira, Georgia and James are generally far from reverent when taking on these hallowed tunes — and that’s what I like the most about this compilation (the second volume of our trawl through the Sunsquashed Archives). I get the feeling YLT thinks of Dylan less as a mythic, generation defining icon, and more of a great pop songwriter. Highlights include the droning, dreamy “It Takes A Lot To Laugh,” the garage-tastic “Rolling Stone” jam (nicked from the Soup Greens) and the lovely country waltz of “Wallflower.” Zimmy himself doesn’t show up, but Yo La Tengo get a helping hand from his old Budokan buddy David Mansfield on an utterly gorgeous “I’ll Keep It With Mine.” How does it feel!?
1. It Takes A Lot To Laugh It Takes A Train To Cry, 8/31/99, BBC Radio 1
2. Like A Rolling Stone, 10/13/89, Maxwell’s (Robert Vickers on bass)
3. I Threw It All Away, 2/17/11, Triple Door, Seattle, WA
4. One More Night, 12/6/02, Maxwell’s
5. I Wanna Be Your Lover, 12/6/07, Maxwell’s (with various dB’s)
6. Sooner or Later (One Of Us Must Know), Maxwell’s (with Jeff Tweedy)
7. Wanted Man, 3/8/97, WFMU
8. Wallflower, 9/15/98, Maxwell’s (with Dave Schramm)
9. Absolutely Sweet Marie, 12/21/08, Maxwell’s (with Cyril Jordan)
10. 4th Time Around, 11/7/07, Beacon Theatre, NYC (with Terry Jones and Buckwheat Zydeco)
11. I’ll Keep It With Mine, 12/30/05, Maxwell’s (with David Mansfield)
12. You’re A Big Girl Now, 12/26/08, Maxwell’s (Lambchop, with James McNew on bass)
Thanks to all the tapers! In case you missed it, we’re posting these rare Yo La Tengo recordings in the lead-up to Jesse Jarnow’s Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock, published next month by Gotham Books. Jesse is on Twitter and Facebook, offering many more YLT treats. And of course, the band itself is at www.yolatengo.com.