Cat Power: “Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert” (Review & Stream)

It is of course a risk to interpret these Dylan songs, especially in the World Heritage Royal Albert Hall version, which was actually recorded in Manchester. But as an admirer of the greatest living songwriter, Chan Marshall has been Dylan cover-approved since her contribution to Todd Haynes’ “I’m Not There.” The acoustic set from “She Belongs To Me” to “Mr. Tambourine Man” she celebrates with lascivious melancholy, each verse over-accentuated with relish. Marshall’s voice covers the songs like a velvet curtain filled with cigarette smoke.

Marshall’s voice covers the songs like a velvet curtain filled with cigarette smoke

On the electric side, however, it can only lose compared to Dylan’s frenetic clatter from 1966. What it lacks in exuberance, the Cat Power Band, expanded into a septet, makes up for by placing the pieces on a solid folk ballad foundation. Where Dylan once tried to smash his own monument, Chan Marshall puts it back together with great dedication. A bit of museum hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.

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