CD John Wesley Harding [Thea Gilmore] (CD 7043743),
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John Wesley Harding [Thea Gilmore]

  • 1. John Wesley Harding
    2. As I Went Out One Morning
    3. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
    4. All Along the Watchtower
    5. Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest, The
    6. Drifter's Escape
    7. Dear Landlord
    8. I Am a Lonesome Hobo
    9. I Pity the Poor Immigrant
    10. Wicked Messenger, The
    11. Down Along the Cove
    12. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): FCCD132

  • Credits
    ProducerNigel Stonier
    EngineerTracey Browne; Ewan Davies; Jerome Van Der Berghe

    Personnel: Thea Gilmore (vocals, background vocals); Robbie McIntosh (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, baritone guitar, dobro, mandolin, ukulele); Nigel Stonier (acoustic guitar, cuatro, ukulele, harmonica, keyboards, background vocals); Paul Beavis (drums, percussion); Ewan Davies (percussion); Tracey Browne (background vocals).
    Audio Mixer: Ewan Davies.
    Recording information: Revolution, Cheshire (02/08/2011-02/14/2011); The Chapel Lincolnshire (02/08/2011-02/14/2011); Revolution, Cheshire (02/21/2002); The Chapel Lincolnshire (02/21/2002).
    Photographer: Tom Sheehan.
    Encouraged by the positive response to her performance at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall's 70th Birthday tribute to Bob Dylan, singer/songwriter Thea Gilmore pays further respect to one of her biggest influences, by recording the entirety of his 1967 eighth studio album, John Wesley Harding. No stranger to the concept of the covers album (2004's Loft Music) or interpreting the folk legend's work ("I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine" appeared on 2002's Songs from the Gutter), the Oxford-born chanteuse appears entirely comfortable wrapping her ethereal and breathless tones around the 12 tracks that she describes as Dylan's "most sustained and satisfying record." Produced by husband Nigel Stonier, Gilmore mostly opts for the subtle homage approach than any radical reworkings, simply substituting acoustic guitar for mandolin on the title track, replicating the languid country sound of "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" and the rockabilly grooves of "Down Along the Cove," and slightly ramping up the guitars on the jangly Byrds-inspired take on "I Pity the Poor Immigrant." But while there aren't any Hendrix-style reimaginings or Guns N' Roses-esque bombastics, the album still offers enough variation from the source material to avoid descending into pure karaoke. Her delicate autumnal signature sound is very much in evidence on the slightly funereal treatment afforded to "Dear Landlord" and the sleepy shuffle of "All Along the Watchtower"; "The Ballad of Frankie Lee & Judas Priest" and "Drifter's Escape" are given a driving Amy MacDonald-style folk-rock makeover, while "The Wicked Messenger" is turned into a frantic, foot-stomping slice of harmonica-driven barroom blues. Covering such a cherished and well-respected body of work is a brave move, and while Gilmore was always going to struggle to make these iconic songs her own, John Wesley Harding is a valiant attempt to respectfully add a slightly modern sheen to the 40-year-old record, which should silence any Dylan aficionados waiting to cry foul. ~ Jon O'Brien

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