Joan Osborne: Songs of Bob Dylan review – tired covers of a musical colossus

(Womanly Hips)

Into the quiet days of late summer comes a one-hit wonder tackling a colossus. But fair play to Joan Osborne – women taking on Dylan’s music have previously worked wonders. Nina Simone smoothed Just Like a Woman’s creases of misogyny into a moving meditation on vulnerability, while Adele transformed Make You Feel My Love’s croaky sweetness into a planet-swallowing power ballad. Osborne’s take on Dylan is straighter and plainer, though, primed for windows wound down on the highway, with a side dollop of Memphis soul. Most famous for her 1995 God-bothering smash hit One of Us, she’s best here stripping down tunes: Highway 61 Revisited loses its whistle-led hijinks to get nicely gutsy and mournful, while on a rootsy yomp through the often execrable Rainy Day Women 12 & 35 Osborne sounds like Chrissie Hynde. Many other covers here, however, feel like exercises in easy comforts, not drills in renewed energy.


Jude Rogers

The GuardianTramp

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