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Original Soundtrack - I'm Not There (Music From The Motion Picture)

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I'm Not There (Music From The Motion Picture)

Original Soundtrack

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For his impressionistic 2007 Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There, director Todd Haynes hired an army of six actors to portray the singer/songwriter, each thespian representing a different phase or public persona of Dylan's career. The accompanying double-disc soundtrack -- not all of its 34 songs are used in the film -- employs a similar conceit, as Haynes and his music supervisors, Randall Poster and Jim Dunbar, rounded up rockers and folksingers of all stripes to reinterpret and re-create portions of Dylan's immense catalog. Taken as a whole, neither the singers nor the selections are too conventional, as the album alternates between standards and obscurities, old cohorts and new blood, faithful renditions and original interpretations, never tipping too far in either direction or staying in one place too long. Despite that shifting mood, I'm Not There gels as an album, partially because a good portion of the soundtrack is recorded with one of two different house bands: the dusty, cinematic Arizona outfit Calexico and the Million Dollar Bashers, a supergroup assembled for this gig featuring guitarist Lee Ranaldo and drummer Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, Tom Verlaine, Dylan's regular bassist Tony Garnier, Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, guitarist Smokey Hormel, and organist John Medeski. Haynes also used a similar house band on his previous rock & roll film, the glam rock fantasia Velvet Goldmine and, as a soundtrack, I'm Not There is equally as good, if not quite as risky or flashy as that 1998 gem. That's partly due to the inspiration, of course: on Velvet Goldmine he got to play with the history of a lot of groups, all known for their extravagant flamboyance, but here he only has one artist, but if any musician has a history as rich as a battalion of bands, it's Bob Dylan. Haynes, Poster, Dunbar and crew concentrate heavily on the '60s -- the film, after all, is grounded in the '60s, pulling in elements of Dylan's life in the '70s and beyond, including his born-again Christianity and Rolling Thunder outlaw stance, but never quite straying from that foundation -- and the soundtrack touches upon all of Bob's '60s incarnations, including the folk troubadour, thin wild mercury music, the ragged Americana of The Basement Tapes, and the reflective country-folk of John Wesley Harding. Familiar sounds may be here, but not necessarily familiar songs -- Haynes, Poster and Dunbar deliberately sidestep standards like "Blowin' in the Wind," "Masters of War," "Subterranean Homesick Blues," and "Like a Rolling Stone," choosing instead to build this soundtrack around songs that weren't widely released during the '60s, later to surface on The Basement Tapes, Biograph, The Bootleg Series, during the film of No Direction Home, or, in the case of the heavily bootlegged title song, released here for the first time. Some could carp that this doesn't quite make for an accurate picture of Bob -- it ever so slightly continually circles back to the stark, spooky melancholy of Dylan and the Band's "I'm Not There," which ends the album -- but it's not inaccurate, either. Rather, it's an interpretation of Dylan's music, emphasizing certain elements and blurring others to paint a portrait where the traditional bleeds into the contemporary and vice versa. Any Dylanologist could spend hours deconstructing the soundtrack to I'm Not There -- what is selected and why, why certain songs are reinterpreted while others are left alone -- but that's a side benefit to an album that should be enjoyed first as simply an absorbing, entertaining listen. Poster and Dunbar have paired performers with the songs almost perfectly, alternating between subtle surprises and sure picks. No other band could duplicate the haunted quality of Dylan's "I'm Not There," but Sonic Youth is the ideal match, as they give the song a hazy beauty and a warmth lacking in the original. Sonic Youth's masterful reading is less of a surprise than how Roger McGuinn and Willie Nelson effortlessly blend in with Calexico on "One More Cup of Coffee" and "Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)," respectively, giving these songs arrangements that expand on the originals, just like how Ramblin' Jack Elliott's "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" takes the Highway 61 Revisited standard and stripes it down to its essence. John Doe gives "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" a subdued, soulful passion that contrasts with both Sufjan Stevens' twee-ed-up "Ring Them Bells" and Mark Lanegan's gothic "The Man in the Long Black Coat," yet all speak vividly to the spiritual undercurrents in these songs. Despite their gentle version of "Just Like a Woman" with Charlotte Gainsbourg, Calexico's cuts come the closest to reinventing the song, particularly on an excellent "Dark Eyes" with Iron & Wine and a good, weary "Goin' to Acapulco" sung by Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Mason Jennings is responsible for good, straight-ahead versions of the earliest folk songs ("The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," "The Times They Are a Changin'"), acquitting himself well, while Once stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova do a joyous "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere." All this soft, dreamy folky material helps the harder cuts here -- including Cat Power's bluesy "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" -- leap out all the more. Usually, this is the province of the Million Dollar Bashers, who when fronted by Stephen Malkmus on "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Maggie's Farm" manage to re-create the snide, hipster spirit of 1965 Dylan. They pull off the same trick with Karen O on a rollicking and faithful "Highway 61 Revisited," while Tom Verlaine steps out to the front for a dark, epic "Cold Irons Bound," but this house band isn't the only band that rocks hard, either: the Hold Steady blow through "Can You Please Crawl out Your Window?" and the Black Keys have an heavy, ominous "Wicked Messenger" (not all that dissimilar to the Faces' version, but decidedly less fun). But no band truly gets to speak to the two extremes of Dylan's work (at least as pictured here) as Yo La Tengo, who have a delicate, beautiful "Fourth Time Around" and positively nail the wild, careening sound of 1965 on "I Wanna be Your Lover." They, alone among any of the artists here, get the opportunity to do these two sides of Dylan, but as I'm Not There definitively proves, there were not just two or even ten sides to Dylan: he contains multitudes. That much is evident on his own recordings, which still have power, but sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to hear what's already there, and the soundtrack to I'm Not There provides that perspective in way few other albums do.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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I'm Not There (Music From The Motion Picture)

Original Soundtrack

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1
All Along the Watchtower Album Version
Eddie Vedder
00:04:28

Cody Ranaldo, Recording Engineer - Tony Garnier, Bass - Chris Allen, 2nd Engineer - Karl Derfler, Recording Engineer - T.J. Doherty, Recording Engineer - Steve Shelley, Drums - Nels Cline, Guitar - The Million Dollar Bashers, Performer - Tom Gloady, 2nd Engineer - Tom Verlaine, Guitar - Lee Ranaldo, Recording Engineer - Lee Ranaldo, Producer - Lee Ranaldo, Tambourine - Lee Ranaldo, Mixing Engineer - Eddie Vedder, Vocal - Eddie Vedder, Performer - Smokey Hormel, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Composer

(P) 2007 Eddie Vedder

2
I'm Not There Album Version
Sonic Youth
00:04:52

Thurston Moore, Vocal - Thurston Moore, Bass - John Agnello, Producer - John Agnello, Recording Engineer - Kim Gordon, Guitar - Aaron Mullan, 2nd Engineer - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Composer - Sonic Youth, Producer - Sonic Youth, Performer - Lee Ranaldo, Guitar - Steve Shelley, Drums

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

3
Goin' to Acapulco Album Version
Jim James
00:04:58

Stewart Lerman, Recording Engineer - Calexico, Performer - Jacob Valenzuela, Trumpet - Tony Rosano, Trombone - Marco Rosano, Baritone Saxophone - Marco Rosano, Tenor Saxophone - B. Dylan, Lyricist - B. Dylan, Composer - Jim James, Performer - Jim James, Vocal - Craig Schumacher, Mixing Engineer - Craig Schumacher, Engineer - John Convertino, Drums - John Convertino, Bass Drum - Joey Burns, Background Vocal - Joey Burns, Producer - Joey Burns, Guitar - Joey Burns, Glockenspiel

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

4
Tombstone Blues Album Version
Richie Havens
00:05:27

Walter Parks, Background Vocal - Walter Parks, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Hubert Sumlin, Background Vocal - Joe Henry, Producer - Charlie Drayton, Drums - Richie Havens, Vocal - Richie Havens, Performer - Richie Havens, Background Vocal - Richie Havens, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Paul Bryan, Bass - Kevin Killen, Recording Engineer - Chris Bruce, Background Vocal - Chris Bruce, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Ryan Freeland, Mixing Engineer

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

5
Ballad of a Thin Man Album Version
Stephen Malkmus
00:06:49

Cody Ranaldo, Recording Engineer - Tony Garnier, Bass - B. Dylan, Lyricist - B. Dylan, Composer - Chris Allen, 2nd Engineer - Stephen Malkmus, Vocal - Stephen Malkmus, Performer - T.J. Doherty, Recording Engineer - Steve Shelley, Drums - Tony Olander, Recording Engineer - The Million Dollar Bashers, Performer - Tom Gloady, 2nd Engineer - Tom Verlaine, Guitar - Lee Ranaldo, Producer - Lee Ranaldo, Mixing Engineer - Lee Ranaldo, Guitar - Smokey Hormel, Guitar - John Medeski, Piano

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

6
Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again Album Version
Cat Power
00:06:53

Cat Power, Performer - Doug Easley, Guitar - David Ralicke, Drums - B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Teenie Hodges, Guitar - Ryan Hewitt, Mixing Engineer - Dave Smith, Bass - Greg Lundy, Drums - George Drakoulias, Percussion - George Drakoulias, Producer - Rick Steff, Piano - Stuart Sikes, Recording Engineer - Dave Bianco, Recording Engineer - Chan Marshall, Vocal

(P) 2007 Cat Power

7
Pressing On Album Version
JOHN DOE
00:05:54

Joe Henry, Producer - Portia Griffin, Background Vocal - B. Dylan, Lyricist - B. Dylan, Composer - Jay Bellerose, Drums - Paul Bryan, Bass - Jean McClain, Background Vocal - JOHN DOE, Vocal - JOHN DOE, Performer - Chris Bruce, Electric Guitar - Doyle Bramhall II, Electric Guitar - Ryan Freeland, Recording Engineer - Dave Palmer, Piano

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

8
Fourth Time Around Album Version
Yo La Tengo
00:05:07

Terry Adams, Piano - Georgia Hubley, Vocal - Georgia Hubley, Drums - Stanley Dural Jr., Organ - Yo La Tengo, Performer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - B. Dylan, Composer - Ira Kaplan, Guitar - John Sebastian, Harmonica - Roger Moutenot, Recording Engineer - Roger Moutenot, Producer - James McNew, Bass - Peter Phillips, Guitar

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

9
Dark Eyes Album Version
Iron & Wine
00:04:29

B. Dylan, Composer - Iron And Wine, Performer - Joey Burns, Banjo - Joey Burns, Acoustic Cello - Brian Deck, Marimba - Brian Deck, Piano - Brian Deck, Recording Engineer - Brian Deck, Producer - Sam Beam, Vocal - Sam Beam, Producer - Sam Beam, Piano - Sam Beam, Guitar - Calexico, Performer

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

10
Highway 61 Revisited Album Version
Karen O
00:03:55

Stewart Lerman, Recording Engineer - Tony Garnier, Bass - Chris Allen, 2nd Engineer - Karen O, Performer - Karen O, Vocal - T.J. Doherty, Recording Engineer - Steve Shelley, Drums - Nels Cline, Guitar - The Million Dollar Bashers, Performer - Tom Gloady, 2nd Engineer - Tom Verlaine, Slide Guitar - Lee Ranaldo, Producer - Lee Ranaldo, Sitar - Lee Ranaldo, Recording Engineer - Lee Ranaldo, Mixing Engineer - John Medeski, Piano - Greg Kurstin, Recording Engineer - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Lyricist

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

11
One More Cup of Coffee Album Version
Roger McGuinn
00:04:30

Calexico, Performer - Jacob Valenzuela, Trumpet - Kelly Hogan, Background Vocal - Johnny Contreras, Performer - Johnny Contreras, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Mark Nevers, Engineer - Fernando Valencia, Violin - Fernando Valencia, Arranger - Craig Schumacher, Engineer - Craig Schumacher, Mixing Engineer - John Convertino, Percussion - John Convertino, Drums - John Convertino, Bass Drum - Roger McGuinn, Electric Guitar - Roger McGuinn, Performer - Roger McGuinn, Vocal - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Joey Burns, Producer - Joey Burns, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Joey Burns, Electric Guitar - Joey Burns, Acordeon

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

12
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll Album Version
Mason Jennings
00:05:13

B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Chad Weis, Engineer - Mason Jennings, Producer - Mason Jennings, Performer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

13
Billy 1 Album Version
Los Lobos
00:04:02

Conrad Lozano, Bass - Tom Herbers, Recording Engineer - B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Los Lobos, Performer - Los Lobos, Producer - Dave McNair, Mixing Engineer - David Hidalgo, Vocal - David Hidalgo, Guitar - David Hidalgo, Acordeon - David Hidalgo, Keyboards - Cougar Estrada, Percussion - Cougar Estrada, Drums - Steve Berlin, Keyboards

(P) 2007 Hollywood Records, Inc.

14
Simple Twist of Fate Album Version
Jeff Tweedy
00:03:43

B. Dylan, Lyricist - B. Dylan, Composer - Glenn Kotche, Drums - T.J. Doherty, Recording Engineer - Jim Scott, Mixing Engineer - David Mansfield, Fiddle - Jeff Tweedy, Producer - Jeff Tweedy, Vocal - Jeff Tweedy, Bass - Jeff Tweedy, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Jeff Tweedy, Performer - Chris Allen, Recording Engineer

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

15
Man in the Long Black Coat Album Version
Mark Lanegan
00:03:33

Dave Bianco, Recording Engineer - George Drakoulias, Producer - George Drakoulias, Percussion - B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Mark Lanegan, Performer - Mark Lanegan, Vocal - Vincent Jones, Keyboards - Josh Schwartz, Guitar

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

16
Señor (Tales of Yankee Power) Album Version
Willie Nelson
00:05:17

Salvador Duran, Vocal - Jacob Valenzuela, Trumpet - Calexico, Performer - Martin Wenk, Trumpet - Boo Macleod, Mixing Engineer - Boo Macleod, Engineer - Mickey Raphael, Harp - Mickey Raphael, Harmonica - Willie Nelson, Performer - Willie Nelson, Guitar - Willie Nelson, Vocal - John Convertino, Drums - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Composer - Joey Burns, Producer

(P) 2007 Lost Highway Records

DISC 2

1
As I Went out One Morning Album Version
Mira Billotte
00:02:53

B. Dylan, Lyricist - B. Dylan, Composer - Aaron Mullan, Recording Engineer - Doug Shaw, Guitar - Mira Billotte, Vocal - Mira Billotte, Performer - Lee Ranaldo, Producer - Lee Ranaldo, Mixing Engineer - Steve Shelley, Drums - Tim Luntzel, Bass

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

2
Can't Leave Her Behind Album Version
Stephen Malkmus and Lee Ranaldo
00:01:55

Nels Cline, Electric Guitar - T.J. Doherty, Mixing Engineer - Stephen Malkmus, Vocal - Stephen Malkmus, Performer - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Tony Olander, Recording Engineer - Lee Ranaldo, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Lee Ranaldo, Performer - Lee Ranaldo, Recording Engineer - Lee Ranaldo, Mixing Engineer - Lee Ranaldo, Producer - Tom Gloady, 2nd Engineer

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

3
Ring Them Bells Album Version
Sufjan Stevens
00:06:20

James McAlister, Drums - James McAlister, 2nd Engineer - James McAlister, Background Vocal - James McAlister, Percussion - Mike Atkinson, French Horn - Marla Hansen, Background Vocal - Marla Hansen, Viola - B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Tim Albright, Trombone - Kyle Resnick, Trumpet - Ben Lanz, Trumpet - Bryce Dessner, Electric Guitar - Sufjan Stevens, Arranger - Sufjan Stevens, Recording Engineer - Sufjan Stevens, Performer - Sufjan Stevens, Producer - Sufjan Stevens, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Sufjan Stevens, Percussion - Sufjan Stevens, Piano - Hideaki Aomori, Saxophone - C.J. Camereri, Trumpet - Casey Foubert, Bass - Casey Foubert, Guitar - Casey Foubert, 2nd Engineer

(P) 2007 Sufjan Stevens

4
Just Like a Woman Album Version
Charlotte Gainsbourg
00:04:15

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vocal - Charlotte Gainsbourg, Performer - B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - John Convertino, Drums - Joey Burns, Guitar - Joey Burns, Piano - Joey Burns, Producer - Jim Brady, Engineer - Stephane Briat, Recording Engineer - Stephane Briat, Engineer - Craig Schumacher, Mixing Engineer - Calexico, Performer

(P) 2007 Because Music

5
Mama You've Been On My Mind / A Fraction of Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie Album Version
Jack Johnson
00:04:21

B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Jack Johnson, Performer - Robert Carranza, Producer - Robert Carranza, Engineer

(P) 2007 Brushfire Records, Inc.

6
I Wanna Be Your Lover Album Version
Yo La Tengo
00:03:56

Terry Adams, Piano - Georgia Hubley, Drums - Yo La Tengo, Performer - B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Stanley Dural, Jr., Organ - Ira Kaplan, Vocal - Ira Kaplan, Guitar - John Sebastian, Harmonica - Roger Moutenot, Recording Engineer - Roger Moutenot, Producer - James McNew, Bass - Peter Phillips, Guitar

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

7
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere Album Version
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
00:03:05

Marketa Irglova, Banjo - Marketa Irglova, Performer - Marketa Irglova, Vocal - B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Rob Bochnick, Bass - Glen Hansard, Guitar - Glen Hansard, Harmonica - Glen Hansard, Producer - Glen Hansard, Performer

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

8
Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? Album Version
The Hold Steady
00:03:50

Scott Norton, 2nd Engineer - Ted Young, 2nd Engineer - Franz Nicolay, Keyboards - Sara Agnello, 2nd Engineer - Bobby Drake, Drums - B. Dylan, Lyricist - B. Dylan, Composer - Tad Kubler, Guitar - Glenn Polivka, Bass - Craig Finn, Guitar - Craig Finn, Vocal - The Hold Steady, Performer - John Agnello, Producer - John Agnello, Engineer

(P) 2007 The Hold Steady

9
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues Album Version
Ramblin' Jack Elliott
00:06:54

Joe Henry, Producer - Ryan Freeland, Recording Engineer - Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Vocal - Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Guitar - Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Performer - Carla Azar, Percussion - Carla Azar, Drums - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Greg Leisz, Mandolin - Greg Leisz, Dobro - Loudon Wainwright III, Guitar

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

10
The Wicked Messenger Album Version
The Black Keys
00:03:58

The Black Keys, Mixing Engineer - The Black Keys, Producer - The Black Keys, Performer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - B. Dylan, Composer - Patrick Carney, Drums - Dan Auerbach, Vocal - Dan Auerbach, Recording Engineer - Dan Auerbach, Bass - Dan Auerbach, Guitar

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

11
Cold Irons Bound Album Version
TOM VERLAINE
00:07:33

Tony Garnier, Bass - Chris Allen, 2nd Engineer - T.J. Doherty, Recording Engineer - Steve Shelley, Drums - Nels Cline, Guitar - The Million Dollar Bashers, Performer - Tom Gloady, 2nd Engineer - Tom Verlaine, Guitar - Tom Verlaine, Performer - Tom Verlaine, Vocal - Lee Ranaldo, Guitar - Lee Ranaldo, Recording Engineer - Lee Ranaldo, Piano - Lee Ranaldo, Mixing Engineer - Lee Ranaldo, Producer - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Composer

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

12
The Times They Are A-Changin' Album Version
Mason Jennings
00:03:36

Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Composer - Chad Weis, Engineer - Mason Jennings, Performer - Mason Jennings, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

13
Maggie's Farm Album Version
Stephen Malkmus
00:05:26

Larry Crane, Recording Engineer - Cody Ranaldo, Recording Engineer - Tony Garnier, Bass - B. Dylan, Lyricist - B. Dylan, Composer - Chris Allen, 2nd Engineer - Stephen Malkmus, Vocal - Stephen Malkmus, Performer - T.J. Doherty, Mixing Engineer - T.J. Doherty, Recording Engineer - Steve Shelley, Drums - Nels Cline, Guitar - The Million Dollar Bashers, Performer - Tom Gloady, 2nd Engineer - Tom Verlaine, Guitar - Lee Ranaldo, Recording Engineer - Lee Ranaldo, Producer - Lee Ranaldo, Mixing Engineer - Smokey Hormel, Guitar

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

14
When the Ship Comes In Album Version
Marcus Carl Franklin
00:03:30

Joe Henry, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Joe Henry, Producer - Ryan Freeland, Mixing Engineer - Kevin Killen, Recording Engineer - Marcus Carl Franklin, Performer - Marcus Carl Franklin, Vocal - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Composer

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

15
Moonshiner Album Version
Bob Forrest
00:04:55

Joe Henry, Harmonica - Joe Henry, Producer - Ryan Freeland, Recording Engineer - B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Jay Bellerose, Percussion - Jay Bellerose, Drums - Greg Leisz, Mandolin - Greg Leisz, Guitar - Bob Forrest, Performer - Bob Forrest, Vocal

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

16
I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine Album Version
JOHN DOE
00:03:13

Joe Henry, Producer - Portia Griffin, Background Vocal - B. Dylan, Lyricist - B. Dylan, Composer - Jay Bellerose, Drums - Paul Bryan, Bass - Jean McClain, Background Vocal - JOHN DOE, Vocal - JOHN DOE, Performer - Chris Bruce, Electric Guitar - Doyle Bramhall II, Electric Guitar - Dave Palmer, Piano - Ryan Freeland, Recording Engineer

(P) 2007 VIP Medienfonds 4 Gmbh & Co. KG

17
Knockin' On Heaven's Door Album Version
Antony And The Johnsons
00:04:11

Greg Cohen, Bass - B. Dylan, Lyricist - B. Dylan, Composer - Kevin Barker, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - David Mansfield, Producer - Antony & The Johnsons, Performer - Stewart Lerman, Recording Engineer - Antony Hegarty, Piano - Antony Hegarty, Vocal - Antony Hegarty, Producer

(P) 2007 Rebis Productions LLC

18
I'm Not There Album Version
Bob Dylan with The Band
00:05:12

Richard Manuel, Piano - Garth Hudson, Engineer - N/A, Producer - Rick Danko, Bass - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Vocal - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Composer - Robbie Robertson, Guitar - Bob Dylan & The Band, Performer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

For his impressionistic 2007 Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There, director Todd Haynes hired an army of six actors to portray the singer/songwriter, each thespian representing a different phase or public persona of Dylan's career. The accompanying double-disc soundtrack -- not all of its 34 songs are used in the film -- employs a similar conceit, as Haynes and his music supervisors, Randall Poster and Jim Dunbar, rounded up rockers and folksingers of all stripes to reinterpret and re-create portions of Dylan's immense catalog. Taken as a whole, neither the singers nor the selections are too conventional, as the album alternates between standards and obscurities, old cohorts and new blood, faithful renditions and original interpretations, never tipping too far in either direction or staying in one place too long. Despite that shifting mood, I'm Not There gels as an album, partially because a good portion of the soundtrack is recorded with one of two different house bands: the dusty, cinematic Arizona outfit Calexico and the Million Dollar Bashers, a supergroup assembled for this gig featuring guitarist Lee Ranaldo and drummer Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, Tom Verlaine, Dylan's regular bassist Tony Garnier, Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, guitarist Smokey Hormel, and organist John Medeski. Haynes also used a similar house band on his previous rock & roll film, the glam rock fantasia Velvet Goldmine and, as a soundtrack, I'm Not There is equally as good, if not quite as risky or flashy as that 1998 gem. That's partly due to the inspiration, of course: on Velvet Goldmine he got to play with the history of a lot of groups, all known for their extravagant flamboyance, but here he only has one artist, but if any musician has a history as rich as a battalion of bands, it's Bob Dylan. Haynes, Poster, Dunbar and crew concentrate heavily on the '60s -- the film, after all, is grounded in the '60s, pulling in elements of Dylan's life in the '70s and beyond, including his born-again Christianity and Rolling Thunder outlaw stance, but never quite straying from that foundation -- and the soundtrack touches upon all of Bob's '60s incarnations, including the folk troubadour, thin wild mercury music, the ragged Americana of The Basement Tapes, and the reflective country-folk of John Wesley Harding. Familiar sounds may be here, but not necessarily familiar songs -- Haynes, Poster and Dunbar deliberately sidestep standards like "Blowin' in the Wind," "Masters of War," "Subterranean Homesick Blues," and "Like a Rolling Stone," choosing instead to build this soundtrack around songs that weren't widely released during the '60s, later to surface on The Basement Tapes, Biograph, The Bootleg Series, during the film of No Direction Home, or, in the case of the heavily bootlegged title song, released here for the first time. Some could carp that this doesn't quite make for an accurate picture of Bob -- it ever so slightly continually circles back to the stark, spooky melancholy of Dylan and the Band's "I'm Not There," which ends the album -- but it's not inaccurate, either. Rather, it's an interpretation of Dylan's music, emphasizing certain elements and blurring others to paint a portrait where the traditional bleeds into the contemporary and vice versa. Any Dylanologist could spend hours deconstructing the soundtrack to I'm Not There -- what is selected and why, why certain songs are reinterpreted while others are left alone -- but that's a side benefit to an album that should be enjoyed first as simply an absorbing, entertaining listen. Poster and Dunbar have paired performers with the songs almost perfectly, alternating between subtle surprises and sure picks. No other band could duplicate the haunted quality of Dylan's "I'm Not There," but Sonic Youth is the ideal match, as they give the song a hazy beauty and a warmth lacking in the original. Sonic Youth's masterful reading is less of a surprise than how Roger McGuinn and Willie Nelson effortlessly blend in with Calexico on "One More Cup of Coffee" and "Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)," respectively, giving these songs arrangements that expand on the originals, just like how Ramblin' Jack Elliott's "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" takes the Highway 61 Revisited standard and stripes it down to its essence. John Doe gives "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" a subdued, soulful passion that contrasts with both Sufjan Stevens' twee-ed-up "Ring Them Bells" and Mark Lanegan's gothic "The Man in the Long Black Coat," yet all speak vividly to the spiritual undercurrents in these songs. Despite their gentle version of "Just Like a Woman" with Charlotte Gainsbourg, Calexico's cuts come the closest to reinventing the song, particularly on an excellent "Dark Eyes" with Iron & Wine and a good, weary "Goin' to Acapulco" sung by Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Mason Jennings is responsible for good, straight-ahead versions of the earliest folk songs ("The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," "The Times They Are a Changin'"), acquitting himself well, while Once stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova do a joyous "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere." All this soft, dreamy folky material helps the harder cuts here -- including Cat Power's bluesy "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" -- leap out all the more. Usually, this is the province of the Million Dollar Bashers, who when fronted by Stephen Malkmus on "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Maggie's Farm" manage to re-create the snide, hipster spirit of 1965 Dylan. They pull off the same trick with Karen O on a rollicking and faithful "Highway 61 Revisited," while Tom Verlaine steps out to the front for a dark, epic "Cold Irons Bound," but this house band isn't the only band that rocks hard, either: the Hold Steady blow through "Can You Please Crawl out Your Window?" and the Black Keys have an heavy, ominous "Wicked Messenger" (not all that dissimilar to the Faces' version, but decidedly less fun). But no band truly gets to speak to the two extremes of Dylan's work (at least as pictured here) as Yo La Tengo, who have a delicate, beautiful "Fourth Time Around" and positively nail the wild, careening sound of 1965 on "I Wanna be Your Lover." They, alone among any of the artists here, get the opportunity to do these two sides of Dylan, but as I'm Not There definitively proves, there were not just two or even ten sides to Dylan: he contains multitudes. That much is evident on his own recordings, which still have power, but sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to hear what's already there, and the soundtrack to I'm Not There provides that perspective in way few other albums do.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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