Bob Dylan: Things We Said Today (2014)

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Bob Dylan: Things We Said Today (2014)

Given the breadth and depth of his catalogue – even if we remove maybe 60 percent of the sentimental journeyman tripe – Sir James Paul McCartney deserved a much more interesting and digressive tribute than the mostly mundane double disc Art of McCartney of 2014.

Despite the stellar line-up, many of the artists simply played Paul at his own game (using McCartney's touring band) and kept the songs close to the originals.

It was disappointing and you only need to listen to Matthew Bannister's inventive take on McCartney songs on his 2013 Evolver tribute to the Beatles' Revolver to hear how things might have been done.

That said, among the 42 covers on The Art of McCartney were a few which stood out, not the least this by Bob Dylan.

Things We Said Today written in '64 and intended for the movie A Hard Day's Night. It is an interesting early Beatles' song and shows – as did the triangle of characters in She Loves You the previous year – how McCartney was always looking for ways to reposition the songwriter's voice beyond the obvious you/me.

Here the singer steps ahead in time (“Someday when we're dreaming, deep in love not a lot to say . . .”) but from that perspective looks back to the present “then we will remember things we said today”).

McCartney described as “future nostalgia”.

There is a speculative notion of a relationship here too ("You say you will love me, if I have to go . . .”) and at core it is about his relationship with his then-girlfriend Jane Asher who, like him, had an independent career so it was likely they would each go their own way as commitments beckoned.

Although it's a downbeat song it also effortless moves from minor to major chords to instill a sense of optimism.

Dylan keeps much of this intact but, by delivering it in his distinctively ragged voice, he emphasises the almost monochromatic aspect of the song also.

Not a stretch for Dylan, but an interesting choice nonetheless.

For more one-off, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory check the daily postings at From the Vaults.

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