July 25, 2021

Chrissie Hynde sings Bob Dylan, the Chrissie Hynde


«The album should be taken for what it is: a simple diversion with no other pretense than to pay homage to a reference»

Chrissie Hynde
Standing in the doorway: Chrissie Hynde sings Bob Dylan
BMG, 2021


Was another Bob Dylan cover album necessary? No. Can you name it any other but Chrissie Hynde for doing it? Neither. The thinking head of The Pretenders has been unmarked by surprise with the umpteenth album dedicated entirely to Dylan’s songbook, although its motives differ somewhat from those that justify the rest. To begin with, the one from Akron wanted to give the one from Duluth a gift for his eightieth birthday, a laudable initiative. And secondly, I was bored during COVID-19 lockdown and didn’t know what to do. East Standing in the doorway is the result of it. No more no less. Hynde has assured that the hours locked up at home led her to prepare this gift for one of her idols, partly because of the connection she had with the song “Murder most foul”, included in the latest of His Bobness, Rough and rowdy ways.

Reasons aside, Chrissie has gone the easy way when it comes to making the record, performing all the versions acoustically., which gives the work a certain linearity, sometimes good and sometimes bad. But it is also fair to recognize the originality in the selection of songs, and not have chosen to take the middle road. At least we can’t find the umpteenth version of “Blowin ‘in the wind” or “All along the watchtower”. He has even dared with songs from the somewhat more recent Nobel Prize songbook. So we find more or less accurate reviews, in an intimate key, of unusual themes such as “In the summertime”, “Every grain of sand” (which Emmylou Harris already sublimed), “Sweet heart like you” or my favorite, “Blind Willie Mc Tell”, a song of those that Dylan left out of his official discography without really knowing why.

Recorded with The Pretenders guitarist James Walbourne, many times each from his home, the album should be taken for what it is: a simple diversion with no other pretense than to pay homage to a reference. If so, it is more than enjoyable.

Previous record review: Boredom campsiteby Ciclonautas.