"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" by Bryan Ferry
Bryan Ferry first covered Bob Dylan with his thrillingly irreverent 1973 covers album These Foolish Things, and he never really fell out of the habit. Ferry's surprisingly edgy 2002 album Frantic contained two Dylan covers that, while less blasphemous than Things' approach, weren't exactly straightforward, either. An album-length collection makes sense, then, but while Ferry doesn't exactly play by the rules on Dylanesque, it's still a surprisingly unthrilling trip through the Dylan catalog. Ferry doesn't fall back into the smoothed-out love-man mode of his post-Avalon rut, which he broke away from with the terrific end-of-the-century covers collection As Time Goes By. But he sounds surprisingly disengaged here, as his band skips though unadventurous arrangements. There's something perverse about singing "The Times They Are A-Changin'" as if it were a piece of Robert Palmer-style plastic-'80s soul. But it isn't in the Ferry tradition of pleasing perversion.