I'm Not There (Bob Dylan) Soundtrack Review

by Zane Ewton

The surreal film biography of Bob Dylan, I'm Not There, includes a soundtrack that is equally as expansive and crammed with varied faces. With 34 songs across two discs, many notable names make their presence known on generally faithful readings from the Dylan catalogue.

At the center of many tracks is a special little band called the Million Dollar Bashers. The Bashers include Steve Shelley, Tony Garnier, John Medeski, Tom Verlaine, Lee Renaldo, Smokey Hormel and Nels Cline. They help Eddie Vedder garble "All Along the Watchtower" as well as support Stephen Malkmus, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and give Verlaine a turn at lead.

The remaining mix of artists is commendable in its scope. Sonic Youth, Richie Havens, Cat Power, Mark Lanegan, Willie Nelson, Ramblin' Jack Elliot and the Black Keys, just to name a few. The ladies tend to strain for a Dylan delivery, sounding like him yet missing the point it seems. The men just do what they do. Who is going to tell Willie Nelson how to sing?

This being movie award season, expect the necessary buzz to continue to follow the film and the performance of Cate Blanchet. Do not expect to hear much about the soundtrack. If anything, this is a finely done tribute album with some big names on the marquee. While many of the performers on this soundtrack are legends in their own right, the real Bob Dylan, or at least the Dylan the world knows, remains the star.

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