Bob Dylan Countdown #184: “Corrina, Corrina”Posted: January 30, 2012
The credits on the The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan say that this song was arranged and adapted by Bob, but it’s fair enough to argue that this is an original composition. After all, there are a ton of different versions of the song in circulation, and none of them appear to bear too much resemblance to Dylan’s version. That’s why I’m allowing it on this list, which is meant only for songs that Dylan wrote or co-wrote.
There is a pleasant, lilting feel to the proceedings here that show Dylan’s ability to take on lighter material. Anyone who expected him to be only a dour protest singer or lovesick balladeer, two roles he played extensively on Freewheelin’, might have been surprised by the touch he displays on “Corrina, Corrina”. He even drops in a supple falsetto just to show off a bit. It’s also one of the first examples of how he could interpret a song with a band alongside him rather than with his acoustic guitar as sole accompaniment.
One little digression here: Although much of my time has been spent the last few weeks writing or researching for this project, I’ve been trying, little by little, to get through the 4-CD compilation of Dylan covers just released on behalf of Amnesty International. I haven’t made it through the whole thing yet.
The funny thing is that, if you had put those 70 songs before me in Dylan’s versions as a playlist, I could listen to it all day. As for the covers, it’s a bit of a slog to get through. A lot of artists are either laying on the performances too thick or missing the point of the songs by a pretty wide margin. It’s for a good cause though, so there’s no sense in complaining too much.
Anyway, one of the covers I did hear and like was Pete Townshend’s take on “Corrina, Corrina.” He doesn’t try to do too much with it, which would have a mistake. I also like his choice of material. I suspect that a lot of young up-and-comers are drawn to the wordiest stuff, trying to show they’re up to it when the vast majority of them aren’t. Townshend has nothing to prove, and his effortlessness is engaging. And that effortlessness, after all, is what Dylan managed all those years ago on the original.