Mary Lee’s Corvette
Blood on the Tracks
On a rainy night in New York City last August, at the Arlene Grocery club, Mary Lee’s Corvette took the stage at 11 and, with the tape machines running, ran through the whole of Bob Dylan’s 30-year-old classic, Blood on the Tracks. Led by vocalist Mary Lee Kortes and staying true to the original, the band begins with “Tangled up in Blue” and rips through the material with vocal intonations and musical quirks that stay loyal to Dylan’s original recording. The CD is a fun listen. How could it not be, covering Dylan’s best effort of the 1970s?
Andy York’s twangy 12-string guitar adds a Byrds-like quality, particularly on “Simple Twist of Fate.” And York’s harmonica on “Idiot Wind” and “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” sounds like it could have been blown by Mr. Zimmerman himself. As for “Lily et al.,” I’ve always hated that song because lyrically and musically it sounds like a Dylan parody. Appropriately here, Kortes announces: “You know there’s like 15 verses. Anybody here want to come up and sing one or two?” Applause. Band rips into the opening chords. Suddenly some guy is doing a real wacky Dylan imitation. But, hey, he knows the lyrics.
Everything else shines on this tribute, reflective of the original gem. Blood on the Tracks is a sad, dark collection of songs that for the most part recounted Dylan’s breakup with his wife. And Kortes emulates Dylan’s emotive, emotional vocals here, driving the pain and leaving marks like scars in fine leather.