Remembering Patti Smith’s gorgeous cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Boots of Spanish Leather’
We’re dipping into the Far Out vault to looking back at Patti Smith taking on a track of her the iconic Bob Dylan, who just so happens to be her pal.
Patti Smith and Bob Dylan are two of the most important artists ever. They not only share great respect of each other’s work between one another but also boast a close friendship which goes back all the way to when they first met in 1975.
The songstress has spoken about her admiration for Dylan on plenty of occasions, likewise Dylan was always complimentary about her and they have shared the stage on a number of times too. In an interview with Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Smith once explained that her first meeting with Dylan was a frightening one, a performance wrapped in nerves as the folk legend sat in the audience waiting to watch a pre-fame Smith perform live. “Somebody told us he was there. “
“My heart was pounding,” she explained. “I got instantly rebellious. I made a couple of references, a couple of oblique things to show I knew he was there. And then he came backstage which was really quite gentlemanly of him. He came over to me and I kept moving around. We were like two pit-bulls circling. I was a snot-nose. I had a very high concentration of adrenaline. He said to me, ‘Any poets around here?’ And I said, ‘I don’t like poetry anymore. Poetry sucks!’” and from that moment on the two remained close.
Smith went on to name her favourite tracks by the folk troubadour a few years ago with Rolling Stone with ‘Boots of Spanish Leather’ featuring high up on her list.
This is the track that she covered during a very special intimate show in the French city of Arles in 2011, which saw Smith perform with no fancy light-show or big band backing her, just her and a guitar player to assist her to treat the French crowd to a wondrous rendition of the Dylan classic.
The city, which is situated on the banks of the Rhone River in Southern France, only has a population of around 50,000 which makes Smith’s appearance there a somewhat peculiar one. She was there to open a photography exhibition about her at the Archbishopric museum in Arles and she also received the City medal in the afternoon before the show took place in the evening.
As a thank you to Arles for showing her so much love that she repaid their gratitude by leaving the Palais de l’Archevêché audience with her touching rendition of ‘Boots of Spanish Leather’, which she delivered as a love letter to the French city.