As a singer, Bob Dylan had a distinctive approach that he could effectively apply to any style of music; whether it was the chirpy folk voice of his first two albums, the mournful voice of despair heard on The Times They Are A-Changin’ or the delicate crooning of 1969’s Nashville Skyline.
For some people, Dylan’s unorthodox approach to singing can be something that takes a little time to fully appreciate. This appreciation usually comes once the listener has time to fully digest Dylan’s unrivalled lyrical talents.
Speaking with The Guardian last year, veteran singer-songwriter Tom Jones remembered how he hadn’t been instantly moved by Dylan’s voice. “I was on tour in the States in the summer of ’65 with a British act, Peter and Gordon,” Jones remembered. It turned out Gordon Waller was one of Dylan’s biggest fans and would play his records in the hotel stop-overs during the tour.
The Welsh singer, who was 25 at the time, continued: “I wasn’t struck by Dylan’s voice at first.” However, after hearing one of the folk singer’s early politically charged classics, his perspective seemed to change almost instantaneously. “But then I heard ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, and I’ve been a fan ever since. The lyrics are fantastic. He’s basically asking, ‘How many times do we have to go through all this shit before we realise that we’re fucking up the world?’”
Observing Dylan’s talent for vivid imagery and engrossing themes, Jones said: “He paints pictures with his songs so you can see things happening. What good am I if I just stand by and let things happen that I know I should be changing? He was the first singer-songwriter to make me think.”
The 80-year-old believes it’s the same case with Dylan’s 1989 track ‘What Good Am I’, which he felt such a strong connection with that he recorded a cover of it in 2010 for his album Praise & Blame.
It seems Dylan’s music has become quite the enduring influence on Jones’ later career. He also recorded a cover of Dylan’s song ‘One More Cup of Coffee’ from the 1976 album Desire, for his 2021 album Surrounded By Time.
Posting a video on his Instagram account, the Welsh icon shared why he chose to release ‘One More Cup of Coffee’ as a single last year. Jones said: “Now this one to me, it just reminds you of things that maybe you have done that you shouldn’t have done. Or you’ve been to places that you shouldn’t have been.”
“You know, when I was young, you’re young, and you go to places sometimes and you think, ‘oh no, I might be out of my depth here.’ So then it’s like ‘One more of this or maybe I will try that one more time.’ So I’m sure we have all got stories like that, and this is a reminder to sort of try and stay away from temptation, whatever is tempting for you.” Jones concluded.
“It’s just a reminder to try and fight off the temptations and get out of there before you have to go down to the valley below.”