So what’s a girl to do when her band is asked to perform at one of Arlene’s Grocery’s Classic Albums nights and Neil Young’s After the Goldrush and the Band’s Brown Album are already taken, leaving only Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks ? Without hesitation frontwoman Mary Lee Kortes gamely volunteered, but then doubt began to creep in:
These questions immediately presented themselves: How do you sing a Bob Dylan song in a way that anyone should ever bother listening to? How do you sing it right without imitating him? How do you make it your own? And of course, why should you?
One Saturday night, in mid 2001, with one full band practice under their belt; a lead singer who two days prior to the show learned how to play the harmonica, Mary Lee’s Corvette, with a very nervous Mary Lee (vocals/harmonica), Andy York (guitar), Rod Hohl (acoustic guitar), Diego Voglino (drums), Brad Albetta (bass), and Andy Burton (piano/organ), Lee took to the Arlene Grocery stage.
That there should or would be a document of the band’s performance that night was never a certainty. Positive that she couldn’t do justice to the material, Mary Lee hadn’t planned on recording the performance, but a friend convinced her that she should, arguing that after all
Several weeks after the show and casting about for the band’s next project; a friend, Amy Rigby, suggested that she think about releasing Blood on the Tracks. The sound board recording of the band’s performance that night proved revelatory, but there was a problem
the first half of “Meet Me In The Morning” had not been recorded
Lucky for her (and for us) that during the show drummer Diego Voglino
had a mini-disc recorder going the whole night back by the drums
A little studio wizardry and several discs of the shows were finally burnt and sent out; one going to Vin Scelsa, host of Idiot’s Delight® on WFUV , one to Billboard Magazine, and one to Dylancoveralbums.com.
The rest is history, one day Mary Lee turned her computer on to discover she
had requests from Sweden, Germany and California for copies of this “record.” And they kept coming.
Except for perhaps (imho) the false step of allowing a guest vocalist to sing the first verses of “Lily. Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts” Mary Lee’s Corvette manages to do justice to Dylan’s classic. The disc manages to convey an almost palpable feeling of the energy that must have been in that room that night. Mary Lee takes control of these songs, and without ever changing the gender of the songs characters, you forget she is a woman, singing songs written by a man as his marriage dissolves in divorce.
Mary Lee’s Corvette (Ripe & Ready) 1996
True Lovers of Adventure (Wild Pitch Records) 1999
Blood on the Tracks (Bar/None Records) 2002
700 Miles (Bar/None Records) 2003
Love, Loss & Lunacy (Western Force) 2006
Tracks Appear On:
“Shelter From the Storm (live)” Uncut: Tracks Inspired by Bob Dylan (Uncut Magazine) 2005
Mary Lee’s Corvette –Blood On The Tracks (2002)
Playing Time: 55 minutes 41 seconds
1. Tangled Up In Blue (6:25)
2. Simple Twist Of Fate (4:54)
3. You’re A Big Girl Now (4:46)
4. Idiot Wind (8:26)
5. You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (2:45)
6. Meet Me In The Morning (5:14)
7. Lily. Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts (9:41)
8. If You See Her. Say Hello (5:10)
9. Shelter From The Storm (4:26)
10. Buckets Of Rain (3:54)
Buy Blood On The Tracks from Amazon.com