We’re choosing a few songs that have particular resonance at this challenging time. This time, we’re going with Bob Dylan’s Lord Protect My Child, recorded on May 2, 1983. Dylan decided not to include it in his Infidels album, but it appeared eight years’ later on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991.
Reviewer Jonathan Lethem called the song “an achingly candid blues-plea which [provides] a rare glimpse of Bob Dylan-the-parent.” It is indeed a great blues song, with Dylan in fine form and you wonder why it didn’t make the cut on Infidels.
Anyway, I got to thinking about this song because my daughter is a doctor, currently caring for Covid-19 patients in an Intensive Care Unit in a hospital in central London. She’s right in the thick of things in this pandemic, and she’s very brave. But, as a parent, you can’t help but be concerned for her, even with all her PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). You pray with Dylan:
No matter what happens to me, no matter what my destiny
Lord, oh Lord, protect my child.
It’s what every parent feels about their children – no matter what happens to you, you just want your children – no matter what age they are – to be safe and to be happy.
I pray the same for you and your families.
Here’s Dylan’s album version and then a great version by Susan Tedsechi, who really does justice to the bluesy tones of the song.
Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Tempdrom, Berlin
Photo generously provided by Holger Ott
- A big band of 12 world class musicians is a truly wonderful thing.
- The E Street Band isn’t the only one with a cool, long curly haired saxophonist. Kebbi Williams sprang into action straightaway on the first song, Don’t Know What it Means and just got better as the evening went on.
- The drum solo is not a thing of the past. Particularly when you’ve got TWO top notch drummers. Tyler Greenwell and J. J. Johnson drove the music forward, with an uncanny, in-sync timing.
- The 8-12 minute song in a live setting is what concerts are made for. Seriously – so good were the song arrangements and so outstanding the musicianship, you were disappointed when each song came to a conclusion.
- Derek Trucks is a peerless electric slide guitarist. Make that guitarist, full stop. Playing in open E tuning mostly, he makes that Gibson SG sing. And he doesn’t use a pick. And, given half a chance, he’ll throw in a few Indian-sounding licks.
- Susan Tedeschi is an excellent guitarist but an INCREDIBLE singer. Blues, soul, Gospel, Americana – doesn’t matter, she’ll nail it. Make no mistake, this band is awesome – but Susan Tedeschi is the glue that holds it together, the voice that makes it all work.
- If you have vocalists in the band like Mike Mattison, Mark Rivers and Alecia Chakour, you can afford to do a spiritual (Anyhow My Lord) right bang in the middle of the concert.
One final thing – from what I can gather, it’s a rather German thing to do – my camera was taken from me as I entered the Tempdrom. This I consider mean and just pointless. Never happened to me before in the UK, Ireland or US, for big name or less well known artists. Grrrr.
Here’s the setlist if you’re interested:
Set 1 (70 min)
- Don’t Know What It Means
- Keep On Growing (Derek and the Dominos cover)
- Bird on the Wire (Leonard Cohen cover)
- Laugh About It
- Right on Time
- Leaving Trunk (Sleepy John Estes cover)
- Volunteered Slavery (Rahsaan Roland Kirk cover)
- Ali (Miles Davis cover) (with Jeff Taylor)
- Let Me Get By
Set 2 (85 min)
- Anyhow My Lord (Spiritual) / Anyhow
- Comin’ Home (Delaney & Bonnie cover)
- Midnight in Harlem
- Bound for Glory
- Angel From Montgomery (John Prine cover)
- Sugaree (Jerry Garcia cover)
- How Blue Can You Get (B.B. King cover)
- I Want More
- Soul Sacrifice (Santana cover)
- Let’s Go Get Stoned (The Coasters cover)
It was Bonnie Raitt’s birthday yesterday. She’s been playing the blues and entertaining us for over forty years. She’s a ten-time Grammy Award winner and is listed as number 50 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. She’s also a terrific guitarist – number 89 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time (although check out this list and see how much of it you agree with – some of the rankings are hard to fathom). Bonnie’s best known for her slide guitar, which she learned from Mississippi Fred McDowell, and is usually to be seen playing her Fender Strat – although she’s no slouch playing acoustic guitar too. Check out The Lost Broadcast, a recording of a performance for in WMMR Radio in Philadelphia in 1972, where she covers Robert Johnson, Sippie Wallace and Muddy Waters, as well as her own songs. It’s an absolute gem.
Over the years, Raitt has stood up for various causes, notable the environment, musical education and development work in south east Asia. Her commitment to the blues heritage has been shown by her contributions to the funding of the replacement of a headstone for Fred McDowell and for Memphis Minnie, Sam Chatmon, and Tommy Johnson.
There aren’t too many women in the Rolling Stones list of 100 Greatest Guitarists. This, it seems, is a man’s world, but when Raitt gets that slide going on the fretboard, there ain’t many better. Thankfully there are a lot more terrific women guitarists around now than ever before – one thinks straightaway of Susan Tedeschi, Carolyn Wonderland, Erja Lyytinene, Orianthi, Samantha Fish, Dani Wilde, Ana Popovic, Debbie Davies, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Cassie Taylor. If you don’t know any of these, go check them out.