Thursday 28 November 2019

Don't Let Me Down

Cover version of the month #49
Dillard and Clark cover The Beatles

I've written about Don't Let Me Down by The Beatles a number of times through the blog, most recently in my Confidently Top 10 blog. It is my favourite Beatles song - so pure, so heartfelt, Lennon so in love that he has to say it in four words rather than three.

So I'm not going to talk about the original version that makes me picture the fab 4 on the Apple rooftop, Lennon's hair blowing in the wind and the friends gelling and laughing as they play their final show. Just watch and listen - magical.

Instead, I'm going to discuss the Dillard and Clark version that I recently discovered. I'm digging into the back catalogue of Gene Clark following the BBC documentary The Byrd Who Flew Alone.

Through the Morning, Through the Night was the second album released by Dillard and Clark, coming out in August 1969, only 10-months after their debut LP. 

I've yet to find out how Dillard and Clark discovered the song before it was released on The Beatles Let It Be album in May 1970, but somehow they did.

Their version keeps the bluesy feel of The Beatles but turns it into country bluesgrass blues. Clark's voice is unaccompanied for the first few seconds before bass, drums, acoustic and lead guitar kick in. The vocal is beautiful and when the harmonies come in, especially if you are listening on headphones, it is pretty spine tingling.

My favourite section of the song is the middle eight;

I'm in love for the first time
And I know it's gonna last
It's a love that lasts a lifetime
It's a love that has no past

Clark changes a couple of words and the way his voice lingers on no past is just stunning. Dillard and Clark with over one minute of Clark repeatedly singing don't let me down backed by beautiful harmonies/backing vocals. The song fades ... I wish they had kept it going, it is sublime. 

Previous covers of the month

1 comment:

Sid Law said...

"Don't Let Me Down" was never released on the Let It Be album. It was released as the B-side to the 7" single "Get Back" in April 1969. It didn't make an appearance on any Beatles album until the "Blue" Beatles Compilation ("67-70") which was released in 1973. So I suppose back in April 1969 Dillard and Clark simply played the B-side to the Beatles April 1969 single "Get Back", liked it and decided to do a cover. A very fine cover version it is too.