Chicken Wire Records (label)
03 February 2017 (released)
14 February 2017
Back in 1964 Bob Dylan released his third studio album, The Times They Are A-Changin'. At the time of it's release the album did not necessarily resonate fully with his fans or the critics. Lacking the dry humour or musical experimentation of his first two releases, The Times They Are A-Changin' is a ballad heavy collection of politically and socially charged compositions that stand strong today as a commentary of the 1960s. While the album may not have captured the hearts of the public upon release, the album's title track certainly did. A sparse gaelic influenced ballad charged with impetus for change, it captured a pivotal moment in world history and epitomises the reason that Dylan is still regarded most fondly as a political poet. Fast forward 50 years and the world once again finds itself in disarray, leading Newcastle's RJ Thompson to cover the classic anthem to prompt people to think.
RJ Thompson may not have the status of Dylan, but the impact of his faithful cover certainly packs and emotional and political punch. With 2016 having proven a proper annus horribilis, Thompson found himself pondering his musical icon's statement and realising that while on the surface so much appears to have changed, at the core people will always be people and that if we don't stand up for what we believe in, then a powerful mind-playing cheeto may just be able to change the world for their own agenda.
Best known for touring with Jools Holland and Joan Armatrading, Thompson's rendition is timely, thought provoking and perfectly performed. He does not attempt to be his musical icon, but simultaneously stays faithful to the structure of Dylan's composition. His understated, rich vocal delivery is layered with thought and the power of song will once again get people to question their direction.
While the political song may not have taken this shape for quite some time, the changing political scape, which has certainly got darker over the last few years, will no doubt see the return of the genre.