Magnet - Lay Lady Lay
There was but one thing I was prepared to accept before getting Dylan - being that time when I could look past the whiny vocals, the hanging out with Joan Baez and the too-short trousers to get to the music - and that was that Lay Lady Lay was a great song, no question. Unlike the politics, cryptic messages and nonsense of much of the rest of Dylan's recordings, Lay Lady Lay was simple, flirtatious, as sexy as Dylan ever got and so good that it would take real effort to ruin it.
Magnet's version of this song - included on their late-2003 album, On Your Side, which will be reviewed on CD Times later this week - is a graceful, beautifully arranged version of the Dylan song, with Even Johansen, the singer-songwriter behind Magnet, trading lines across the verses with guest vocalist Gemma Hayes. This is a superb version of a great song and it just grabs you from the opening seconds, when one chord gently swings into the next. It ought to be a hit, moreso it deserves to be a it, but will it? Likely not but that will never take away from Lay Lady Lay, alongside Isis, I Shall Be Released and Like A Rolling Stone, being one of Dylan's greatest songs.