Morrissey A-Z: "Only a Pawn in Their Game"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member




Our song for today is Morrissey's cover (on the California Son album) of Bob Dylan's composition, written in 1963 and released in 1964 on his The Times They Are a-Changin' album.

What do we think?
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
not a fan of this,like most dylan songs they are a bit boring.voice is decent as usual.
6 pawns/10 games.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
I don't care for this one. The original is great but this production is too weird and it just goes on too long. Plus, context is important and I don't even want to get into that.
3/10
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
One of my least favourites from the album. The arrangement is mostly what lets it down, bizarrely, given that most of the music on California Son is the standout. I just don’t really like the overbearing accordion and beat - kinda shoving the message on the listener’s face. The lyrics are still great: subtle, not sloganeering, they use the perspectives of abhorrent racists to show how fatally flawed their ideologies are. This shouldn’t reflect Moz’s opinions (as I don’t believe he is a racist - would I still be listening to someone who was?) and some probably took the lyrics at face value, which is a shame since it’s supposed to be one of the most powerful songs on the album. The vocal performance is standard - he does better on other tracks here. So, some parts carried over are still hard-hitting and visceral. Others, though, don’t especially fit the mood.
6/10
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
It's an astonishing, visceral protest song which really shouldn't be so relevant these days - but, of course, it is.

A fascinating choice for Morrissey's covers album (did he really talk much about Dylan before this cover appeared?) but I agree with others above: the treatment of it here is like a sledgehammer, when it doesn't need to be. The words (and uber-Dylanesque vocal melody) are powerful enough without needing to be drummed into our skulls.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
I've never heard the Dylan version before today, & because I'm not at all keen on CS per se, I've probably never heard, or would have skipped, Moz's version. But I made myself listen to this 3 times & concluded that out of the 2 versions, I actually do prefer the one by Moz; great vocals, as ever.

Couple of interesting points maybe; I didn't know of the subject matter of the song, which then provided links to James Baldwin (one of Moz's favourite authors). It also contains the line "Like a dog on a chain", so could have had some influence in naming that particular album.

It's heavily dominated by the military sounding drums, (what sounds like) accordion, and guitar splashes, & I get a Scottish or Irish feel from it.
To me the original lyrics are a bit lengthy & become tedious but Moz makes a decent effort to breathe life into it.
If you're patient, it's actually a bit of a grower.
 
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Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Not at all the worst song off of the album, but far from the best. Nor quite as ‘meh’ as a lot of them. I tolerate it.
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
was checking the wiki earlier,S and T are going to take a month of sundays to get through.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
A bold choice and it adds another interesting element to California Son.

Morrissey's voice is very strong across the entire album and it's a solid cover.

In the poll on the Hoffman board it ranked 137th from 264 solo songs.
 

Carlisle baz

Cock of the north
CS lives in my car.
From song 6, it’s over..until the end is always played full blast,
This song never gets played...

That said it’s not a bad song
Nor is it a good song...

Covering Bob D doesn’t suit Morrissey’s style at all,
He does sound great on it though as all of his singing on CS
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
I've never heard the Dylan version before today, & because I'm not at all keen on CS per se, I've probably never heard, or would have skipped, Moz's version. But I made myself listen to this 3 times & concluded that out of the 2 versions, I actually do prefer the one by Moz; great vocals, as ever.

Couple of interesting points maybe; I didn't know of the subject matter of the song, which then provided links to James Baldwin (one of Moz's favourite authors). It also contains the line "Like a dog on a chain", so could have had some influence in naming that particular album.
I always wondered why Morrissey picked this particular song from Dylan’s impressive catalogue. You probably hit the nai, the link to James Baldwin.
It's heavily dominated by the military sounding drums, (what sounds like) accordion, and guitar splashes, & I get a Scottish or Irish feel from it
(y)
To me the original lyrics are a bit lengthy & become tedious but Moz makes a decent effort to breathe life into it.
If you're patient, it's actually a bit of a grower.
It’s not the best Dylan song, at least not when it comes to the vocal melody and Morrissey improved it.
It is definitely a growe.
 
M

Mozzer1980

Guest
I find it an interesting choice. Very good and strong vocal. I like this arrangement. It's nice that Morrissey has paid tribute to the greatest poet of rock.
 
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