Cat Power has shared two new songs from her upcoming live album, which captures her effort last year to recreate Bob Dylan’s fabled 1966 “Royal Albert Hall”/“Judas” concert in full.
Unlike Dylan, Cat Power actually performed her show at London’s Royal Albert Hall, staging the special concert there last November. Dylan’s famous 1966 concert — where he went electric halfway through, and the folk purists in the crowd went apoplectic — actually took place at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, but for years, a bootleg recording mislabeled the venue (always one to embrace the print-the-legend mindset, Dylan’s official Bootleg Series release of the concert even referred to it as The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert).
To tease Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert, the singer-songwriter (whose real name is Chan Marshall) has shared one song from the acoustic set and one from the electric. First up, her tender rendition of the show-opener, “She Belongs to Me.”
In a statement, Marshall said of the tune: “When singing ‘She Belongs To Me’ in the past, sometimes I turned it into a first-person narrative — ’I am an artist, I don’t look back.’ I really identified with it like that. But for the show at Royal Albert Hall, I, of course, sang it the way it was originally written — with the respect for the composition… and the great composer.”
Cat Power also shared her rendition of one of the most boisterous, contemptuous songs from Dylan’s early electric period: “Ballad of a Thin Man.” Before launching into the song, an audience member even took it upon themselves to recreate the infamous “Judas” call out, with Marshall putting her own spin on the response. Rather than flat-out firing back, “I don’t believe you, you’re a liar,” like Dylan, she simply responds, “Jesus.”
“It was something impulsive. I wasn’t expecting the audience to recreate their part of the original show as well, but then I wanted to set the record straight — in a way, Dylan is a deity to all of us who write songs,” Marshall said. (We do, however, have to fact-check here and state that “Judas” was not shouted before “Ballad of a Thin Man,” but after it, before Dylan’s closing number, “Like a Rolling Stone.”)
Cat Power Sings Dylan is available to pre-order and will be released on Nov. 10 via Domino. She’s also set to bring the “Royal Albert Hall” concert to the U.S., with two performances scheduled at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on Nov. 6 and 7 (tickets go on sale Sept. 15). Additional dates will be announced soon.