Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Colors of the Rainbow: Tangled Up In Blue (Indigo Girls Version)

Indigo Girls: Tangled Up In Blue

I’m going to keep this short, but you are going to get three colors for the price of one.

Considering the theme, it seemed like writing about the Indigo Girls made sense. Not only do they have a Color of the Rainbow in their name, they were LGBT activists before that was easy or popular. Their commercial and critical success in light of their openness about their sexuality in the late 1980s and 1990s helped to open doors and change attitudes. Back in 1994, I joined a law firm as an associate which had been started by three guys who I had worked with or known at a big Wall Street firm. I remember that during my first week on the job, I had to leave relatively early, because my wife and I had tickets to see the Indigo Girls at Radio City Music Hall, a couple of blocks from my office. And I remember getting shit from some of the partners because I was going to see a couple of lesbians perform. I should have realized what I was in for, but I missed that sign. It was a great show, and since then we have seen them perform a few times, all of which have been wonderful.

I’ve written in detail about the Indigo Girls here, and I’m not going to repeat myself, but there is a bunch of good stuff there about the band, and some pretty rare covers, so check it out.

In scrolling through my list of Indigo Girls songs, their cover of Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue” jumped out at me, since it also references a color. It is a live version, recorded at a show in 1992 in San Francisco, from the band’s excellent 1200 Curfews album, most of which was actually recorded on the 1994-95 tour, although nothing from the Radio City show made the cut. I hadn’t listened to it for years, and when I let it rip, I realized that it was quite good. One of the highlights of the track is the violin part, and when I looked up who played it, I was pleased to find that it was Scarlet Rivera, adding to the colorful theme.

Rivera, I discovered, also played on some Dylan albums and toured with him, as a member of the Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975 and 1976. It is hard to tell, because the sound quality is poor, but Rivera may well be playing on this rocking version of the song, performed by Dylan and the band at a show in Ft. Collins, Colorado on May 23, 1976.

Bob Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Revue: Tangled Up In Blue

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