June 30, 2009

These United States cover this Bob Dylan :: “To Ramona”


The marvelously raw and literate These United States recently recorded a cover for a French compilation called Dylan Mania (which also features Magnet’s version of “Lay Lady Lay,” and Antony and the Johnsons knocking on heaven’s door alongside many French bands).

Where Dylan’s original of “To Ramona” waltzed and lilted in courteous measured style, These United States keel off into the hayloft as we hasten the jamboree. The thrumming and playfully creative drumbeat (courtesy of mohawked Robby) builds and drives the song along, while Jesse’s voice earnestly cracks exactly where you hope it will. There’s also some pedal steel bringin’ the lonesome, and a particularly nice clattery-taptastic breakdown towards the end.

Ramona come closer, shut softly your watery eyes
The pangs of your sadness will pass as your senses will rise
For the flowers of the city though breathlike get deathlike sometime
And there’s no use in trying to deal with the dying
Though I cannot explain that in lines.

To Ramona (Dylan cover) – These United States

One reviewer said that TUS plays their folk “the way it was meant to be played: hard, fast, big, slow, long, loud, loose, and at last unburdened. They play it like they mean it.” Personally they describe their music as cumulonimbus wordpop for the jangly railyard dreamer — I really like that.

tus-coverTheir 3rd full-length release in 18 months Everything Touches Everything (oooh!) is out September 1st; I think last year’s excellent Crimes was underrated and overlooked.

They have more live shows than anyone you’ve ever met, so go see ‘em. They put on one of the best live shows I’ve seen in a long time; we adored them at SXSW and our Hillbilly Prom they played.

For completists, here’s the original and a cover that David Gray did on his 2007 cover album A Thousand Miles Behind. And as David says at the beginning of the recording, “I absolutely loved this one from the first time I heard it…”

Oh, me too.

To Ramona – Bob Dylan
To Ramona (Dylan cover) – David Gray

I’d forever talk to you but soon my words
would turn into a meaningless ring
for deep in my heart I know there’s no help I can bring
Everything passes, everything changes
just do what you think you should do
And someday maybe, who knows baby
I’ll come and be crying to you

[photo taken in a sweaty bar at SXSW by one Todd Roeth]


  • The Flying Burrito Brothers’ version is still the best one.

    David Snusgrop — July 1, 2009 @ 3:04 am

  • TUS rule

    jesselun — July 1, 2009 @ 4:13 am

  • Anything that follows Bob Dylan is great and this cover is no different. Good luck to them.

    Mesa Boogie — July 1, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  • You’re so good at everything, Heather Browne!!!!

    Angora Holly Polo — July 1, 2009 @ 12:26 pm

  • Well thank you, Miss Angora. I hear you are too. ;)

    browneheather — July 1, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

  • Also a good version by the late, great Doug Sahm and the Texas Tornados.

    Alan — July 1, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

  • I’ve never been a big Bob Dylan fan (at least him as a singer), but he is a brilliant songwriter. I love hearing covers of his songs.

    Heather — July 1, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

  • New TSU is their best album yet.


    Bruce — July 6, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  • Another great version of “To Ramona”- Jerree Small from “Duluth Does Dylan Revisited”

    reitman — July 8, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  • [...] Cover Alert: These United States tackle Bob Dylan [...]

    Hidden Track » Bloggy Goodness: Jack Goes It Alone — August 6, 2009 @ 7:59 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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