Cat Power’s Spellbinding tribute in ‘Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert’

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Cat Power’s Spellbinding tribute in ‘Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert’

Credit: Inez Vinoodh
Words by Alex Callan

Recorded November 5, 2022 at London’s vaunted Royal Albert Hall, Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert sees the artist otherwise known as Chan Marshall delivering a song-for-song recreation of one of the most fabled and transformative live sets of all time.

Bob Dylan’s Albert Hall Concert has long been regarded as one of the most controversial live recordings of all time. Not only was it the original performance that saw Dylan switch from acoustic to electric guitar midway through the show – drawing contempt from the crowd of folk purists – it also never had an official release.

On top of that, it was responsible for decades of misinformation after the initial bootleg mislabeled Dylan’s live set from the Manchester Free Trade Hall as Royal Albert Hall.

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Nonetheless, it’s a concert whose legacy still stands today, making it all the more special for Dylan fans that the ever-enigmatic songstress Cat Power took to the stage at London’s vaunted Royal Albert Hall last November to deliver a song-for-song recreation of the most fabled live set.

“More than the work of any other songwriter, Dylan’s songs have spoken to me, and inspired me since I first began hearing them at 5 years old,” said Marshall.

“I had and still have such respect for the man who crafted so many songs that helped develop conscious thinking in millions of people, helped shape the way they see the world,” says Marshall. “So even though my hands were shaking so much I had to keep them in my pockets, I felt real dignity for myself. It felt like a real honor for me to stand there.”

From the opening lines of ‘She Belongs To Me’, it’s hard not to be blown away by Power’s adoption of Dylan’s famous nasally drawl and quirky mannerisms. ‘Desolation Row’ sees Power deliver a powerfully stripped-back rendition that adds a newfound depth to the iconic 11-minute number. 

‘Tell Me, Momma’ spreads into rock territory with the same amount of haste as Dylan, albeit a lot less hate, while ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’ gets a prog-rock makeover that gives off ominous undertones of organ akin to Zeppelin’s ‘No Quarter.’

Much like Dylan did at the now-famous concert, The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert highlights Power’s prowess as both a folk and rock star. It’s a powerhouse performance that even Dylan would be proud of.

Label: Domino Recording Co.