Vargen - 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue'
By Victoria Scott & Staff
Nostalgia overcomes you as you listen to Vargen’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” from their album Love/Leave - 11 Songs of Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan released this song in 1965 on his Bring it All Back Home album. Dylan gave folk music its edge with lines like, ‘you better grab it fast, yonder stands your orphan with his gun, crying like a fire in the sun, look out the saints are comin’ though, it’s all over now, Baby Blue.’
Vargen's cover was produced by Andreas Alm at Teknikcirkus Studio. Andrea also plays rhythm guitar, keyboards, and percussion on the track. Mia Rosengren and Reine Johansson sing vocals; Dan Kristensen plays dobro/slide guitar; Jan Lundin plays bass, and Måns Broman is on drums. Their fantastic version of "Its All Over Now, Baby Blue" is highly memorable.
Mia Rosengren enters the song with a sweet and haunting vocal introduction set against a reverberant electric guitar playing arpeggios. "You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last, but whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast." Reine Johansson’s follows in the next verse with a billowy, rich voice that perfectly compliments Rosengren's moving performance. "The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense. Take what you have gathered from coincidence. His rich voice is a cross between Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, giving the song it's authentic edge. Performing the song as a duo was a brilliant choice.
The dobro slide guitar gives the song soul while the production's ambient, windy sounds yield a somber tone. The solo during the break on sliding guitar by Dan Kristensen adds an extra wistfulness. The song picks up after the second verse with a rocking folk sound as percussion joins the mix before returning to the more subdued musical landscape with Rosengren singing, "Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you. Forget the dead you’ve left, they will not follow you."
Vargen's interpretation of "Its All Over Now, Baby Blue" captures the grief of closure, the loss of leaving those who can't accept change behind, and the sense of awakening to something new. Vargen recognizes Dylan's goodbye to folk and 'topical music' with the beginning of a new sound. Who is Baby Blue? Is it Dylan? That's up to the listener.
Vargen’s moving remediation is haunting and mysterious, filled with love and loss. This cover feels like the whispering winds of the past and the future rushing over a moving sea - the old is being washed away and the new is coming to shore. Vargen's rendition maintains the integrity of Dylan' lyrics with a grievously, melancholy tone that gives the song emotional depth. Vargen’s version of Bob Dylan's iconic song is purely gorgeous and not to be missed.
Vargen ('The Wolf' in Swedish) is the stage and recording name of singer-songwriter Reine Johansson. Vargen's music encompasses Americana, country, blues, folk, rock. His album debut Sånger från Natten, sånger från Dan (2017) featured new music set to Swedish author Dan Andersson's (1888-1920) darker poems. Tänk inte efter (Don't Think Twice - Bob Dylan in Swedish (Vinyl/CD/DL 2019) featured new Dylan-approved translations by Vargen who collaborated with singer Mia Rosengren on the project.
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For more information on Vargen, please visit their website.