The Cinch Review

A “New” Bob Dylan song from Nikki Jean

I just heard this myself today, although it’s been out there at least a week. There’s a young artist named Nikki Jean who is coming out with an album named Pennies in a Jar. To launch her with a bang, the record company had her co-write songs with a variety of big name songwriters. According to Entertainment Weekly, she was sent an unfinished Bob Dylan song from his Shot of Love era (around 1981), and given permission to finish it. The result is a song called “Steel & Feathers (Don’t Ever)” and it’s really rather nice, and you can listen to it via YouTube below.

Maybe it’s just me, but I kinda hear some of this in it (Psalm 27):

Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation

Unsurprisingly, tapes of Dylan’s recording sessions from that era exist and lots of collectors have them. And this song is indeed there—a reggae style performance in Dylan’s case. The chorus is exactly as it is in Nikki Jean’s finished recording, both words and tune. The verses of the new version seem to be virtually all Nikki Jean’s. (Of-course we don’t know exactly what was given to her.)

In any case, I think it’s great that it’s been resurrected with a high degree of style and taste. Best of luck to Ms. Jean.


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