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Forever young: Bands play tribute to ’80s-era Bob Dylan

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The times, they are a-repeating.

The 1980s are often derided as Bob Dylan’s lost years — as least from a musical perspective. But to his die-hard fans, the worst of Dylan is still better than most other musicians’ best.

To illustrate this, ATO Records has recorded a tribute album featuring covers of songs he wrote between 1980 and 1990, and many of the artists featured on the disc will celebrate its release with a party at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on March 24.

“Bob Dylan in the 80s: Vol. 1” contains tributes by bands including Built to Spill, Gene Ween and Slash, and Blitzen Trapper, and artists appearing at the show will include Langhorne Slim, Spirit Family Reunion, Elvis Perkins, and members of Deer Tick.

The idea for the album came from a cover band that album co-producers Jesse Lauter and Sean O’Brien started while they were both attending New York University. They called the band S----- Dylan.

“It was not meant to be ironic or a jokey thing,” said Lauter. “It is to bring light to this catalog of songs that have mostly gone ignored while this is the most covered musician in the history of pop music.”

Lauter talked up the idea to the artists he worked with. When Craig Finn from the Hold Steady agreed to record a song, others started jumping on board.

At the Music Hall of Williamsburg show, each artist will play the song he or she recorded, as well as one other Dylan song from any era.

Dylan probably knows about the album, said Lauter, but is himself happy to let the ’80s remain lost.

“I can safely say that he is probably aware but blissfully doesn’t care,” said Lauter.

“Dylan in the 80s Record Release Show” at Music Hall of Williamsburg [66 North Sixth St. between Kent and Wythe avenues in Williamsburg. (718) 486–5400, www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com]. March 24 at 8 pm. $18–20.

Updated 11:46 am, March 20, 2014
Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at www.twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
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