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."Jakob Dylan has talent to spare"




....Wallflowers, who are on a roll of their own with a new album ("Breach"), and with singer Jakob Dylan on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone. Jakob Dylan's best songs capture the frailties of human nature. On "Breach"--the latest album by his band, the Wallflowers--Dylan goes a step further, allowing fans to explore all the things he was reticent about in the past (e.g. his famous dad, Bob).
....... At a sold-out concert Sunday night at Bimbo's, Dylan led the group through a superb set that showcased the new, paid homage to the old with a faithful rendition of the Wallflowers' breakthrough hit "6th Avenue Heartache," and included a dead-on cover of David Bowie's "Heroes." Kicking the show off with the hypnotic single "Sleepwalker," Dylan stoically stood centerstage and sang, "Maybe I could be the one they adored/That could be my reputation/It's where I'm from that let's them think I'm a whore/I'm an educated virgin."
....... After years of not answering questions about his father, the younger Dylan has cautiously opened up on a handful of new songs. It's an interesting perspective of the protagonist (whom we assume is he) he presents--shy, unsure and not always certain that his detractors are wrong in their assessment of him. He is his father's son, but he questions whether that is enough.
.........The bulk of the taut, 80-minute set was taken up with the new material complemented by the four singles from 1996's quadruple platinum ``Bringing Down the Horse,'' a single tune from the band's neglected 1992 debut and covers of The Who's ``Won't Get Fooled Again'' and David Bowie's ``Heroes.'' The darkly catchy ``Sleepwalker,'' the first single from ``Breach,'' set the tone with insinuating organ licks and the witty, cautionary chorus, ``Cupid, don't draw back your bow, Sam Cooke didn't know what I know.'' ``Some Flowers Bloom Dead'' had a perky pacing that betrayed its downbeat sentiment. ``Letters From the Wasteland'' continued the marriage of swinging rhythms and minor key moods. In one of the evening's highlights, Dylan strummed the twangy chords of "Hand Me Down," and sang from the point of view of a disappointed father (or a fan of the father):
......."You won't ever amount to much/You won't be anyone/ . . . You're a hand-me down/It's better when you're not around/You feel good and you look like you should/But you won't ever make us proud . . . /Now look at you/With your worn out shoes/Living proof evolution is through/We're stuck with you/This revolution is doomed."
........The emotion in his voice was real, and, yes, at times his low, husky vocals sounded strikingly similar to you-know-who. But the song was his. And, if anything, the story-driven rock feel of "Breach" owed less to vintage Bob than to Bruce Springsteen. In the past, Dylan had a penchant for penning oblique lyrics ("She always prayed to headlights").
........He has grown into a thoughtful songwriter with a nimble gift for wordplay and an evocative voice that tugs at the heart.

By Randy Cohen

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