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Bob Dylan Revisits Self Portrait

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Exit, Zimmerman
Exit, Zimmerman

Bob Dylan is releasing some more from his vast archives of unreleased material, this time focusing on 1969-1971 songs.

Critic Greil Marcus spoke for countless Bob Dylan fans when he began his Rolling Stone review of 1970’s Self Portrait with a now-famous question: “What is this shit?” The two-LP set was a bizarre mishmash of pop covers (Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”), pre-rock hits (“Blue Moon”) and poorly recorded live cuts from Dylan’s 1969 set at the Isle of Wight festival. Nearly every tune was overloaded with weird backup choirs, strings and horns. “I knew that opening was provocative,” Marcus says today of his RS review. “But that’s what everybody in the country was saying, and I had to reflect that.”

Decades later, Self Portrait remains one of Dylan’s least-loved releases. So it came as a surprise when he announced the latest volume in his ongoing Bootleg Series: a four-disc set called Another Self Portrait, drawing on never-before-heard material from Dylan’s original acoustic recording sessions and outtakes from Self Portrait along with select cuts from 1968’s Nashville Skyline and 1970’s New Morning. A deluxe edition will feature a complete recording of Dylan and the Band’s 1969 set at the Isle of Wight Festival as well as a remastered version of the original Self Portrait. Both editions hit shelves on August 27th. 

The Self Portrait sessions began in New York at Columbia’s Studio A in April 1969, but after just a few days of messing around with covers like “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Blue Moon,” he abandoned the project for nearly a year. When they resumed in March 1970, Dylan had very little original material, and he again returned to covers, this time recording with a small band that included David Bromberg on guitar and bass and Al Kooper on organ.

“It was bizarre,” Kooper tells Rolling Stone. “He wasn’t writing any of the songs, which is an important part of a Bob Dylan album. He had a pile of Sing Out! magazines and he was taking the songs, as in the chords and lyrics, straight out of them. They were his main feed, then they pulled other things like ‘Mr. Bojanges’ and ‘The Boxer.’ I was like, ‘Yikes!’ At one point we recorded ‘Come a Little Bit Closer’ by Jay and the Americans. Hopefully nobody ever hears that.”

(click here to continue reading Bob Dylan Revisits ‘Self Portrait’ on Next Edition of the Bootleg Series | Music News | Rolling Stone.)

From Bob Dylan’s website:

In the Self Portrait sessions, Dylan played a selection of songs accompanied by a small ensemble of musicians, primarily David Bromberg (guitar) and Al Kooper (keyboards, guitar), with producer Bob Johnston later adding overdubs to the basic tracks in Nashville. Another Self Portrait presents these original session masters for the first time without overdubs.

Another Self Portrait reveals fresh aspects of Dylan’s vocal genius as he reimagines traditional and contemporary folk music as well as songs of his own. Across these unvarnished performances, Dylan is the country singer from Nashville Skyline (“Country Pie” and “I Threw It All Away”), an interpreter of traditional folk (“Little Sadie,” “Pretty Saro”) who’s right at home singing the songs of his contemporaries (Tom Paxton’s “Annie’s Gonna Sing Her Song” and Eric Andersen’s “Thirsty Boots”) before returning to writing and singing his own new music (“Went To See The Gypsy,” “Sign On The Window”).

While the original Self Portrait was a deliberate act of iconoclasm that shattered Dylan’s image as “generational spokesperson” while stretching the boundaries of pop music and his own, the album’s successor, New Morning, marked Dylan’s return to songwriting. Another Self Portrait gives fans a chance to reappraise the pivotal recordings that marked Dylan’s artistic transformation as the 1960s ended and the 1970s began.

Featured on Another Self Portrait are a previously unavailable version of “Only A Hobo” and the demo version of “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” a track that finds Dylan, who’d been signed as a recording artist not quite a decade earlier, looking to the future, promising that “Someday, everything’s gonna be smooth like a rhapsody, when I paint my masterpiece.”

(click here to continue reading “WHAT IS THIS SHIT?” BOB DYLAN’S THE BOOTLEG SERIES, VOL. 10 ANOTHER SELF PORTRAIT (1969 – 1971) SET FOR AUGUST 27 RELEASE | The Official Bob Dylan Site.)

 

For the (NSA) record, I listened to Dylan’s Self Portrait today, and there are some glimmers of interesting work hidden there. Maybe when the gloss, backup choirs and strings are removed, there will be some decent tunes left behind. One of my favorite albums of Willie Nelson is his “Stripped” album – his songs sound much better when it’s just guitar and vocal, and maybe an acoustic bass. Perhaps Another Self Portrait will be similar.

Or else, it will still just be shite. Everyone has fallow periods…


and this is good news:

Since launching the Bootleg Series in 1991, Dylan has released eight sets, but has withheld much of the material that fans are most eager to hear. “We’re trying to put this stuff out in an intelligent way,” says the source. “Sets for Blood on the Tracks and Blonde on Blonde will eventually come out. When fans hear the Blonde on Blonde set, they’ll realize that the real hero of the sessions was pianist Paul Griffin. . . There will also be a Basement Tapes box one day. We’re trying to get the best sources on all the Basement Tapes. That’ll happen one day, absolutely.” 

Written by Seth Anderson

July 18th, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Posted in Music

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Bob Dylan’s Biography of American Racism » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

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Young Bob Dylan Entertains

Young Dylan Entertains

Earlier today…

Blind Willie McTell is perhaps most famous nowadays for his song “Statesboro Blues,” most likely titled after the city he grew up in.  Although McTell was somewhat well-known on the blues circuit during the 1920s and 1930s, most folks who know this song today know it because of the Allman Brothers.  Their version is electric and extended.  McTell played a fluid twelve-string and the occasional slide.  He live for sixty years and played throughout the southern United States in a style of picking known as Piedmont—named after the region of the Carolinas it originated in.  While Bob Dylan was recording songs for the album eventually known as Infidels, he recorded his song “Blind Willie McTell.”  A masterpiece of a song from a man who has many such songs to his name, Dylan’s work is about much more than the blues singer Willie McTell.  It is an angry message transmitted via Dylan from an angry god.  Even more, it is about a people & a nation that continues to suffer what Abraham Lincoln…

Via:
Bob Dylan’s Biography of American Racism » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
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Written by eggplant

March 3rd, 2013 at 4:47 pm

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Bob Dylan and Van Morrison In Athens

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Via Rolling Stone:

Bob Dylan’s 1989 summer European tour wrapped up with a pair of shows in Greece. During an off-day, Dylan and  Van Morrison climbed onto the picturesque Hill of the Muses in Athens for a stunning four-song acoustic set that thankfully was captured by cameras for the BBC documentary Arena: One Irish Rover – Van Morrison in Performances. They began with Morrison classics “Crazy Love” and “And It Stoned Me,” but the clear highlight was the 1986 Morrison obscurity “Foreign Window,” featuring Dylan on harmonica and Van on guitar and vocals. They wrapped up the set with a duet on “One Irish Rover.” Check out both songs in this incredible video.  

Written by Seth Anderson

October 2nd, 2012 at 6:22 pm

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Bob Dylan’s Tempest Album Has The Wheeze And Gargle Of An Old Man

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The Bob Dylan media onslaught has already begun…

Neil McCormick of The Telegraph writes:

The word is that Dylan is pleased with his latest effort, or, as someone at his record company told me, “he wants people to hear it.” I have had the privilege of being amongst a select few journalists around the world to be allowed a sneak preview. It would be absurd to attempt a definitive review based on such a cursory listen but I was blown away with the mad energy of the album.

At 71-years-old Dylan is still striking out into strange new places rather than revisiting his past. Although he no longer attempts to scale the heights of poetic imagery and dense metaphor that established him as popular music’s greatest lyricist, instead writing in bluesy couplets, the extreme collision of ideas and characters and the mysterious, ambivalent arcs of his narratives creates a pungent effect. Dylan still has the power to disturb and thrill. I emerged from this listening session feeling like I had been on a journey into the weird dream territory of Ballad Of A Thin Man, where nothing is quite what it seems.

His voice, often little more than a croak on stage these days, invests these ten tracks with the spirit of something ancient. Sure, he has the wheeze and gargle of an old man, but the words come through loud and clear, delivered with real relish. Los Lobos founder David Hidalgo’s fiddle weaves through the acoustic shuffle of Dylan’s touring band, guitarist Charlie Sexton, Stu Kimball and Donnie Heron, drummer George Receli and bassist Tony Garnier.

The sound is a continuation of the blues, country and folk styles that run through all his later work, but with less of the kind of Thirties pastiche he’s played with since 2001’s Love And Theft . There is a sense is that Dylan is still honing in on that wild, mercurial music he hears in his head.

(click here to continue reading Bob Dylan’s Tempest: first listen – Telegraph.)

I’m sort of sick of that 1930’s pastiche actually, will be glad to hear something different.

Written by Seth Anderson

August 9th, 2012 at 8:36 am

Posted in Music,Suggestions

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New Bob Dylan Album – Tempest

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 Exit, Zimmerman

Exit, Zimmerman

I guess Bob Dylan isn’t quite dead yet, nor is Jack Frost

Press release:

NEW BOB DYLAN ALBUM – TEMPEST – SET FOR SEPTEMBER RELEASE

COLLECTION OF TEN NEW BOB DYLAN SONGS MARKS MUSICIAN’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY AS A RECORDING ARTIST

Columbia Records announced today that Bob Dylan’s new studio album, Tempest, will be released on September 11, 2012. Featuring ten new and original Bob Dylan songs, the release of Tempest coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the artist’s eponymous debut album, which was released by Columbia in 1962.

Tempest is available for pre-order now on iTunes and Amazon. The new album, produced by Jack Frost, is the 35thth studio set from Bob Dylan, and follows 2009’s worldwide best-seller, Together Through Life.

(click here to continue reading Tempest Press Release | The Official Bob Dylan Site.)

Too bad Mr. Zimmerman’s voice is so shot, at least in recent tunes I’ve heard…

Of course I already pre-ordered it.

Rolling Stone adds:

News of Dylan’s new disc first hit back in March when Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo (who played on Dylan’s 2009 disc Together Through Life) told the Aspen Times he had been recording with Dylan at Jackson Browne’s studio in California. “It was a great experience,” Hidalgo said. “And different. Each one has been different, all completely different approaches. It’s an amazing thing, how he keeps creativity. I don’t see how he does it.”

(click here to continue reading Bob Dylan’s New Album, ‘Tempest,’ Hits Stores on September 11th | Music News | Rolling Stone.)

Written by Seth Anderson

July 16th, 2012 at 10:53 pm

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Jack White Is the Coolest, Weirdest, Savviest Rock Star of Our Time

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When We Were Still Strangers
When We Were Still Strangers

There needs to be more folks like Jack White, imo. Weird is good, from where I sit…

White led the way upstairs to the master bedroom, where a man in a Music City Masonry T-shirt was setting dropcloths around the fireplace. “Whoever lived here before built this ridiculous tan bedroom,” White said, spitting out the word “tan.” He was redoing it in green and black — what he termed “rustic art deco.” He was also installing microphones under the eaves outside his window. Thanks to some quirk of acoustics, he said, “I can’t hear the rain.” He wanted to pipe in the noise to speakers in his bedroom and listen to the rain while he fell asleep.

White headed back downstairs, stepping over a blue plastic wagon, and out to the backyard to a yellow-and-black brick building with a sign on the wall that read, “It Pays to Upholster.” “This is my workshop,” he said. There were brown burlap sacks draped over some chairs, and sewing and woodworking equipment scattered on the floor. There were also some tools for welding, which White said he was getting into through his friend Bob Dylan. “I’d never done it before, and he’d been doing it for a while, so he kind of gave me the lowdown,” he said. One day the two of them were sitting on White’s front porch, just enjoying the view, when Dylan turned to him and said, “You know, Jack — I could do something about that gate.” “That would be pretty cool,” White said, laughing. “I don’t know what kind of discount I’m going to get.”

White walked through the backyard and over to his recording studio. He said he’d never taken a journalist there before. “I can’t let you write about some of the things in it,” he cautioned, switching on the lights. (What those things were, he never said.) Inside, every inch of the place was red and white, from the acoustic tiles to the electrical cords. “This is from a South African TV studio in the ’70s,” he said, pointing to the mixing board. “The writing is all in Afrikaans.” Next to it was a large reel-to-reel machine stocked with tape.

White thinks of computer programs like Pro Tools as “cheating.” He records only in analog, never digital, and edits his tape with a razor blade. “It’s sort of like I can’t be proud of it unless I know we overcame some kind of struggle,” he said. “The funny thing is, even musicians and producers, my peers, don’t care. Like, ‘Wow, that’s great, Jack.’ Big deal.”

It’s easy to overlook amid the stylistic trappings, but White is a virtuoso — possibly the greatest guitarist of his generation. His best songs, like “Seven Nation Army,” are firmly rooted in the American folk vernacular, yet catchy and durable enough to be chanted in sports arenas worldwide. That he does it with such self-imposed constraints — for instance, his favorite guitar in the White Stripes was made of plastic and came from Montgomery Ward — makes it all the more impressive.

White once said he has three dads: his biological father, God and Bob Dylan. Dylan was the first concert he ever saw — he says he had seat No. 666 — and he shares with his hero a love for manipulating and obscuring his own persona.

(click here to continue reading Jack White Is the Coolest, Weirdest, Savviest Rock Star of Our Time – NYTimes.com.)

 

Written by Seth Anderson

April 5th, 2012 at 10:23 am

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The day I (nearly) met Bob Dylan

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Exit, Zimmerman

John Harris relays anecdotes about meeting or not-meeting Bob Dylan, like this one from the founder of the Waterboys:

Mike Scott, the singer and chief creative mind in the Waterboys, became a smitten Dylan fan at much the same age that I did, watching his appearance in the film of George Harrison’s Concert For Bangladesh, and realising that “he was the great poet of the times”. In 1978, Scott and a friend went to see Dylan play at Earls Court, then followed his tour bus back to a hotel where they spied him sitting in the bar. “That was exciting,” he says. “‘Fucking hell! I’m going to meet Bob Dylan!’ We got half way across the bar, and these blurred, giant shapes suddenly appeared in front of us: bouncers, who escorted us off the premises.”

Seven years later, when Dylan was in London recording with the ex-Eurythmic and rock Zelig Dave Stewart, Scott and two of his band got a call, and were summoned to a north London recording studio. “That felt like crossing the other half of the room,” he says: the collected musicians spent two hours jamming, while Dylan spurned singing in favour of playing “burbling, non-stop lead guitar”. Scott recalls being perplexed by his refusal to step up to the microphone, but feeling thrilled when Dylan told him he was a fan of the Waterboys’ big hit The Whole of the Moon.

Some time later the phone rang again, and Scott found himself in a rented house in Holland Park. “We hung out with him for a couple of hours. He played us a record by the McPeak Family, folk musicians from Ulster, and he gave me a cassette of an American Indian poet called John Trudell.” And what was Dylan like? “Puckish. Humorous. In the studio, he’d been very quiet and closed in on himself. But now he was gregarious: exactly what I’d want Bob Dylan to be like. It was great.”

Dylan told them tales about the presence of Vikings in his native Minnesota, introduced Scott to his kids, and shared a herbal moment with him. “I don’t know whether you can say this,” says Scott, “but I’ve smoked a joint that Bob Dylan rolled, and he’s smoked a joint that I rolled.”

(click here to continue reading The day I (nearly) met Bob Dylan | John Harris | Music | The Guardian.)

Nancy Reagan - Just Say Yo

or Christopher Sykes:

So I place a call to his interviewer, Christopher Sykes, now 65, who has the rare distinction of being one of the only film-makers who has trained a camera on Dylan and asked him questions. (Though he directed the acclaimed Dylan documentary No Direction Home, not even Martin Scorsese managed that.)

“I really liked him,” Sykes tells me. “He was tremendously funny. Charming, I thought. And he is incredibly charismatic. You find yourself wondering: is this something about him, or is this something you bring to someone that famous? But sitting a few feet away from him is pretty scary. He’s got a way of looking at you that’s frightening. When he looks straight at you, you really do feel like he’s got some sort of x-ray vision; that he sees right through you.”

It was partly the memory of that look that threw me when I thought I was about to meet him.

“He looks like a … funny old Gypsy person,” Sykes continues. “You have this sense that he’s been around for an awfully long time. I remember thinking, ‘I bet if you look through medieval paintings, there’ll be a picture of him somewhere.’ It really does feel like he’s been around for ever.”

Sykes is nonplussed by suggestions that Dylan did the interview in a state of narcotic refreshment (“He liked drinking Johnny Walker black label, and I think he smoked dope”), and recalls a recent occasion when he had dinner in Los Angeles with Dylan’s son, Jesse – who was reminded of the interview, and offered a very telling question: “Was he kind to you?”

“Tender and really helpful,” is the verdict of the writer Adrian Deevoy, who was summoned to Philadelphia a few years later to interview Dylan for Q magazine. They ended up talking in the seaside town of Narragansett, Rhode Island – and Deevoy’s memories chime with one regular observation of Dylan’s lifestyle: that whereas some artists glide through a world of luxury, Dylan seems to live and work in a fascinatingly higgledy-piggledy way. “It sounds weird,” he tells me, “but we were all on a double bed in a very small motel room: Dylan, myself, his manager Jeff Rosen, a willowy Scandinavian woman, and a massive dog.”

Written by Seth Anderson

May 24th, 2011 at 9:53 pm

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Bob Dylan’s 70th Dream Playlist per Rolling Stone

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Rolling Stone Magazine has published a list of their top 70 Bob Dylan songs (and a few variant versions, mostly live versions, or bootleg versions with The Band in their Woodstock hoedown days) in the print edition called The 70 Greatest Dylan Songs – online has different lists, and their top ten Dylan songs. Of course I had to make an iTunes playlist for these songs, and am listening to it now.

Is Like A Rolling Stone my favorite Dylan song? No, probably not, but if I haven’t heard it in a while, I can appreciate it for the revolutionary track it is…

The next issue of Rolling Stone – on stands and in the digital archive on May 13th – celebrates Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday (happening on May 24th) by ranking his 70 greatest songs. Bono, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jim James and many other artists discuss their favorite Dylan tracks. “Every songwriter after him carries his baggage,” Bono writes. “This lowly Irish bard would proudly carry his baggage. Any day.” 

Selected in Playlist: 70 Dylan 93 songs, 7:35:24.839935302734 total time, 716.9 MB

# Title Album Year

1

Like A Rolling Stone

Highway 61 Revisited [2010 mono version]

1965

2

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (2010 Mono Version)

1963

3

Tangled Up In Blue

Blood On The Tracks

1975

4

Just Like A Woman

Blonde On Blonde [2010 Mono version]

1966

5

All Along The Watchtower

John Wesley Harding (2010 Mono Version)

1967

6

I Shall Be Released

The Bootleg Series

1967

8

I Shall Be Released

The Basement Tapes

1987

9

It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

Bringing It All Back Home (2010 Mono Version)

1965

10

Mr. Tambourine Man

Bringing It All Back Home (2010 Mono Version)

1965

12

Visions Of Johanna (Take Eight)

Bootleg Series, Vol. 7 No Direction Home (Disc 2)

1965

13

Visions Of Johanna

Blonde On Blonde [2010 Mono version]

1966

14

It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Bringing It All Back Home (2010 Mono Version)

1965

15

It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (Alternate Take)

Bootleg Series, Vol. 7 No Direction Home (Disc 1)

1965

16

It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Live 1966

1966

18

Subterranean Homesick Blues

Bringing It All Back Home (2010 Mono Version)

1965

19

Desolation Row

Highway 61 Revisited [2010 mono version]

1965

20

Highway ‘61 Revisited

Highway 61 Revisited [2010 mono version]

1965

21

Simple Twist Of Fate

Blood On The Tracks

1975

22

Positively 4th Street

Biograph

1965

25

This Wheel’s On Fire

The Basement Tapes

1975

26

Ballad Of A Thin Man

Highway 61 Revisited [2010 mono version]

1965

27

Blind Willie McTell

The Bootleg Series

1991

28

Blowin’ In The Wind

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (2010 Mono Version)

1963

29

Mississippi

Love And Theft

2001

30

Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (2010 Mono Version)

1963

31

Forever Young

Planet Waves

1974

32

Forever Young (Continued)

Planet Waves

1974

33

Lay Lady Lay

Best Of

1994

34

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid

1973

35

Masters Of War

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (2010 Mono Version)

1963

36

Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands

Blonde On Blonde (2010 Mono Version)

1966

37

The Times They Are A-Changin’

The Times They Are A Changin’ (2010 Mono Version)

1964

38

You Ain’t Going Nowhere #1

Genuine Basement Tapes (Volume 4)

1967

40

You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere

Essential Bob Dylan

2000

41

Girl From The North Country

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (2010 Mono Version)

1963

42

Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? (single version)

A Musical History

1965

43

Chimes Of Freedom

Another Side Of Bob Dylan (2010 Mono Version)

1964

45

Idiot Wind (Unreleased Version)

The Bootleg Series

1974

46

Idiot Wind

Hard Rain

1976

47

Isis

Biograph

1975

48

Isis

Live 1975 – The Rolling Thunder Revue (Bootleg Series Vol. 5)

1975

49

Isis

Desire

1976

50

The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll

The Times They Are A Changin’ (2010 Mono Version)

1964

51

Maggie’s Farm

Bringing It All Back Home (2010 Mono Version)

1965

52

Maggie’s Farm (Newport Folk Festival)

Bootleg Series, Vol. 7 No Direction Home (Disc 2)

1965

53

My Back Pages

Another Side Of Bob Dylan (2010 Mono Version)

1964

54

Hurricane

Desire

1976

55

With God On Our Side

The Times They Are A Changin’ (2010 Mono Version)

1964

56

I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine

John Wesley Harding (2010 Mono Version)

1967

57

I’ll Keep It With Mine

Biograph

1965

58

I Threw It All Away

Nashville Skyline

1969

59

Gotta Serve Somebody

Slow Train Coming

1979

60

Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

Blonde On Blonde [2010 Mono version]

1966

61

It Ain’t Me Babe

Another Side Of Bob Dylan (2010 Mono Version)

1964

62

Spanish Harlem Incident

Another Side Of Bob Dylan

1964

63

Sara

Live 1975 – The Rolling Thunder Revue (Bootleg Series Vol. 5)

1975

64

Sara

Desire

1976

65

Up To Me

Biograph

1985

66

Not Dark Yet

Time Out Of Mind

1997

67

Things Have Changed

The Very Best of Bob Dylan

2007

69

Tears of Rage #3

The Genuine Basement Tapes Vol.2

1970

70

Tears Of Rage

The Basement Tapes

1975

71

When I Paint My Masterpiece

A Musical History

1971

72

4th Time Around

Blonde On Blonde (2010 Mono Version)

1966

73

If Not For You

New Morning

1970

74

You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go

Blood On The Tracks

1975

75

Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues

Highway 61 Revisited [2010 mono version]

1965

76

Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (Take 5)

Bootleg Series, Vol. 7 No Direction Home (Disc 2)

1965

77

Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (Live 5/14/66, The Odeon, Liverpool)

A Musical History

1966

78

Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues

Live 1966

1966

79

Percy’s Song

Biograph

1963

80

Million Dollar Bash #1

The Genuine Basement Tapes Vol. 3

1968

81

Million Dollar Bash

The Basement Tapes

1975

82

Buckets Of Rain

Blood On The Tracks

1975

83

Buckets of Rain

Hard Rain

1975

84

I’m Not There

Genuine Bootleg Series Vol 2

1967

85

It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry

Highway 61 Revisited [2010 mono version]

1965

86

It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry (Take 9)

Bootleg Series, Vol. 7 No Direction Home (Disc 2)

1965

87

Queen Jane Approximately

Highway 61 Revisited [2010 mono version]

1965

88

If You See Her, Say Hello

The Bootleg Series

1964

89

If You See Her, Say Hello

Blood On The Tracks

1975

90

Abandoned Love

Biograph

1975

91

Tough Mama

Planet Waves

1974

92

Shelter From The Storm

Blood On The Tracks

1975

93

Shelter From The Storm

Hard Rain

1976

94

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat

Blonde On Blonde [2010 Mono version]

1966

95

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Take 1)

Bootleg Series, Vol. 7 No Direction Home (Disc 2)

1966

96

Every Grain Of Sand

Shot Of Love

1981

97

One Too Many Mornings

The Times They Are A Changin’ (2010 Mono Version)

1964

98

One Too Many Mornings

Live 1966

1966

99

One More Cup Of Coffe (Valley Bellow)

Live 1975 – The Rolling Thunder Revue (Bootleg Series Vol. 5)

1975

100

One More Cup Of Coffee

Desire

1976

101

To Ramona

Another Side Of Bob Dylan (2010 Mono Version)

1964

If you come over to my house, I’ll let you listen to the MP3s. Or even better, pick up the box set called The Original Mono Recordings.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 17th, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Posted in Music

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Bob Dylan Responds to So-Called China Controversy

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Dylan memorobilia Hard Rock

We are certainly living in a new digital age when Bob Dylan directly answers his critics (who we’ve discussed, and dismissed, previously), on his own website, not needing to remain “inscrutable”, nor talk through a friendly journalist, with their own agendas. Much better, really.

Allow me to clarify a couple of things about this so-called China controversy which has been going on for over a year. First of all, we were never denied permission to play in China. This was all drummed up by a Chinese promoter who was trying to get me to come there after playing Japan and Korea. My guess is that the guy printed up tickets and made promises to certain groups without any agreements being made. We had no intention of playing China at that time, and when it didn’t happen most likely the promoter had to save face by issuing statements that the Chinese Ministry had refused permission for me to play there to get himself off the hook. If anybody had bothered to check with the Chinese authorities, it would have been clear that the Chinese authorities were unaware of the whole thing.

We did go there this year under a different promoter. According to Mojo magazine the concerts were attended mostly by ex-pats and there were a lot of empty seats. Not true. If anybody wants to check with any of the concert-goers they will see that it was mostly Chinese young people that came. Very few ex-pats if any. The ex-pats were mostly in Hong Kong not Beijing. Out of 13,000 seats we sold about 12,000 of them, and the rest of the tickets were given away to orphanages. The Chinese press did tout me as a sixties icon, however, and posted my picture all over the place with Joan Baez, Che Guevara, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. The concert attendees probably wouldn’t have known about any of those people. Regardless, they responded enthusiastically to the songs on my last 4 or 5 records. Ask anyone who was there. They were young and my feeling was that they wouldn’t have known my early songs anyway.

As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. There’s no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous 3 months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play.

(click here to continue reading To my fans and followers | Bob Dylan.)

I didn’t realize the so-called China controversy started in May 2010, but His Bobness would know.

I looked for the Mojo article in question, but it is apparently not online, as none of the myriad articles I read on the topic include a link. Oh well.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 13th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Music

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An Untold Story about Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks

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Violence Inherent in the System

Fun recollection from an assistant engineer, Glenn Berger, who worked on the infamously scrapped Blood on the Tracks sessions…

In 1974, Bob Dylan was looking for renewal. His marriage to his wife, Sara, was headed for divorce. Over the previous few years, he’d left Columbia Records and the music he was making was indistinct and not well received.

That year I was working at A and R Recording Studios in New York City. Phil Ramone, the owner and “R” in A and R, was to eventually go on to become a legendary producer after working with Billy Joel on “The Stranger.” At that point, he was merely one of the world’s greatest recording engineers. I was his personal assistant engineer.

In September, Phil came to me with exciting news. Dylan was coming in to record his new album with us. The record marked Dylan’s return to Columbia. He would celebrate his renewal in other ways as well. We’d begin recording on September 16th, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. The recording was to take place in the studio where he had recorded his first.

A and R’s studio A-1 was on the 7th floor of 799 7th Avenue on 52nd Street in New York City. It had once been Columbia’s studio, where Dylan had done his early work, but they had sold it to Ramone and company in 1968. This was Columbia’s earliest recording room, operational since the 1930’s. The walls rang with the echoes of sessions with artists from Sinatra to Streisand. Not least of the astounding hits recorded there was “Like a Rolling Stone,” Dylan’s signature.

(click here to continue reading Shrinky | Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks: The Untold Story.)

Conceptual Silence

Written by Seth Anderson

April 28th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

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The Real Dylan in China

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Exit, Zimmerman

Maureen Dowd whined in the Sunday NYT that Bob Dylan is a sell-out becaused he agreed to play in China, and didn’t denounce the Chinese government on stage.

Sean Wilentz counters

In 1964, Irwin Silber, the editor of the lefty folk music magazine Sing Out!, notoriously blasted Dylan for daring to lay aside his protest material. A product of the Popular Front Communist Left, Silber was offended that Dylan had ceased writing and performing narrowly political songs. Now Maureen Dowd, of the august liberal New York Times, is offended that Dylan failed to perform these same songs during his recent shows in Beijing and Shanghai. Apparently, unless Dylan performs according to a politically-correct line, he is corrupt, even immoral. He is not allowed to be an artist, he must be an agitator. And he can only be an agitator if he sings particular songs.

Dowd isn’t angry that Dylan performed in China. She is angry that he apparently agreed to do so under certain conditions, that he didn’t sing “Blowin’ in the Wind” or “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” and that he didn’t take the opportunity to denounce Chinese human rights policies.

I don’t know exactly what Dylan did or did not agree to. (I don’t think Dowd does, either.) But whatever the facts are, Dylan knows very well—as I tried to tell Dowd when she interviewed me for her column—that his music long ago became uncensorable. Subversive thoughts aren’t limited to his blatant protest songs of long ago. Nor would his political songs from the early nineteen-sixties have made much sense in China in 2011. Dowd, like Mr. Jones in “Ballad of a Thin Man,” is as clueless about all of this as she is smug.

How much more subversive could Dylan have been in Communist China? Especially when he went on to sing “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Highway 61 Revisited,” and, most unnerving of all, “Ballad of a Thin Man.” Depending on whatever agreement he made with them, I’d argue Dylan made a fool of the Chinese authorities, while getting paid in the bargain. He certainly made a fool of Maureen Dowd—or she has made a fool of herself.

(click here to continue reading News Desk: The Real Dylan in China : The New Yorker.)

Dowd should stick to doing what she does, making up imaginary conversations with political figures.

And like I’ve said before, artists shouldn’t be held to a higher standard than everyone, and everything else. If it isn’t forbidden to trade with China, eat Chinese food, it shouldn’t be forbidden to play there either.

Written by Seth Anderson

April 11th, 2011 at 8:37 am

Posted in Music,politics

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Bob Dylan signs six-book deal

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Wild mercury

Bob Dylan has signed a deal to write six more books for his publisher Simon & Schuster, including two works of autobiography to follow Chronicles: Volume One, the highly-praised memoir of his early years published in 2004.

The prospect of further Dylan memoirs will create great anticipation even though publication date remains tantalisingly unconfirmed. Fans have been agog since Simon & Schuster revealed in 2008 that Dylan had begun work on the next book.

Waterstone’s spokesperson Jon Howells said it was “hugely exciting for any Bob Dylan fan and for any aficionado of rock history” to hear that two more books of memoir were definitely on their way. “Chronicles set a new standard in what people expected from a rock’n’roll autobiography, and was a revelation,” he said. “No one expected him to be so open, and the writing was completely in his voice, and essential reading. Another volume is great, two more is fabulous news.”

(click to continue reading Bob Dylan signs six-book deal | Books | guardian.co.uk.)

 


“Chronicles: Volume One” (Bob Dylan)

Chronicles Volume One was surprisingly good

and of course, Bob is Bob:

Dylan’s publisher has suffered a hiccup in obtaining a follow-up. Hannah Corbett, a spokeswoman for S&S, said the initial arrangement with Dylan had been made on “shifting sands”, with the singer-songwriter “very hard to pin down” on how many books he wanted to write.

Written by Seth Anderson

January 19th, 2011 at 10:33 am

Posted in Music,Suggestions

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Guess Things Happen That Way

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“His Sun Years” (Johnny Cash)

Hello, I’m (downloading) Johnny Cash1

The lucky recipient of a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card (and a whole lot of press) is 71-year-old Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia —a retired real estate agent, onetime Navy radar operator, and grandfather of nine who just wanted Johnny Cash’s 1958 single “Guess Things Happen That Way” for his new Nano, a birthday gift from his children. And he bought it on a PC: “I do not own a Mac, no,” he chuckles. “I knew somebody was going to ask me that question.”

Sulcer has spent the last day fielding calls from, among others, Apple head Steve Jobs (“I thought it was my son, he’s always a joker. I kept saying, ‘Come on, Kevin, I know it’s you!”) and Cash’s daughter Rosanne (“she had her husband, who is her guitarist, play the song to me over the phone. That was real nice.”).

He has been a devoted Johnny Cash fan for most of his life, he says: “I went to Georgia Tech on a football scholarship, broke just about every bone in my body. All those boys on the team, we just loved country music… My whole life, I had never understood why people go see movies twice, but I’ve seen [Cash biopic] Walk the Line four times. My kids finally bought me the DVD. And I was pretty sure I had all of his music, but I was just checking iTunes, listening to those little 20 or 30 second clips, and I found this one. It has some good pickin’ in it!”

[Click to continue reading EW talks to the Georgia grandfather who bought the 10 billionth song on itunes: ‘I’ve never won anything!’ | EW.com]

A sweet story, really. The song itself is pretty typical for a Sun Records Johnny Cash song; also there’s a version floating around the intertubes that is a duet with Bob Dylan, circa Nashville Skyline.

from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Jobs congratulated him, thanked him for using Apple products and chatted a bit.

“He was real nice,” Sulcer said. “I told him I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed iTunes and the iPod. I really enjoy country music.

“He asked me if I played the guitar, and I said, ‘Oh my goodness. That is my lifelong frustration.’ “

Sulcer has been trying to learn the picking style of Luther Perkins, Cash’s guitarist, but he has not had much luck.

“[Jobs] said he had been messing around a little with [the guitar], too,” Sulcer said.

Later Thursday, after his doctor appointment, Sulcer was expecting calls from near and far. Apple public relations people have been calling him to ask whether he would consent to an interview with Rolling Stone, the rock magazine, and other publications.

“I said, ‘Rolling Stone is going to be so disappointed with this old man.’ “

He did get a call he found a little more special. “Rosanne Cash also called this morning to thank me for listening to Johnny Cash,” Sulcer said. She told Sulcer her father would have turned 78 on Friday. Then she had one more surprise for him: Her husband, musician John Leventhal, played the song he bought over the phone for him.

[Click to continue reading Woodstock man wins $10,000 iTunes contest | ajc.com]

Too funny

Footnotes:
  1. famous opening line of his live At Folsom Prison LP, prior to singing Folsom Prison Blues – shot a man in Reno just to see him die, wild cheers from the inmates, you remember []

Written by Seth Anderson

February 26th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Posted in Apple,Music

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Barry Goldberg and The Only Album Bob Dylan Ever Produced

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“Barry Goldberg” (Barry Goldberg)

Michael Simmons reports on a bit of Bob Dylan related obscurity, namely that Barry Goldberg (songwriter of such hits as Devil With A Blue Dress and I’ve Got To Use My Imagination as well as being half of


Two Jew’s Blues

along with Michael Bloomfield) has reissued his mid-70s album with the original vocals restored.

Anyway, this rock ‘n’ roll Zelig also pounded the ivories behind Bob at Newport ’65 when Zimmy stuck his middle finger in an electric socket and his hair frizzed out, after which every one else began letting their hair frizz out (or something like that). When you’ve shared a stage with someone in front of a hostile audience, it’s like sharing a trench. They stayed in touch and jammed together with the Band and Sir Doug Sahm and, of course, Bloomfield. In ’73, Goldberg had a heap of good songs and was gonna record a single at RCA Records. His pal Bob sez “No no Barry, let me take ‘em to Jerry Wexler,” the legendary R&B producer at Atlantic Records. Wex agrees to sign him and take Goldberg into the studio but says Bob’s gotta co-produce the sessions with him.

When Bob Dylan is handed to you on a silver platter as producer (co or udderwise), you say yes. With relish. Especially when you’re the only artist he’s ever offered his services to in this role (and ever will).

So everybody descends on Muscle Shoals, Alabama — Barry and wife/co-writer Gail and Dylan and Wex. Waiting for them are the hotshot Southern studio cats with whom one Duane Allman had paid his dues before the Brothers and who’d grooved on Two Jew’s Blues. Eddie Hinton, Jimmy Johnson, Pete Carr, David Hood, Roger Hawkins and friends. If you’ve ever dug an Aretha Franklin tune from the late ’60s, you’ve heard these aces of soulfulness. They tracked Barry’s Gladys Knight tune and one Rod Stewart covered called “It’s Not the Spotlight” and a bunch of others. “…Spotlight” and “Minstrel Show” were damn good songs about being a working musician. “Orange County Bus” is about the kind of legal trouble hippie musicians experienced all too frequently in them days. It’s a song of its time, as is “Dusty Country,” a paean to the earthy rural ideal sporting a lovely dobro. Even the strings on “She Was Such A Lady” and “…Spotlight” sound natural — no cold synthesizers that were beginning to be popular in that period. A solid album. Comfortable. Real. What they now call Americana.

[Click to continue reading Michael Simmons: The Only Album “Bob Dylan” Ever Produced ]

Sounds like perfect Rock snob fodder…

Written by Seth Anderson

December 29th, 2009 at 8:27 am

Rockers of Ages

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I can’t say the Rolling Thunder era is my most favorite of Dylan eras, but this is humorous nonetheless.

Rolling Thunder Logbook
“Rolling Thunder Logbook” (Sam Shepard)

Rocks of Ages – New York Times … No one living has a better appreciation for the sneaky and unnerving power of American myth than Bob Dylan. In the fall of 1975, the United States was gripped by what the playwright Sam Shepard, who had been hired to work on a film about the tour, called “Bicentennial madness.” With 1976 fast approaching, America was obsessed as never before with its origins, and as Mr. Dylan knew perfectly well, there was no better place to launch his tour than the mythic landing ground of the Pilgrims. Mr. Shepard did not end up contributing much to the film, but he did publish a log chronicling the tour’s first six weeks. Included in the book is a bizarre photo showing Mr. Dylan and several fellow musicians peering over the side of the Mayflower II, a reproduction of a 17th-century vessel berthed at Plimoth Plantation. A stiff breeze is blowing, and two of the party are desperately hanging on to the brims of their cowboy hats as the front man of the Byrds, Roger McGuinn, speaks on a huge, ’70s-style portable phone. But perhaps the weirdest and wackiest portion of Mr. Shepard’s log describes how Mr. Dylan and his pals recreated the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. As the poet Allen Ginsberg sat beside the iron fence that surrounds the rock, chanting and chiming his set of Tibetan bells, Mr. Dylan haphazardly piloted a dinghy to the Plymouth shore.

Nate Philbrick’s essay continues
The book is a fairly quick, amusing read about what a major tour with rock stars is like, if you are Sam Shepard.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 7th, 2009 at 9:04 am