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
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…