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Bob Dylan, Tangentials, and Eephus's Review Thread 2019: The Nobel Poet And A Fine Essayist With A Musical Corpus

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Tonight, a guy who could probably commiserate with Jakob Dylan

Washington County - Arlo Guthrie (1970)

Arlo was the son of Dylan's idol and another one of the New Dylans who appeared in the wake of Dylan's initial success.  Guthrie hit it big with his debut record Alice's Restaurant and went on to have some radio hits in the late 60s and early 70s.  After making his d2 saving throw on Huntington's Disease, he's gone on to have a long career and is touring as we speak at age 72.

In a word, Washington County is a likeable album.  Arlo's reedy voice is pleasant and his original songs are melodic and witty.  He's backed by a crack group of West Coast country rock musicians including members of the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and Little Feat.  Arlo's try at a gospel song isn't very good but the rest of the album is solid.  One of the songs mentions Spiro Agnew which is about as 1970 as you can get.

I have to apologize to Arlo for tonight's song selection Lay Down Little Doggies.   He has a 50 year career and I pick a song by his ####ing dad.  I guess that's one reason why Jakob Dylan has never covered any of his father's songs.  I know Woody's song is really about dogies, not doggies but Bosley can't spell.

Boz had an eventful day.  He went missing and we ended up searching for about ten minutes before finding him stuck under a chair.  After dinner, he vomited, slipped and fell into it.  Needless to say, it became bath night which is always a treat.

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Really excited about tonight's album.

Hopefully the ballgame won't go 16 innings.

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Digging deep into the crates for...

Dylan Jazz - The Gene Norman Group (1965)

Gene Norman isn't in the group but it's his record label so he put his name on the jacket.  The group is comprised of West Coast session musicians from The Wrecking Crew including legendary drummer Hal Blaine.  They're pros who could walk into a studio, hear a song once and cut a master take. I wouldn't be at all surprised if that's what actually happened.

As the title implies, it's a collection of Dylan songs arranged for a jazz combo.  It's a quintet date with two guys taking short solos in front of a swinging rhythm section.  Glen Campbell on guitar and Jim Horn on saxes and flute are the featured performers.  The album didn't start off well with a lame version of Blowin in the Wind and Mr. Tambourine Man done bossa nova style but it got better as the musicians strayed a little further away from the lounge. Campbell is a deft picker but plays very much inside.  Horn is a more flowing improvisor and has a rich tone, especially on tenor.  The piano player never gets to solo.

Don't Think Twice, It's Alright is my pick of the night.  It falls somewhere in the middle between the songs that remain slavishly tied to Dylan's melodic line and those that play the changes and are relatively unrecognizable.  Like most of tracks, this one is in and out in under three minutes.

It's definitely a curio but neither good or bad enough to really register for me.  I guess the big picture view is Dylan was big enough in 1965 to inspire this to be released.  It's cool that it exists and I don't have to pay collector's prices to listen to it but I doubt I ever will again.

In other news, Boz got stuck in a closet today.

Edited by Eephus
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Catching up on Tuesday night

Cruel and Gentle Things - Charlie Sexton (2005)

Sexton has had the strangest career of any Dylan sideman.  Before joining Dylan's Never Ending Tour in 1999, Sexton was signed by MCA as a 16 year old and was hyped and coiffed as the next big thing.  His debut album hit #15 in 1985 but his shot at being Billy Idol fizzled after that.  He was also briefly in an Austin supergroup called Arc Angels that released one excellent album in the early 90s.

He's done multiple tours playing guitar for Dylan including his current one.  He first joined the band when Dylan's setlists were much more varied than they are today.  There were over 100 songs that could get shuffled in at any given show.  I've wondered what it's like to play behind Dylan.  Does he ride the bus with the crew or jet in for the show?  Does he tell stories or remain aloof?  What lessons about the business and songwriting does Dylan impart?  He can't be too bad of a boss since he's retained core musicians for decades.

This is the only Sexton album recorded after his first years with Dylan.  Sexton wrote all the songs, played most of the instruments and produced.  It's a pretty solid record but nothing earth shattering.  For an ace guitarist, Sexton isn't a showy player.  His leads are short, understated and stay within the confines of the song.   The song that caught my ear is I Do the Same for You with its sweet lap steel solo.

Boz is enjoying the cooler weather. 

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I was missing the man himself so I found a tribute album that Dylan contributed to:

Folkways: A Vision Shared - Various Artists (1988)

I had some trepidation because 1988 but this is most excellent.  It's a tribute album to the songs of Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie performed by a star-studded cast of Dylan, Little Richard w/ Fishbone, Emmylou Harris, Arlo Guthrie, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Taj Mahal, U2, and Brian Wilson.  Strangely for my 2019 sensibilities, the album is split on racial lines.  Except for Wilson's version of "Goodnight Irene", the African-American artists sing the Leadbelly tunes and the Caucasians sing Woody.  Maybe it wasn't a thing at the time and I've gotten too sensitive in my old age but it struck me as odd.

Dylan sings "Pretty Boy Floyd" sounding a lot like he would a few years later on his folk revival album Good As I Been to You.  He and everyone else turn in fine performances.  Nobody really drops the ball or gets too obscure but there's still good variety like a compilation should provide.  For me, this was a welcome album after a string of ones that were just OK.  This one is definitely worth a spin if you've never heard it.  I don't think I ever listened to the whole thing but it must have been a big deal at the time considering the stars involved.

It's very tough to pick just one song so I'll go with the one you'd probably want to hear from the artist list alone:  Rock Island Line by Little Richard and Fishbone.  It's an outlier that doesn't sound like the rest of the album but it's a fun outlier. 

Boz can't hear much these days but he can still hear firetrucks.  He used to howl at them after they went by.  Now he raises his head and turns it in the direction of the siren.  Priorities change as you get older.

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Took a walk on the weird side tonight

Death of a Ladies Man - Leonard Cohen (1977)

This album was co-written and produced by Phil Spector about as unsuccessfully as the rest of Spector's late-period work.  Dylan (along with Allen Ginsberg) contributes backing vocals on one song, the cleverly titled and surprisingly funky "Don't Go Home With Your Hard-On".  Spector's mix is hot garbage, especially when listened through headphones but the record has an appealing shaggy dog savoir faire mostly in large part because it's so bizarre.

When I was in college, there was a guy on my floor named Sigard who was obsessed with this album and would blare it out at all hours.  He was a strange cat that I never really got to know.  Death of a Ladies Man isn't the one Cohen album you need to hear but it's the only one with Dylan on it.  Cohen hated it and didn't put out another album for five years.  Spector produced the Ramones two years later before descending into madness and murder. 

The song selection is the nine minute title track that closes out the album.  The song reminds me a lot of Dylan if you strip away the string synths and background chorus.  It also reminds me of "Brain Damage/Eclipse" from DSOTM.  It's Spector's most excessive production on the album but it has a strange magnificence about it that fits the lyrics.

I found Boz tonight licking his empty food bowl while one of his paws was submerged in his water dish.  Phil Spector has probably done that dozens of times.

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Ladies and gentlemen, the golden age of rock 'n roll...

Jerry Lee Lewis - Jerry Lee Lewis (1979)

The story of music is one of connecting lines.  In the case of Jerry Lee and Dylan, those must be curves because they intersect more than once.  Dylan idolized Lewis as a teenage rock 'n roller in Minnesota and Jerry Lee returns the favor by covering a Dylan song on this record.  I was surprised to discover Lewis is only six years older than Dylan; he seems to belong to a much earlier age. 

This album marked Lewis' return to rock after spending most of the 70s playing country music.  His record label was presumably marketing Lewis to a new generation of listeners after the wave of 50s nostalgia  in the 1970s and the return of back to basics rock 'n roll that occurred simultaneously.  That's the only explanation for the shockingly contemporary album cover.  The music is much more traditional with a (mostly) classic rock 'n roll with very occasional modern flourishes.  His backing band has legends James Burton on guitar and Hal Blaine on drums.  There's quite a lot of vocal harmonies a la the Jordanaires.  Followers of this thread know my feelings about background singers but they're more right than wrong on this record.

The song selection has to be the Dylan cover Rita May.  It's a Desire/Rolling Thunder era outtake but has the simple rocking vibe that's reminiscent of The Basement Tapes.  It's a fun little ditty delivered in a reverse call and response manner until Lewis pulls a switcheroo on the last verse.  The album has a couple of duds but overall it's a very solid album that was well worth my while.  The term living legend is overused but Jerry Lee is a true legend, as is Dylan.

Bosley's hearing is very frequently specific.  Tonight he was walking down the block while a guy was starting up his big displacement motorcycle.  It was loud enough to set off a nearby car alarm but Boz, who was closer to the bike, didn't raise his head.

 

Edited by Eephus
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9 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Ladies and gentlemen, the golden age of rock 'n roll...

Jerry Lee Lewis - Jerry Lee Lewis (1979)

The story of music is one of connecting lines.  In the case of Jerry Lee and Dylan, those must be curves because they intersect more than once.  Dylan idolized Lewis as a teenage rock 'n roller in Minnesota and Jerry Lee returns the favor by covering a Dylan song on this record.  I was surprised to discover Lewis is only six years older than Dylan; he seems to belong to a much earlier age. 

This album marked Lewis' return to rock after spending most of the 70s playing country music.  His record label was presumably marketing Lewis to a new generation of listeners after the wave of 50s nostalgia  in the 1970s and the return of back to basics rock 'n roll that occurred simultaneously.  That's the only explanation for the shockingly contemporary album cover.  The music is much more traditional with a (mostly) classic rock 'n roll with very occasional modern flourishes.  His backing band has legends James Burton on guitar and Hal Blaine on drums.  There's quite a lot of vocal harmonies a la the Jordanaires.  Followers of this thread know my feelings about background singers but they're more right than wrong on this record.

The song selection has to be the Dylan cover Rita May.  It's a Desire/Rolling Thunder era outtake but has the simple rocking vibe that's reminiscent of The Basement Tapes.  It's a fun little ditty delivered in a reverse call and response manner until Lewis pulls a switcheroo on the last verse.  The album has a couple of duds but overall it's a very solid album that was well worth my while.  Jerry Lee is a legend.

Bosley's hearing is very frequently specific.  Tonight he was walking down the block while a guy was starting up his big displacement motorcycle.  It was loud enough to set off a nearby car alarm but Boz, who was closer to the bike, didn't raise his head.

 

Didn't see THIS one coming. Very nice.

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I stumbled on this video of Earl Scruggs and his two sons playing with Joan Baez in her living room. thought of this great thread. They do a couple Dylan songs - Love. Is just a Four Letter Word and It ain’t me Babe.  Midway through the latter, about 12 minutes into the video, Joan does a great impersonation of Dylan. 


https://youtu.be/eAsDIwZfNvk?t=385

 

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14 hours ago, CletiusMaximus said:

I stumbled on this video of Earl Scruggs and his two sons playing with Joan Baez in her living room. thought of this great thread. They do a couple Dylan songs - Love. Is just a Four Letter Word and It ain’t me Babe.  Midway through the latter, about 12 minutes into the video, Joan does a great impersonation of Dylan. 


https://youtu.be/eAsDIwZfNvk?t=385

 

The dog on the rug wasn't impressed

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16 hours ago, Eephus said:

Ladies and gentlemen, the golden age of rock 'n roll...

Jerry Lee Lewis - Jerry Lee Lewis (1979)

The story of music is one of connecting lines.  In the case of Jerry Lee and Dylan, those must be curves because they intersect more than once.  Dylan idolized Lewis as a teenage rock 'n roller in Minnesota and Jerry Lee returns the favor by covering a Dylan song on this record.  I was surprised to discover Lewis is only six years older than Dylan; he seems to belong to a much earlier age. 

This album marked Lewis' return to rock after spending most of the 70s playing country music.  His record label was presumably marketing Lewis to a new generation of listeners after the wave of 50s nostalgia  in the 1970s and the return of back to basics rock 'n roll that occurred simultaneously.  That's the only explanation for the shockingly contemporary album cover.  The music is much more traditional with a (mostly) classic rock 'n roll with very occasional modern flourishes.  His backing band has legends James Burton on guitar and Hal Blaine on drums.  There's quite a lot of vocal harmonies a la the Jordanaires.  Followers of this thread know my feelings about background singers but they're more right than wrong on this record.

The song selection has to be the Dylan cover Rita May.  It's a Desire/Rolling Thunder era outtake but has the simple rocking vibe that's reminiscent of The Basement Tapes.  It's a fun little ditty delivered in a reverse call and response manner until Lewis pulls a switcheroo on the last verse.  The album has a couple of duds but overall it's a very solid album that was well worth my while.  The term living legend is overused but Jerry Lee is a true legend, as is Dylan.

Bosley's hearing is very frequently specific.  Tonight he was walking down the block while a guy was starting up his big displacement motorcycle.  It was loud enough to set off a nearby car alarm but Boz, who was closer to the bike, didn't raise his head.

 

Can't let a JLL mention go without giving a shout out to arguably the greatest recording in the history of rock and roll, Live at the Star Club, Hamburg. Long live the Killer.

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2 hours ago, Apple Jack said:

Can't let a JLL mention go without giving a shout out to arguably the greatest recording in the history of rock and roll, Live at the Star Club, Hamburg. Long live the Killer.

The recording quality isn't the greatest and the Nashville Teens struggle to keep up at times but the devil must have been in the vicinity of Hamburg that night. 

This live album and the classic Sun singles are the starting point for Jerry Lee.  I'm pretty ignorant about the rest of his catalog.  Somebody should start a thread and listen to all of Lewis' albums.

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Opened Twitter and saw Bob Dylan trending. Glad it's for some stupid RS list instead of being dead.

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2 hours ago, Eephus said:

Opened Twitter and saw Bob Dylan trending. Glad it's for some stupid RS list instead of being dead.

The top question in a Google search simply for "Bob Dylan" brings up the first frequently asked question: "When and how did Bob Dylan die?"

Poor Bob. I'll bet one could write a song about that somehow. 

Edited by rockaction

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4 minutes ago, rockaction said:

The top question in a Google search simply for "Bob Dylan" brings up the first frequently asked question: "When and how did Bob Dylan die?"

Poor Bob. I'll bet one could write a song about that somehow. 

My top question would be "when is Bob Dylan going to release a Bootleg Series album of Never Ending Tour performances?"

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The Dylans were OK but what about The New Dylans?

Warren Piece - The New Dylans (1993)

These guys entered the batters box with two strikes from their cutesy band name and album title.  Their record is early 90s Americana-based Rock with traces of Country and Power Pop.  The songs were quite melodic with nice hooks but lyrically they're not New Dylans.  In an alternate universe, they might achieved a level of success of say, Toad the Wet Sprocket or Bodeans but they ended up with 34 monthly listens on Spotify.  I doubt their name helped much but a bigger reason is that the singer is extremely unremarkable.  His voice isn't unpleasant enough but a better singer would have helped elevate these songs.

The New Dylans would have probably been a great opening band in their heyday.  The songs are almost all up tempo which is better for dancing than it is from walking an old dog slowly down Octavia Boulevard.  The song selection is The Prodigal Son Returns;  it owes more to the Mr. Jones of the Counting Crows than the one from Ballad of a Thin Man.

This album choice was a mistake.  I tried to be too clever like The New Dylans.  I'll try to get back on track tonight.  Bosley peed on the couch this morning.  Not a good trick.

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9 hours ago, Eephus said:

Opened Twitter and saw Bob Dylan trending. Glad it's for some stupid RS list instead of being dead.

RS list?

I figured it was Bosley tweeting out his Dylan playlist driving the trend. 

Have you been leaving your phone unattended around him lately? 

Check. 

I bet that is it. 

 

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I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by the madness of this record...

The Last Word On First Blues - Allen Ginsberg (1983)

Ginsberg and other Beats inspired young Dylan to write poetry.  After Dylan moved to New York, they became friends but Dylan always looked up to the older man.  He cast Ginsberg as a character called "the father" in his mid-70s film Renaldo & Clara.  Ginsberg recognized the times were a-changin' and songwriters were writing the words people quoted and remembered so the father became the son and Ginsburg became a singer-songwriter.

This album is compiled of sessions recorded in 1971, 1976 and 1983.  Assuming the album is sequenced chronologically, the early ones are obsessed with gay sex (good), drugs (heroin & cigarettes bad, other drugs good), politics and the CIA (bad).  The middle of the album is more poetic and a little less comedic with Buddhism joining his earlier obsessions.  The later recordings are more gimmicky with the Rockabilly sounding "Dope Fiend Blues" and the novelty number "Old Pond".  Tonight's selection is Gospel Noble Truths, your basic Buddhist Country & Western song.  It's not really representative of the album but it's impossible to find one song that is.

Ginsberg writes and sings like a poet.  Most songs structured as a series of stanzas with musical accompaniment but without much in the way of choruses and bridges.  He's not a great singer but he can carry a tune and it's hard to imagine someone else singing the words.  It's a strange record, often hilarious, sometimes shocking but always original.  I'm glad I listened to it but I skipped the eleven bonus tracks from the 2016 re-release.

Around six tonight, I took Bosley down to the back yard before I started dinner.  He had started his usual wandering when I spotted a raccoon drinking out of the water dish we left out for the neighbors' cats.  I snatched Boz up and chased the raccoon away.  I've heard them out back late at night but was surprised to see one out so early.   Boz was oblivious as usual.

 

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The assist goes to @CletiusMaximus

Earl Scruggs Performing with his Family and Friends (1971)

This album appears to have been recorded along with the Baez does Dylan impression Cletius posted over the weekend.  It was part of a PBS television special about Scruggs.  The recordings include Earl Scruggs Revue live tracks from the Ryman and a bunch of guest shots filmed/recorded in various locales.  Scruggs' sons are the family part and Baez, Dylan, Doc Watson, The Byrds and the Morris Brothers are the friends.

It's a comfortable old shoe of an album.  The recording quality isn't the best but everybody sounds very much at ease.  There are three Dylan songs performed and Bob strums along with the instrumental "Nashville Skyline Rag".   I don't think that's Bob picking on the solo.  The songs are interspersed with talking segments that break it up like skits on a hip hop album.  I'm not a fan but what are you gonna do.  There's one crazy segment where Earl plays "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" accompanied by an early analog synthesizer.

Blue Grass isn't really my jam.  I always enjoy seeing the acts when we go to Hardly Strictly but it's never been my music of choice.  The Revue songs and one of the ones with the Byrds are what I'd call new grass with drums and electric bass.  I understand why acts did this in the 60s and 70s but for me, the drums detract more than they add.  The string instruments provide plenty of rhythm making the drums superfluous.  Which I guess is a long way of saying I preferred the more traditional cuts on this album.  My favorite was Scruggs and Doc Watson doing the Roy Acuff tune Streamlined Cannonball.  I just can't say no to a train song.

Bosley has taken to going down the back stairs by himself again, which he pretty much stopped doing during the summer.  I have mixed feelings about it--on one hand it's great that he's still able to do it but I'm concerned he'll fall or get stuck.  No more raccoon drama today either.

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11 hours ago, Eephus said:

Blue Grass isn't really my jam... 

Too bad, as I was hoping that maybe you could help me out. I may have told this story in the Genrepalookas thread, but I can't recall. 

Sometime around '99 or '00, I helped a buddy out by driving a mini-bus for the Blue Grass version of the Grammies. It was held in Louisville that year - easy peasy. 

Well, I was driving "talent" to and from their hotels all weekend. My favorite trip involved this older guy. He laughed a lot and talked to me a whole lot more than the others. 

So, when he was getting out of the van, I asked him what instrument he played - cause he had only mentioned "playing" up to that point. 

He laughed again and only said, "Guitar". I never saw him again. 

When I told my pal about it - who had seen him get into my van, he smacked my head and said, "That's the Jimi Hendrix of Blue Grass - moron!" 

That pal has passed, and I still can't figure out who in the hell I escorted that night. 

It is a shame, cause my story would be a little more complete if I could drop a name. 

Alas. 

 

 

Btw: nice tune. I'm obviously not a BG guy, but I like lots of it. 

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5 hours ago, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

Too bad, as I was hoping that maybe you could help me out. I may have told this story in the Genrepalookas thread, but I can't recall. 

Sometime around '99 or '00, I helped a buddy out by driving a mini-bus for the Blue Grass version of the Grammies. It was held in Louisville that year - easy peasy. 

Well, I was driving "talent" to and from their hotels all weekend. My favorite trip involved this older guy. He laughed a lot and talked to me a whole lot more than the others. 

So, when he was getting out of the van, I asked him what instrument he played - cause he had only mentioned "playing" up to that point. 

He laughed again and only said, "Guitar". I never saw him again. 

When I told my pal about it - who had seen him get into my van, he smacked my head and said, "That's the Jimi Hendrix of Blue Grass - moron!" 

That pal has passed, and I still can't figure out who in the hell I escorted that night. 

It is a shame, cause my story would be a little more complete if I could drop a name. 

Alas. 

 

 

Btw: nice tune. I'm obviously not a BG guy, but I like lots of it. 

@simey any idea? :shrug:

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One more note on the Earl Scruggs record, there are actually two versions of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" on the album.  There's the crazy one with the synths and the album closer recorded live in 1969 at the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam Washington.  Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie were among the other performers at the demonstration but aren't on the album.

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3 hours ago, Eephus said:

@simey any idea? :shrug:

If he was considered older back then, my guess is maybe Del McCoury. Del laughs a lot and is always chatty live. He plays guitar and sings. He is 80 now, and still great live. I just saw him at the Merlefest this past April. I don't know if he'd be considered the Jimi Hendrix of Bluegrass if that is supposed to be in reference to his guitar playing.  He is good on guitar, but no Hendrix like player. Tony Rice, who is 68 now, is known for being one of the best bluegrass guitarist ever.

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26 minutes ago, simey said:

If he was considered older back then, my guess is maybe Del McCoury. Del laughs a lot and is always chatty live. He plays guitar and sings. He is 80 now, and still great live. I just saw him at the Merlefest this past April. I don't know if he'd be considered the Jimi Hendrix of Bluegrass if that is supposed to be in reference to his guitar playing.  He is good on guitar, but no Hendrix like player. Tony Rice, who is 68 now, is known for being one of the best bluegrass guitarist ever.

Thanks simey!

Del McCoury it is.

Regarding the "Jimi" comp - I think that my pal used it because he knew that Jimi is my all-time fav ... in all things music.

I checked out his wikipedia page - the picture fits, and he won the IBMA Entertainer of the Year from '97 - '04; which definitely covers my time as a driver.

My story is complete now! 😎👍

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4 minutes ago, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

My story is complete now! 😎👍

:hifive:   Del McCoury is awesome.

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1 minute ago, simey said:

:hifive:   Del McCoury is awesome.

:hifive:

 

I need to listen to some of his stuff now - to celebrate my pal - do you have a fav of his?

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8 minutes ago, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

:hifive:

 

I need to listen to some of his stuff now - to celebrate my pal - do you have a fav of his?

His collaboration with Steve Earle called The Mountain is really good.  All of The Del McCoury Band albums are good like Cold Hard Facts, By Request, Del and the Boys, etc. His tribute album of Bill Monroe called Old Memories is good. Celebrating 50 years of Del McCoury has a bunch of his songs on it.

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Musique apres la Rolling Thunder

Cardiff Rose - Roger McGuinn (1976)

Dylan's Desire album is indelibly associated with the Rolling Thunder Revue but it was recorded before the revue hit the road.  Dylan recorded the live album Hard Rain as the tour wound down but he never made studio recordings with the band.  When the tour wrapped, the Rolling Thunder musicians immediately into the studio with former Byrds leader Roger McGuinn to record this album.  McGuinn had been part of the Rolling Thunder Revue for the entire tour and had written a bunch of songs with Desire co-writer Jacques Levy.  The record was produced by Mick Ronson who'd been with Rolling Thunder for its second leg.

Even without the obvious historical interest, it's an excellent album.  The band is rock solid and Ronson's unfussy production fits the music.  The songs are all over the map with a sea shanty, a  song written to Abbie Hoffman, a Joni Mitchell cover and a blue grass murder ballad.  But it all works well together.  I'd never heard it before but I'll definitely come back to the record.  It's so good I couldn't limit myself to only one song selection.  One has to be the Dylan cover Up To Me, a Blood on the Tracks outtake that sounds like an early version of Shelter From the Storm.  I didn't know it was a Dylan cover when Boz and I went walking and I was wondering how it wasn't plagiarism.  The other song Rock and Roll Time sounds exactly like a song by The Clash, I kid you not.

A woman wanted to take Bosley's picture on our daytime walk because people can't get enough of a dog with sunglasses.  Boz has no awareness of that so he just continued to wander around as this woman followed him around in a squatting position so her photo would have proper perspective.  It struck me as comical but Boz didn't get it.

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, simey said:

:hifive:   Del McCoury is awesome.

I’m going to see Del and his boys in a few weeks at the Old Town School of Folk music in Chicago. I’ve lost count the number of times it’s been, has to be at least a dozen shows over the past 30 years or so, and he never disappoints.  It seems to me bluegrass guitarists (“flatpickers”) are somewhat undersold. The banjo, fiddle and mandolin players get all the glory. I would never have considered Del to be the Hendrix of bluegrass guitarists because he’s always surrounded by such fantastic musicians he never really stands out from the crowd so to speak.  The two I thought of were Doc Watson and Lester Flatt, neither of whom were likely to be doing shows in 2000. 

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8 hours ago, simey said:

Steve Earle called The Mountain

M-I-C-K-E-Y ...

This is sweet from the very get go.

I'll hit the others next.

Big thnx, simey.

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1 hour ago, CletiusMaximus said:

I’m going to see Del and his boys in a few weeks at the Old Town School of Folk music in Chicago. I’ve lost count the number of times it’s been, has to be at least a dozen shows over the past 30 years or so, and he never disappoints.  It seems to me bluegrass guitarists (“flatpickers”) are somewhat undersold. The banjo, fiddle and mandolin players get all the glory. I would never have considered Del to be the Hendrix of bluegrass guitarists because he’s always surrounded by such fantastic musicians he never really stands out from the crowd so to speak.  The two I thought of were Doc Watson and Lester Flatt, neither of whom were likely to be doing shows in 2000. 

To be honest, fiddle/violin is my fav instrument to listen to (- but Jimi - ah - don't matter what he plays), so I understand the undersell.

In defense of my buddy, he knew jack about Jimi. He just knew that Hendrix was my Mt. Rushmore - all four spots.

Enjoy the show.

Edited by Man of Constant Sorrow

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3 hours ago, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

To be honest, fiddle/violin is my fav instrument to listen to (- but Jimi - ah - don't matter what he plays), so I understand the undersell.

In defense of my buddy, he knew jack about Jimi. He just knew that Hendrix was my Mt. Rushmore - all four spots.

Enjoy the show.

I'm sure your buddy knew this topic much better than I, and I have no problem with his conclusion - its just not the name that came to my mind when I read your question.  Del has a pure white pompadour, he's a tall man with a sweet voice and he dominates the center of the stage. His band plays in the traditional bluegrass style, with one microphone that all the band members crowd around and share. He runs the show, and always has a stellar band, including his two sons Ronnie and Rob.  He's got his own festival - "Delfest" - that started probably 10 years ago or more.  With all that going on, for whatever reason, I never considered that he's also probably a great guitarist.  I'm sure that's the case.

 

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1 hour ago, CletiusMaximus said:

 With all that going on, for whatever reason, I never considered that he's also probably a great guitarist.  I'm sure that's the case.

Del started out as a banjo player, and when he joined Bill Monroe's band, Bill wanted him to switch to the guitar. He stayed with the guitar since. I always think of Del as a lead vocalist first and a guitar player second, but like you said he is probably a great guitarist. He's just great, and he always seems so happy. I love when he tells his stories on stage and giggles.

Edited by simey
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5 hours ago, CletiusMaximus said:

The two I thought of were Doc Watson and Lester Flatt, neither of whom were likely to be doing shows in 2000. 

If MoCS had said an older guy that was blind, that would have been a given for Doc.

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17 minutes ago, simey said:

If MoCS had said an older guy that was blind, that would have been a given for Doc.

Bosley would fit that description as well

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Boz can't see but he can still read a room and the room is saying more bluegrass

Red on Blonde - Tim O'Brien (2006)

It's a terrific bluegrass album of Dylan covers by Tim O'Brien, who made his name playing mandolin and fiddle with Hot Rize.  I don't know his work but I'm familiar with Jerry Douglas who plays guitar on the album. The band is made up of first rate pickers and supporting singers including Kathy Mattea and O'Brien's sister Mollie.

I prefer Dylan tributes that dig deeper in the songbook like this one does.  There are songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s including some unreleased numbers.  There are also some well known hits like "Forever Young" and "Maggie's Farm" but most of the song sound familiar but not too much.  O'Brien kicks up the tempo a bit on most of them but Dylan's melodies and words translate beautifully into bluegrass.  Some of the songs sound like they could have been passed along through the hills for centuries.

My favorite song is the album opener Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) vs. Dylan's mournfully slow version on Street Legal.  There are a lot of great songs on the album.  As far as Dylan tributes go, this one is definitely the leader in the clubhouse.  O'Brien takes a few musical chances, the hamboning a capella version of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" is a clever take.  His bluegrass reggae version of "Man Gave Names to All the Animals" isn't my favorite but then again, neither is the original.

It's been hot in SF and Boz was pretty low energy all day.  He perked up a bit after dark and is now wandering aimlessly around our flat.

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Hot Rize and O'brien are fantastic.  I saw the reunion tour last year, but didn't make the connection to Dylan and don't recall if they did any of those covers on the tour.

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On 10/23/2019 at 2:13 PM, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

Too bad, as I was hoping that maybe you could help me out. I may have told this story in the Genrepalookas thread, but I can't recall. 

Sometime around '99 or '00, I helped a buddy out by driving a mini-bus for the Blue Grass version of the Grammies. It was held in Louisville that year - easy peasy. 

Well, I was driving "talent" to and from their hotels all weekend. My favorite trip involved this older guy. He laughed a lot and talked to me a whole lot more than the others. 

So, when he was getting out of the van, I asked him what instrument he played - cause he had only mentioned "playing" up to that point. 

He laughed again and only said, "Guitar". I never saw him again. 

When I told my pal about it - who had seen him get into my van, he smacked my head and said, "That's the Jimi Hendrix of Blue Grass - moron!" 

That pal has passed, and I still can't figure out who in the hell I escorted that night. 

It is a shame, cause my story would be a little more complete if I could drop a name. 

Alas. 

 

 

Btw: nice tune. I'm obviously not a BG guy, but I like lots of it. 

I'd guess Tony Rice.

Jerry Douglas is the only bluegrass musician I'd make the Jimi reference to.

Edited by Apple Jack

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On 10/24/2019 at 7:09 AM, CletiusMaximus said:

The two I thought of were Doc Watson and Lester Flatt, neither of whom were likely to be doing shows in 2000. 

Doc started the Merlefest here in NC back in '88 in honor of his son Merle who died. Doc performed every year until 2013. He died in 2012. The main stage at the festival is called the Watson Stage, and that's where Doc always performed. His family is still there every year selling his music, merchandise, and other Doc related stuff inside the artists tent. That tent consist of music and merchandise from different musicians that play that year, and many go in there after they perform and autograph stuff. I think it was in 2015 when Doc's granddaughter was in the tent drunk, and got belligerent with someone, and she got kicked out of the festival. Jim Avett, The Avett Brothers' Dad, quit the festival that year, because he was mad Doc's granddaughter was kicked out. :lol:  Jim Avett performs every year on Sunday morning doing gospel songs. Anyway, Doc's granddaughter and Jim were both back the following year.  Doc has a statue in Boone, NC. 

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I'm probably the biggest old school funk fan on this board so, when Bootsy Collins releases something new, I'm always game to hear what he's up to.

Apparently, he and Buckethead(!) talked for a decade about doing this. I just don't know, guys.......

Happy Halloween!

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1 hour ago, Uruk-Hai said:

I'm probably the biggest old school funk fan on this board so, when Bootsy Collins releases something new, I'm always game to hear what he's up to.

Apparently, he and Buckethead(!) talked for a decade about doing this. I just don't know, guys.......

Happy Halloween!

Too much Buckethead, not enough funk IMO

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God works in mysterious ways

Jesus Is King - Kanye West (2019)

Like Dylan and many other artists before him, Kanye has crossed over to religious music.  Kanye preaches more and testifies more directly than Dylan did on his three born-again albums.  Kanye's God seems more personal and less allegorical that Dylan's.  I don't think either man could ever make an uninteresting record and Jesus Is King is just that.  

I mean this in the least snarky way, but the album's brevity is one of its greatest virtues.  It races through eleven songs in 27 minutes; tracks never hang around long enough to wear out their welcome.  I've always liked him more as a producer than a rapper.  He certainly uses a gospel chorus to much better effect than on any Dylan record. I know some people can't stand it but I think Autotune helps his singing tremendously.  The standout track for me is Water, a gorgeous vocal number that uses both the gospel singers and multitracked Autotuned vocals over a minimal synth line.  On the other hand, if you want something that sounds the most like classic Kanye, check out Follow God.

Who am I to judge Kanye's religion?  He certainly sounds sincere but more importantly, he generally sounds positive and content.  His art has meant a lot to my family in the past so I wish him nothing but the best and hope he's taking his meds.  One of the problems of having a career like Kanye or Dylan is that it's almost impossible to re-reach the heights of brilliance.  Jesus Is King is an improvement over Ye but whatever Spotify shuffles in after the last song of this album will probably be better than 2019 Kanye.  It doesn't mean you have to stop creating.

There were a lot of people in Hayes Valley tonight.  They were showing an outdoor movie on the street so we detoured through the alley.  It was some movie without subtitles where some people were on an island.  When we passed by the first time, a man had a net or something.  On our second pass about 15 minutes later, there was a woman who was burying a photograph of a girl in some vegetation along the shore.  Simey made quick work of the Bluegrass Hendrix puzzler so I'm hoping someone can help me with this movie.

Edited by Eephus
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Life ain't real funky unless it's got that pop

It Ain't Me Babe - The Turtles (1965)

Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan aka Flo & Eddie have had an interesting career as pop lifers.  They started off as teenagers in The Turtles, joined Zappa and the Mothers circa 200 Motels, sang harmonies on "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" and "Hungry Heart" and changed the course of Hip Hop with their sampling lawsuit against De La Soul. 

They made the thread because they had a Top Ten hit of a Dylan song before Mr. Zimmerman managed to have one himself.  Their hit single cover of "It Ain't Me Babe" really plays up the contrast between Dylan's verse and chorus.  The Turtles version is still a fun little pop song; you can see why the boys got signed in the wake of Beatlemania.  This was their debut album and it sounds like the band and their label were fishing for another hit.  Most songs are taken at mid to up tempo and successfully mimic songs by other popular bands of the moment.  The sugary songs race by with most clocking in at under 2 1/2 minutes.  There are two other Dylan songs in addition to the hit.  The Turtles' cover of "Like a Rolling Stone" stays pretty close to the original but their version of "Love Minus One" sounds like an mix of The Byrds, The Association and The Beach Boys. 

Tonight's selection is another sixties protest song Eve of Destruction done in a pop style that's very similar to "It Ain't Me Babe".  The Turtles don't bring the gravitas of Barry McGuire who became a one hit wonder with his recording of the song.  A few years later, McGuire was born again and spent most of his career as a Christian music artist which brings us back to Dylan.

Not much news for Boz.  He fell asleep on my lap tonight and looked so peaceful that I hated to wake him up.  But I had to pee and Lord knows, he's woken me up to go pee plenty of times.

 

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I really wanted to love this album

MTV Unplugged - Bob Dylan (1995)

It's been over a month since I listened to a Dylan album so it seemed like a good time to jump back into a live album.  MTV Unplugged is one I missed the first time around and I was excited to hear it with my new found appreciation for Dylan in the 90s. 

It's a fine record but not a transcendent one like many of Dylan's studio recordings.  Dylan is in strong voice and the band is excellent.  The setlist is heavy on 60s Dylan hits with a few unexpected surprises.  The latter fare better to my ears.  Album outtakes "Dignity" and "John Brown" are revelatory and the unplugged version of "Shooting Star" (from Oh Mercy) is better than the original.  I like some of the unfamiliar arrangements for the hits but Dylan's vocals seem disengaged from songs he's sung hundreds of times before.  His phrasing on "Like a Rolling Stone" is strange and it sounds like he loses interest in the lyrics to "Desolation Row"halfway through the song.  The unplugged aspect of the show is problematic as well.  The acoustic guitar leads get lost among the organ, steel guitar and overmixed drums.  This is especially evident on guitar workouts like "All Along the Watchtower".

Dylan put out three live albums in the 70s and two more in the 80s but MTV Unplugged remains the only commercially released live album from Dylan's Never Ending Tour period (1988-present).  Even with my reservations about this one, it may still be my favorite of the six but this is largely by default.  Dylan's live albums just seem to miss the magic that make a live album special. Perhaps his legendary aloofness prevents him from drawing energy from his audience, or maybe they just taped the wrong nights.  His Bootleg series has also mined the vaults for several concert performances but only from the 60s and 70s so far.  Bobheads have a lot of good things to say about Bootleg Series vol. 4 so I'll queue that one up.

I'm picking John Brown for tonight's selection because it's an album highlight and I could find a video version of it.  It's an antiwar protest song from 1962 that Dylan recorded under his Blind Boy Grunt pseudonym.

We lost Boz again today but eventually found him stuck under the dining room table. After I freed him, he just walked away like nothing had happened.

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A big influence on The Beta Band

The Alpha Band - The Alpha Band (1976)

In a roundabout way, the FBG Movie Club sent me here.  I was researching P.J. Soles, the pigtailed and baseball capped co-star of Carrie when I discovered she used to be married to the guitar player in the Rolling Thunder Revue, Steven Soles.  The Alpha Band was founded right after the tour ended by Soles and two of Dylan's other sidemen, T-Bone Burnett and David Mansfield.  I've seen their records in the dollar racks but I never put two and two together.

Burnett has gone on to great success as a producer but he's an interesting, literate songwriter.  He wrote the lion's share of the album's ten tracks with Soles contributing three.  Soles' songs are more poppy and generic, sometimes venturing into Poco/Firefall/Orleans territory.  Burnett's songs are a bit edgier and exploratory.  The band is very tight and Mansfield is a fine picker and fiddle player. 

It's not a bad record at all.  It doesn't have hit record written all over it but in a fairer world, it wouldn't be relegated to obscurity.  The song selection is Burnett's The Dogs, because of its title obviously but also because it reminds me of Warren Zevon a little bit.

Boz had a little spring in his step after the World Series.  We were walking fast enough to pass a couple of people on Hayes Street, which is a pretty rare event.

 

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11 hours ago, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

T-Bone!

I like T. 😎

Boz and I will keep things on the T-Bone tip tonight.

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16 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Boz and I will keep things on the T-Bone tip tonight.

Slappy and I may just have to do a write up here of the O Brother soundtrack ... 🤔

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10 hours ago, Eephus said:

Van Morrison has a new album out tonight.  In other news, he's still a tough interview.

Lest we ever write mere hagiographies, this strikes a nice balance. "C'mon, Van, I'm on your side here..."

"The track that closed his 1979 album, Into the Music, was You Know What They’re Writing About – a sublime six-minute rumination on love, creativity, electricity, devotion, desire and the sheer weltering force that carries us forward. It is perhaps my favourite of all his songs. Two minutes in comes one of his most extraordinary lines: “When there’s no more words left to say about love I go …” and then he unleashes a sound that is guttural and rousing and raw, and that we might transcribe something like so: “neeeeeeheeeheeeaaaghhhhheheh.” It is a sound that says more about his music, his life, his psychology than he did in the entire 16 minutes and 28 seconds I spent in his company; a sound he does not have to explain."

:lmao:

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