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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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15 hours ago, Eephus said:

GUY - Steve Earle & The Dukes (2019)

I knew Earle had released a tribute to the music of Guy Clark this year but I never got around to listening to it the whole way through.  I'm glad I did because Clark was a special songwriter.  whose voice was adequate for telling his stories.  Earle is a better, more expressive singer although as he hits his mid-sixties his vocals have taken on a gruffness that's reminiscent of Dylan at the same age.

Although Earle has a darker, more politicized worldview than Clark did, their songwriting styles are similar.  The album ends up sounding very much like a Steve Earle album.  He has an obvious affection for Guy and his music which comes through clearly on record.  The selection of Clark's songs is excellent.  "Desperadoes Waiting For a Train" is a great song that any songwriter would be proud to have on his or her resume.

I'll spotlight the album's closer Old Friends where Earle is joined by some of Clark's other friends Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Jerry Jeff Walker, Terry Allen and Jo Harvey Allen.  I love the contrast between the verse and chorus and the final instrumental section that's both elegiac and hopeful. 

Minor crisis last night when Mrs. Eephus thought Boz had crapped in the house.  It turned out to be a chunk of dried mud that had been tracked in from outside.  Bosley is pretty uninhibited in his old age but we're glad this one is still mostly intact.

 

Emmylou has been on more records in this thread than Dylan has

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Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest - Bill Callahan (2019)

He's not the former Raiders coach but the guy who used to perform under the alias Smog.  The album has topped a number of critics' AOTY lists and it's definitely in the tradition of singer/songwriters so I gave it a spin.

Callahan isn't really a symbolist lke Dylan or a traditional storyteller like Prine or Guy Clark but it's an original point of view that's very literate and occasionally absurd.  He sings in a deep conversational baritone that's similar to Lambchop's Kurt Wagner before he discovered synthesizers.  I don't know if the Lambchop reference is meaningful to anyone but it took me half the album to figure out who Callahan reminded me of. 

I liked Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest but it was too one-note and depressing for me to bond with it.  There's a song called "Black Dog on the Beach" that was right up Bosley's alley since he used to love running on Ocean Beach but my favorite track was 747.  It's one of those songs where I'm ultimately unsurer about the meaning but the imagery is still striking.

Bosley's advancing bladder control problems have highlighted a difference between Mrs. Eephus and me.  She'll keep track of when he wakes her up at night and when and where he pees on the floor.  I on the other hand, have become a co-conspirator with our old dog.  I'll quietly mop up his accidents and won't tell her about it unless specifically asked.  I'm not in denial or anything but I don't see the point in making a bigger deal out of it than it is.

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On our afternoon walk, I started listening to Leonard Cohen's posthumous 2019 release Thanks for the Dance.  But it's not the record I want to ring the old year out with unless clinical depression is one of my resolutions.  But I will mention that Cohen is a clear influence on Bill Callahan.  I should have noticed that yesterday but it became obvious to me about two minutes into Cohen's new one.

I need to listen to something a lot livelier tonight, maybe some Parliament or James Brown since Maceo Parker is playing in the neighborhood.

 

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Huh, it's West Coast time and I'd like to keep with the business but I can't express anything but gratitude for the past year in this thread.

If you've helped curate, commented, suggested, argued, took a passionate stance, liked a post, whatever...just want to wish you and the writer of it all a Happy New Year and may this year bring you peace, prosperity, and, in the words of another famous writer, boundless gladness that knows no stint.

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Thanks for the Dance - Leonard Cohen (2019)

As I teased last year, this is a posthumous release of songs Cohen recorded in 2016, in the six months before the artist's death.  His son Adam took Cohen's demos and brought in a bunch of musicians to overdub parts on top of the original vocal tracks.  It's a nice coda on a truly illustrious career but you have to think Cohen would have developed it further had he been alive and well.

Cohen's voice has been reduced to a croaky whisper but it retains the gravitas that is Cohen's hallmark as a singer.  Even in their unfinished state, the songs are unmistakably Cohen.  I've never been good at discerning poetic meter but the lyrics seem to be characteristic of Cohen's work.  We listen to dead artists all the time but it's a bit unquieting to listen to a man who is dying.  In that respect, it's kind of a tough album but a worthwhile one.

I'll spotlight the title tune Thanks for the Dance which Cohen co-wrote with his longtime girlfriend Anjani Thomas.  Her version from 2006 is a jazzy waltz.  Cohen sings it with a weariness that's really moving.  He'd be proud of his son for the lovely arrangement that gives it a bit of Weimar cabaret flavor.

We had to take Boz to the vet today.  He's developed an abscess on the left side of his mouth.  They gave him some antibiotics which will hopefully clear things up.  He also got some labs done due to his recent weight loss and cognitive decline.  It wouldn't be a Bosley post without a urinary reference.  The vet assistant wasn't able to get a urine sample so I took Boz outside while Mrs. Eephus dealt with paperwork.  Bosley didn't make it though and peed in the elevator and on my hand when I tried getting some in the specimen jar.  It's the SPCA so they're used to it but still.  I'll tr again tomorrow and ride the sample over on my bike.  Good times.

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Has Boz tried medical mj? 🤔

It works wonders for me. 

I once invented a bong for Slappy, but his thumbs were too small to cover the carb. 

I'm working on a bowl slide carb for him now. I think it will work. 

Update after trials.

 

 

I love Cohen. 👍

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On 1/3/2020 at 6:01 PM, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

Has Boz tried medical mj? 🤔

It works wonders for me. 

Don't think that'll fly with Mrs. Eephus.

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Renegade - Dylan LeBlanc (2019)

American Songwriter finally posted their best of 2019 list the other day and this album was on it.  I couldn't pass on a guy named Dylan even though I wasn't blown away by the couple of tracks I'd listened to when it was released.  I think I had a hard time reconciling LeBlanc's high pitched voice with the guy in the black hat on the album cover.

I'm glad I came back to the record because it's a grower.  Except for his given name, he's not particularly (Bob) Dylanesque at all.  It has more of a 1970s Classic Rock sound.  The title track has a guitar riff lifted from Christopher Cross and I also hear a bit of Lindsey Buckingham without Buckingham's idiosyncrasies and picking.  LeBlanc is coming to town next month and I'm thinking about going because I'm interested in what he sounds like with some of the studio smoothness removed.  I'll spotlight Lone Rider because it reminds me of the softer side of Strand of Oaks which FFA music draft people know is one of my favorites. 

Good news/bad news about Bosley.  The antibiotics have significantly reduced the swelling around his gums and he no longer seems to be in pain.  But the vet called on Friday with his lab results and they indicate some kidney problems.  Our daughter took the news really hard as she tends to do.  I'm glad he's still with us and in relatively good shape for an old dog.  We'll continue to enjoy his warm and goofy presence for as long as practical.

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Posted (edited)

Figured I'd send this out on the right note and bump it one last time today and Monday for anybody else's thoughts. Peace to you all. Eephus has his new thread here, and I'd encourage you all to leave current thoughts there. Let's remember this Dylan-inspired one fondly and put it to bed for posterity:

https://forums.footballguys.com/forum/topic/783211-frank-sinatra-a-man-his-music-my-2020-music-and-dog-walking-thread/?do=reportComment&comment=22420200

Edited by rockaction
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Don't :IBTL: it.  I'll jump back in if Bob does something new.  I wouldn't be shocked if Dylan has some new recordings in him.  If not, there are always the annual Bootleg Series copyright dumps.

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11 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Don't :IBTL: it.  I'll jump back in if Bob does something new.  I wouldn't be shocked if Dylan has some new recordings in him.  If not, there are always the annual Bootleg Series copyright dumps.

Oh, I hope not. Mods, pls don't. Just helping steer traffic and sort of acknowledging this particular contribution to the board. Peace.

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On 6/17/2019 at 11:07 PM, Eephus said:

After listening to Saved the other night, I was curious about what Dylan did immediately after his born-again albums.  So we're staying in the 80s with...

Infidels (1983)

Although he'd moved along from Christian music, there are still biblical references in the lyrics especially on the album's best known song Jokerman.  As was required in 1983, Jokerman came with a slick but effective video.  It's a good song although at six minutes, I think it's fat with too many solos.  I wish he'd released the rocking arrangement of Jokerman he performed on Letterman the following year.

I liked the album closing love song Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight, which reminded me a bit "No Woman, No Cry" and features a strong vocal performance.  Sweetheart Like You is also pretty solid.  There are some real clunkers on the record including his takes on globalism "Union Sundown" and Reagan era politics "Neighborhood Bully". 

At the time, Infidels was regarded as a return to form for Dylan, probably because critics were happy to not have to deal with his Christianity.  The sound definitely places it in the 80s.  Mark Knopfler produced it and plays guitar so it sounds like a Dire Straits album at times.  Bringing in Sly & Robbie as a rhythm section sounds good on paper but is hit and miss in practice.  Sly's drumming has a stiffness about it that doesn't work for me especially on the uptempo songs.

One of Dylan's great lost songs Blind Willie McTell was an outtake from the Infidels sessions.   There are a number of other tracks that were released on Bootleg Series Vol 1-3 that have a rawer sound than Infidels.

Bosley had eleven teeth removed a couple of years ago.  He was always a messy eater but it's gotten ridiculous with fewer teeth.  Our local corner store always gives him dog biscuits.  I now have to break them into bite sized chunks but even then Bosley leaves a massive debris field.  He can't see the pieces he drops so I have to squat in the doorway of the store and feed him dog treat fragments off the floor.  Oh the humanity.

The World's Worst Songs blog takes on Neighborhood Bully

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2 hours ago, rockaction said:

Taking on the conflict through song just makes me :rolleyes:

The decline and fall of protest songs is an interesting topic.  It's still happening a little bit in Rap and Billy Bragg continues to fight the good fight but it seems far less common now than in the 60s-80s.  Maybe it was just a boomer thing or the commercial risks have become too high, e.g. Dixie Chicks.

Dylan wrote some great ones on topics large and small (plus Neighborhood Bully).  I don't particularly care about his current politics but there are other artists who probably have interesting things to say.

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34 minutes ago, Eephus said:

The decline and fall of protest songs is an interesting topic.  It's still happening a little bit in Rap and Billy Bragg continues to fight the good fight but it seems far less common now than in the 60s-80s.  Maybe it was just a boomer thing or the commercial risks have become too high, e.g. Dixie Chicks.

Dylan wrote some great ones on topics large and small (plus Neighborhood Bully).  I don't particularly care about his current politics but there are other artists who probably have interesting things to say.

 

As you may have seen, Billy Bragg's current tour has him playing 3 consecutive nights at each venue:

Quote

 The first night's performance will feature Bragg's current set, which ranges across his 35 year career. The second will see Bragg perform songs from his first three albums: his punk rock debut Life's a Riot with Spy Vs Spy (1983), its similarly raw follow-up Brewing Up with Billy Bragg (1984) and Talking with the Taxman about Poetry (1986). The third performance will see Bragg perform songs from his second three albums: the positively jangled Workers Playtime (1988), the pop classic Don't Try This at Home (1991) and the back-to-basics William Bloke (1996).

He's playing Shank Hall in Milwaukee in July on the dates the DNC is in town - although I doubt that was planned.  Its hard for me to go more than one night, so there's pretty much no question for me - second night is my wheelhouse.  The one and only time I've seen him play was right after Taxman was released, and I'm hoping this will be pretty much the same as that excellent show, only with both of us having grown much older and fatter.

 

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40 minutes ago, CletiusMaximus said:

He's playing Shank Hall in Milwaukee in July on the dates the DNC is in town - although I doubt that was planned.

I don't think that's by accident.  He's only doing the mini-residencies in four North American locations (Vancouver, Portland, SF and Milwaukee).

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3 hours ago, Eephus said:

The decline and fall of protest songs is an interesting topic.  It's still happening a little bit in Rap and Billy Bragg continues to fight the good fight but it seems far less common now than in the 60s-80s. 

Yeah, my criticism was limited to the Israeli-Palestinian one. That doesn't seem one that can be done through song. 

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47 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Yeah, my criticism was limited to the Israeli-Palestinian one. That doesn't seem one that can be done through song. 

At least not by a guy from Minnesota

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On 2/13/2020 at 3:17 AM, otb_lifer said:

bump for a great Bob story

I missed this when it was posted.  :thumbup:

I had no idea the Rolling Stones ever recorded "Like a Rolling Stone" but there you go.  It's pretty decent (except for Mick's harp solo) but they don't unlock anything new in the song.

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1 hour ago, Eephus said:

I missed this when it was posted.  :thumbup:

I had no idea the Rolling Stones ever recorded "Like a Rolling Stone" but there you go.  It's pretty decent (except for Mick's harp solo) but they don't unlock anything new in the song.

I won the Stripped CD (which I already had) from some local radio station by being the first caller to answer “Who is playing harmonica on this song (Like a Rolling Stone)?”

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Eephus said:

I missed this when it was posted.  :thumbup:

Robinson nailing the Keef/Jack Sparrow-esque "c'mon, Bob, don't be like that!"

:lmao:

Edited by otb_lifer
TyPo
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Girl From the North Country is a new Broadway musical built around Dylan's music.  Irish playwright Conor McPherson set the tale in Dylan's hometown of Duluth during the Great Depression.  Here's a review of the production but this is the paragraph about the music.

Quote

These 21 songs, some familiar (Like a Rolling Stone), some more obscure (Duquesne Whistle, from 2012), don’t function the way they do in most book musicals. They don’t advance the plot or goose the mood. They reveal character only sporadically. Instead, they remind us of Dylan’s bardic strengths, his hymning of loneliness and a very American kind of longing. Occasionally the lyrics serve the story directly, as in Scott’s scintillating Hurricane, unnecessarily mixed with All Along the Watchtower. But more often, they urge the show into a symbolic space, making of the character’s quotidian griefs something starker and more elemental, lifting Girl From the North Country toward transcendence.

 

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57 minutes ago, CletiusMaximus said:

Looks like a good one for a 17 minute Bosley & @Eephus walk.

Everyone drop what you’re doing because Bob Dylan just put out a new song

 

 

It's an epic.

I'm going down to the crossroads; gonna flag a ride
The place where faith, hope, and charity died
Shoot him while he runs, boy. Shoot him while you can
See if you can shoot the invisible man
Goodbye, Charlie. Goodbye, Uncle Sam
Frankly, my Scarlet, I don't give a damn

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1 hour ago, Eephus said:

It's an epic.

I'm going down to the crossroads; gonna flag a ride
The place where faith, hope, and charity died
Shoot him while he runs, boy. Shoot him while you can
See if you can shoot the invisible man
Goodbye, Charlie. Goodbye, Uncle Sam
Frankly, my Scarlet, I don't give a damn

Too soon.

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Holy ####, 17 minutes and it's deserving of every second. 

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4 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

Holy ####, 17 minutes and it's deserving of every second. 

Well, I don't know about all that.  :rolleyes:

I probably whined about Dylan's long songs somewhere in the thread.  Murder Most Foul is better than most of them.  The random musical shoutouts make his repetition seem less repetitious as the tale meanders along.  And whoever is playing piano deserves an assist.

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3 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Well, I don't know about all that.  :rolleyes:

I probably whined about Dylan's long songs somewhere in the thread.  Murder Most Foul is better than most of them.  The random musical shoutouts make his repetition seem less repetitious as the tale meanders along.  And whoever is playing piano deserves an assist.

I think it's quite good. Not even a song but just a poem with musical accompaniment. 

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Just in here to say I couldn't make it through two minutes and Eephus and ilov are debating the very song.

That was two minutes too long for me, honestly. When he said "Rub-a-dub-dub and Wolfman Jack" or something like that, he lost me. 

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5 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Just in here to say I couldn't make it through two minutes and Eephus and ilov are debating the very song.

That was two minutes too long for me, honestly. When he said "Rub-a-dub-dub and Wolfman Jack" or something like that, he lost me. 

"Play me a song, Mr. Wolfman Jack, Play it for me in my long Cadillac" is a crucial part in the lyrics since it's the pivot from the JFK story to the musical references that go on for the next seven minutes.

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11 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Just in here to say I couldn't make it through two minutes and Eephus and ilov are debating the very song.

That was two minutes too long for me, honestly. When he said "Rub-a-dub-dub and Wolfman Jack" or something like that, he lost me. 

It's a sweeping epic of American art, JFK and an American psyche. 

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26 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

It's a sweeping epic of American art, JFK and an American psyche. 

mmmhmmm

29 minutes ago, Eephus said:

"Play me a song, Mr. Wolfman Jack, Play it for me in my long Cadillac" is a crucial part in the lyrics since it's the pivot from the JFK story to the musical references that go on for the next seven minutes.

arrrgeebarrrgeeee

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4 minutes ago, rockaction said:

mmmhmmm

arrrgeebarrrgeeee

You ok? LOL

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1 minute ago, Ilov80s said:

You ok? LOL

Yeah, I'm fine, brother. lolz.

I just didn't get the same vibe or importance/relevance of the new song like most did. I sort of heard a tinkling piano and some words. That, however, is not borne of hubris nor expertise for comment -- just a vibe I got. "Great!" I initially thought, loving some new Bob would be wonderful right now. "Oof," I thought, after hearing it. "Not so much."

Perhaps another listen is in order. 

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Just now, rockaction said:

Yeah, I'm fine, brother. lolz.

I just didn't get the same vibe or importance/relevance of the new song like most did. I sort of heard a tinkling piano and some words. That, however, is not borne of hubris nor expertise for comment -- just a vibe I got. "Great!" I initially thought, loving some new Bob would be wonderful right now. "Oof," I thought, after hearing it. "Not so much."

Perhaps another listen is in order. 

Oh I was kidding, the two responses looked funny next to each other when I quoted the post. I love the song though. Who else is putting out a 17 minute song about late mid-century history and pop culture?  For me, it's an incredibly ambitious work for a 78 year old artist to put out. It shouldn't work but it does because it is Dylan and he is still unique.  

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10 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

Oh I was kidding, the two responses looked funny next to each other when I quoted the post. I love the song though. Who else is putting out a 17 minute song about late mid-century history and pop culture?  For me, it's an incredibly ambitious work for a 78 year old artist to put out. It shouldn't work but it does because it is Dylan and he is still unique.  

Heh. I knew you were kidding. Hence the lolz. Just funny all around, from Eephus's comment to yours to chiming in on my part. I may be missing something great. That's something I got from two minutes, which isn't admittedly fair. 

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Posted (edited)

.

Edited by rockaction

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Posted (edited)

Makes me think of the kid denied care who died of coronavirus in CA. A murder most foul. Premeditated. A country telling somebody who can't get theirs to #### off and die.

ETA: I can't help but think Bob is coming from from a similar angle in releasing it now.

Edited by Apple Jack
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1 hour ago, Eephus said:

"Play me a song, Mr. Wolfman Jack, Play it for me in my long Cadillac" is a crucial part in the lyrics since it's the pivot from the JFK story to the musical references that go on for the next seven minutes.

Good observation.

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1 hour ago, Ilov80s said:

I think it's quite good. Not even a song but just a poem with musical accompaniment. 

The music is beautiful.

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1 hour ago, Ilov80s said:
1 hour ago, rockaction said:

mmmhmmm

arrrgeebarrrgeeee

You ok? LOL

Friday Floppo Fone Fun

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Blasting it right now. Sounds good with Makers. Kicked me back into a Dylan phase I think. Was rocking out to tombstone blues today.

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