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Bob Dylan, Tangentials, and Eephus's Review Thread: Willie Nelson, Summer Standards, Composition And The Complexity of Still Waters Running Deep

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Big fan of Travel On and Quinn the Eskimo for Self Portrait. It is a weird, out of left field record.

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Self Portrait (1970)

I finally finished off Self Portrait last night.  With 24 tracks over 74 minutes, it's a pretty big meal.  At the time, it was regarded as the first misstep of Dylan's career but I think it makes sense in the context of what came later.  I'm sure the expectations of contemporary audiences were sky high.  He was the voice of his generation who had left his mark on the sixties.  But for his first record of the new decade, he released a hodge podge of covers, live recordings and originals seemingly thrown together haphazardly.

From 50 years away, Self Portrait can be viewed differently.  It's more like his 21st century records in style, if not in content.  The collection lacks the cohesiveness of his greatest albums but it's hardly the bag of outtakes as sometimes criticized.  It could certainly be shortened by a third but then it wouldn't be Self Portrait.  It was hard to choose only two songs because there were a number that were worthy of peak 1969-70 Dylan.  I went with a couple of covers:  Alberta #2 and Copper Kettle.  Alberta appears twice on the record.  Alberta #1 is taken at a slow tempo while #2 has more of a shuffle about it.  Both versions are sung beautifully.  Copper Kettle's kitchy strings and background singers shouldn't work but they somehow do.  It's a gorgeous song.

Bosley and I made a minor celebrity sighting last night, well Boz didn't because he's pretty blind.  I spotted Jimmy Fails, the writer and star of the movie The Last Black Man in San Francisco,  standing on the corner of Hayes and Laguna texting.  I let Boz wonder a bit until Jimmy put his phone away and approached him.  I usually give people their space but I felt compelled to let him know how much his film meant to me.  I've been part of a Black SF family for half my life and I've seen the film's themes of rootedness and change play out in the community.  It's a beautiful film that's one of the best I've seen this year.  I also thought it was hilarious that my daughter had met him the previous night at a bar.  He said he meets lots of people but I could see his expressive face break into a smile when he remembered her and made the connection.  It's a very small city sometimes.

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so sad

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Dylan and his people have done a thorough job of scrubbing YouTube for unauthorized versions of his songs.  His official account has videos and some audio clips of older material but these are mostly limited to his popular songs.  Songs from his recent setlists have audience footage of concert performances and the usual bunch of covers.

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, Apple Jack said:

?

I was wondering, too, but I have my nights also and didn't want to push. Sounded like a martini or two or some weed concoction 80s partaketh in.

Edited by rockaction

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Posted (edited)

No clue why I posted that. I was definitely not sad last night. Was likely the start of a post about something and then I got adhd on it and accidentally hit submit. 

Edited by Ilov80s
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2 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

No clue why I posted that. I was definitely not sad last night. Was likely the start of a post about something and then I got adhd on it and accidentally hit submit. 

Glad it wasn't something Bosley and I did

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1 minute ago, Eephus said:

Glad it wasn't something Bosley and I did

lol no, it was probably my review of Down in the Groove

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Dylan played for a crowd of 65000 in Hyde Park on Friday.  The videos I've watched show he and his band in excellent form.  The London papers were remarking on how happy he looked on stage which isn't always the case.

Bosley is moving really slow today. 

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I've been consciously avoiding the Dylan albums that I knew beforehand but I'm running short of those.  It's about time we get to the popular classics.

Bringing It All Back Home (1965)

This isn't old dog music, there's an exuberance about it that's better suited to a puppy.  Starting with one of rock's greatest album openers "Subterranean Homesick Blues", Dylan is on fire.  He reminds me of a rapper dropping bars in love with the language and his own wit.   It was his first electric record and he seems perfectly at ease with simple but effective arrangements.  I think Bruce Langhorne plays most of the guitar leads, the counterpoint he provides adds color that his acoustic albums lacked.

It's impossible to pick two songs off this album.  I'll listen to it again and narrow it down but they'll probably be familiar to you already.  But listening to the album again was a revelation; if it came out this Friday, it would be the AOTY.  Its freshness endures, which you can't say about many things from 1965.  I suppose a lot of criticism of late period Dylan is that it's not as good as prime Dylan.  That's a fair point but I'll celebrate the greatness of the classics without diminishing his other work.

Bosley is reverting to his primal nocturnal roots.  He is much more animated at night these days.  He sleeps pretty much all day.  He hardly eats any of his food in the morning and his daytime walk is comically slow.  He seems to perk up around dinnertime and makes a steady albeit slow pace for the nightly Dylan walk.  He's wandering around the house now as we speak and will probably get up in the middle of the night sometimes. 

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Took a break on Dylan tonight.  Stayed in a similar groove with Billy Bragg & Wilco's Mermaid Avenue.

Bosley kept a decent pace tonight.  He saw another old black dog with a white muzzle.  The other dog was a little shorter and had longer hair but he was a fine looking animal.  He probably reminded Boz a lot of the dog that's always hiding behind the oven door.

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Went back to Dylan yesterday after a week off.  It's a 57 minute album, so it took us two days to get through it

Love and Theft (2001)

Man, what an album.  I was just getting into file sharing/piracy at the time 2001 so I must have heard the album before, but it didn't make an impression on me at the time.  Love and Theft was  when Dylan was 59, which is my age now.  Maybe that's why I feel so in tune with this record.  Like most of his best late career work, he cut the tracks with his touring band.  It's got a great natural sound that sounds tight but spontaneous.  Dylan's voice is still in decent shape; he howls and growls through twelve songs that are grounded in the South.

I've learned to overlook the occasional clunkers as the price of genius but that's not necessary here.  It's a solid album that moves from highlight to highlight.  I chose Mississippi, another one of Dylan's melodic pop songs that I tend to gravitate to.  The song was covered by Sheryl Crow and The Dixie Chicks in more up tempo versions.  The other song I listed is High Water (For Charlie Patton), Dylan's take on the 1927 Louisiana floods.  I sadly had to pass on the rollicking jump blues number Summer Days that's as danceable as anything he's recorded.

Bosley has his good days and bad days; I try not to overreact to either.  He fell down stairs a couple of times last week but manages to roll with it, literally.  His daytime sleep is really deep---it takes a while for Boz to get his feet under him when he wakes up.  He's much better at night although he's sometimes comically oblivious to his surroundings on our walks.  Other dogs will come over and stick their noses in Bosley's butt and he doesn't even notice.  He just goes on sniffing whatever is so fascinating in the grass.  Smell is his only sense that still works like it used to.

Anyway, listen to Love and Theft.  It's a great album.

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New Dylan cover alert.

Sheryl Crow (feat. Jason Isbell) - Everything Is Broken

It's an up tempo version with a rockabilly feel to it.  Crow and Isbell start off alternating verses but soon that escalates to swapping lines.  When they finally harmonize, their voices blend together beautifully.  Not essential but very nice.

 

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54 years ago today, Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival.

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Started Blood on the Tracks last night.  It's probably the Dylan album I know best because it was everywhere when I was a teenager.

Boz is OK.

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7 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Started Blood on the Tracks last night.  It's probably the Dylan album I know best because it was everywhere when I was a teenager.

Boz is OK.

Thanks for the update. May give it a listen accordingly. Best to Boz.  

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On 7/16/2019 at 1:42 AM, Eephus said:

Starting with one of rock's greatest album openers "Subterranean Homesick Blues", Dylan is on fire.

This is my favorite Dylan song easily.

We were once doing a 3 day mountain bike trek through part of Central Kentucky. We had done the trek before and planned on resupplying our water at known wells - 2 to be exact. Well ... both pumps had their handles broken off ... vandals!

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Blood on the Tracks (1975)

It's probably the Dylan album I've heard the most.  I was a teenager when it came out.  I couldn't afford many records then so I listened every night to the progressive/free-form FM station in Milwaukee.  1975 was squarely in the sweet spot of rock radio, a brief flowering that grew in the cracks between Top 40 before and AOR afterwards.   Every song on the album got airplay, even the long ones. 

Blood on the Tracks is a breakup album that reflects Dylan's state of mind as his marriage to Sara ended.  It's not really a concept album but their separation runs as an undercurrent through many of the songs.  Because of this, it's not an easy listen at times.  Dylan has always been a master of disdain; Like a Rolling Stone and Positively 4th St. are great examples of this.  But Idiot Wind takes his vitriol to another level. "It's a wonder you still know how to breathe" is a savage putdown.  It's a great song but 7:47 of his anger is hard to take. 

It's loaded with classic songs.  I playlisted Simple Twist of Fate and Shelter From the Storm,  two masterpieces of love and loss.  I'm not going to be the guy who says the album is overrated.  You can't overrate greatness.  The thing I disagree with is the conventional wisdom that Blood on the Tracks was the last time Dylan flew this close to the sun.  Blood on the Tracks is a great album; one of Dylan's finest but it's not a quantum leap over the best of his late career stuff.  I think part of the record's reputation is because Blood on the Tracks was the last time Dylan really represented the Zeitgeist, his move to Christianity and his increasing age pushed him from the mainstream to the margins shortly afterwards.   Dylan was culturally important in 1975 and the themes of this record fits conveniently into his myth as an artist.

"Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts" is one of Dylan's most cinematic songs.  There's a lot of rich detail in the lyrics but the narrative remains enigmatic.  It's like a bunch of outtakes from a Western movie stitched together from the cutting room floor.  I don't think it's a great song but it's certainly a fun one to listen to every now and again.  Legend has it Dylan only performed the song once, at the last show of the Rolling Thunder Revue tour but no video or audio exists.  The only person on the scene missin’ was the Jack of Hearts.

Tonight at the park, Bosley met a puppy 52 times younger than him.  Boz is 14 years old and the puppy was 14 weeks young. .  Boz and the pup silently faced off for about 20 seconds before Boz wandered off.  There was a group of people huddled around the puppy wanting to coo and pet him.  I looked back over my shoulder and the puppy's eyes were following Boz as he slowly walked away.  Boz puked in the house a couple of times this afternoon but seemed to be OK afterwards.  He ate dinner and was pretty spry (for him) on our walk.

 

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I should have mentioned how great Dylan sings on Blood on the Tracks.  His voice is markedly better, stronger yet more supple than on his 60s records.  He toned down the upper register stuff from Nashville Skyline but elements of that crooning remain.  His voice hung in for another two decades or so but I'd be hard pressed to think of a record where he sounds better.

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2 hours ago, Eephus said:

I should have mentioned how great Dylan sings on Blood on the Tracks.  His voice is markedly better, stronger yet more supple than on his 60s records.  He toned down the upper register stuff from Nashville Skyline but elements of that crooning remain.  His voice hung in for another two decades or so but I'd be hard pressed to think of a record where he sounds better.

I'm not a big Dylan fan, but this is probably why BOTT is my favorite LP of his. I came very late to this realization.

As for its place in the cultural landscape of 1975, I dunno....... The record didn't get a lot of commercial airplay, because  - besides the dying carcass of free-form you mentioned - it didn't fit any already-ossifying format. If they didn't read Rolling Stone or weren't an aging hippie (Venn diagram, anyone?), I doubt very seriously if your average radio listener would have known of this album's existence.

The big kicker for this album's popularity was that almost all of the first-gen rock critics - bored to death slamming KISS or Bad Company's latest - pimped BOTT to high heaven.  Some of that was in a "Hey! He's still got a little oomph on his fastball!" vein, but more that those guys (along with Woodstock Generation listeners) were desperate for ANY of their '60s heroes to show a pulse.  Hendrix - dead. Joplin - dead. Otis - dead. Morrison - dead. Beatles - dead. Stones - rolling in a pile of coke and women. Clapton - castrated. The Dead - irrelevant. The Who - limping to the finish. The Airplane - playing in dentist offices. James Brown - hopelessly out of date. Creedence - dead. Joni - jazzbo. Aretha - toast for a decade.  

Some of these critics were hanging at CBGBs, snorting speed, crying into their beers, and wondering how they'll try yet again to convince the world that the Dolls are better than the Stones. They'll find something else to get hysterical about soon enough, but a new Dylan LP was all they had in '75. Besides, that is, Bruce Springsteen.

I was 13 when the record came out - not Dylan's target audience, I reckon, but I only knew about this album because of my aunt. She's 10 years older than me and was the driver for most of my pop-culture leanings on those days. She played the hell out of this album. I didn't much like it then and spent most of my time hearing wondering when Grand Funk's next LP was being released.

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Hard to think of a better one-two opener than TUIB>Simple Twist of Fate. And then If You See Her Say Hello. She might think that I've forgotten her, don't tell her it isn't so.

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6 hours ago, Uruk-Hai said:

I'm not a big Dylan fan, but this is probably why BOTT is my favorite LP of his. I came very late to this realization.

As for its place in the cultural landscape of 1975, I dunno....... The record didn't get a lot of commercial airplay, because  - besides the dying carcass of free-form you mentioned - it didn't fit any already-ossifying format. If they didn't read Rolling Stone or weren't an aging hippie (Venn diagram, anyone?), I doubt very seriously if your average radio listener would have known of this album's existence.

The big kicker for this album's popularity was that almost all of the first-gen rock critics - bored to death slamming KISS or Bad Company's latest - pimped BOTT to high heaven.  Some of that was in a "Hey! He's still got a little oomph on his fastball!" vein, but more that those guys (along with Woodstock Generation listeners) were desperate for ANY of their '60s heroes to show a pulse.  Hendrix - dead. Joplin - dead. Otis - dead. Morrison - dead. Beatles - dead. Stones - rolling in a pile of coke and women. Clapton - castrated. The Dead - irrelevant. The Who - limping to the finish. The Airplane - playing in dentist offices. James Brown - hopelessly out of date. Creedence - dead. Joni - jazzbo. Aretha - toast for a decade.  

Some of these critics were hanging at CBGBs, snorting speed, crying into their beers, and wondering how they'll try yet again to convince the world that the Dolls are better than the Stones. They'll find something else to get hysterical about soon enough, but a new Dylan LP was all they had in '75. Besides, that is, Bruce Springsteen.

I was 13 when the record came out - not Dylan's target audience, I reckon, but I only knew about this album because of my aunt. She's 10 years older than me and was the driver for most of my pop-culture leanings on those days. She played the hell out of this album. I didn't much like it then and spent most of my time hearing wondering when Grand Funk's next LP was being released.

amazing stuff here ... thanks for sharing :thumbup:

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53 minutes ago, Apple Jack said:

Hard to think of a better one-two opener than TUIB>Simple Twist of Fate. And then If You See Her Say Hello. She might think that I've forgotten her, don't tell her it isn't so.

For sure. I would put Blowin in the Wind>Girl from the North Country right up there as well though and then later that album puts A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall >Don't Think Twice It's Alright back to back. Those are incredible pairs of songs.

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3 hours ago, Ilov80s said:
3 hours ago, Apple Jack said:

Hard to think of a better one-two opener than TUIB>Simple Twist of Fate. And then If You See Her Say Hello. She might think that I've forgotten her, don't tell her it isn't so.

For sure. I would put Blowin in the Wind>Girl from the North Country right up there as well though and then later that album puts A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall >Don't Think Twice It's Alright back to back. Those are incredible pairs of songs.

One of things lost with the LP format (and cassettes too I guess) was the notion of two distinct sides.  I don't know how much importance Dylan placed on the sequencing of tracks.  He's notoriously haphazard about the recording process but since he maintains control over the final cut and his outtakes are so well documented, it's clear that some thought went into it.

Side 2 of Blood on the Tracks opens with "Meet Me in the Morning" which I think is one of the weaker tracks on the album.  It closes with "Buckets of Rain" which seems kind of incongruous with the rest of the album.  It was Dylan's second consecutive album that threw a curveball for the final song on side two.  Planet Waves ended with Wedding Song, a solo acoustic piece that would have fit better on Blood on the Tracks.

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7 minutes ago, Eephus said:

One of things lost with the LP format (and cassettes too I guess) was the notion of two distinct sides.  I don't know how much importance Dylan placed on the sequencing of tracks.  He's notoriously haphazard about the recording process but since he maintains control over the final cut and his outtakes are so well documented, it's clear that some thought went into it.

Side 2 of Blood on the Tracks opens with "Meet Me in the Morning" which I think is one of the weaker tracks on the album.  It closes with "Buckets of Rain" which seems kind of incongruous with the rest of the album.  It was Dylan's second consecutive album that threw a curveball for the final song on side two.  Planet Waves ended with Wedding Song, a solo acoustic piece that would have fit better on Blood on the Tracks.

Good point, I have no idea where almost any records transition sides.

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Posted (edited)

I think I've said it before, but it fits here, especially. Mobile Fidelity is doing an a one-cut, half speed, sourced from the original masters version of Blood On The Tracks available for pre-order as of this writing. It's about $125, so be prepared to spend a little bit.  

I get no promotional consideration for this, of course, it's just a heads-up. Consider it an annoying radio ad when you look back at this thread.

Edited by rockaction

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17 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

Good point, I have no idea where almost any records transition sides.

The CD began to dominate in the late 80s.  Of course it's a one-sided format that can hold more music than an LP.  Dylan's 80s albums are short by contemporary standards (some only seem long).  it wasn't until Time Out of Mind in 1997 that he went over the hour mark on a studio album in the CD era.   It clocks in at 72 minutes, the same run time as Blonde On Blonde.

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10 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I think I've said it before, but it fits here, especially. Mobile Fidelity is doing an a one-cut, half speed, sourced from the original masters version of Blood On The Tracks available for pre-order as of this writing. It's about $125, so be prepared to spend a little bit.  

I get no promotional consideration for this, of course, it's just a heads-up. Consider it an annoying radio ad when you look back at this thread.

That's a year's worth of Spotify or about 100 lbs of dog food :shrug:

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1 minute ago, Eephus said:

That's a year's worth of Spotify or about 100 lbs of dog food :shrug:

You meddling kids and your opportunity costs.  

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2 hours ago, Eephus said:

One of things lost with the LP format (and cassettes too I guess) was the notion of two distinct sides.  I don't know how much importance Dylan placed on the sequencing of tracks.  He's notoriously haphazard about the recording process but since he maintains control over the final cut and his outtakes are so well documented, it's clear that some thought went into it.

Side 2 of Blood on the Tracks opens with "Meet Me in the Morning" which I think is one of the weaker tracks on the album.  It closes with "Buckets of Rain" which seems kind of incongruous with the rest of the album.  It was Dylan's second consecutive album that threw a curveball for the final song on side two.  Planet Waves ended with Wedding Song, a solo acoustic piece that would have fit better on Blood on the Tracks.

I wonder how much any artist cared about sequencing songs on an LP. Many didn't even have a say.

Other than bloated "stories" like Tommy and The Wall, I can't think of any classic albums where the as-built sequence made any more sense than throwing darts at a track listing would have done. I guess Side 2 of Abbey Road couldn't be any different than it is and be as awesome, but Side 1 could be reordered without any loss of  "meaning".

I was fortunate enough to be backstage at two P Funk concerts. I only got to talk to George Clinton at one of them, and then only for a couple of minutes. I was totally geeked out and was all into my theory that Funkentelechy Vs The Placebo Syndrome's songs needed to be listened to in reverse order from the way the LP had them to tell the "real" story. Clinton looked at me and said "Hoss, it don't matter", then he walked off. I was crushed. Then I did some lines with one of the Parlettes.

 

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9 minutes ago, Uruk-Hai said:

I wonder how much any artist cared about sequencing songs on an LP. Many didn't even have a say.

 

In Dylan's catalog, I think if you listened to all his album openers and closers separately, you'd find the former to be much more poppy and catchy than the latter.  He often leaves his grandest statements until the end.  Blood on the Tracks is an exception because Bob is nothing if not contrary.

As for album sides, the obvious case is Bringing It All Back Home with its electric A side and acoustic B side.   The two sides of Desire both open with a matched pair of biographical epics "Hurricane" and "Joey". 

Some artists leave it to the producer to put the songs in order are others (Springsteen comes to mind immediately) who seem to take a lot of care in how the songs are sequenced.  Maybe it's a lost art because the album is in its death throes.

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3 minutes ago, Eephus said:

 

 

Maybe it's a lost art because the album is in its death throes.

I'm ok with that. It was a false way to judge music, anyway. And it conveniently excluded too many who weren't white guys with guitars.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Eephus said:

Some artists leave it to the producer to put the songs in order are others (Springsteen comes to mind immediately) who seem to take a lot of care in how the songs are sequenced. Maybe it's a lost art because the album is in its death throes.

The La's and Spoon are both bands where sequencing plays a really important part of their last song on one of their albums. On The La's The La's the last song is written to include the melody/essence of the previous eleven while Spoon's last song on Gimme Fiction is the same in that it tells the story of the previous eleven in lyric form. 

Some bands, mostly those that will do things like make their drummer stand up to get the right downward hit on the snare (The La's) or build their own analog studio (Spoon), still indeed do care. 

But Uruk's point is also taken. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the industry began with the sequencing duties and retained them without much of a thought (or a care) from the artist. Depends how you view your art, I guess. 

Edited by rockaction

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I always believed that Dark Side of the Moon was ordered to be meaningful. I have no idea if that is true or just a mistake on my part. Regardless, I am a really big fan of the old style of listening to an album as an album ... in sequence.

Even if an artistic intent did not purposefully order the songs, I still find a story in the order. As a listener, I really don't care about intent on this - just how it affects me.

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47 minutes ago, Uruk-Hai said:

I'm ok with that. It was a false way to judge music, anyway. And it conveniently excluded too many who weren't white guys with guitars.

 

You can't blame the album format for excluding females and artists of colors.  The album era was 1967-1989ish; the predominant music during this period came from white guys with guitars.  If anything, it's the music industry's fault for lack of imagination.

There are exceptions of course.  Joni Mitchell's albums are exquisitely sequenced   Prince famously released Lovesexy on CD as one long track although that was to mess with Warners as to make an artistic statement.  But 1999 is clearly sequenced for a double LP format.  Each side kicks off with a banger, as it should.  A playlist of the closing songs from Prince's many albums would be interesting listening.

Sequencing still matters but nowhere near as much as it did during Dylan's heyday.  Albums are more front-loaded than ever, especially for emerging acts.  It takes time to develop an audience with enough attention span to stick with a band for an hour.  I mourn the album's passing.  It doesn't necessarily have to be a formal or informal song cycle.  A collection from a time and place in an artist's life can speak much more than a track suggested by the algorithm.. 

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31 minutes ago, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

I always believed that Dark Side of the Moon was ordered to be meaningful. I have no idea if that is true or just a mistake on my part. Regardless, I am a really big fan of the old style of listening to an album as an album ... in sequence.

 

Side 2 of Meddle is sequenced perfectly.

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16 minutes ago, Eephus said:

 

You can't blame the album format for excluding females and artists of colors.  The album era was 1967-1989ish; the predominant music during this period came from white guys with guitars.  If anything, it's the music industry's fault for lack of imagination.

 

Sure I can, and it's exactly because of the second sentence I bolded. 

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10 minutes ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Sure I can, and it's exactly because of the second sentence I bolded. 

:thumbup:

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Side 2 of Meddle is sequenced perfectly.

Only 4 minutes left ... good album side. song.

Edited by Man of Constant Sorrow

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Posted (edited)

We went way back the last couple of days with:

The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963)

This was Dylan's second LP but the first with mostly original compositions.  It owes its reputation to two classics that open and close side 1:  "Blowin' In the Wind" and "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall".  The latter in particular was a huge leap forward for the 22 year old artist.  Dylan throws out nearly seven minutes of startling apocalyptic imagery.  There's a line about me and Boz in the penultimate verse,  "I met a white man who walked a black dog".  Actually, I'm only half white but it was raining hard at the time.

Outside of those two tent poles and "Don't Think Twice It's Alright", the album is rather mixed.  It's very political at times, although some of the references made more sense during the Kennedy administration.  I think Dylan is more effective when he's poetic than topical.  It's also a very funny album which hints at what a comedian young Dylan was before he became a secretive and embittered superstar.  "Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance" is up there with the silliest of Dylan's vocals.  I got the sense that Dylan is trying a bunch of different things out in his songwriting,  Some clothes fit him better than others.

Again, it was tough to narrow it down to two songs  The original version of "Girl From the North Country" is a lovely version of "Scarborough Fair" that I prefer to the one with Johnny Cash on Nashville Skyline.  I eventually went with two more obscure songs, Bob Dylan's Dream, a song that takes on added poignancy when you think of how Dylan's life unfolded, and Corrina, Corrina, a folk song with a timeless quality that's the only song on the album where Dylan has backing musicians.   The album sounds really good for its age; the CBS engineers knew how to mike a room.  Spotify has a wide stereo mix that isn't the best.  Dylan's harmonica and guitar sound like they're separated by about 50 feet of horizontal space.  Stereo was still relatively new and they viewed soundstage differently.

Bosley is doing well.  I roasted a chicken yesterday so he gets gizzards portioned out for the next couple of days.  Our walk route goes past a converted shipping container where Twitter is hosting Tweetups with other cities around the world.  They were talking with Tokyo tonight but there wasn't much activity.  Dylan probably wouldn't have been impressed.

According to the playlist, I've now listened to 21 of Dylan's 38 studio albums.   I think I'm going to skip his two most recent albums covering the Great American songbook so there's 15 more to go.

 

Edited by Eephus
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Posted (edited)

.

Edited by rockaction

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Posted (edited)

Here's what's left

Bob Dylan
The Times They Are a-Changin
Another Side of Bob Dylan
Highway 61 Revisited
Blonde on Blonde
Nashville Skyline
Dylan
The Basement Tapes
Desire
Slow Train Coming
Empire Burlesque
Oh Mercy
Good As I Been to You
Christmas in the Heart
Tempest

I don't know about that Christmas album

Edited by Eephus
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Puttin' that Marvin back on. Getting me in the mood for this thread and more true mobile fidelity with Eephus and Bosley. 

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The Basement Tapes are incredible, much better than I remembered.

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18 minutes ago, Eephus said:

The Basement Tapes are incredible, much better than I remembered.

Well the comic book and me just us we caught the bus

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I took a timeout on The Basement Tapes.  I'm going to download it and the 38 track Bootleg Series #11 outtakes compilation to delve into on my upcoming vacation.  I listened instead to:

Slow Train Coming (1979)

It's best known as his born again album that divided his audience, although it reached #3 on the US album charts (four slots higher than Blood on the Tracks).  In some ways, this record seems more like Dylan's first 80s album than his last 70s one.  The conventional wisdom is that Slow Train is the best of Dylan's three Christian albums although I think Shot of Love has higher highs (albeit clunkier clunkers).

The record's strengths are its funky, soulful arrangements and Dylan's impassioned vocals.  Slow Train Coming has a slick professional sound that's uncommon for Dylan.  It was recorded in Muscle Shoals by Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett and features Mark Knopfler on guitar sounding very BB King-like at times.  My personal preference when it comes to Dylan's lyrics is for the oblique rather than the direct, be it political or religious.  Dylan is very direct here; the line "you either got faith or you got disbelief and there ain't no neutral ground" kind of sums up his state of mind at the time.  Although he's retreated a bit from overt Christianity, he's never abandoned spirituality in the four decades since.  He's been closing shows with "Gotta Serve Somebody" on his European tour this year.  He's Dylan, so the song has been reworked almost beyond recognition.

I added I Believe In You and Slow Train to Bosley's playlist.  Believe successfully straddles the line between a love song and a hymn.  As for Slow Train, well I'm just a sucker for train songs.  I don't know if it converted many of his fans but Slow Train Coming is a solid album that's worth checking out if you've never heard it.

Not much new on the Bosley front so I'll throw in a Dylan sighting.  We went to a free Psychedelic Furs/James concert at Stern Grove on Sunday.  The Grove is a lovely natural amphitheater in the Sunset District of SF that's hosted a summer series forever.  After the show,  we hung out a nearby bar at West Portal called The Philosopher's Club.  It's a proper dive with a mural on the ceiling overlooking the bar.  Dylan was in the upper left corner next to Gandhi and John Lennon so I raised my glass to the man.  We had to duck out after one drink to check in on Boz, who'd been alone in the house all day.   Fortunately, there were no mishaps.

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Listened to the Dylan playlist on our walk tonight.  I was pretty good on guessing the time period but the names of the post-70s albums have blurred together. 

I'm going back to Wisconsin for a week so the handful of people who read this thread are on their own.  I'm a bit worried about Boz.  He's always been mopey when I go away.  He would go days without eating or crapping when I used to travel for business.  The kids were around then but he'd still pine for me.  If anything he's more attached to me these days.  As I am to him.

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