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Dylan's Influence: Eephus Reviews Albums, Tells Tales, And Recommends A Song

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Eephus said:

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.

The thread will forge on gently, poking its out of the ground like a mole, or sink without you. Your contributions are keeping it going. Best to you and Boz during your trip. While you're in WI, think of us, attached at the hip to computers, terminals, and uh, portable phones? Doesn't have the same homebody ring as the others, but you get my drift.

Happy sojourning.

eta* Can you post a link to the playlist? I'll put it in the OP. I can't believe I've neglected to ask that before, but things got hectic. 

Edited by rockaction

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Posted (edited)
On 6/6/2019 at 6:53 PM, Ilov80s said:

I wish he had one great full on garage rock album before he went into Astral, etc. His song writing chops and voice could have made something spectacular but that wasn’t his true style. Ever get into Veedon Fleece?

By the way, this (the bolded record in question) is an available vinyl record from Vinyl Me, Please's record of the month selection. 

eta* I'm listening now with the thought of purchasing this, Moondance, and Astral Weeks as a trio. 

Edited by rockaction
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Posted (edited)

Just purchased Astral Weeks from supposed analog sourcing only. "Slim Slow Slider" pushed me over the top on this choice. What a beginning to that song. The voice is incredible. Review TK.

Listening to Veedon Fleece right now. "You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push The River" is just brilliant vocally. Nice scat. Nice range, Nice lyrics. (Nice understatement.)

"Willam Blake and the Eternals..."

Edited by rockaction
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I’m not sure how I missed this thread but I’ve got some catching up to do.  Dylan and Van have been constant companions in my life.  Like old friends they occasionally have drifted away and the reunions are always sweet.  As expected I’m enjoying this reunion  

@Eephus  I appreciate you driving this train!

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, rockaction said:

Just purchased Astral Weeks from supposed analog sourcing only. "Slim Slow Slider" pushed me over the top on this choice. What a beginning to that song. The voice is incredible. Review TK.

Listening to Veedon Fleece right now. "You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push The River" is just brilliant vocally. Nice scat. Nice range, Nice lyrics. (Nice understatement.)

"Willam Blake and the Eternals..."

I consider Streets of Arkow and You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push the  River to really be one long song that I always play together. It's as spiritual as secular music gets. 

Van was every bit the poet Dylan was

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
Oh the color
Of the day wore on
And our heads
Were filled with poetry
And the morning
A-comin' on to dawn

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
And gay perfusion
In god's green land
And the gypsy's rode
With their hearts on fire
They say "We love to wander, "
"Lord we love, "
"Lord we love to roam"

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
In a drenching beauty
Rolling back 'til the day
And I saw your eyes
They was shining, sparkling crystal clear
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow

 

Edited by Ilov80s
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15 hours ago, rockaction said:

By the way, this (the bolded record in question) is an available vinyl record from Vinyl Me, Please's record of the month selection. 

eta* I'm listening now with the thought of purchasing this, Moondance, and Astral Weeks as a trio. 

That record is the sound of Sunday morning coming down to me.

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2 minutes ago, Apple Jack said:

That record is the sound of Sunday morning coming down to me.

Oh, wow. That's some high praise. Mine'll always be Cash, which was quite literally appropriate -- how many times I heard that song! -- and then later Mogwai's Rock Action from my twenties, actually. That's when I was working regularly and up on Sundays in D.C. and up early, often with a stiflingly bad hangover from bad things. 

And I was really thinking of your sentiment last night while listening to it. I was thinking it was early morning music for me when I wake up. Astral Weeks is much busier in instrumentation, Veedon Fleece is very calming in as much as Van's voice can be considered calm (it really isn't, IMHO). Fleece reminds me of a rainy morning and caffeine, actually, so if that's your Sunday, then...yeah. 

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I've switched it up a bit. I want to hear the whole Let's Get It On album from nose to tail, from pout to snout, from A side to B love so that's next. 

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11 hours ago, rockaction said:

I've switched it up a bit. I want to hear the whole Let's Get It On album from nose to tail, from pout to snout, from A side to B love so that's next. 

How was it? 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/9/2019 at 9:08 PM, Ilov80s said:

How was it? 

You know what? It sort of served as easy listening/background music. Its title was sort of an announced and attempt at an intimate departure from What's Going On to Let's Get It On. Kind of a neat sort of way to do it, but the effect wasn't so staggering, so intimate as What's Going On was. It wasn't as beautifully arranged, performed, and done.

It still is a great listening album -- and got the MoFi treatment, in keeping with what I'm looking for often in the thread -- but it doesn't speak to me like What's did. I think What's is that rare bird that never Phoenix'd because it didn't need to. It's current and timeless, beautiful while topical.

So rare. That Let's Get It On is so good yet pales in comparison is testament to the greatness of the former, not the weakness of the latter effort.

A more proper review and reviews would be found below. There's a lot going on, it would take a finer and more astute critical mind than mine to suss it out.

I wonder if @Uruk-Hai or Eeph (I won't call him on vacation) or anybody else has any more positive thoughts about this universally-acclaimed album? 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let's_Get_It_On

Edited by rockaction
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32 minutes ago, rockaction said:

You know what. It sort of served as easy listening/background music. It's was sort of an announced and attempt at an intimate departure from What's Going On to Let's Get It On. Kind of a neat sort of way to do it, but the effect wasn't so staggering, so intimate as What's Going On was. It wasn't as beautifully arranged, performed, and done.

It still is a great listening album -- and got the MoFi treatment, in keeping with what I'm looking for often in the thread -- but it doesn't speak to me like What's did. I think What's is that rare bird that never Phoenix'd because it didn't need to. It's current and timeless, beautiful while topical.

So rare. That Let's Get It On is so good yet pales in comparison is testament to the greatness of the former, not the weakness of the latter effort.

A more proper review and reviews would be found below. There's a lot going on, it would take a finer and more astute critical mind than mine to suss it out.

I wonder if @Uruk-Hai or Eeph (I won't call him on vacation) or anybody else has any more positive thoughts about this universally-acclaimed album? 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let's_Get_It_On

Man, I haven't listened to that album front-to-back in decades.

The title song is, of course, still everywhere. I'm just guessing, but I'd bet it's responsible for more babies being born than any record in rock history. My memory is that the rest of the record is similar in sound to its big hit.

Where What's Going On sounds exalted and reminds me of the way the air smells after a lightning strike when the ozone is still charged, Let's Get It On is slinkier & sweatier - like when the humidity rolls back in after the thunderstorm.

Gaye was a searcher, always trying to understand the different sides of himself. That's why his post-60s albums sound so cohesive (or "too much of the same thing" - take your pick). He made albums that were totally about what he was exploring at the time. He was as true an "album artist" as the '70s had, because his LPs focused on one idea or theme. Only Willie Nelson, Parliament, and (I guess) Pink Floyd had anywhere near the cohesive narrative of Marvin's 4 records in the '70s.

I'd suggest moving on to the unjustly forgotten I Want You (1976) and the brutal, amazing Here, My Dear (1978), in which Marvin  spends 4 album sides giving the finger to his soon-to-be ex-wife (who was only his boss' sister).

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Man, I haven't listened to that album front-to-back in decades.

The title song is, of course, still everywhere. I'm just guessing, but I'd bet it's responsible for more babies being born than any record in rock history. My memory is that the rest of the record is similar in sound to its big hit.

Where What's Going On sounds exalted and reminds me of the way the air smells after a lightning strike when the ozone is still charged, Let's Get It On is slinkier & sweatier - like when the humidity rolls back in after the thunderstorm.

Gaye was a searcher, always trying to understand the different sides of himself. That's why his post-60s albums sound so cohesive (or "too much of the same thing" - take your pick). He made albums that were totally about what he was exploring at the time. He was as true an "album artist" as the '70s had, because his LPs focused on one idea or theme. Only Willie Nelson, Parliament, and (I guess) Pink Floyd had anywhere near the cohesive narrative of Marvin's 4 records in the '70s.

I'd suggest moving on to the unjustly forgotten I Want You (1976) and the brutal, amazing Here, My Dear (1978), in which Marvin  spends 4 album sides giving the finger to his soon-to-be ex-wife (who was only his boss' sister).

Wow. I will indeed check those albums from '76 and '78 that you mention. I've begun to really view some different artists as essential listening as my time here on the board accrues and my musical acumen sharpens a bit. (Or as I age, but I always loved What's Going On on the oldies stations, a relegation that seems so unjust for Marvin Gaye and so many of the Motown or Stax artists that fall into that sort of touristic time trap, for a variety of uncool reasons.)  But to view Marvin Gaye as an album musician, varied from album to album, is a crucial insight that bucks my own experience with format and distribution of his music, as you alluded to in an earlier post this thread about a similar topic. Like I said, I'm used to Marvin Gaye as more nostalgia rather than as a living and breathing relevant voice. I realized after giving What's Going On its due as listener and as contemporary (though not to view it with some sort of historicism is also unrealistic and unfair) that doing so -- viewing him as something from the past -- is a mistake on my end. He's vital still.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Edited by rockaction

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Posted (edited)

Next up: Marvin Gaye's What's Going On: The Detroit Mix. There are significant differences between the original mix of What's Going On and the product released by Motown, so I'm reading. Here is where I listen and give some quick thoughts, which are below. I will be playing the album, the thoughtfully released 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, via Spotify through a Dragonfly DAC USB converter and a pair of Grado SR60 headphones. This is really the best rig I have when listening digitally, and it sounds great so far...

First and then second thoughts: This is a wonderful new way to listen to it. James Jamerson's bass comes to the foreground and the bongos are more prominent. So are the horns placed more to the fore in the mix. Quick anecdote: It's rumored that Jamerson played his bass lying down because he was too drunk to sit down and play the bass line. That's something crazy. I know Uruk has sang Jamerson's praises many times in this forum (somebody's listening, Uruk!) but this interlude during "Flyin' High (In The Friendly Sky)" is something else. The bongos particularly come to the fore in the title track.

As for the most controversial (?) decision, which is regarding the intro/endtro decision on the title track, I'm not sure which I like better, definitively speaking. The talking, which goes in the beginning of the final mix, is at the end of Track One and segues into Track Two for the Detroit mix. Both, as have been noted elsewhere, have merits. The talking in the final mix at the beginning of the track gives an immediacy to the party vibe of the album, which is important given its lyrical and topical content. It frames the discussion in the context of a friendly gathering rather than a lecture. It works brilliantly as a device to do that. The Detroit mix, on the other hand, flows a little more naturally and starts the album off more traditionally, with a cold start and then the segue into the second song.

I like the final mix of that particular song better, frankly.  

The segue starts, "What's Happening Brother" comes on, and the bongos go again, but they're more muted, even in this mix. The album starts to get orchestral a bit, though the orchestra is muted in this mix compared to the final one. The final mix certainly brings the strings and the woodwinds up a bit in this song, which is a good thing, IMO. I love the orchestral nature of the final mix of this song. The drum arpeggios are muted here, as in other parts, whereas in the final mix, they're brought up a bit. I like both the orchestral, flute, woodwinds, and high-pitched percussion of the final mix precisely because the segue between "What's Happening..." and "Flyin' High (In The Friendly Sky)" is more dream-like and sounds more like the lyrical content. Flyin' Home? Naw, Flyin' High.

At about 2:30 into "Save The Children," the band freaks out in a jazz breakdown within the context of the song that's different than the final mix. It's absolutely wonderful, and I wish it were left in the final mix. It grooves.

Then "God Is Love" and "Mercy, Mercy Me." I'm going off of first and brief second impressions here. I can't hear that much of a difference between that and the final mix, other than the noted orchestra/rhythm-horn emphasis. The nature of "Mercy, Mercy Me" as the hit shines through here. It stands alone, and they don't do too much with the mix, other than, again, the drum/orchestra dynamic. On a personal note: It's one of my favorite songs ever, about a topic most people consider me antiquated and to the right on. That's how good the song is. Wow.

Right now, I'm into Side Two, where the other instruments are playing a greater role than Marvin's voice in the final mix. The bongos, horns, and flute and piano on "Right On" are much more prominent in the mix, at least to these ears. It could also be in the mastering, as I'm used to a particular mastered version of the album (The Back To Black version released in Europe). The sax at about 5:20 takes precedence over the sort of high-pitched percussive notes in the original mix. I think I also like the original segue better, but I am not as much a sax guy as I appreciate percussive arpeggios (when percussion has a varied pitch, that is).

The "Wholy Holy" intro is also different. It's inessential, in my opinion, though there's rarely a false note in either of these mixes. It was cut. It may have dragged on too long for those overseeing the final cut. It's a lot of repetition and emphasized the gospel nature of the song. I was going to say it sounds like testifying in church, but I haven't really been to Afro-American churches, nor have much experience in their history or workings, so I didn't want to sound out-of-sorts. But it seems pretty apparent they're going gospel/testify a bit here.

"Inner City Blues" just started. The bongos, again, come to the fore here, whereas they're muted in the final mix. I like this better, but it is indeed grittier than the original. It sounds more like that summer street sweat that Uruk alluded to from Let's Get It On than the more ethereal-sounding final mix of What's Going On. God, I'm such a fanboy of this album. I could just listen to it. Back to the song. Certainly there's a different endtro, which ends with Marvin singing "Who are they to judge us/Just because we wear our hair long?" I'm inclined to think the final cut got axing this right. The lament seems too time-bound and topical for such a heady album. In retrospect, that was a good move to cut it or mute the vox somewhat.

All told, that was awesome. A nice way to hear the album in a different mix. The original observations are what I'll leave the reader with. The bongos, sax, bass, and horns come to the fore in the Detroit mix of the songs. The Berry Gordy/Motown version sounds more ethereal, more like a grand artistic achievement, something a record exec could respect. This mix sounds a little more gritty, a little more in the province of the artist, a little more real. And somewhere in between, you get utter greatness.

That was a great thirty-six minutes or so spent. I would highly encourage listening to it if you're a fan.

Steve Hoffman forum link here

Edited by rockaction
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12 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Next up: Marvin Gaye's What's Going On. The Detroit Mixes. There are significant differences, so I'm reading it. A quick review TK. I will be playing it via Spotify through a Dragonfly DAC USB converter and a pair of Grado SR60 headphones. This is really the best rig I have when listening digitally, and it sounds great so far...

This is supposed to be awesome from what I've read. I haven't experienced it yet so I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, Uruk-Hai said:

This is supposed to be awesome from what I've read. I haven't experienced it yet so I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Sure. I'm sort of liveblogging them above as an edit, Uruk. 

eta* Heh, the edit mentioned you before you posted.

Edited by rockaction
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Posted (edited)

Sitting down and listening to Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. I think that "Astral Weeks," "Sweet Thing," "The Way Young Lovers Do," and "Slim Slow Slider" are the standouts here. I did indeed happen to get the 2009 version of the LP that was mastered directly from the analog sourcing tapes, and it sounds pretty good on this rig. It's the stereo version. I'm tempted to pick up the alternative take/Record Store Day 10" version of four of the songs, including my favorite, "Slim Slow Slider," but we'll wait and see.

Update: Did not pay the twenty bucks for the four songs. My rule is about two bucks a song, and of the four standouts I mention here, the Record Store Day 10" had only one of tracks in an alternative version, so I ate the records I had for trade and decided not to do it. The tracks on the 10" are "Beside You, (Take One)" "Madame George (Take Four)," "Ballerina (Long Version)," and "Slim Slow Slider (Long Version)." I really love "Ballerina" upon second listen. Maybe I should have gotten this record. 

Anyway, more listens make this record better, not worse. It's challenging -- a little bit folk/psych, a little baroque, but always within a jazz/blues vein. It's something else. 

Edited by rockaction
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31 minutes ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Here's a little Sunday morning appetizer from a great American band.

Almost traded for a Stax #1 compilation on vinyl with this on it last night. In further relation to the thread, a Bob Dylan (The Other Side Of Bob Dylan) Mobile Fidelity record would have been going the other way but he didn't value it quite enough. But great addition! Pretty spazzy organ freak out at 3:00 in.

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Posted (edited)

Just ordered what is considered the finest mainstream audio pressing of What's Going On, a 1984 Motown Promo of What's Going On that Motown sent to radio stations. It's apparently the best-sounding release of the album and was overseen by some pretty big dudes, according to the Steve Hoffman threads. Looking forward to receiving mine in the mail. 

eta* Graded VG+/Very Good Plus, it is said to be a "strong player." Let's hope it has little surface noise and is quiet. 

Edited by rockaction

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Posted (edited)

I can't bring myself to buy Moondance from Amazon even though it is mastered from the analog source. Just don't dig the album enough.

Yep. I said it. I have an aversion to Moondance. Too collegiate for me. 

"Dude, 's get stoned and listen to Van, man."

eta* Really, I think it's because I've heard the songs so many times.

Edited by rockaction

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I can't bring myself to buy Moondance from Amazon even though it is mastered from Analog. Just don't dig the album enough.

Yep. I said it. I have an aversion to Moondance. Too collegiate for me. 

"Dude, 's get stoned and listen to Van, man."

Yeah, it is not my favorite of his big albums. It is a little too slick and commercial for me. There are some great songs on there though, no doubt. St. Dominic's Preview or The live album It's Too Late to Stop Now would be the next step if one wanted to pursue more Van. 

On 8/10/2019 at 6:00 PM, rockaction said:

Sitting down and listening to Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. I think that "Astral Weeks," "Sweet Thing," "The Way Young Lovers Do," and "Slim Slow Slider" are the standouts here. I did indeed happen to get the 2009 version of the LP that was mastered directly from the analog sourcing tapes, and it sounds pretty good on this rig. It's the stereo version. I'm tempted to pick up the alternative take/Record Store Day 10" version of four of the songs, including my favorite, "Slim Slow Slider," but we'll wait and see.

Update: Did not pay the twenty bucks for the four songs. My rule is about two bucks a song, and of the four standouts I mention here, the Record Store Day 10" had only one of tracks in an alternative version, so I ate the records I had for trade and decided not to do it. The tracks on the 10" are "Beside You, (Take One)" "Madame George (Take Four)," "Ballerina (Long Version)," and "Slim Slow Slider (Long Version)." I really love "Ballerina" upon second listen. Maybe I should have gotten this record. 

Anyway, more listens make this record better, not worse. It's challenging -- a little bit folk/psych, a little baroque, but always within a jazz/blues vein. It's something else. 

Funny that the 2 biggest staples his repetoire from that album weren't amongst your favorites. 

Edited by Ilov80s

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2 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

Yeah, it is not my favorite of his big albums. It is a little too slick and commercial for me. There are some great songs on there though, no doubt. St. Dominic's Preview or The live album Too Late to Stop Now would be the next step if one wanted to pursue more Van. 

Funny that the 2 biggest staples his repetoire from that album weren't amongst your favorites. 

As for the first paragraph and Moondance, I edited my post. If I were coming to those songs fresh, I think I'd have a wildly different take. As it was, they were on everywhere at my neo-hippie University. Just played to death in every dorm room or collegiate apt./lounge.

Which ones are his two biggest staples from Astral Weeks? I'd say my favorites are already changing off of the album. I simply just really like the record right now. It's not a record that got played out for me. Veedon Fleece is a really interesting record, too. Love it. 

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, rockaction said:

As for the first paragraph and Moondance, I edited my post. If I were coming to those songs fresh, I think I'd have a wildly different take. As it was, they were on everywhere at my neo-hippie University. Just played to death in every dorm room or collegiate apt./lounge.

Which ones are his two biggest staples from Astral Weeks? I'd say my favorites are already changing off of the album. I simply just really like the record right now. It's not a record that got played out for me. Veedon Fleece is a really interesting record, too. Love it. 

Madame George and Cyprus Avenue. I don't think they are hits really but they were staples of his live shows. For a long time he closed every show with Cyprus Avenue and the final line "It's Too Late to Stop Now" (which is from Into the Mystic). His live stuff is interesting because the songs often taken a very different form. He plays live like he is Sam Cooke or James Brown. 

Edited by Ilov80s

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Just now, Ilov80s said:

Madame George and Cyprus Avenue. I don't think they are hits really but they were staples of his live shows. For a long time he closed every show with Cyprus Avenue and the final line "It's Too Late to Stop Now". His love stuff is interesting because the songs often taken a very different form. He plays live like he is Sam Cooke or James Brown. 

Huh. Interesting. You'd throttle the 2009 version of me. I had a chance to catch his tour and didn't. Thought he'd be too old. My father had an in for tickets at Foxwoods, knew I liked Them and Van, and asked me if I wanted any. I politely declined. I regret that. 

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As for the songs, they're both great. "Beside You" is the only one I find a bit tedious, actually. 

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Just now, rockaction said:

Huh. Interesting. You'd throttle the 2009 version of me. I had a chance to catch his tour and didn't. Thought he'd be too old. My father had an in for tickets at Foxwoods, knew I liked Them and Van, and asked me if I wanted any. I politely declined. I regret that. 

That is probably about the year I saw him at the Fox Theater- knew the manager working there and got bumped up to the 3rd row. He was anything but washed. He sounded as good as he did on any album that night. I took my wife and parents. My mom was crying the entire time. 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

That is probably about the year I saw him at the Fox Theater- knew the manager working there and got bumped up to the 3rd row. He was anything but washed. He sounded as good as he did on any album that night. I took my wife and parents. My mom was crying the entire time. 

You were in CT at the Fox Theater? How did you enjoy Eastern CT? It's, um, Eastern CT in October. 

Edited by rockaction

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Just now, rockaction said:

You were in CT at the Fox Theater? How did you enjoy Eastern CT. It's, um, Eastern CT in October. 

Fox Theater in Detroit

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3 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

You know, that's what I figured, but they call the Foxwoods Casino theater Fox Theater, too. Huh. Cool. Beautiful theater you've got there.

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5 minutes ago, rockaction said:

You know, that's what I figured, but they call the Foxwoods Casino theater Fox Theater, too. Huh. Cool. Beautiful theater you've got there.

Yeah so weird to think that they used to build movie theaters like that. It was orinally a part of the Fox Theatre chain owned by Fox Films. I believe the Detroit theatre was the crowning jewel of the chain and the largest. 

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Whoa, Marvin just went down to $100 for the Ultra Disc treatment from MoFi. I had to do it.

Purchased this...

Looks like a nice set. I'll report back later in August. 

:oldunsure:

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The Basement Tapes (recorded 1967, released 1975)

The record isn't a typical Dylan album so I don't feel like I'm two timing Bosley.  So it came to pass, I listened to the album while crammed into a middle seat on a flight from Dylan's birth state (MSP) to the symbolic end of the road for The Band (SFO).

You're probably familiar with the story of the Basement Tapes.  It's an essential part of the Dylan legend and probably rock 'n roll's greatest example of just letting the tape run while magic happens.   The impromptu nature of the sessions are at once the album's greatest strength and weakness.  On the plus side, the tapes are like field recordings of old folk musicians.  Everybody sounds relaxed and Robbie Robertson doesn't have time to overthink anything.  Dylan is in strong voice, as are the members of The Band.  On the down side, the lyrics are rough cuts and some songs aren't quite finished.  Only one song is more than five minutes with three more clocking in at over four.  Some songs end abruptly or throw a sloppy solo in lieu of the  bridge.  Dylan's lyrics don't include any mystical epics; he's just making #### up and recording with whoever was around.   One song I chose for the playlist is missing a drum track, presumably because Levon Helm was elsewhere at the time.  Even with these limitations, it's one of Dylan's most endearing albums.  The sound isn't hi-fi by any means but it's not raw basement recordings either.  The original tapes were worked over for the 1975 release with instrumental overdubs added to the converted mono mix.  Plus I was on an airplane.

I put Million Dollar Bash and You Ain't Goin' Nowhere on the playlist but could have chosen almost any of the Dylan songs on the album.  The Band's songs are great too.  Dylan talk sings through the verses of Million Dollar Bash between a short catchy chorus.  The song is in and out in two and a half minutes.  You Ain't Goin' Nowhere is best known as the opener of The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Radio album but the sound is less country here. 

Bosley survived my trip.  Both Mrs. Eephus and my daughter described him as "grumpy" while I was away.  He apparently held his bowels in my honor because he crapped four times for me in the first day back.  I guess that's what happens when associate that foul act with getting a treat.

If you haven't listened to The Basement Tapes lately, I can't recommend the album any higher.  24 songs fly by in 77 minutes and the intermingling with songs by The Band makes it a breezy listen. 

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Breaking news:  Bosley got stuck behind the couch.

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9 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Breaking news:  Bosley got stuck behind the couch.

Is he okay?

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53 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Is he okay?

He's fine.  We started Highway 61 on the walk tonight.  Boz was relatively peppy while he wandered along.

Thanks for putting the work in on the OP.  It's much better than I would have done in my own thread. 

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1 minute ago, Eephus said:

He's fine.  We started Highway 61 on the walk tonight.  Boz was relatively peppy while he wandered along.

Thanks for putting the work in on the OP.  It's much better than I would have done in my own thread. 

Cool. My first instinct was not to know what happened. A long time ago, my uncle's dog died getting stuck in between fencing on a cold Michigan night. So now I can laugh.

No sweat on the OP - my pleasure. I dig your reviews, so it's worth it. 

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Boz getting stuck or falling down is pretty commonplace

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Somebody from the UK rag New Musical Express wrote a piece yesterday calling for Dylan to stop his Never Ending Tour. The headline and first sentence showed up in my Google feed but the article appears to have been taken down.

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm a half-hearted Dylan fan -- I get his place in the pantheon and recognize his writing and phrasing is top-class.  But I also almost always like the covers better than the originals, for the obvious and most-common reason.

I also, simultaneously and half-heartedly, try to convince my wife that he's worth her time to listen to despite my own misgivings, but she rejects that out of hand.  Won't have any of it despite my never actually admitting I agree with her.

Today we're on an 8-hour road trip and she's snoozing shotgun.  It's All Over Baby Blue came on in that thin reedy whine (not the Tangled Up in Blue or Shelter from the Storm voice) and she shot up out of her sleep, scowling and disjointed.  I realized it was beyond all hope that she might someday at least appreciate Dylan.

Edited by Dinsy Ejotuz

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1 hour ago, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

I'm a half-hearted Dylan fan -- I get his place in the pantheon and recognize his writing and phrasing is top-class.  But I also almost always like the covers better than the originals, for the obvious and most-common reason.

I also, simultaneously and half-heartedly, try to convince my wife that he's worth her time to listen to despite my own misgivings, but she rejects that out of hand.  Won't have any of it despite my never actually admitting I agree with her.

Today we're on an 8-hour road trip and she's snoozing shotgun.  It's All Over Baby Blue came on in that thin reedy whine (not the Tangled Up in Blue or Shelter from the Storm voice) and she shot up out of her sleep, scowling and disjointed.  I realized it was beyond all hope that she might someday at least appreciate Dylan.

I have a relative who is the same way. Hates him and scowls. Female also.

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On 8/16/2019 at 10:53 PM, Eephus said:

The Basement Tapes (recorded 1967, released 1975)

The record isn't a typical Dylan album so I don't feel like I'm two timing Bosley.  So it came to pass, I listened to the album while crammed into a middle seat on a flight from Dylan's birth state (MSP) to the symbolic end of the road for The Band (SFO).

You're probably familiar with the story of the Basement Tapes.  It's an essential part of the Dylan legend and probably rock 'n roll's greatest example of just letting the tape run while magic happens.   The impromptu nature of the sessions are at once the album's greatest strength and weakness.  On the plus side, the tapes are like field recordings of old folk musicians.  Everybody sounds relaxed and Robbie Robertson doesn't have time to overthink anything.  Dylan is in strong voice, as are the members of The Band.  On the down side, the lyrics are rough cuts and some songs aren't quite finished.  Only one song is more than five minutes with three more clocking in at over four.  Some songs end abruptly or throw a sloppy solo in lieu of the  bridge.  Dylan's lyrics don't include any mystical epics; he's just making #### up and recording with whoever was around.   One song I chose for the playlist is missing a drum track, presumably because Levon Helm was elsewhere at the time.  Even with these limitations, it's one of Dylan's most endearing albums.  The sound isn't hi-fi by any means but it's not raw basement recordings either.  The original tapes were worked over for the 1975 release with instrumental overdubs added to the converted mono mix.  Plus I was on an airplane.

I put Million Dollar Bash and You Ain't Goin' Nowhere on the playlist but could have chosen almost any of the Dylan songs on the album.  The Band's songs are great too.  Dylan talk sings through the verses of Million Dollar Bash between a short catchy chorus.  The song is in and out in two and a half minutes.  You Ain't Goin' Nowhere is best known as the opener of The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Radio album but the sound is less country here. 

Bosley survived my trip.  Both Mrs. Eephus and my daughter described him as "grumpy" while I was away.  He apparently held his bowels in my honor because he crapped four times for me in the first day back.  I guess that's what happens when associate that foul act with getting a treat.

If you haven't listened to The Basement Tapes lately, I can't recommend the album any higher.  24 songs fly by in 77 minutes and the intermingling with songs by The Band makes it a breezy listen. 

I’m a fairly big Dylan fan but for some reason I never really listened to this one until a few months ago - and I’ve listened four times since. I agree it’s such a fun listen and just has a more relaxed feel than most of his catalogue.

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the Eeph musings up in here blow any musical themed thread right out the ####### water ... what an amazing read this all is. 

pure Americana, i gotta find a way to screenplay this - back to my Vinny Gallo connection. 

 

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Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

What can I say about one of rock 'n roll's greatest albums?  It's magnificent from the opening drum shot of "Like a Rolling Stone" to the harmonica outro of "Desolation Row".  It comes from a particularly prolific period of Dylan's career after he went electric.   It immediately followed side two of "Bringing It Back Home" and his landmark performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.  While on vacation, I read Elijah Wald's book Dylan Goes Electric!: Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the Night that Split the Sixties about that event.  I was familiar with much of Dylan's story but the stuff about Pete Seeger and the early 1960s pop folk movement was very interesting.  Like all legends, what happened that night has been transformed over the years.  Wald presents all the conflicting recollections of witnesses and tries to piece together a plausible truth.  Dylan is at the book's center but is enigmatic as always.  Wald paints as complete a picture as he can given the dated source material but it's tough to explain Dylan's leap that resulted in this album.

Highway 61 comes as close to being faultless as any of the many Dylan albums I've listened to during this exercise.  There is the occasional wrong note and fumbled lyric but that's just Dylan working fast as usual.  He doesn't strive for perfection on his recordings but somehow still manages to achieve it.  Everything is here, Dylan's voice is near its peak, the backing band is locked in, the melodies are memorable and the lyrics are brilliant.  I can understand why Dinsy's wife doesn't like Dylan.  He's not an easy listen and a lot of folks can't get past his voice.  But what bothers me is when people say he's overrated.  It's impossible to overrate the greatness of Highway 61 Revisited.

I added It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry and Queen Jane Approximately to the playlist, mostly for vibe purposes.  The former gets the nod as another train song and the latter has that terrific piano and organ accompaniment.  It's a little thing but I love how Dylan's song titles throw in an extra word or two to make things more interesting-"Queen Jane Approximately", "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" all benefit from the bit of extra ambiguity in the title.

Bosley and I are getting back to normal since my vacation.  I spent time with my sister's two six year old Labs while at the cabin.  They're beautiful dogs and of course are much more active than fourteen year old Boz.  I was trying to remember what Bosley was like at that age and I pretty much drew a blank.  I can remember things he did but when I try to think of his personality, it's recent old Boz that mostly shines through.  I don't think there's anything I can do about that now; my memories of our last dog Charlie are of him in his prime years but he didn't live as long as Boz has.  When the book is finally closed on Dylan, I think the cool gunslinger from the mid-60s is the image that will endure.

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@Eephus - your write ups in this thread would make for a great book. The juxtaposition of exploring Dylan’s discography (while adding some nuggets of history) and the story of an old nearly blind dog just seems to work so well. 

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I wish I could delve more into Dylan's lyrics like this guy does but there's so much there and I'm too left brained.

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Posted (edited)

After hobnobbing with genius on The Basement Tapes and Highway 61 Revisited, I'm going to kill the momentum with:

Dylan (1973)

The album of outtakes was put together by CBS after Dylan signed with Asylum.  Dylan's Bootleg Series have since shown the quality of recordings that were still unreleased as of 1973 which makes the label's decision to make an album out of these particular nine tracks seem like an act of vengeance.  They're all covers from the sessions for the New Morning and Self Portrait albums.  I've listened to those already and thought they had their moments but this one is just bad.  I really thought I wasn't going to find a song for the playlist until the second to last song.

If someone were to do an analytical breakdown of Dylan's catalog and my preferences, I think "female background singers" would have a higher negative correlation than any other attribute.  It got to the point by side two where I was just waiting for the vocalists to come in and mess up the song.  There are Dylan songs with worse backup singers but as a set, this album gets the wooden spoon.

The best two songs on the record are covers of Elvis songs.  Presley was one of young Bobby Zimmerman's idols and the respect is apparent in his versions of "Can't Help Falling in Love" and A Fool Such As I.  The latter made the playlist because it's so much fun.  Dylan does a great Elvis impersonation on the track.  Instead of mimicking the original 1958 version with the Jordanaires, Dylan records it like post-comeback Elvis with a big show band.  You can almost picture Dylan donning a jumpsuit and cape in the studio.

Of all Dylan's strange career moves, the unproductive period he had between 1970-75 is the most perplexing.  This was the golden age of the singer-songwriter in American Pop music but the greatest of them all retreated to recording albums of covers.  Dylan was in his early 30s, approximately halfway between his motorcycle accident and Blood on the Tracks.  His voice was in excellent shape and he could choose from the best musicians in the industry.  I guess his marital problems and commercial disputes with CBS poisoned the waters but it leaves you wondering about what might have been.

Boz sends his regards.  He basically just sleeps, eats, goes for 2-3 walks and wanders around the house.  Nothing much bothers him.  Tonight he had a 70 lbs German Shepherd puppy sniff his butt for 20-30 seconds and he never looked up from the patch of grass he was smelling.

Edited by Eephus
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Desire (1976)

For the past forty years, I've held the opinion that Desire is a better album than Blood on the Tracks.  I don't know where it came from--perhaps it was just teenage Eephus being contrarian but I've stuck to my preference for Desire.  But after immersing myself in Dylan this summer, I'm here to tell you I was wrong.   Desire is a good but flawed album that falls well short of the heights of Blood on the Tracks.

One thing I will say about Desire is it is one of the most cohesive albums in his catalog.  If you hear a song off the album, it's very easy to place because of its distinctive sound.  Scarlet Rivera's violin acts as a counterpoint to Dylan's vocals on every track and Emmylou Harris lends her particular magic to two-thirds of them.  The drums are also more forward in the mix than on most of Dylan's non-80s albums.  Dylan plays around with minor chords and harmonies giving some songs a Middle Eastern feel to them.  Lyrically, he was working with collaborator Jacques Levy during this period and the partnership gravitated toward storytelling.  Listening this time around, I found the song-stories to be hit or miss.  "Hurricane" packs a lot of journalistic detail into an impassioned plea in support of justice for Rubin Carter but the turgid, eleven minutes of "Joey" is like a cross between a bad gangster novel and a rhyming dictionary. 

Thanks in large part to Joey weighing down side two, Desire is a very front heavy album but one song from each side makes the playlist.  Isis is the best of the story songs on the album with its plot revealed through a set of memorable images.  The new Rolling Thunder Revue live album that came out earlier this year includes a great version of the song that rocks more than the studio release.  I chose another album closer for the mix, Sara a love song in 3/4 time to his estranged wife that Dylan wrote independently of Levy. 

I can barely keep track of the Dylan albums I've listened to but I'm really struggling about what I've written about Bosley.  I don't think I've mentioned his relationship with the neighborhood cats.  Our house adjoins a larger three-story apartment building that five or six cats call home. They're city cats who fear nothing, especially the dogs who share the complex with them.  I've seen them team up to chase big dogs around their yard but fortunately they've decided Bosley poses no threat so they leave him alone.  Bosley of course can't see the cats but they do seem to enjoy observing Boz from elevated vantage points while he wanders around.

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57 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Desire (1976)

For the past forty years, I've held the opinion that Desire is a better album than Blood on the Tracks.  I don't know where it came from--perhaps it was just teenage Eephus being contrarian but I've stuck to my preference for Desire.  But after immersing myself in Dylan this summer, I'm here to tell you I was wrong.   Desire is a good but flawed album that falls well short of the heights of Blood on the Tracks.

I've gone back and forth on whether Desire or BOTT is my favorite Dylan record (with Blonde on Blonde working it's way in there from time to time). It's probably "cooler" to claim Desire for contrarian reasons, but ultimately I would have to give in and admit Tracks is better as well. 

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