Dylan's Christian period

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Wexler ennit. altho Dylan specifically was going for Knopfler's sound and wanted him originally iirc

the taint of Macca is strong (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 6 October 2009 22:07 (5 years ago) Permalink

Doesn't Knopfler play on Slow Train, though? Or am I making that up.

tylerw, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 22:10 (5 years ago) Permalink

He sure does, which explains my confusion (he did produce Infidels).

Roman Polanski now sleeps in prison. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 6 October 2009 22:12 (5 years ago) Permalink

I said that Wexler better figures out Dylan's vision on Saved than on Slow Train Coming, but a better way to put what I was trying to express is: Wexler helped Dylan realize a better sound for the vision Dylan had, such as they understood it, on Saved than on Slow Train Coming. Dylan may not have agreed, since he dumped Wexler for Plotkin on Shot of Love and then, yeah, Knopfler for Infidels.

Euler, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 04:16 (5 years ago) Permalink

This topic has provided the only praise that I have ever seen for the 'Christian' period of Bob Dylan.

Josh L, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 13:03 (5 years ago) Permalink

I think you'll find that serious (haha) Dylan fans have plenty of good stuff to say about this period. Obviously the evangelism of the lyrics is always going to be a turn-off for some, but it really is a fascinating time for Dylan.

tylerw, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 13:43 (5 years ago) Permalink

The cover art is great too:

Euler, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 18:55 (5 years ago) Permalink

haha, that cover is nutso. you'd think it was some super-obscure private-press xtian rock record from 1977. But no, it's a BOB DYLAN record.

tylerw, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 21:02 (5 years ago) Permalink

There's conviction there, but whatever he experienced, his lyrical voice was having trouble expressing.

That sounds about right. The songs seem to be either literal renderings of scripture or these terrifically confused metaphors.

Count me as a fan of Budokan (since someone referenced it upthread)--to a point. It seems like a bit of a conceptual coup, actually: rendering his '60s songs, including some protest numbers, as fully-arranged, showstopping Vegas numbers. Actually it sort of anticipates his Perry Como-esque Xmas album in its nonchalant mindfuckery.

Also, I thought the brief segment w/Christian Bale in I'm Not There captured this era of Dylan pretty well/amusingly. Although I am not a big fan of that film as a whole.

amateurist, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:01 (5 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I actually thought that the I'm Not There/Christian (!) Bale segment was the most successful in that movie. Just the utter sincerity of Bale's performance caught something vital about this period in Dylan's career. Of course, the sincerity is just another mask, but it's maybe one of the more convincing masks.

tylerw, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:04 (5 years ago) Permalink

you guys are nuts that movie is awesome

"look its Allen Ginsberg!"

the taint of Macca is strong (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:10 (5 years ago) Permalink

oh i liked it! it's like catnip for Dylan nerds.

tylerw, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:11 (5 years ago) Permalink

did you guys catch moondog in the greenwich village sequence??

amateurist, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:12 (5 years ago) Permalink

i've been trying to get my gf (not a Dylan nerd) to watch it so I can get a neutral assessment

feed them to the (Linden Ave) lions (will), Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:13 (5 years ago) Permalink

yeah i honestly don't think anyone not steeped (DEEPLY steeped) in Dylan lore would get a whole lot out of the movie. Maybe I'm wrong ...

tylerw, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:14 (5 years ago) Permalink

Film nerds, maybe ...

tylerw, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:15 (5 years ago) Permalink

btw i'm not kidding about moondog, haynes sticks a guy in a moondog costume in one of the quick panning shots of the early '60s village. i kind of want to hug haynes for that.

amateurist, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:17 (5 years ago) Permalink

I saw the film with two folks I wouldn't really characterize as Dylan nerds (ie, my wife and an old gay buddy of ours) and they both really dug it. They don't hate his music or anything but they're hardly obsessives (y'know my wife has some sorta weird childhood associations with Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, buddy likes early 70s Dylan, etc.)

I think I was the only one of the three of us who was excited about all the detail/ephemera tho.

the taint of Macca is strong (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:23 (5 years ago) Permalink

and yeah I spotted Moondog

the taint of Macca is strong (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:23 (5 years ago) Permalink

yeah it's possible that I actually didn't appreciate the movie as a "movie" just because of the Dylan trivia overload that is practically every frame.

tylerw, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:25 (5 years ago) Permalink

I didn't enjoy it as much the second time - it kinda lacks some narrative motion, there's no real arc to it. But it is fun and I love that Haynes does this kind of thing (I am also a big fan of Velvet Goldmine)

the taint of Macca is strong (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:27 (5 years ago) Permalink

it was real splashy and my immediate reaction was overstimulation and enthusiasm, but within minutes i was like, "what was that all about?" and my impression began to sour. i should see it again.

amateurist, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23:28 (5 years ago) Permalink

I've still not seen the film (or heard the soundtrack, though I'm less excited about the latter---I fell for too many tributes in the 90s)...mostly because I don't watch any films these days. I'll try to check it out in the next few years, though; I've heard lots good about it.

Euler, Thursday, 8 October 2009 07:27 (5 years ago) Permalink

Soundtrack has some duds, but is overall pretty good. Willie Nelson w/ Calexico doing "Senor" is probably my fave.

tylerw, Thursday, 8 October 2009 14:46 (5 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

oh "Angelina" is really great, isn't it? The organ playing is terrific, and overall the playing is very sympathetic to what Dylan is trying to get across: a lament, presumably for a woman; but it's much more sympathetic to the woman than his 60s songs about women (and more sympathetic than the Blood on the Tracks too I think). Her relationship with God is confusing Dylan: she's surrounded by God's angels, but she doesn't seek God, exactly. But Bob isn't sure about his relationship to her: she can read his mind, but she's wearing a blindfold too. There is too much occlusion, but he'll do anything for her in God's truth.

Euler, Wednesday, 5 May 2010 08:43 (4 years ago) Permalink

oh man it's so good.
Do I need your permission to turn the other cheek?
If you can read my mind, why must I speak?

tylerw, Wednesday, 5 May 2010 14:49 (4 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

A Better Contract: November 16, 1979 @ Warfield, SF...wow. Dylan's singing on "I Believe In You" sounds like it comes from a very deep place, like crying somehow expressed as a moaning shout. There are none of the "greatest hits" on this show: just the new gospel songs, and the playing is hot; not so different from the 1978 live sound (that we talked about sorta recently on the Street-Legal thread), but more focused. The crowd seems into it, too!

Euler, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 17:39 (4 years ago) Permalink

What ferocious courage he has! his preaching at the end of "Precious Angel", going into "Slow Train", about how the world is going to be destroyed & Christ is going to set up his kingdom in Jerusalem for a thousand years; & after the crowd erupts he asks, "Do you believe those things?" and they just shout back, & it's hard to tell what they really think. But I'd gather that a typical Dylan show in San Francisco is not going to attract a lot of people believing those things. It's pretty in-your-face!

Euler, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 17:59 (4 years ago) Permalink

i don't think i've heard that one -- is it a good recording?
euro tour from 1981 is probably the best gospel-era tour recordings I've heard.

tylerw, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 18:42 (4 years ago) Permalink

The only boot from that era I have is Rock Solid - the Massey Hall 1980 show. Absolute stunner.

EZ Snappin, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 18:56 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, that's a killer show -- the 81 stuff is a little less fire n brimstone (he mixes in older material), but the arrangements/band are very nice.

tylerw, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 19:01 (4 years ago) Permalink

The recording is pretty ace, as far as I can hear---they could put it on a Bootleg Series. Actually a comp of this with the Massey Hall show would make a great Bootleg Series.

Euler, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 19:03 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, a gospel bootleg series would be welcome. one of the rare pre neverending tour eras not represented by a live album ... guess there's no official petty/dylan live album.

tylerw, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 19:43 (4 years ago) Permalink

The 30th anniversary show is a Dylan/Petty show of sorts, no?

Euler, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 19:48 (4 years ago) Permalink

well, it's not from the period when they were touring together -- 1986-87, I think? 30th anniversary thing is 92, right?

tylerw, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 19:52 (4 years ago) Permalink

ah, ok---and anyway they only play together on a few songs.

Euler, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 19:55 (4 years ago) Permalink

i dl'd something recently that was a SF show from 1980 w/ Jerry Garcia sitting in on a few tracks. Haven't listened yet, but a cool setlist. I'll see if I can dig up the link for it.

tylerw, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 19:59 (4 years ago) Permalink

I'll highly recommend this 1979 show: high energy, great guitar work (I guess by a guy from Little Feat?).

Euler, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 20:02 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, it's a cool band - spooner oldham, jim keltner, tim drummond ... buncha top notch 70s session dudes.

tylerw, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 20:23 (4 years ago) Permalink

Euler did you find this online somewhere or is it a physical boot?

underwater, please (bear, bear, bear), Tuesday, 15 June 2010 20:58 (4 years ago) Permalink

If it's online, please point us in that direction.

EZ Snappin, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 21:50 (4 years ago) Permalink

I checked Dime, it's there but there are no seeders at the moment.

anagram, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 15:36 (4 years ago) Permalink

Thanks Tyler!

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 15:40 (4 years ago) Permalink

that site is sort of weird to navigate, but it's pretty comprehensive

tylerw, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 15:48 (4 years ago) Permalink

I'm currently reading Volume 2 of Clinton Heylin's Songs of Bob Dylan, and I'm at the Born Again part. That era makes for pretty samey reading, but I was shocked at how little I knew Slow Train Coming and especially Saved. I'm incapable of considering Shot Of Love with anything approaching objectivity as it was my first Dylan album and I loved it then and still. I put Saved on for the first time in years yesterday, and man, it is great.

There was talk of one of the gospel gigs being recorded for a potential live album release, it's bootlegged as Rock Solid and was recorded in Toronto 1980. From everything i've read about them, the Warfield shows could come up with an outstanding Bootleg Series between them.

Officer Pupp, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 17:31 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, I got it online; tyler's link looks good! I might try the other Warfield shows too; reading around, they're evidently legendary, and I can see why: the one I was writing about yesterday is smoking.

Euler, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 17:48 (4 years ago) Permalink

Thanks Tyler/Euler!

underwater, please (bear, bear, bear), Wednesday, 16 June 2010 18:27 (4 years ago) Permalink

Okay, this is great

underwater, please (bear, bear, bear), Wednesday, 16 June 2010 18:59 (4 years ago) Permalink

Yep this boot is amazing. The band is so good that when the gospel stuff finishes i'm getting pretty bored by the solo acoustic Tambourine and Times.

Jamie_ATP, Sunday, 20 June 2010 10:15 (4 years ago) Permalink

Xgau liking it only confirms my belief that it's a steaming turd of a record.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 26 March 2014 21:47 (6 months ago) Permalink

Not sure it's a full endorsement.

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 26 March 2014 21:51 (6 months ago) Permalink

yeah the 80s cliches come thick and heavy there but damn if the production (and/or mastering) on those 80s dylan records doesn't sound like shit.

espring (amateurist), Wednesday, 26 March 2014 22:04 (6 months ago) Permalink

steve hyden is easily the worst writer at grantland and was one of the worst at avclub, a more anodyne moody but just as clueless a defender of garbled unexamined cw.

balls, Wednesday, 26 March 2014 22:59 (6 months ago) Permalink

the Miami Vice drums, the overbearing backup singers, and the sluggishly steady metronomic synth gurgle

Cliche or not, this is a pretty accurate description.

plus the jack frost "sonics" are prob better + "aliver" than anyone's dylan sonics since tom wilson's

I wouldn't go quite that far, but I do like the relatively clean, live sound of Jack Frost-era Dylan a lot better than Lanois's highly-produced sound. I don't think he's talking about the recording sound though, he's more talking about the style. I think that Love and Theft was a major creative rebirth for Dylan, but he achieved it by forgetting about sounding modern and going back to his roots.

o. nate, Thursday, 27 March 2014 21:05 (6 months ago) Permalink

Cliche or not, this is a pretty accurate description.

right but it's become accepted discourse that "eighties production" means "lots of cocaine produced it." "Miami Vice" is another cliche. "In the Air Tonight" drums don't sound like the Jan Hammer's theme.

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 27 March 2014 21:16 (6 months ago) Permalink

I think the point is that those records have a generic bad-'80s sound. "In the Air Tonight" still sounds awesome, IMO.

o. nate, Thursday, 27 March 2014 21:29 (6 months ago) Permalink

The singing on the worst eighties recordings is worse than the production imo

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 27 March 2014 21:31 (6 months ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

tylerw, Friday, 11 April 2014 20:20 (6 months ago) Permalink

woah is that official?

Juelz Fantano (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 11 April 2014 21:25 (6 months ago) Permalink

nah, looks like it's a jews for jesus thing that they must've been handing out in front of dylan shows in 1980

tylerw, Friday, 11 April 2014 21:30 (6 months ago) Permalink

jews for jesus are the first, they always manage to pick me out of groups of people when i'm walking down the street. i usually scare them away with a preemptive "fuck you."

espring (amateurist), Friday, 11 April 2014 21:32 (6 months ago) Permalink

are the WORST

espring (amateurist), Friday, 11 April 2014 21:32 (6 months ago) Permalink

yes, they suck. must've been a big deal for them when dylan converted.

tylerw, Friday, 11 April 2014 21:37 (6 months ago) Permalink

jews for jesus are the first,

they were that too if you think about it

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 11 April 2014 21:42 (6 months ago) Permalink

ha, that is correct! :)

espring (amateurist), Friday, 11 April 2014 22:01 (6 months ago) Permalink

I finally listened to Changing of the Guard: good singing (the choral group is used effectively, for the most part), good music (except for the drums); but lyrics incl brain of homeless prophetic imagery and serenades which start suavely but quickly go so wrong ("Can ya cook and sew, make the flowers grow," he sounds like even he knows this is hopeless as soon as he hears it--and/or he already knew it, but it's still like,) "No? Course not, but come 'ere and show me what you can do, then.") Performance-wise, the most successful (and stylistically, the most unusual here) is "New Pony," which morphs into bizarre bluesoid porn, though not in a good way (to my taste). Overall, sounds like he's really moving toward some desperate change.
(Before this album came out, Renaldo and Clara incl Dyl paying much attention as Ginsberg tells him about Jesus and the ladies---think some of this was from the Apocrypha, but some from the Protestant-approved Gospels).

dow, Friday, 11 April 2014 22:27 (6 months ago) Permalink

brain *stew* of homeless, Ah meant to say.

dow, Friday, 11 April 2014 22:28 (6 months ago) Permalink

Not that all the lyrics are bad, but this set incl. recurring, off-putting syndromes.

dow, Friday, 11 April 2014 22:31 (6 months ago) Permalink


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