Is Bob Dylan overrated?

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What do you think?

Atomic Clock, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:36 (eighteen years ago) link

No, but some of his songs may be.

Tico Tico (Tico Tico), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:39 (eighteen years ago) link

I think it's another case of this:
Most Underrated Overrated Band?

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:41 (eighteen years ago) link

dylan: no
dylan's lyrics: OH GOD YES!! A THOUSAND TIMES YES!!!!

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:41 (eighteen years ago) link

I tried to give ol' Bobby D. another chance yesterday and listened to Dilate, which was highly recommended. Booooooring.

nickalicious (nickalicious), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:43 (eighteen years ago) link

there'll be puke by sundown

nate detritus (natedetritus), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:43 (eighteen years ago) link

No he aint. However some people analyze some portions of his ouevre too much. I don't think there's any point close reading the lyric of 'I'll Be Your Baby Tonight'. Possibly Bob sometimes wishes his songs were enjoyed in the same way people enjoyed the big country hits that used to fill up the Billboard charts in the 50s and 60s.

pete s, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:46 (eighteen years ago) link

If anything, most of his '70s stuff is underappreciated.

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:55 (eighteen years ago) link

Yes.

mei (mei), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:04 (eighteen years ago) link

I think of it more like framing a guy who's actually guilty. He really (really really) is great, but 95 percent of everything you read praising him gets the essence of why he's great wrong. Classic blind men/elephant scenario: You can describe the words, the music, the jokes, the viciousness, the blues and country and gospel and rock, you can even try to describe the voice although almost nobody ever gets that right...but trying to add it all up is a fool's game. It's like complexity theory, where once reach a certain density of interconnectivity, with information flowing in multiple, almost untrackable directions simultaneously, you get emergence: new things arise from the system that couldn't be predicted from any single element of the system. Dylan's like a whole complex system all unto himself.

spittle (spittle), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:09 (eighteen years ago) link

spittle just proved it

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:11 (eighteen years ago) link

I've been listening to the Dylan/Band basement tapes recently, and it's just quality "rock," loose and fun... I don't really listen to lyrics anyway.

andy, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:17 (eighteen years ago) link

When's that Todd Haynes movie come out?

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:17 (eighteen years ago) link

I like the song he did for Wonder Boys, what's it called, "Things Have Changed." I like that one pretty good.

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:21 (eighteen years ago) link

I liked when he did it at the Oscars except he wasn't really there, he was in Australia or something and he played live on the huge Oscar screen, and when they did closeups it was like the giant Bob head coming to visit the little people of Hollywood. With a riverboat gambler mustache.

spittle (spittle), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:24 (eighteen years ago) link

Actually, after thinking for a minute, I think the problem is that all the embarrassing, chin-stroking praise and analysis heaped upon '60s Dylan (and especially his "poetic" lyrics, blah blah) by olde-tyme critics (Dave Marsh et. al.) makes for an overrated air, and makes it understandable that people have a hard time just digging Dylan's rockin' music, as Andy suggests.

I bet if people (rock 'n' roll fans) heard "Planet Waves" with no preconceptions about **DYLAN,** most of them would have to love it!!

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:24 (eighteen years ago) link

I can certainly understand people being turned off to the whole Dylan thing, due to the overbaked Boomer mythos. (But they shouldn't be!)

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:25 (eighteen years ago) link

Actually if you listen to "The Times They Are A-Changin'" back to back with "Things Have Changed," you learn a lot about the difference between being 22 years old and 60 years old.

mr. man, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:26 (eighteen years ago) link

well you can't overrate his influence, which is staggeringly huge.
maybe he's the joyce of rock?

pete s, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:26 (eighteen years ago) link

62-69 -- no
70 on -- a rollercoast that sometimes dips so deep into the sewers you think it will never come back up again.

jack cole (jackcole), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:27 (eighteen years ago) link

for some reason, when I was in my early 20s (as I was in 2000 when I listened to "Things Have Changed") I was really into songs about being over the hill or whatever. Personal apocalypses. Now I'm into songs about revenge.

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:28 (eighteen years ago) link

dylan's worst albums still aren't as bad as U2's worst albums, and dylan's discography is at least three times as large.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:29 (eighteen years ago) link

I guess I'd say if he's "overrated" it's in the way that great artists tend to be -- past a point, their "greatness" gets taken as a given and cited as such by people who would be hard-pressed to actually tell you what's great about it. (See: Picasso, Louis Armstrong, Orson Welles, etc. etc.)

spittle (spittle), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:31 (eighteen years ago) link

not that Dylan doesn't have his share of shitty songs though

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:31 (eighteen years ago) link

"Street Legal" is a great, underrated album. Total spiritual crisis album.

Mr. Man, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:32 (eighteen years ago) link

not that Dylan doesn't have his share of shitty songs though

anyone with a career like that surely has to phone it in sometimes.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:32 (eighteen years ago) link

I feel for the Edge there because having that fucking glare in your eye can't have made him happy.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:36 (eighteen years ago) link

nevermind that that twit Bono is always around him

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:37 (eighteen years ago) link

oh, but the edge had his revenge against the boner ... like, the boner directs him, "edge, play the blues!" and edge cuts in with a guitar solo that is so NOT the blues.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:41 (eighteen years ago) link

It's always bugged me that there's an overwhelming consensus, not just commonly held opinion but something teetering perilously close to universal FACT, that certain Dylan albums are AWFUL AWFUL SHIT SHIT SHIT -- and it's a consensus that's built mostly on reputation, guesswork, fear of '80s production values, fear of the earnestness of someone wrestling with his spirituality. I wonder how many people who "hate" Knocked Out Loaded have heard it at all, or more than that one time 17 years ago or whatever.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:43 (eighteen years ago) link

my answer to this thread: no, he's not overrated. i don't especially LIKE much of his music or his musical legacy, but bob dylan isn't overrated.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:44 (eighteen years ago) link

my Dad is a big Dylan fan and has most of the "good" stuff on vinyl, but had the "not-so-good" stuff on tape, so that's the Dylan I mostly listened to as a kid with my dorky walkman, and I sorta like it.

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:49 (eighteen years ago) link

Actually I think his legacy is underrated -- to this day I constantly hear little Dylanisms pop up all over the place (not just lyric steals but little melodic tendencies, phrasings, etc), and critics very seldom point these out, because they're too busy hearing the goddamn BEATLES in everything.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:50 (eighteen years ago) link

yes, isn't it interesting how critics and fans cream all over Bob Marley's spiritual quest (rightly so) yet shit all over Dylan's Christian conversion? Both were honest, both had a lot of intolerance built in (check out Rasta anti-semitism and major sexism), but they both informed some very passionate music.

Tab25, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:54 (eighteen years ago) link

I don't think Dylan is overrated in general. Though undoubtedly there are fans out there who overrate him. And I think he still tends to get off easy on certain things, since he's Dylan. For instance, his voice is really shot to hell these days, but that seldom gets more than a passing mention in his reviews. I'm one of the people who thinks that he used to have a great voice, but really, these days, it's so bad that it gets in the way. Especially when he still feels the need to write songs with like 20 verses.

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:05 (eighteen years ago) link

I never hear anyone even mention Dylan's '80s albums, except for people who are Dylan fans... it seems like most people's casual knowledge of Dylan stops around Desire. (Maybe picking up briefly again for Empire Burlesque/Infidels... then jump-starting again with Time Out of Mind.)

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:07 (eighteen years ago) link

I think his voice is better than ever. And I don't think his wicked guitar playing gets enough credit.
And he has nice eyes.

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:07 (eighteen years ago) link

x-post

Self-Portrait might be the most underrated album of all time.

And I agree with Tab. Dylan as fundamentalist spitfire preacher is definitely underrated. That phase of his might be the most dramatic remove from an established image anyone's ever accomplished. It's interesting how Neil Young did his schizo albums right after, which maybe's another example of Dylan's huge sway over everybody else.

otto, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:07 (eighteen years ago) link

I like his voice these days -- it has a lot of character. One of my pet peeves is people who hate Dylan's singing (full-stop), because there's so much going on in his voice, always.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:10 (eighteen years ago) link

I own some Bob Dylan stuff, I hardly ever listen to it, and if I never hear him again I'm not gonna get all weepy. However I don't think he's overrated.

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:13 (eighteen years ago) link

Character?! It sounds like his vocal cords have been through a cheese grater.

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:13 (eighteen years ago) link

a cheese grater from heaven!

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:15 (eighteen years ago) link

It sounds like his vocal cords have been through a cheese grater.

This is bad why?

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:16 (eighteen years ago) link

I'm sorta annoyed with the valuing of his voice as mystic signifier...but at base, I just don't like it.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:19 (eighteen years ago) link

I listen to Dylan more than i listen to the Beatles and i think i always will.

NOT overrated -- and go ahead and strike up another vote for Self Portrait.

christoff (christoff), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:33 (eighteen years ago) link

I think his voice is better than ever.

Yeah buddy. I've seen him several times over the past 17 years (first in '87, most recently in '02), and the most recent show was the best hands down. His singing was so sharp and (OK, in its own way) *rich*. But the "mystic signifier" thing is true, I guess, because I think loving Dylan's singing vs. appreciating him as a songwriter or "important influence" or whatever is kind of the dividing line on really digging him or not.

spittle (spittle), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:38 (eighteen years ago) link

mystic signifier

I wouldn't call it that. I just think his delivery is really funny! He has a great sense of comedic timing (even when he's being serious) and almost everything he sings is pregnant with some kind of... I don't wanna say "meaning," it's more like "presence of mind." Like you know he wrote the line to be sung a certain way and the fun of getting to sing it justifies the labor of writing it.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:41 (eighteen years ago) link

I think it was John Lennon who said you don't need to hear Dylan's words, just the way he sings them.

I mean, I'd put him with Sinatra and Ella and Billie and ... not many others, maybe Elvis? Bing? Howlin' Wolf? Hank Williams? ... as great American singers of the recorded era.

But then, that's the kind of statement that makes people say he's overrated. Can't win.

spittle (spittle), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:42 (eighteen years ago) link

Like you know he wrote the line to be sung a certain way and the fun of getting to sing it justifies the labor of writing it.

And this is important because so many "clever" singer-songwriters have no idea how to emote comedically and their jokes just don't translate well to being sung.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:47 (eighteen years ago) link

Maybe the chapter is just a picture of that surgeon in Seinfeld that was so entranced by the song?

birdistheword, Friday, 9 September 2022 20:54 (three weeks ago) link

Rolling Stone interviewed David Kemper which is perfect timing given that Flagging Down the Double E's just published the second and last part of their Winston Watson interview. (Kemper took over for Watson.)

...after Jerry (Garcia) passed away, about eight months later or something, (Dylan’s manger) Jeff Kramer called and said, “Bob would like you to join his band.” I said, “Sure. How do we get going?” He goes, “Well, we got a gig with the Pope in Bologna.” I said, “Say that again?” He goes, “Yeah, the Pope. John Paul II invited us to a Eucharistic Congress.”

birdistheword, Saturday, 10 September 2022 20:10 (three weeks ago) link

witchy woman is not a bad song and don’s vocal performance is amazing!

brimstead, Sunday, 11 September 2022 00:51 (three weeks ago) link

Well, yeah

Josefa, Sunday, 11 September 2022 00:56 (three weeks ago) link

There's a lot about the record that irritates me. The opening sounds really fucking awful in a familiar way, like the stock music commonly used to introduce Native Americans as a bunch of evil savages in some shitty Western. I hoped I was imagining things, but a quick Google search shows that Henley himself recognized that when they first recorded the song, describing it as "a Hollywood movie version of Indian music." There's other stuff too like the lyrics and the way it's punctuated by those annoying high notes at the very end, but I always hate the song from the get-go for that reason alone.

birdistheword, Sunday, 11 September 2022 01:12 (three weeks ago) link

LOL @ "Shelter From the Storm" being used to advertise AirBnB. I suppose when you sell your back catalogue off it's to be expected.

Buckfast At Tiffany's (Tom D.), Monday, 12 September 2022 12:15 (two weeks ago) link

I absolutely cannot wait for this book btw

Tracer Hand, Monday, 12 September 2022 12:22 (two weeks ago) link

definitely sounds like a fun read

corrs unplugged, Monday, 12 September 2022 13:54 (two weeks ago) link

I’ll definitely leaf through it.

Jean Arthur Rank (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 September 2022 13:55 (two weeks ago) link

I seem to have developed a fixed idea that Dylan was almost completely unaware of mass culture since about 1967, and I can't seem to shake it in spite of evidence like the songs he is writing about in this book, and more-or-less contemporary covers he has done, etc.

Halfway there but for you, Monday, 12 September 2022 17:51 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, he's made quite favorable references over the years to rap, Prince, Beck, Lou Reed, John Doe, provided pretty good variety on Theme Time Radio Hour. Also mentioned that he used to watch MTV videos for hours.

dow, Monday, 12 September 2022 18:14 (two weeks ago) link

“You like Ozzy? How 'bout Ratt?”

mosh pit insurance agent (morrisp), Monday, 12 September 2022 18:18 (two weeks ago) link

The feeling makes sense, though, in that the over influences on his own songwriting and music seem to end with 1967, other than what outside producers (Knopfler, Lanois) brought to it.

The self-titled drags (Eazy), Monday, 12 September 2022 18:19 (two weeks ago) link

*overt

The self-titled drags (Eazy), Monday, 12 September 2022 18:19 (two weeks ago) link

I know he went to a lot of shows with his sons in the early '80s - IIRC The Clash, Elvis Costello, Squeeze and X were favorites - and he was always interested in hip hop. (I think the Oh Mercy chapter of Chronicles talks a lot about what he was listening to when he made that album around 1988/1989.) But Dylan draws from a broad array of material, far more than most songwriters. Arguably the majority of it comes from folk songs and literature that pre-date rock n' roll. On some level I'm surprised there aren't more songwriters who do this because it seems to supply Dylan with unending inspiration. You almost have to be a musicologist in order to do that though, and usually someone like that will cover the songs rather than recombine them into something new.

birdistheword, Monday, 12 September 2022 18:55 (two weeks ago) link

"CIA Man". Good choice, Bob.

Buckfast At Tiffany's (Tom D.), Monday, 12 September 2022 18:59 (two weeks ago) link

In Chronicles, I recall he mentions a few rappers (Ice-T and maybe someone else), and says – "Those guys weren't sitting around bullshitting."

mosh pit insurance agent (morrisp), Monday, 12 September 2022 19:11 (two weeks ago) link

Right, all good points, but there's still an aura about him that he's not quite attentive to his surroundings. Like despite actually being in a band with Jeff Lynne - how many ELO records do you think he's heard?

Halfway there but for you, Monday, 12 September 2022 19:47 (two weeks ago) link

John Prine had a story about a release party for his first album. Dylan showed up. Prine had never met him before. Prine gave a performance and Dylan sang along, knowing all the words of Prine's songs even though his record wasn't out yet. Prine later learned that Dylan had been given an advance copy.

You can't spell Fearless without Earle (President Keyes), Monday, 12 September 2022 19:57 (two weeks ago) link

Jeff Lynne may not be the best example - it may have been more like "well, if George, Tom and Roy want him..." (more George than anyone else) Also 1988 was well after ELO's heyday. I think Dylan was probably better off looking into Public Enemy in his spare time than ELO, and IIRC that's exactly what he was doing.

birdistheword, Monday, 12 September 2022 20:05 (two weeks ago) link

I'll add that Dylan seems to keep people at a distance. Like it comes off as aloofness but I think he just does it more as a protective measure. This comes up when he toured with Jack White. I can't remember the details, but White approached him one time about something movie-related. I can't remember if he saw something on a guitar or what, but he saw something that made opening the discussion appropriate. Dylan didn't say anything though, and White kind of went away, feeling embarrassed. Then later that day or the next, there's a knock on his bus and he finds out Dylan has sent over a stack of movies related to whatever subject he was talking about - so in the end, he was listening, did process all of it, and did appreciate whatever White said, but he just wasn't going to launch into a discussion about it at that time.

birdistheword, Monday, 12 September 2022 20:11 (two weeks ago) link

xxxpost John Prine's first album! Well, it's post-'67, but John Prine came out in '71. Which is also when Tom Waits started recording, at least---could swear I've heard some on the radio announced as being from 1969, but earliest I'm seeing now are '71 sessions released in 90s as The Early Years, Vols 1 & 2. The point of mentioning Watis is that mention of Prine reminds me of my ancient Pazz & Jop blurb:

Love and Theft is the best Tom Waits album Ever
So yeah, he is or was aware of those guys.

(And Prine's whole career in based on, "What if sweet early Bobby D. had stayed in the same sad-funny mode his entire career, aging gracefully, of course?" Not so much The New Dylan, as he among others was called at the time, as The New Old Dylan.)

So yeah, both are post-67, at least in terms of releases, but still not exactly Cardi B. They ollld.

But that's okay; Dylan has learned how to keep intimations of Antique Americana, new as olde, fresh again, like he did on the basement tapes, though not really thinking of them as an album, and John Wesley Harding, down to his 21st Century originals, for the most part.

dow, Tuesday, 13 September 2022 02:43 (two weeks ago) link

Noel Stookey is best-known by his middle name: Paul. That’s “Paul” as in the iconic musical trio Peter, Paul, & Mary. They first found success in the ‘60s folk music boom — and, along the way, helped a certain young songwriter with an acquired-taste voice reach a broader audience. Their “Blowin’ in the Wind” was the first recording of a Dylan song to top a Billboard chart (Bob wouldn’t top a chart with his own recording until “Murder Most Foul” in 2020).

Six decades on, Stookey’s still going strong pursuing both music and activism. On the music front, he released his latest album Fazz earlier this year, fusing folk and jazz (hence the title). And on the activism front, he co-founded the nonprofit Music to Life with his daughter Elizabeth Stookey Sunde. Over the summer, Music to Life received a $500,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to train musicians across all geographies, genres and generations in social-justice work. Interested musicians can join Music to Life’s mailing list for more information on the 2023 program.

“These artists are activists, really,” he explains. “This is not just holding a benefit dinner where somebody gets up and sings a song, and we donate $100 to move it along. I fall into the camp of the guy who's called to do the benefit, but these activists that Music to Life supports actually go into the community, from the prisons of Maine to the homeless of Houston. There's an element of hands-on participation that wasn't there in the '60s.”

When I called Stookey up recently, we, naturally, mostly talked Dylan. That means the heady days of Greenwich Village in the ‘60s, of course, but also when he spent time with Bob and The Band up in Woodstock after the motorcycle accident, and also several later run-ins in the ‘80s.

https://dylanlive.substack.com/p/peter-paul-and-marys-noel-paul-stookey?utm_source=email

(Always dug PP&M's cover of "Too Much of Nothin'")

dow, Sunday, 18 September 2022 21:48 (two weeks ago) link

My dad was acquainted with Stookey in high school (suburban Detroit), and played alto on this pre-PP&M record:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5OdE8hZFvU

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Sunday, 18 September 2022 23:00 (two weeks ago) link

Ah noice, thanks. These connections!

dow, Monday, 19 September 2022 04:38 (one week ago) link

If you’re a guitar player who likes Bob Dylan enough to, say, subscribe to a whole newsletter about him (heh), you’ve probably discovered Dylanchords.

The site is an indispensable resource for guitarists both amateur and advanced. It offers tabs for way more songs than any other site — every Dylan song on every Dylan album, of course, but also covers, live versions, and more. Want to learn how to play that cool guitar riff in the At Budokan version of “Maggie’s Farm”? It’s here. Larry Campbell’s amazing fingerpicking part in “Girl of the North Country” circa 2003-4. Head here.

But even if you’re just a beginner hoping to strum along to “Blowin’ in the Wind,” the Dylanchords page will be a more reliable source for those chords than anywhere else.

The man behind Dylanchords is Eyolf Østrem, who’s been tabbing out Dylan songs for twenty-five years now (and recently launched his own Dylan newsletter, Dylanology, which specializes in deep dives and music theory). I recently asked him about all things Bob-on-guitar, from how he started the site to what tabs he’d recommend to what he actually thinks of Bob as an electric guitarist. Some of what’s below will primarily be of interest to guitar players, but much of it will appeal to anyone interested in how Bob writes and performs his music.

Note: This is the second in an occasional series chatting with Bob superfans creating interesting, for lack of a less annoying catchall word, content. Here’s the first if you missed it:

Flagging Down the Double E's
A Guide to Some of the Best Live-Dylan Compilations Out There
As I’ve mentioned here before, after a decade of fairly obsessive Dylan fandom starting in the mid-2000s, I semi-checked out in the early 2010s. No big reason, and not even a conscious decision. I was just doing other stuff. Living in NYC made it easy; I could still see him once a year when he inevitably came through, but otherwise not pay super close attention…
Read more
2 months ago · 11 likes · 13 comments · Ray Padgett
Here’s me and Eyolf:


https://dylanlive.substack.com/p/the-worlds-foremost-expert-on-bob?utm_source=email

dow, Sunday, 25 September 2022 17:50 (one week ago) link

jeez, i had never heard this live version (the only one) of "abandoned love". heads will already know it, i'm sure, but it's new to me and it's an incredible performance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNeZVC2sn4A

Karl Malone, Sunday, 25 September 2022 18:18 (one week ago) link

(that song/tab was mentioned in the interview dow just posted -- thanks for that link dow! dylanchords is an amazing resource, prime example of old school internet and why it ruled)

Karl Malone, Sunday, 25 September 2022 18:21 (one week ago) link

You're welcome, and I think tylerw said that "Abandoned Love" was from around the time of Desire, right? If he'd put that one on there, with "Golden Loom" (from the Desire sessions, I think), the album could have been so much better---or at least, had not just left "Abandoned Love" along the way---

dow, Sunday, 25 September 2022 18:46 (one week ago) link

(Yet more golden wtf moments in Dylan)

dow, Sunday, 25 September 2022 18:47 (one week ago) link

that performance of Abandoned Love kills me every time. and the crowd knows what they're getting. perfect.

bulb after bulb, Sunday, 25 September 2022 18:49 (one week ago) link

now i'm working through the dylanchords guy's how to play guitar in 2 weeks tutorials, and learning how to play and sing A Hard Rain's (in drop-d, i find) i'm once again profoundly moved by

Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin',
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

which is just fucking brilliant and a thing for humanity to be proud about achieving

Karl Malone, Sunday, 25 September 2022 21:11 (one week ago) link

otm

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 25 September 2022 21:13 (one week ago) link

then Bryan Ferry steals it from him.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 25 September 2022 21:15 (one week ago) link

i know that musically it wouldn't make sense to go back to the parental figure asking the questions at the beginning of each verse. but i also like how it ends with him saying what he says, and the parental figure doesn't have a response or a further question. it's just like "damn, blue eyed son, you sure did tell me what'll you do now"

Karl Malone, Sunday, 25 September 2022 21:17 (one week ago) link

Yeah, and that power comes through even/especially as xpost Ferry deflates the occasional overblown bits w sound effects and "Greek Chorus"/concerned citizens for the poet who dies in the gutter etc---the ending and overall goes w the punk messenger warnings, forecasts of "The Times They Are A-Changing."

dow, Sunday, 25 September 2022 21:51 (one week ago) link

The part that has blown me a way for 30 years is that he was 22 when he wrote that - it seems so timeless like it's been handed down for a thousand years.

i need to put some clouds behind the reaper (PBKR), Sunday, 25 September 2022 22:00 (one week ago) link

KM otmfm on Hard Rain

assert (matttkkkk), Monday, 26 September 2022 00:36 (six days ago) link

It's crazy that the only live performance ever given for "Abandoned Love" was an off-the-cuff performance at someone else's gig...and by sheer luck someone in the audience had a tape recording going.

I wish the fidelity was better, but we're lucky we got anything at all. The version later recorded in the studio during the Desire sessions is pretty good, but the live version is even better. Dylan's vocal just kills and even the words were tweaked a bit for the studio recording - more polished but a bit less raw and affecting as well.

birdistheword, Monday, 26 September 2022 00:48 (six days ago) link

Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin'

I love how unexpectedly modest this is, after all that stirring imagery - the way it gestures toward being messianic and then swerves away at the last moment, and instead it's about just doing your work to the best of your abilities and for as long as you can.

Lear, Tolstoy, and the Jack of Hearts (Lily Dale), Monday, 26 September 2022 03:30 (six days ago) link

Terrific posts in today’s thread revive.

"Cool ranch dressing!" (morrisp), Monday, 26 September 2022 05:09 (six days ago) link

‘O where ha’ you been, Lord Randal, my son?
And where ha’ you been, my handsome young man?’
‘I ha’ been at the greenwood; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi’ hunting, and fain wad lie down.

‘An wha met ye there, Lord Randal, my son?
An wha met you there, my handsome young man?’
‘O I met wi my true-love; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi’ hunting, and fain wad lie down.’

‘And what did she give you, Lord Randal, my son?
And what did she give you, my handsome young man?’
‘Eels fried in a pan; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi’ hunting, and fain wad lie down.’

‘And wha gat your leavins, Lord Randal, my son?
And wha gat your leavins, my handsome young man?’
‘My hawks and my hounds; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi’ hunting, and fain wad lie down.’

‘And what became of them, Lord Randal, my son?
And what became of them, my handsome young man?’
‘They stretched their legs out an died; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m weary wi’ hunting, and fain wad lie down.’

‘O I fear you are poisoned, Lord Randal, my son!
I fear you are poisoned, my handsome young man!’
‘O yes, I am poisoned; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.”

‘What d’ ye leave to your mother, Lord Randal, my son?
What d ‘ye leave to your mother, my handsome young man?’
‘Four and twenty milk kye; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.’

‘What d’ ye leave to your sister, Lord Randal, my son?
What d’ ye leave to your sister, my handsome young man?’
‘My gold and my silver; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.’

‘What d’ ye leave to your brother, Lord Randal, my son?
What d ‘ye leave to your mother, my handsome young man?’
‘My house and my lands; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.’

‘What d’ ye leave to your true-love, Lord Randal, my son?
What d ‘ye leave to your true-love, my handsome young man?’
‘I leave her hell and fire; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.’

a (waterface), Monday, 26 September 2022 15:17 (six days ago) link

took that form and just blew it to smithereens

a (waterface), Monday, 26 September 2022 15:17 (six days ago) link

Conceit is the disease that the doctors got no cure
They've done a lot of research on it but what it is they're still not sure

ok bob

Karl Malone, Monday, 26 September 2022 23:28 (six days ago) link

They're getting closer now!

"Cool ranch dressing!" (morrisp), Monday, 26 September 2022 23:31 (six days ago) link

Everything is broken!

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 26 September 2022 23:36 (six days ago) link

Cynthia Gooding is perhaps best known to Dylan fans as the host of a ‘60s radio show called Folksingers Choice. In early 1962, she conducted what appears to be the first major interview with Dylan, which has since circulated widely. It is extremely engaging, as a Dylan who sounds unusually comfortable sings songs and spins yarns. A bit of it was animated a few years ago for the PBS TV show Blank on Blank:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrgs5ss0dv8

But Cynthia Gooding did more with Dylan than just that famous interview. Among other things, she was a regular taper at Gerde’s Folk City, recording artists’ sets to play on her radio show. She was in the crowd with her gear on October 1, 1961, taping an early Bob performance as part of his residency with The Greenbriar Boys. This was the same residency that Robert Shelton reviewed so favorably in the New York Times, the review that kickstarted Dylan’s career.
(display of that via link at end of this post)

On October 1, the night Gooding was recording, that review had just run. Dylan even talked about it from the stage.

Sadly, the tape is not available to us to hear. It does exist though! The Bob Dylan Archives acquired Gooding’s tapes in 2018, and it includes this show. Our old friend Parker Fishel from the Bob Dylan Archives, who has access to the tape, noted down Dylan’s onstage comments about Shelton’s New York Times rave for me:

"I said before, I'm sort of sick. I've been up [three?] nights reading the New York Times. I just can't let go, but I've got it with me downstairs. I've been reading it over and over again and haven't gotten any sleep for the last three nights. And I'm just reading and reading it to death. I bought 500 papers."

In 1979, a Dylanologist named George Rothe visited Gooding at her apartment. She played him a bunch of her reel-to-reel tapes. He tooks notes and, many years later, wrote about it in a letter to Dylan author Clinton Heylin. He posted this fascinating document to rec.music.dylan, which I gather was the early-internet Dylan messageboard of choice (well before my time). The whole thing is worth reading, but here’s Rothe setting the scene:

Well, I got to the apartment and 'dumbstruck' is the only way to describe what I saw. Cynthia Gooding is a tall woman, easily six feet tall, good looking with a good figure and greying hair. She had a small bookshelf unit filled with reel-to-reel tapes. The spines of the tape boxes read like a who's who of Bleeker Street. Names like Ochs, Paxton, Van Ronk, and of course Dylan stood lined up together. I gave her the discography. She gave me a bottle of red wine to open. After glancing at the first few pages, she said, "You're missing so much from the early days." She then pulled the first Dylan box from the shelf. She started to play it on her Sony reel-to-reel and realized it was all backwards. She said something about "not having played the tapes for years and years", and that this particular tape was recorded for broadcast on a show she used to do for WBAI in the early 60's. I rewound the tape so it would play properly. By the opening bars I knew I had never heard this song before. I asked her if she would allow me to make a copy of the tape. She hesitated and told me of the bad experience her friends (the McKenzies) had had with a Dylan biographer (Scaduto) and that she would only allow me to copy the tapes if "Bobby or his office said it was alright." I knew my chances were less than slim so I didn't pursue the topic. Instead I took out a pad of paper, a sharp pencil, sat forward, balanced my glass and listened closely for the next hour or so.

He goes on to lists the setlist of this October 1 Gerde’s recording. It is, as far as I can tell, the source for pretty much all the info about this show that has circulated ever since. It is, unfortunately, not quite right.


Detective work continues, w lotta links etc.:
https://dylanlive.substack.com/p/cynthia-goodings-gerdes-folk-city?utm_source=email

dow, Saturday, 1 October 2022 14:01 (yesterday) link

(sorry for this tangential question -- dylanchords is such a great resource. and then there's lennon chords, mccartney chords, harrison chords. is there a "beatleschords" equivalent? it's odd that their solo work gets dedicated sites but for the beatles (i'm thinking "any time at all", this morning) you're back to ultimate-guitar.com?)

Karl Malone, Saturday, 1 October 2022 15:38 (yesterday) link

Good question, didn't know about that gap.

xpost a couple stand-outs in that piece:

A few years ago, the Dylan camp floated the idea of a Bootleg Series installment called The Villager looking at Bob’s early folkie days. If that ever happens, I imagine the Gooding tapes would make strong candidates for inclusion.
Yeah, I've been wanting that, along with expanded reissues of the early Dylan albs. Maybe The Villager could incl. The Gaslight Tapes and that Canadian cafe set (also want Minnesota Hotel Tapes complete etc.
Here's the article referenced there:
Bob Dylan Plotting Coffeehouse Years Collection for Future Bootleg Series
Dylan's team is also considering a release of his 1969 duets with Johnny Cash along with a 'Time Out of Mind' box set
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/bob-dylan-coffeehouse-years-bootleg-series-728571/ The Cash duets set did happen of course, so---
Also from the Cynthia article---catch it while you can:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22ZFK5wKFeM
Bob Dylan — New York, 1961
7,775 views Premiered Sep 26, 2021 This is just a compilation of audio recordings that I have put together of Bob playing in different places around New York in 1961 (Including some songs played at Gerde's Folk City, 60 years to the day) .. I don't think any of these have been officially released. I have attempted to post this a few times today, but had to take songs out for copyright reasons. There's still 2 hours and 9 minutes of songs here.
Just about to type out the track details and timings here, so they should appear here:
1. Handsome Molly — Riverside Church. 29th July, 1961 0:00
2. Naomi Wise — Riverside Church. 29th July, 1961 4:27
3. Harmonica holder — Riverside Church. 29th July, 1961 8:50
4. Poor Lazarus — Riverside Church. 29th July, 1961 12:17
__
5. Man on the Street — Gaslight Cafe. 6th September, 1961 17:58
6. He Was a Friend of Mine — Gaslight Cafe. 6th September, 1961 20:21
7. Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues (incomplete) 24:56
8. Song to Woody — Gaslight Cafe. 6th September, 1961 31:08
9. Pretty Polly — Gaslight Cafe. 6th September, 1961 34:16
10. Car, Car (with Dave Van Ronk) Gaslight Cafe. 6th September, 1961 40:47
__
11. Ranger's Command — Gerde's Folk City. 26th September, 1961 43:14
12. San Francisco Bay Blues — Gerde's Folk City. 26th September, 1961 46:53
13. The Great Divide — Gerde's Folk City 26th September, 1961 50:03
__
14. Fixin' To Die — Izzy Young's Folklore Centre, October, 1961 54:00
__
15. Pretty Peggy-O — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 59:48
16. Bob talking 1:03:20
17. In The Pines — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 1:05:38
18. Gospel Plow — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 1:11:47
19. 1913 Massacre — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 1:16:13
20. Backwater Blues — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 1:22:40
21. Young But Daily Growing — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 1:27:49
22. Fixin' To Die — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 1:35:22
23. Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues — Carnegie Chapter Hall 1:39:07
24. Man On The Street — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 1:44:37
(This Land Is Your Land - taken out, for copyright)
25. Talking Merchant Marine — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 1:47:08
26. Black Cross (Hezikiah Jones) — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 1:51:37
27. Freight Train Blues — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 1:57:27
28. Song To Woody — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 2:00:44
29. Talkin' New York — Carnegie Chapter Hall. 4th November, 1961 2:05:15
_
The photograph is by Joe Alper, taken on the 25th September, 1961
_
I will type in the details of which songs are which, and the timings of them in the description here.
_
It looks like there is going to be a Bob tour announced tomorrow, starting in the Midwest and heading east .. Pretty good news
http://www.bobdylan.com/

dow, Saturday, 1 October 2022 16:46 (yesterday) link


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