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Monday, 19 August 2013

Dear Landlord

I've had a bit of pang for listening to some Bob Dylan recently, something I haven't really had for a good few years. There are several different Bob Dylans and I can't say I'm interested in them all equally. Obviously the speed freak, Afro- haired, sharp suited and pointy booted, thin wild mercury music Dylan of '65-'66 is the King of the Dylans and the New York, Suze Rotolo- accompanying Dylan is up there too but my favourite Dylan is the Byrdcliff, post-motorcycle crash Dylan- the Dylan of John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait (the 'what is this shit?' album) and New Morning. I like the back to basics of it all, the pared down sound (especially on JWH), the way the songs are simple and loaded with biblical imagery and sweetly sung (he'd given up the cigs at this point)- and the reinvention, the country music instrumentation (redneck stuff to the hippies). Even the white shirt and hat and flip flops look. The songs on the whole sound very worked out and finished, polished even, but by and large Dylan turned up in the studio, ran through them once and then drummer Kenny Buttrey and bassist Charlie McCoy recorded their parts having heard them once. The bass parts are great throughout, clear and bouncy and melodic, the drumming spare and precise.

Dear Landlord

Also from this time was the oddly titled More Bob Dylan Greatest Hits, presumably put out by CBS  in an effort to sell some records after Self Portrait came out and bombed. It has a strange tracklisting, a real mish mash, no sense at all in the sequencing and some lesser known Dylan songs that are without equal- Watching The River Flow, Tomorrow Is Long Time, When I Paint My Masterpiece, I Shall be Released, Down In The Flood. On reflection though I think my favourite Dylan song may be Tangled Up In Blue (mid 70s Dylan, just before I lose interest).


Artog said...

It's very hard to say, but I think She's Your Lover Now might be my favourite Bob track. And yes, 65 - 66 is the only Dylan for me.

I've had a day off today and after taking in an exhibition at the Hayward I went to the pub. There was a bloke sat a table up going on about music (he looked just like Robert Wyatt actually. Pretty sure he wasn't but you never know round our way). Anyway, his favourite Bob albums are: Street Legal, Slow Train Coming and Desire. He'd also been listening a lot to Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid. What a fucked up selection, when you think of what there is to choose from.

Swiss Adam said...

Pat Garrett I quite like and Desire is good in parts but the other 2?

65-66 Dylan is the one- but as I said I love the aftermath bit too.

Artog said...

Nashville Skyline is easy to love, but my favourite is John Wesley Harding. The lyrics are often terrible but the sound is awesome. All Along The Watchtower is probably the best, no idea what he's on about, probably just nonsense. But there's something mesmerizing about it.

Swiss Adam said...

JWH is superb. I love the lyrics- 'As I went out one morning to breathe the air around Tom Paine' floors me for some reason. Like you say- mesmerising.

davyh said...

It always gets stick for its production, and it is a bit tinny, but 'Street Legal' has 'Changing Of The Guards' and the splendid 'Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power)' which is one of my very favourite songs of his.

All the Bobs have something good about them.

Cynical Farmer said...

Thunder On the Mountain was actually pretty good.