Monday, 19 August 2013
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.
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).