Bob Dylan

Happy birthday to Screaming Lord Sutch (1940) and to British singer / songwriter Greg Lake of Emerson Lake & Palmer (1948)!

Bob Dylan – Bootleg Series Vol. 11 – The Basement Tapes – Complete (Columbia Records #16122 6xCD boxed set, released 11/4/14) or “Hey, where’d the songs by The Band go?”. What a mess; is it on “The Basement Tapes” 1975 2LP set? Is it a bonus track on “Music From Big Pink”? Is it in the 5Xcd + DVD boxed set from The Band “A Musical History”?

 

The new Dylan set doesn’t have the 8 x songs by The Band that were on the 1975 2LP “Basement Tapes” album. All of those songs by The Band appear on The Band’s “A Musical History” CD boxed set. The re-mastered “Music From Big Pink” has some of the “Basement Tapes” songs in true stereo.

 

What the new Dylan set does have is over 125 Bob Dylan songs that sound pretty good in 2014. Yes, there are cover versions, with Dylan singing! “Folsom Prison Blues”, “People Get Ready” etc. He even covers his own “Blowin’ In The Wind” as a blues shuffle! In 1967, Bob was in pretty good voice.

 

If the fables of “The Basement Tapes” are somewhat confusing, I suggest reading the book “Million Dollar Bash” by Sid Griffin, published by Jawbone in 2007.

 

So sorry that Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel can no longer answer questions on this topic. Robbie Robertson has never really been “forthcoming” with info and Garth Hudson, the engineer of all of this stuff, usually has a variant of “The music says it all”.

 

I was never a fan of The Band while they were together. I understand now clearly that it was a special combination of people who created those albums, starting with “Music From Big Pink” and “The Basement Tapes”. Let’s not forget producer John Simon!

 

I heard “The Basement Tapes” the same time as everyone else, when they got a legit issue in 1975. I’d heard individual tracks on bootleg LP’s before then, but – without a context with which to put them in – didn’t know about it.

 

I proudly paid full price ($119.99) at a brick & mortar record store to buy the new 6CD Dylan box, “Bootleg Series Vol. 11” – to buy the whole banana. I honestly didn’t think they would remove The Band songs!

 

But with this release, I believe Columbia has exhausted their Dylan cupboard of stuff / versions that I will rush out and buy. I’ve got all the Dylan SA-CD’s they issued, and my LP’s have all stood the test of time. I am good to go, with Bob now.

“Bill Graham Presents”

On 7/4 Happy birthday to R&B singer / songwriter Bill Withers (1938)!

On 7/5, happy birthday to James Robbie Robertson of The Band (1944, Toronto, Ontario) – though not all of the books I have agree on this date. Both Brian Jones (of The Rolling Stones) and Jim Morrison (of The Doors) expired on this date, according to one book!

By far my favorite story in the Bill Graham autobiography book “Bill Graham Presents” involved Robbie Robertson of The Band being hypnotized, in order to fulfill his obligation to Mr. Graham.

In a nutshell, Mr. Graham engaged the services of The Band near the beginning of their career. They negotiated a price, and agreed to come to San Francisco and play their first live shows as “The Band”.

However, after recording their 2nd album, “The Band”, Robbie Robertson felt exhausted, all wrung out. I can suggest he made himself sick in order to try and wiggle out of the arrangement that had been made, but I wasn’t there. We’ll never know if he really was “sick” or if it was stage fright or…some other kind of hippie entitlement paranoia (drugs?).

Anyway, after 2 doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with him, it was suggested that they engage the services of a hypnotist. I believe it is Mr. Graham who recalls that they looked in the phone book and found a “24 hours a day” hypnotist in Oakland, CA – a man from France.

The French guy shows up, dangles his crystal sphere in front of Mr. Robertson, and it seems to work! The Band play their show, as long as Mr. Robertson can see the hypnotist, who repeatedly tells Mr. Robertson to “grow”.

Bill Graham accepts that The Band worked for their fee, and he seems to bear no ill will towards Robbie Robertson or The Band.

Bill Graham’s book is a really engaging read, right up there with Al Kooper’s “Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards” book or Joe Boyd’s book “White Bicycles”. Read all about hippie entitlement!

P.S. Somehow I ended up going to the warehouse sale in San Francisco that sold off all of the merchandising that Mr. Graham had built up.

The Band

The Band

Happy birthday to Levon Helm of The Band (1942, Marvell, AR).

As a young man, I never quite ‘got’ The Band. Even at a very young age, it seemed like the type of hippie music that did not interest me – going as far as all but ignoring their records, even the good ones! Any exposure to the era of Basement Tape material will make one sit up and take notice of this Canadian-U.S. hybrid band. Just like Bob Dylan – who they worked with – they are fairly well served by the SA-CD community. Alas, I had to break down and buy an aftermarket DVD-A for “Music From Big Pink”, to get the album in 5.1 – the Mobile Fidelity SA-CD is stereo only!

LP                MUSIC FROM BIG PINK                                                                               CAPITOL US            SKAO 2955

1968 11 TRKS 1st pressing?

DVD             MUSIC FROM BIG PINK (DVD-A) 5.1                                                         CAPITOL US            77939.9

1968 11 TRKS 5.1 mix (’02 Issue)

LP                MUSIC FROM BIG PINK                                                                               TOSHIBA JPN          ECS-50101

1968 11 TRKS Jpn pressing, ’76 issue, insert

CD                MUSIC FROM BIG PINK (SA-CD)                                                               MOBILE FIDELITY   UDSA-CD 2044

1968 11 TRKS SA-CD (’09 issue) DSD Mastering

LP                MUSIC FROM BIG PINK                                                                               CAPITOL UK            ST 2955

1968 11 TRKS U.K. 2nd pressing

CD                MUSIC FROM BIG PINK re                                                                          CAPITOL US            25390.2

1968 20 TRKS (9 x bonus tracks) (’00 issue)

 

7″                 I SHALL BE RELEASED / WEIGHT, THE promo                                     CAPITOL US            P 2269

1968 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, debut 45, promo

7″                 I SHALL BE RELEASED / WEIGHT, THE                                                  CAPITOL US            2269

1968 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, debut 45?

 

CD                BAND, THE (2nd album) (SA-CD)                                                              MOBILE FIDELITY   USSACD 2129

1969 12 TRKS (’13 issue) SA-CD

CD                BAND, THE (2nd album) re                                                                         CAPITOL US            25389.2

1969 12 TRKS John Simon

LP                BAND, THE (2nd album)                                                                              CAPITOL US            STAO-132

1969 12 TRKS John Simon

DVD             BAND, THE (“Classic Albums”)                                                                  EAGLE US                EV 30101-09

2005 75m “Classic Albums”

 

CD                STAGE FRIGHT                                                                                             CAPITOL US            19839.2

1970 10 TRKS (’90 issue)

LP                  MUSIC FROM BIG PINK re-issue                                                               CAPITOL US            STCR-288

1970? 11 TRKS part of box set, Peter Max artwork

 

CD                CAHOOTS (SA-CD)                                                                                       MOBILE FIDELITY   UDSA-CD 2045

1971 11 TRKS (’10 issue) SA-CD; DSD Mastering

 

CD                ROCK OF AGES (SA-CD)                                                                            MOBILE FIDELITY   UDSA-CD 2046

1972 17 TRKS (’10 issue) Live, #2117 SA-CD

CDx2           ROCK OF AGES re                                                                                        CAPITOL US            30181.2

1972 28 TRKS (’01 issue) Live

 

7″                 HANG UP MY ROCK AND ROLL SHOES / CALEDONIA MISSION      CAPITOL US            3500

1972 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″                 DON’T DO IT (Live) / RAG MAMA RAG (Live) promo                               CAPITOL US            P-3433

1972 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo; Live

 

CD                NORTHERN LIGHTS – SOUTHERN CROSS (SA-CD)                          MOBILE FIDELITY   UDSA-CD 2047

1975 8 TRKS (’10 issue) SA-CD; DSD Mastering

 

LP                BEST OF                                                                                                         CAPITOL US            ST-511553

1976 11 TRK Collection, record club copy

CD                BEST OF                                                                                                         CAPITOL US            CDP 46070

1976 11 TRK Collection, textured booklet

 

LPx2            ANTHOLOGY                                                                                                  CAPITOL US            SKBO-11856

1978 20 TRK collection

 

LPx3            LAST WALTZ, THE                                                                                        WARNER US           3WS 3146

1978 29 TRKS Live, Bob Dylan etc.

BD                LAST WALTZ, THE (BD)                                                                               MGM US                    61502-4

2006 117m (’78 orig issue) Blu-ray re-master

Bob Dylan – The 60’s

Bob Dylan '64 UK EP

On 5/24 happy birthday to Bob Dylan (1941, Duluth, MN). On 5/25 happy birthday Miles Davis (1926, Alton, IL). I’ll write about Bob Dylan today, ‘cause I’m no expert on Miles Davis.

Bob Dylan has been served very well by the SA-CD community. Even some of his classic albums are available as multi-channel SA-CD’s! Mobile Fidelity even made an SA-CD for “The Basement Tapes”, despite the claim that it wasn’t professionally recorded.

CD                BOB DYLAN (Debut)                                                                                          SONY JPN                MHCP 835

1962 13 TRKS (’05 issue) kami sleeve

 

SA-CD         FREEWHEELIN’ BOB DYLAN, THE (SA-CD)                                                COLUMBIA US         CH 90321

1963 13 TRKS (’03 issue) stereo SA-CD

LP                FREEWHEELIN’ BOB DYLAN, THE                                                                COLUMBIA US         CS 8786

1963 13 TRKS stereo

 

7″                 DYLAN (EP) (PS)                                                                                                CBS UK                     EP 6051

1963 4 TRKS with pic sleeve / EP, mono

 

CD                TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’, THE re                                                        COLUMBIA US         CK 92240

1964 10 TRKS (’05 issue)

 

SA-CD         ANOTHER SIDE OF BOB DYLAN (SA-CD)                                                   COLUMBIA US         CH 90327

1964 11 TRKS (’03 issue) multi-channel SA-CD

 

LP                BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME                                                                      COLUMBIA US         CS 9128

1965 11 TRKS

SA-CD         BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME (SA-CD) 5.1                                                COLUMBIA US         CH 90326

1965 11 TRKS (’03 issue) multi-channel SA-CD

CD                SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES                                                          CBS EUROPE         CDCBS 62515

1965 11 TRKS aka ‘Bringing It All Back Home’

 

7″                 LIKE A ROLLING STONE                                                                                 CBS UK                     201811

1965 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″                 POSITIVELY 4th STREET / FROM A BUICK 6                                               COLUMBIA US         4-43389

1965 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″                 SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES                                                          CBS UK                     201753

1965 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

SA-CD         HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED (SA-CD)                                                                 COLUMBIA US         CH 90324

1965 9 TRKS (’03 issue) stereo SA-CD

LP                HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED                                                                                 COLUMBIA US         CS 9189

1965 9 TRKS original U.S. LP

 

MD               BLONDE ON BLONDE (MD)                                                                            SONY JPN                SRYS 1214

1966 14 TRKS

SA-CDx2     BLONDE ON BLONDE (SA-CD) 5.1                                                               COLUMBIA US         C2H 90325

1966 14 TRKS (’03 issue) multi-channel SA-CD

LPx2            BLONDE ON BLONDE mono                                                                          COLUMBIA US         C2L 41

1966 14 TRKS mono, original issue (with divorce cover!)

LPx2            BLONDE ON BLONDE stereo                                                                         COLUMBIA US         C2S 841

1966 14 TRKS stereo, original issue

 

7″                 I WANT YOU / JUST LIKE TOM THUMB’S BLUES                                       CBS UK                     202258

1966 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″                 RAINY DAY WOMEN #12 & #35                                                                      COLUMBIA US         4-43592

1966 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″                 MOST LIKELY YOU’LL GO YOUR WAY… promo                                         COLUMBIA US         4-44069

1968? 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

 

LP                GREATEST HITS (US)                                                                                      COLUMBIA US         KCS 9463

1966? 10 TRK Collection, US version, stereo; poster

MD               GREATEST HITS (MD)                                                                                      COLUMBIA US         CM 9463

1966? 12 TRK Collection

LP                GREATEST HITS (UK)                                                                                      CBS UK                     62847

1966? 12 TRK Collection, UK version, alt. cover

CD                GREATEST HITS (Kami)                                                                                  SONY JPN                MHCP 837

1967 10 TRK Collection, US version, kami sleeve

 

SA-CD         JOHN WESLEY HARDING (SA-CD)                                                               COLUMBIA US         CH 90320

1967 12 TRKS (’03 issue) SA-CD

LP                JOHN WESLEY HARDING                                                                               COLUMBIA US         CS 9604

1968 12 TRKS stereo

 

7″                 I THREW IT ALL AWAY / DRIFTER’S ESCAPE                                             COLUMBIA US         4-44826

1968? 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

LP                NASHVILLE SKYLINE                                                                                       COLUMBIA US         KCS 9825

1969 10 TRKS

SA-CD         NASHVILLE SKYLINE (SA-CD)                                                                       COLUMBIA US         CH 90319

1969 10 TRKS (’03 issue) SA-CD

 

7″                 LAY LADY LAY / PEGGY DAY                                                                           COLUMBIA US         4-44926

1969 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

The Last Waltz

3-26-13          “The Last Waltz

The Last Waltz

On 3/26/66 the Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich 45 “Hold Tight” charts at No. 4 in England.  Also on 3/26/66 the Bob Lind 45 “Elusive Butterfly” charts at No. 5 in England.  Noel Coward croaks, 1973.

I recently got a Blu-ray copy of “The Last Waltz” film, which is about the farewell concerts of The Band at Winterland in San Francisco, CA.

All throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, I had little or no interest in The Band.  I couldn’t have cared less.  Somebody else’s concern – not mine.

I started investigating the infamous Bob Dylan “Basement Tapes” in the mid-00’s – and found myself wanting to hear more music from The Band.  As “Music From Big Pink” was produced by John Simon, that was a fairly painless pill to swallow.  I love other albums produced by John from right around the time of “Big Pink” – the debut LP by Leonard Cohen, Simon’s work on the soundtrack to “You Are What You Eat” etc.

So, took about 5 years for me to hear all of the studio albums by The Band.  I liked most of them just fine.  Their previous live album, “Rock of Ages” is re-mastered as a Capitol 2CD set with a ton of new (extra) material added.  I have MFSL SA-CD’s of some of their studio titles.

I guess I’d always shy’d away from them because of the strong ‘hippie ethic’ that I couldn’t identify with?  I’d avoided “The Last Waltz” like the plague!  1977/8 just didn’t seem like the time to celebrate “hippie music” just yet.

So, I’m watching “The Last Waltz” on Blu-ray.  I liked Martin Scorsese’s Dylan documentary “No Direction Home”.  With his cinema eye, “The Last Waltz” plays very well – it doesn’t just seem like a tired old 70’s live show on film to me.  The interviews are amusing – the members of The Band seem to walk a careful line of spaced-out goofiness and sagely intelligence, particularly where the music is concerned.

It really helps to see who plays what on stage.  The Band are another one of those bands where the members sometimes swap instruments!  So my information collected on The Band seems to make a bit more sense now.

I guess three of the members of The Band have shuffled off, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Levon Helm.  I believe I have a book written by Levon Helm, about The Band.  I guess Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson are still pressing on regardless.  Good for them.

“The Last Waltz” is not a film for everyone.  It’s about the most polished up I’ve ever seen that generation of people on film, but some will still find it disingenuous.  It’s actually quite enjoyable to view.

Bob Dylan’s 100 Best Songs

11-28-12        Bob Dylan’s100 Best Songs

Randy Newman born 1943; on 11-28-70 Bob Dylan’s “New Morning” LP was No. 1 in England.

Bob Dylan!

To coincide with his newest album “Tempest”, Japanese magazine Record Collectors Magazine recently ran an article called (approximately) “Bob Dylan’s 100 Best Songs”.

  1. Like A Rolling Stone (from “Highway 61 Revisited”)
  2. Just Like A Woman (from “Blonde on Blonde”)
  3. Subterranean Homesick Blues (from “Bringing It All Back Home”)
  4. Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright (from “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”)
  5. I Want You (from “Blonde on Blonde”)
  6. Tangled Up In Blue (from “Blood On The Tracks”)
  7. Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (from “Blonde on Blonde”)
  8. Blowin’ In The Wind (from “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”)
  9. All Along The Watchtower (from “John Wesley Harding”)
  10.   I Shall Be Released (from “Greatest Hits, Vol. 2”)

So, three tracks from “Blonde on Blonde”?  Some famous ones here; it seems to me that “All Along The Watchtower” is here because of the Jimi Hendrix version?  It’s definitely not the strongest track on “John Wesley Harding”!  Interesting, too – only one 70’s track!

Some of my favorite Dylan songs have a lower ranking than the Top 10:  “Desolation Row” (#16), “Maggie’s Farm” (#23), “Rainy Day Women #12 & #35” (#30), “Ballad of a Thin Man” (#31), “Positively 4th Street” (#32), “Tears of Rage” (co-written with Richard Manuel of The Band) (#37), “Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)” (#47), “This Wheel’s On Fire” (co-written with Rick Danko of The Band) (#53), “Can You Please Crawl Out You Window?” (#54), “Masters Of War” (#82), and “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” (#98).  And, of course, they missed a few good ones altogether.

I’ve been listening to Bob Dylan for over 45 years, folks.  I come and go, with this artist.  Sometimes, I go for a few years and don’t listen to much, other years – I binge on his output.  Bob’s been part of the circus for decades now.  And he still walks the Earth!

I have never troubled my organizational skills to try and put together my list of his best songs, ‘cause I feel that it’s up to any individual listener to determine this.  It’s neat that a Japanese magazine did a list, because that gives us an insight into how he’s perceived globally.

I saw him live once; I went to his museum exhibition at the Skirball Center in L.A.; I bought all of his SA-CD’s (even the albums I am less sure of); “The Basement Tapes” is one of my favorite all-time albums.

Bob Dylan

5-24-12          Bob Dylan

Singer / Songwriter Bob Dylan born 1941, singer Roseanne Cash born 1955; Lost Time Is Not Found Again.

It’s Bob Dylan’s birthday today!  He’s 71-years-old today!

I’ve been a fan ever since “Like A Rolling Stone” first hit the racks.  A 6 minute 45, too!

You can buy all of his albums, and still not have the whole story.  There are some boxed sets and latter day titles that I wish to recommend to you today.

CDx3           BIOGRAPH (3CD boxed set) (Collection)                 COLUMBIA US    C3K 65298

1985 53 TRK Collection, boxed set

LPx5            BIOGRAPH (5LP boxed set) (Collection)                  CBS NL                CBS 66509

1985 53 TRK Collection, boxed set

CDx3           BOOTLEG SERIES, Vols. 1 – 3 (3CD boxed set)     COLUMBIA US    C3K 65302

1991 58 TRK Collection ’61 – ’91 recordings

CDx2           LIVE 1966 (Bootleg Series No. 4)                              COLUMBIA US    C2K 65759

1998 15 TRKS Live, Manchester, England 5/66

CDx2           ESSENTIAL                                                                     COLUMBIA US    C2K 85168

2000 30 TRK Collection

CDx6           CHRONICLES Vol. 1 (6CD boxed set)                      S&S AUDIO US   2995

2004 6 CD Set, read by Sean Penn

CDx2           NO DIRECTION HOME (Bootleg Series No. 7)       COLUMBIA US    C2K 93937

2005 28 TRKS collection (mostly 60’s recordings)

DVD             NO DIRECTION HOME (Film)                                     PARAMOUNT      3105

2005 5.1 Surround audio

Both “Biograph” and “Bootleg Series Vols. 1 – 3” have charming and wonderful previously un-re-released stuff – lots of groovy 60’s material!  The “Live 1966” title is astonishing; an excellent recording of Bob with the Band on stage – interactions with the audience etc.  The “Essential” collection is really for someone who doesn’t want to own too many Bob Dylan CD’s – this is a 2CD set and it pretty much cover the whole enchilada, up to anno 2000.

The audio book of ”Chronicles” is read by Sean Penn, but – the stories are fascinating.

The 2CD / DVD of “No Direction Home” are great.  2CD set has loads of previously unreleased 60’s out-takes and the DVD is fantastic viewing, with 5.1 audio – no less.  I put it on once, thinking I would watch the first hour only – then watched the entire show – and I was awake until 2:00am on a work night!

Bob is still alive, folks.  Let’s give him his proper due.  Check out one of these latter day collections and see if you don’t agree.  In any event, get a 2CD set of “The Basement Tapes” and wonder aloud how the f*ck that ever got released.  It’s wonderful!

My First 2 Years of High school

12-7-11

My First Two Years of High School

Roughly 1974 and 1975 – my brother got out of the U.S. Air Force, and came home to live – so I had someone to discuss music with, someone to take me to record stores in Los Angeles – someone other than my Dad!

There were no big events in these years – I don’t remember going to any concerts, just yet.  That would start in 1976 or so!  Maybe my first record collector swap meet @ Capitol Records parking lot in Hollywood?

I had two memorable high school girlfriends who kept my learning curve straight up!  Rose liked Queen and Sparks, bands that I thought were “superfluous” (i.e, not serious enough, m-a-a-a-n) at that time.  I saw Rose sing something in high school, and I remember liking her voice (even if I thought a song from “Godspell” was a bit ‘lite’).  Teresa was younger than I, and I really only remember turning her onto Kayak.  But she must’ve had other records!  Maybe Cat Stevens, Elton John etc.  Both of my high school girlfriends were church-going folks, but that didn’t stop the ongoing “hanky panky” that young people always seemed to get up to!  Ah, the stories I could tell – but I want to keep my “safe” rating, for this blog!

I used to make cassettes of Henry Cow LP’s at home and bring them to school to listen to in the “Language Lab” – a classroom with desks that had cassette players in ‘em.  I got out of Physical Education by agreeing to type tests for the Foreign Language Department; I was quite popular with the French, Spanish and German teachers!  Hatfield & The North!  German records!  Achim Reichel!

“Frampton Comes Alive” was very popular at this time; incomprehensible to me.  Why wasn’t everyone listening to Gong?  I do also remember being quite fond of 1965 – 1970 Bob Dylan in the mid-70’s – smirking at young kids who thought that “Blood On The Tracks” was really something – f**k that, listen to “Blonde on Blonde”!

By 1975, I had been personally observing the arc of pop music for almost 10 years.  Did it make sense?  I was very aware that the records from the 60’s weren’t like the records from the 70’s – or the 50’s!  With used LP’s being less expensive than new records, I got to hear all sorts of music become part of my coat of many colors.  Oh, and they taught me to drive a car in high school – both in a ‘simulator’, and in a real car!

Once I met a guy (who I know to this day) in a record store who let me know that he could hire me as soon as I was “available” (i.e. out of high school) – I entered a dream world from which I would never emerge.  I know what I’m going to do when I get outta here!

To my two sweet high school girlfriends:  Thanks for sharing wonderful ‘teenage kicks’ with me.  I’m so glad I got to do all that stuff when I was actually still a teenager!

Bob Dylan

7-12-11

Bob Dylan

My brother was who brought the literate Bob Dylan LP’s into our home.  When he joined the Air Force, I surreptitiously listened to many a Bob Dylan LP in my tiny room.  What the heck is this guy talking about? “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again”?

100% ignorant of Bob’s motorcycle accident, even after finding out about “The Basement Tapes” – I was already in the mode to be dismissive of him / them.  Let’s just say the 60’s Dylan LP’s hold my interest more than the 70’s ones do.  It’s got nothing to do with his voice or funny hair.  Did I realize that Bob blew harmonica for Harry Belafonte?  Maybe not at the time…but we’ve all got our LP’s of “The Midnight Special” with Bob Dylan playing for Harry.

Disappointment city:  My first Bob Dylan concert was for “Slow Train Coming” (at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium).  So, Bob tours a concept album, and none of us got the joke.

I was never particularly interested in The Band, until reading how popular they were in Japan – largely due to the sympathetic production job done for them by Mr. John Simon, on their first two LP’s.  I can now see the obvious – that their work dovetails nicely with Bob’s work.  I think “The Basement Tapes” is genius, pure and simple.  The book written about ‘em was a bit overwrought, I reckon.  But on so many tracks, everybody there sounds so “refreshed” (i.e. drunk)…

More than a decade passed between when I first heard Bob Dylan (“Like A Rolling Stone”, naturally) and when I first heard British people argue about him!  “Blonde On Blonde”  “No, mate.  Highway 61 Revisited!” ad nauseum.  I guess Bob was so important to the British because of his many sojourns to that tiny island off the coast of France.  “Judas!” – indeed.

I am glad Bob is still on the Earth with us.  Not long ago, I refused to pay hundreds of dollars to see him at a venue in Las Vegas, NV.  Also in my recent history, I bought way more Bob Dylan SA-CD’s than you might expect (hey, even some of the good ones are 5.1!) – I think I have ‘em all!  But Sony got off of the SA-CD bandwagon before “The Basement Tapes” got re-mastered – drat!

I have never particularly warmed to “Blood On The Tracks” – even though I have both LP covers for it.  Not sure what it is I didn’t trust about it, but…I had my doubts about many of my favorites in the mid-70’s (notably albums I do not like by The Who, Genesis, Yes, Bob Dylan…) – I wonder why?

I do like his boxed sets, “Biograph” and at least some of the Bootleg Series that Sony has released.  I really liked the Martin Scorsese film about Bob, “No Direction Home”.  That was fun to watch.  Sorry that I have missed “Radio Hour” – I kept up with the playlists for a while there.  Thanks for the music, Bob.

Bob Dylan

4-12-11

Bob Dylan

The other week, we went to San Diego for a vacation – we saw and heard a lot of Bob Dylan – his painted portrait up in a coffee house downtown, more than one version of “Like A Rolling Stone” etc.  It seemed like Bob was everywhere in San Diego.

To be clear, I have been a fan ever since first hearing “Like A Rolling Stone” in approx. 1965.  As a youngster, I managed to get most of his 1965 – 1970 stuff in real time as new releases, and age has only brought about wisdom that encouraged me to try other titles recorded around this time, though not released at that time.

So, if you want to have some Dylan in your collection, I recommend the following titles to you – most are available as SA-CD’s, so try and find those versions on CD.  The recent “mono box” has a lot of the right records in it, but…I do not recommend all of ‘em.  What I do recommend:

CDx2 BASEMENT TAPES                                                       8229.2

1975 24 TRKS (’67 recording) (’09 issue)

CDx3 BIOGRAPH (3CD boxed set)                                       C3K 65298

1985 53 TRK Collection, boxed set

CDx2 BLONDE ON BLONDE                                                 C2H 90325

1966 14 TRKS (’03 issue) multi-channel SA-CD

CDx3 BOOTLEG SERIES, Vols. 1 – 3 (3CD boxed set)     C3K 65302

1991 58 TRK Collection ’61 – ’91 recordings

CD BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME                                  CH 90326

1965 11 TRKS (’03 issue) multi-channel SA-CD

CD HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED                                             CH 90324

1965 9 TRKS (’03 issue) SA-CD

CD JOHN WESLEY HARDING                                           CH 90320

1967 12 TRKS (’03 issue) SA-CD

CDx2 LIVE 1966 (Bootleg Series No. 4)                              C2K 65759

1998 15 TRKS Live, Manchester 5/66

CD NASHVILLE SKYLINE                                                   CH 90319

1969 10 TRKS (’03 issue) SA-CD

CDx2 NO DIRECTION HOME (Bootleg Series No. 7)       C2K 93937

2005 28 TRKS collection (mostly 60’s recordings)

CD SELF PORTRAIT                                                            CGK 30050

1970? 24 TRKS

Alas, there doesn’t seem to be a good re-mastered version of “Self Portrait”.  I really enjoyed the alternate versions of songs found on the “No Direction Home” collection, really excellent stuff.  “The Bootleg Series Vols. 1 – 3” also has some very entertaining material not found on other CD’s, but it’s been re-packaged, but not re-mastered )that I am aware of).  The SA-CD’s were all re-mastered in ’03 or so, and uniformly sound great.

The great revelation for me of the last 10 years is getting into the “Basement Tapes” – I hadn’t cared for what I heard on bootlegs, and the ’75 legit issue on Columbia sums it all up pretty well – there are more “Basement Tapes” to be found on “The Bootleg Series Vols. 1 – 3”, I might add.

All titles are on Columbia Records in the USA.