In 1961, Bob Dylan recorded “Fixin’ to Die” for his debut album, released the following year. The album liner notes indicate that it “was learned from an old recording by Bukka White”. However, Dylan’s arrangement uses a slightly different melody line and some new lyrics.
Appears on Bob Dylan’s eponymous debut album. Dylan’s take is a bit faster and with some small differences to the lyrics.
Jesse Fuller was an acoustic blues singer that Dylan claims to have met in Denver, Colorado in 1959. Fuller, was born in 1896 in Jonesboro, Georgia, and spent the majority of his life working at a variety of blue-collar jobs and playing music on the side.
“On this album, I took a few steps backward, but I also took a bunch of steps forward because I had a lot of time to concentrate on it. I also had the band sounding like I want it to sound. It’s got that organ sound from ‘Blonde on Blonde’ again. That’s something that has been missing.”
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – May 1978)
Jonathan Cott interview – Sept. 1978: Jonathan Cott: What do you think of all the criticisms of Street Legal? Bob Dylan: I read some of them. In fact, I didn’t understand them. I don’t think these people have had the experiences I’ve had to write those songs. The reviews didn’t strike me as being particularly interesting one way or another, or as compelling to my particular scene. I don’t know who these people are. They don’t travel in the same crowd, anyway. So it would be like me criticizing Pancho Villa.
First of all… “Street-Legal” is a fantastic album. I have never “understood” all the criticism it got.. and still gets, and I even dig the original overall sound & production.
JUN 13, 2016
San Diego, CA
Humphreys Concerts By The Bay
“At 75, Dylan shows every sign of rising to new heights. He is doing so by embracing anew his own legacy, and adding new twists, as has long been his style, and by embracing some of the Great American Songbook gems he pointedly spurned in the spoken introduction to his 1962 song, “Bob Dylan’s Blues.”
“This is unlike all the rest of the songs comin’ out of uptown New York — a Tin Pan Alley thing,” he said at the time, the derision in his voice unmistakable. “This one wasn’t written up there … this was … written down in the United States.”
Today, 54 years later, Dylan’s songs are as indelible a part of the American music fabric as any batch of Tin Pan Alley classics. Things have changed, undeniably, since then. But Dylan — in the autumn of his years — remains sturdy and vital. We’re lucky to have him.” – San Diego Union Tribune
“Say what you want about Empire Burlesque — at the very least, it’s the most consistent record Bob Dylan has made since Blood on the Tracks, even if it isn’t quite as interesting as Desire. However, it is a better set of songs, all deriving from the same place and filled with subtle gems — the most obvious being “Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love?),” but also “Emotionally Yours” and “Dark Eyes” — proving that his powers are still there.”
I’ll Remember You (my favorite version from the movie Masked and Anonymous):
Bob Dylan fans and music critics continue to debate the album’s merits, especially when compared to the styles he pioneered in the 1960s and 1970s. It is one of Dylan’s most discussed albums in terms of quality, having a distinct “80s style” production to the songs. There are some really great songs on this album, but they seem hidden under the “80s sound”.
The sessions for Empire Burlesque were held in New York and Hollywood from July 1984 to April 1985.