Category Archives: Bob Dylan albums

Today: Bob Dylan released Together Through Life in 2009 – 4 years ago

bob dylan Together Through Life

…Sure, I try to stick to the rules. Sometimes I might shift paradigms within the same song, but then that structure also has its own rules. And I combine them both, see what works and what doesn’t. My range is limited. Some formulas are too complex and I don’t want anything to do with them.
~Bob Dylan (to Bill Flanagan, in 2009)

“Dylan, who turns 68 in May, has never sounded as ravaged, pissed off and lusty”
~David Fricke (rollingstone.com)

bob dylan Together Through Life back

Together Through Life is an album that gets its hooks in early and refuses to let go. It’s dark yet comforting, with a big tough sound, booming slightly like a band grooving at a soundcheck in an empty theatre. And at its heart there is a haunting refrain. Because above everything this is a record about love, its absence and its remembrance.
~Danny Eccleston (mojo4music.com)

Beyond Here Lies Nothin’

I’m listening to Billy Joe Shaver
And I’m reading James Joyce
Some people they tell me
I got the blood of the land in my voice
~Bob Dylan (I Feel A Change Comin’ On)

Wikipedia:

Released April 28, 2009
Recorded December 2008
Genre Folk rock, blues rock, Americana
Length 45:33
Language English
Label Columbia
Producer Jack Frost (Bob Dylan pseudonym)

Together Through Life is the thirty-third studio album by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in April 2009 by Columbia Records. The album debuted at number one in several countries, including the U.S.  and the UK. It is Dylan’s first number one in Britain since New Morning in 1970.

Dylan wrote all but one of the album’s songs with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, with whom he had previously co-written two songs on his 1988 album Down in the Groove. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Dylan commented on the collaboration:

“Hunter is an old buddy, we could probably write a hundred songs together if we thought it was important or the right reasons were there… He’s got a way with words and I do too. We both write a different type of song than what passes today for songwriting.”

The only other writer Dylan has ever collaborated with to such a degree is Jacques Levy, with whom he wrote most of the songs on Desire (1976).

bob dylan Together Through Life inlay

Rumors of the album, reported in Rolling Stone magazine, came as a surprise, with no official press release until March 16, 2009 — less than two months before the album’s release date. Dylan produced the record under his pseudonym of Jack Frost, which he used for his previous two studio albums, “Love and Theft” and Modern Times. The album was rumored to contain “struggling love songs” and have little similarity to Modern Times.

In a conversation with music journalist Bill Flanagan, published on Bob Dylan’s official website, Flanagan suggested a similarity of the new record to the sound of Chess Records and Sun Records, which Dylan acknowledged as an effect of “the way the instruments were played.” He said that the genesis of the record was when French film director Olivier Dahan asked him to supply a song for his new road movie, My Own Love Song, which became “Life is Hard” – indeed, ‘according to Dylan, Dahan was keen to get a whole soundtrack’s worth of songs from the man’ – and “then the record sort of took its own direction.” 

Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ live 2011 Tucson, AZ:

Dylan is backed on the album by his regular touring band, plus David Hidalgo of Los Lobos and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Dylan commented on Campbell’s guitar work in his interview with Flanagan: “He’s good with me. He’s been playing with Tom for so long that he hears everything from a songwriter’s point of view and he can play most any style.”

In the interview with Bill Flanagan, Dylan discusses the only known outtake to “Together Through Life”, “Chicago After Dark”. Apparently, this song was in the running to be on the album but was left off the final version, as Flanagan talks about the song as if it is on the album. The song is not circulating among collectors.

“Bill Flanagan: In that song CHICAGO AFTER DARK, were you thinking about the new President?

Bob: Not really. It’s more about State Street and the wind off Lake Michigan and how sometimes we know people and we are no longer what we used to be to them. I was trying to go with some old time feeling that I had.”

Described at length in a 2009 interview to promote the album Together Through Life, according to Dylan, it’s about “how sometimes we know people and we are no longer what we used to be to them”. In fact, this song never existed.He made it all up. How fitting.
~Clinton Heylin (telegraph.co.uk)

Forgetful Heart, Memphis, 2011:

  • The album received two Grammy Award nominations in Best Americana Album category and “Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance” category for “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'”.
  • The album also is significant as the only album by Dylan to top the US and UK charts consecutively.
  • The album’s cover photo is the same as that on the cover of American author Larry Brown’s short story collection, Big Bad Love.

Track listing:

  1. “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” 3:51
  2. “Life Is Hard” 3:39
  3. “My Wife’s Home Town” (Willie Dixon, Dylan, Hunter) 4:15
  4. “If You Ever Go to Houston” 5:49
  5. “Forgetful Heart” 3:42
  6. “Jolene” 3:51
  7. “This Dream of You” (Dylan) 5:54
  8. “Shake Shake Mama” 3:37
  9. “I Feel a Change Comin’ On” 5:25
  10. “It’s All Good” 5:28

My ratings (0-10):

  • I Feel a Change Comin’ On – 9
  • Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ – 8,5
  • Shake Shake Mama – 8
  • My Wife’s Home Town – 7
  • If You Ever Go to Houston – 7
  • Forgetful Heart- 7
  • This Dream of You – 7
  • It’s All Good – 6,5
  • Life is Hard – 6,5
  • Jolene – 6

Personnel:

  • Bob Dylan – guitar, keyboards, vocals, production
Additional musicians
  • Mike Campbell – guitar, mandolin
  • Tony Garnier – bass guitar
  • Donnie Herron – steel guitar, banjo, mandolin, trumpet
  • David Hidalgo – accordion, guitar
  • George Recile – drums
Technical personnel
  • David Bianco – recording, mixing
  • Eddy Schreyer – mastering
  • Bill Lane – assistant engineering
  • Rafael Serrano – engineering
  • David Spreng – engineering
  • Rich Tosti – assistant engineering

Playlist of the day:

Other APR-28:

Continue reading Today: Bob Dylan released Together Through Life in 2009 – 4 years ago

Today: Bob Dylan released Bob Dylan in 1962 – 51 years ago

Bob Dylan album

..His talent takes many forms. He is one of the most compelling white blues singers ever recorded. He is a songwriter of exceptional facility and cleverness. He is an uncommonly skillful guitar player and harmonica player.
~Stacy Williams (“Bob Dylan” LP. liner notes)

Dylan’s first album can hardly be faulted. It is a brilliant debut, a performer’s tour de force,….
~Michael Gray (BD Encyclopedia)

Talkin’ New York:

Wikipedia:

Released March 19, 1962
Recorded November 20 and 22, 1961,Columbia Recording Studio, New York City, New York, United States
Genre Folk
Length 36:54
Label Columbia
Producer John H. Hammond

Bob Dylan is the debut album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in March 1962 by Columbia Records. Produced by Columbia’s legendary talent scout John H. Hammond, who signed Dylan to the label, the album features folk standards, plus two original compositions, “Talkin’ New York” and “Song to Woody”.

bob dylan 1961

Man of Constant Sorrow:

Recording sessions

The album was ultimately recorded in three short afternoon sessions on November 20 and 22 (1961). Hammond later joked that Columbia spent “about $402” to record it, and the figure has entered the Dylan legend as its actual cost. Despite the low cost and short amount of time, Dylan was still difficult to record, according to Hammond. “Bobby popped every p, hissed every s, and habitually wandered off mike,” recalls Hammond. “Even more frustrating, he refused to learn from his mistakes. It occurred to me at the time that I’d never worked with anyone so undisciplined before.”

Seventeen songs were recorded, and five of the album’s chosen tracks were actually cut in single takes (“Baby Let Me Follow You Down,” “In My Time of Dyin’,” “Gospel Plow,” “Highway 51 Blues,” and “Freight Train Blues”) while the master take of “Song to Woody” was recorded after one false start. The album’s four outtakes were also cut in single takes. During the sessions, Dylan refused requests to do second takes. “I said no. I can’t see myself singing the same song twice in a row. That’s terrible.”

The album cover features a reversed photo of Dylan holding his acoustic guitar. It is unknown as to why the photo was flipped.

bob dylan 1961 recording sessions

In My Time of Dyin: 

In less than one year in New York, Bob Dylan has thrown the folk crowd into an uproar. Ardent fans have been shouting his praises. Devotees have found in him the image of a singing rebel, a musical Chaplin tramp, a young Woody Guthrie, or a composite of some of the best country blues singers.
~Stacy Williams (“Bob Dylan” LP. liner notes)

Track Listing:

Side one

  1. “You’re No Good” – Jesse Fuller 1:40
  2. “Talkin’ New York” – Bob Dylan 3:20
  3. “In My Time of Dyin'” – trad. arr. Dylan 2:40
  4. “Man of Constant Sorrow” – trad. arr. Dylan 3:10
  5. “Fixin’ to Die” – Bukka White 2:22
  6. “Pretty Peggy-O” – trad. arr. Dylan 3:23
  7. “Highway 51” – Curtis Jones 2:52

Side two

  1. “Gospel Plow”  – trad. arr. Dylan 1:47
  2. “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down” – trad. arr. Eric von Schmidt 2:37
  3. “House of the Risin’ Sun” – trad. arr. Dave Van Ronk 5:20
  4. “Freight Train Blues” – trad., Roy Acuff 2:18
  5. “Song to Woody” – Bob Dylan 2:42
  6. “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” – Blind Lemon Jefferson 2:43

Personnel:

  • Bob Dylan – vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica

Technical personnel

  • John H. Hammond – production

bob-dylan-studion 1961

Baby, Let Me Follow You Down:

The Songs:

By the time sessions were held for his debut album, Dylan was absorbing an enormous amount of folk material from sitting and listening to contemporaries performing in New York’s clubs and coffeehouses. Many of these individuals were also close friends who performed with Dylan, often inviting him to their apartments where they would introduce him to more folk songs. At the same time, Dylan was borrowing and listening to a large number of folk, blues, and country records, many of which were hard to find at the time. Dylan revealed in an interview in the documentary No Direction Home that he needed to hear a song only once or twice to learn it.

The final album sequence of Bob Dylan features only two original compositions; the other eleven tracks are folk standards and traditional songs. Few of these were staples of his club/coffeehouse repertoire. Only two of the covers and both originals were in his club set in September 1961.

Dylan stated in a 2000 interview that he was hesitant to reveal too much of himself at first.

bob dylan 1961 2

See That My Grave is Kept Clean:

Aftermath

Bob Dylan did not receive much acclaim until years later. “These debut songs are essayed with differing degrees of conviction,” writes music critic Tim Riley, “[but] even when his reach exceeds his grasp, he never sounds like he knows he’s in over his head, or gushily patronizing… Like Elvis Presley, what Dylan can sing, he quickly masters; what he can’t, he twists to his own devices. And as with the Presley Sun sessions, the voice that leaps from Dylan’s first album is its most striking feature, a determined, iconoclastic baying that chews up influences, and spits out the odd mixed signal without half trying.”

However, at the time of its release, Bob Dylan received little notice, and both Hammond and Dylan were soon dismissive of the first album’s results.

Bob Dylan’s first album is a lot like the debut albums by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones — a sterling effort, outclassing most, if not all, of what came before it in the genre, but similarly eclipsed by the artist’s own subsequent efforts. The difference was that not very many people heard Bob Dylan on its original release (originals on the early-’60s Columbia label are choice collectibles) because it was recorded with a much smaller audience and musical arena in mind.
~Bruce Eder (allmusic.com)

Spotify:

Check out -> Bob Dylan albums @ JV

Other Mar-19:

Continue reading Today: Bob Dylan released Bob Dylan in 1962 – 51 years ago

Today: Bob Dylan released “Good As I Been To You” in 1992 – 20 years ago – updated

My voice was never really that glamorous. But a big vocal range really isn’t necessary for the type of songs I sing. For what I sing, my voice does pretty well.
(Bob Dylan to Greg Kot in August 1993)

“My songs come out of folk music…..I love that whole pantheon. To me there’s no difference between Muddy Waters and Bill Monroe.”
(Bob Dylan)

Here is a brilliant live version of “Blackjack Davie” from 1993.09.12 – Great Woods – Mansfield, Massachusetts:

Wikipedia:

Released November 3, 1992
Recorded Mid-1992
Genre Folk, blues
Length 55:31
Label Columbia
Producer Debbie Gold

Good as I Been to You is the twenty-eighth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in November 1992 by Columbia Records.

It is composed entirely of traditional folk songs and covers, and is Dylan’s first entirely solo, acoustic album since Another Side of Bob Dylan in 1964. It is also his first collection not to feature any original compositions since Dylan in 1973.

On the charts, Good as I Been to You reached #51 in the US and #18 in the UK.

Since launching the Never Ending Tour in June 1988, traditional covers became a feature at virtually every concert, often as part of an acoustic set. After recording Under the Red Sky in 1990, Dylan would not release an original song until 1997, and during that time, he would increasingly rely on his stockpile of covers for ‘fresh’ material. Dylan called these covers “the music that’s true for me.”

Aftermath:

The response to Good as I Been to You was surprisingly positive, particularly for an album with very modest ambitions. It drew comparisons with the acoustic sets featured in Dylan’s “Never Ending Tour” shows, drawing much praise for his interpretive skills. A number of critics pointed out that Dylan’s voice was now physically ravaged, but the focus was often on the phrasing. “Dylan sounds now, in comparison to his younger self, like one of those ghosts,” wrote David Sexton of The Sunday Telegraph, “but a powerful ghost. The effect is not so much nostalgia…as deeply inward.”

Michael Gray:
….Yet this album, imprecise, errant, at times blurred and furry, is a singular creation that gains as well as loses by Dylan’s loss of the effortless certainty
of youth. Dark, complex, surreal and fractured, it is like an inspired, lost work from some opiumthralled folk archivist throwing his own torrid genius into celebrating the myriad strengths of anonymously created song: song from before there was a music industry to kill off its mystery and its purpose. Stand-out tracks: ‘Hard Times’, ‘Arthur McBride’, ‘You’re Gonna Quit Me’, ‘Diamond Joe’ and ‘Froggie Went a-Courtin’’. The fine outtake ‘You Belong to Me’ was used on the soundtrack of Oliver Stone’s film Natural Born Killers.

Here is “Jim Jones” from the second Supper Club Show Nov 17 1993:

David Wild (Rollingstone.com):
…..In its stripped-down intensity, Good As I Been to You recalls the midshow acoustic segments that in recent years have been a consistent highlight of Dylan’s Neverending Tour. Even more than that, the album’s intimate, almost offhand approach suggests what it would be like to sit backstage with his Bobness while he runs through a set of some of his favorite old songs. This is a passionate, at times almost ragged piece of work that seems to have been recorded rather than produced in any conventional sense.

Only a quarter of a century late, this is the sort of album the people who booed Dylan’s decision to go electric wanted from him. And for the most part, the songs on Good As I Been to You are the same sort of material that might have appealed to the younger, freewheelin’ Dylan back in the days when he was being influenced — by Woody Guthrie, for example — rather than exerting profound influence in his own right. Still, at least one selection — the unlikely but oddly delightful “Froggie Went A Courtin'” — evinces some of the fascinating perversity that fans have come to expect from Dylan in his middle age.

………… This fascinating exploration of musical roots is more than a diversion for musicologists. Good As I Been to You shows that sometimes one can look back and find something that’s both timeless and relevant. It also proves once again that Dylan can still be every bit as good as he’s been to us in the past. Which is, of course, as good as it gets.
Read more @ rollingstone.com

 

My fav song from the album is “Hard Times“.

 An extremely sincere rendition of this song was recorded in the summer of 92 and released on Dylan’s “Good As I Been To You”. Dylan premiered the song in concert on April 12, 1993 in Louisville, Kentucky. The song which was always employed as a show opener, was an almost constant feature throughout Dylan’s 93 summer tours, until it was suddenly dropped, mid tour, on August 21, 1993, never (as of yet) to return.
~Derek Barker (The Songs He didn’t write)

Here it is:

Here is Dylan & “Hard Times” @ Willie Nelsons’ 60th Birthday TV Special (KRLU-TV Studios – Austin, Texas, 27 April 1993):

Tracks:

All songs are traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan, except where noted.

  1. “Frankie & Albert” (arranged by Mississippi John Hurt) – 3:50
  2. “Jim Jones” (arranged by Mick Slocum) – 3:52
  3. “Blackjack Davey” – 5:47
  4. “Canadee-i-o” – 4:20
  5. “Sittin’ on Top of the World” – 4:27
  6. “Little Maggie” – 2:52
  7. “Hard Times” (Stephen Foster, arranged by De Dannan) – 4:31
  8. “Step It Up and Go” – 2:54
  9. “Tomorrow Night” (Sam Coslow and Will Grosz) – 3:42
  10. “Arthur McBride” (arranged by Paul Brady) – 6:20
  11. “You’re Gonna Quit Me” – 2:46
  12. “Diamond Joe” – 3:14
  13. “Froggie Went A-Courtin'” – 6:26

Personnel:

  • Bob Dylan – vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Stephen Marcussen – mastering
  • Micajah Ryan – mixing
  • Jimmy Wachtel – front cover photography

Spotify:

Other November 03:

Continue reading Today: Bob Dylan released “Good As I Been To You” in 1992 – 20 years ago – updated

Today: Bob Dylan released “Infidels” in 1983 – 29 years ago

….I wanted to call my next album, whenever I made it, Surviving In A Ruthless World. I wanted to call it that. Before we even went into the studio, “The next album I do I’m gonna call Surviving in a Ruthless World”. But something was holding me back from it, because for some reason… somebody pointed out to me that the last bunch of albums that I made all started with the letter S. And I’d say, “Is that right?” There must be a story or something. I didn’t want to do another one beginning with S just f for superstitious reasons. I didn’t want to get bogged down in the letter S whatever the letter S stands for. And this Infidels came out, just came into my head one day, I guess. This was after we had that album done that it just came in my head that this is the right title for this album. I mean, I don’t know any more about it than anybody else really. I did it. I did the album, and I call it that, but what it means is for other people to interpret, you know, if it means something to them. Infidels is a word that’s in the dictionary and whoever it applies to… to everybody on the album, every character. Maybe it’s all about infidels.
~Bob Dylan (to Kurt Loder in March 1984)

Jokerman – official video:

From Wikipedia:

Released October 27, 1983
Recorded April–May 1983 at the Power Station, New York
Genre Rock
Length 41:39
Label Columbia
Producer Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler

Infidels is the twenty-second studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in October 1983 by Columbia Records.

Produced by Mark Knopfler and Dylan himself, Infidels is seen as his return to secular music, following a conversion to Christianity, three evangelical, gospel records and a subsequent return to a secular, culturally Jewish lifestyle. Though he has never abandoned religious imagery, Infidels gained much attention for its focus on more personal themes of love and loss, in addition to commentary on the environment and geopolitics.

The critical reaction was the strongest for Dylan in years, almost universally hailed for its songwriting and performances. The album also fared well commercially, reaching #20 in the US and going gold, and #9 in the UK. Still, many fans and critics were disappointed that several songs were inexplicably cut from the album just prior to mastering—primarily “Blind Willie McTell“, considered a career highlight by many critics, and not officially released until it appeared on The Bootleg Series Volume III eight years later.

Here is a “legendary” performance of Jokerman @ Letterman:

Continue reading Today: Bob Dylan released “Infidels” in 1983 – 29 years ago

Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert

Well, but you see, Columbia’s never offered to do that. They have done that with The Basement Tapes and the Budokan album. But they’ve never offered to put that out as a historical album or whatever. And believe me, if they wanted to do it, they could.
~Bob Dylan to Kurt Loder in 1984

 “I still can’t believe they’ve finally put it out. I just keep staring at my copy.”
~Andy Kershaw (BBC Radio 1 DJ)

14 years ago today… they finally put it out, this surely calls for a celebration!

Baby, Let Me Follow You Down:

From Wikipedia:

Released October 13, 1998
Recorded May 17, 1966
Genre Rock, folk rock, blues rock
Length 95:18
Label Columbia
Producer Jeff Rosen

Live 1966: The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert is a two-disc live album by Bob Dylan, released in 1998. Recorded at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall. It is from Dylan’s famous world tour in 1966, having been extensively bootlegged for decades, and is an important document in the development of popular music during the 1960s.

The setlist consisted of two parts, with the first half of the concert being Dylan alone on stage performing an entirely acoustic set of songs, while the second half of the concert has Dylan playing an “electric” set of songs alongside his band The Hawks. The first half of the concert was greeted warmly by the audience, while the second half was highly criticized, with heckling going on before and after each song.

Here are two (of many..) “real” bootleg covers of this concert:

Continue reading Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert