Category Archives: Bob Dylan

August 11: Happy 50th Birthday Charlie Sexton!

Charles Wayne Sexton (born August 11, 1968) is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter best known for the 1985 hit “Beat’s So Lonely” and as the guitarist for Bob Dylan’s backing band from 1999 to 2002 and since 2009. His style of playing has varied and he has been associated with artists in the blues, folk, rock and punk genres.

I first saw Charlie Sexton in the 80s and I have his first two vinyls in the attic (I don’t play vinyls anymore). He was promoted as this wonder kid, a new guitar god and he sounded and looked great. He was good then and he has gotten better. His first records suffered by that “eighties sound” but there are some good songs on them, and the guitar playing is tremendous.

US legend Bob Dylan (R) performs on stag

Charlie Sexton Interview


Association with Bob Dylan

In 1999, Sexton was hired by Bob Dylan to replace Bucky Baxter. Sexton had previously played with Dylan during a pair of Austin, Texas, concerts in 1996, and on some demos recorded in the fall of 1983.

Sexton’s residency with Dylan from 1999–2002 brought him great exposure, with many critics singling out the interplay between him and Larry Campbell, who was also a guitarist in Dylan’s backing band. Hailed as one of Dylan’s best bands, the group recorded a number of studio recordings, including Things Have Changed (from the 2000 film Wonder Boys) and 2001’s critically acclaimed album, Love and Theft. He also performed and appeared with them in 2003’s Masked & Anonymous.

In October 2009, Sexton rejoined Dylan’s touring band, replacing Denny Freeman.

He is also an actor and did a very fine role in Richard Linklater’s masterpiece, Boyhood. He is also set to play Townes Van Zant in Ethan Hawke’s biopic about Blaze Foley, Blaze.

Continue reading August 11: Happy 50th Birthday Charlie Sexton!

Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: Abandoned Love





Bob Dylan & Sara Dylan

I can hear the turning of the key
I’ve been deceived by the clown inside of me
I thought that he was righteous but he’s vain
Oh, something’s a-telling me I wear the ball and chain

‘Abandoned Love’ marks the very point at which Dylan decided to (temporarily) abandon love, and particularly forsaken love, as the prime subject-matter for his songs.
~Clinton Heylin (Still On The Road)

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August 1: Watch Bob Dylan & George Harrison – The Concert for Bangladesh, New York City, 1971





bob dylan george harrison 1971

Bob Dylan & George Harrison: August 1, 1971, New York
The Concert for Bangladesh (or Bangla Desh, as the country name was spelt originally) was the name for two benefit concerts organised by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, held at 2.30 and 8 pm on Sunday, 1 August 1971, playing to a total of 40,000 people at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The shows were organised to raise international awareness and fund relief efforts for refugees from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), following the 1970 Bhola cyclone and the civil war-related Bangladesh atrocities. The concerts were followed by a bestselling live album, a boxed three-record set, and Apple Films’ concert documentary, which opened in cinemas in the spring of 1972.The event was the first-ever benefit concert of such a magnitude and featured a supergroup of performers that included Harrison, fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and the band Badfinger. In addition, Shankar and another legend of Indian music, Ali Akbar Khan, performed a separate set. Decades later, Shankar would say of the overwhelming success of the event: “In one day, the whole world knew the name of Bangladesh. It was a fantastic occasion …”
~Wikipedia

This was Dylan’s first live performance in two years. Harrison had to twist his arm to get him to take part in the benefit concert, and we can be very glad he did: it’s a stunning performance (both shows), modest, confident, richly textured, with Dylan feeling and communicating genuine love for the music he’s playing (in the case of” Blowin’ in the Wind” this was his first public performance of the song in seven years). Most of all, Dylan’s voice on this midsummer afternoon and evening has a rare, penetrating beauty that is immediately noticeable to almost anyone who hears it. This is, in a very real sense, the Dylan a large part of his audience dreams of hearing; this is the voice to fit the stereotyped or mythic image of Bob Dylan, guitar strumming poet laureate of the 1960s.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan Performing Artist I: The Early Years 1960-1973)

Madison Square Garden
New York City, New York
1 August 1971
Rehearsals before the Bangla Desh Concert

Continue reading August 1: Watch Bob Dylan & George Harrison – The Concert for Bangladesh, New York City, 1971

July 31: Bob Dylan 5th recording session for Desire 1975

Bob_Dylan-Desire-Frontal

The result is a sound and a set of songs unlike anything Dylan or anyone else has ever done before…. The lyrics of “Sara” and “Abandoned Love” (and, for that matter, of “Isis” and “Hurricane”) could not be more perfect, but overall the triumph of Desire is musical
~Paul Williams (BD performing artist 1974-86)

Recorded in the summer lull before the first Rolling Thunder tour and released soon after it, the stand-out tracks are ‘Isis’, ‘Romance in Durango’ and ‘Black Diamond Bay’, but ‘Hurricane’, ‘One More Cup of Coffee’ and ‘Oh Sister’ are breathing down their necks.
~Michael Gray (BD Encyclopedia)

Studio E
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
31 July 1975
5th Desire session, produced by Don DeVito

The following night [31 July 1975], Dylan held another session, this time recording three songs. From this session, Dylan recorded the master take for “Isis” as well as master takes for “Abandoned Love” and “Sara.” Dylan’s wife Sara, the subject of the song that bore her name, also accompanied him to this session.

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July 29: The Late Jacques Levy Was Born in 1935 – Watch a Great Interview on Working with Bob Dylan

levy

All of the songs from the Desire sessions are collaborations between Dylan (words and music) and Levy (words), with the exception of “Sara,” “Abandoned Love,” “One More Cup of Coffee,” and “Golden Loom,” all written by Dylan alone. It is of course uncharacteristic of Dylan to work with another writer-this marks only the first or second time he ever shared credit for the lyrics of a song, and still stands as his most extensive collaboration with another songwriter.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)

SongTalk: Your collaborations with Jacques Levy came out pretty great.
Bob Dylan: We both were pretty much lyricists. Yeah, very panoramic songs because, you know, after one of my lines, one of his lines would come out. Writing with Jacques wasn’t difficult. It was trying to just get it down. It just didn’t stop. Lyrically. Of course, my melodies are very simple anyway so they’re very easy to remember.
-From the Paul Zollo (SongTalk) interview with Bob Dylan – April 1991

This is a great interview from May 2004 uploaded to YouTube 2013. Sadly enough Levy passed away in September 2004.

Continue reading July 29: The Late Jacques Levy Was Born in 1935 – Watch a Great Interview on Working with Bob Dylan