Category Archives: Bob Dylan

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

Bob Dylan – 10 best songs recorded in 1983 – updated

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Picture by Lynn Goldsmith

The “Infidels” Birthday inspired me to set up a list of Dylan’s best songs recorded in 1983.

I’ve chosen to include 2 versions of “Blind Willie McTell”. This is by far the best song Dylan recorded in 1983… and the both versions are fantastic.

  1. Blind Willie McTell – electric version (not released)*
  2. Blind Willie McTell – acoustic version (The Bootleg Series 3)
  3. Jokerman – Infidels
  4. Foot of Pride – The Bootleg Series 3
  5. Someone’s Got A Hold Of My Heart – alt.version (not released)*
  6. License To Kill – Infidels
  7. I & I – Infidels
  8. Lord Protect My Child – The Bootleg Series 3
  9. Sweetheart Like You – Infidels
  10. Tell Me – The Bootleg Series 3

* My source is the “Rough Cuts” bootleg:

Check out bobsboots.com

Over to the goodies..

1. Blind Willie McTell – electric version:

Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem”
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, I heard that hoot owl singing
As they were taking down the tents
The stars above the barren trees
Were his only audience
Them charcoal gypsy maidens
Can strut their feathers well
But nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

See them big plantations burning
Hear the cracking of the whips
Smell that sweet magnolia blooming
See the ghosts of slavery ships
I can hear them tribes a-moaning
Hear that undertaker’s bell
Nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

There’s a woman by the river
With some fine young handsome man
He’s dressed up like a squire
Bootlegged whiskey in his hand
There’s a chain gang on the highway
I can hear them rebels yell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, God is in His heaven
And we all want what’s His
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is
I’m gazing out the window
Of the St. James Hotel
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Continue reading Bob Dylan – 10 best songs recorded in 1983 – 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 5th recording session for “The Times They Are A-Changin’” – 24 October 1963 – update

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.
~Bob Dylan (The Times They Are A-Changin’)

“Another thing about Times They Are A-Changin’ – I wanted to say in it that if you have something that you don’t want to lose, and people threaten you, you are not really free.”
~Bob Dylan (to Ray Coleman, May 1965)

49 years ago Dylan did his 5th recording session for “The Time They are A-Changin’” 

Some background info from Wikipedia:

The Times They Are a-Changin’ is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in January 1964 by Columbia Records.

Produced by Tom Wilson, it is the singer-songwriter’s first collection to feature only original compositions. The album consists mostly of stark, sparsely-arranged story songs concerning issues such as racism, poverty, and social change. The title track is one of Dylan’s most famous; many felt that it captured the spirit of social and political upheaval that characterized the 1960s.

……………
Another session was held the following day, October 24. Master takes of “The Times They Are a-Changin'” and “One Too Many Mornings” were recorded and later included in the final album sequence. A master take for “Lay Down Your Weary Tune” was also recorded, but ultimately left out of the final album; it was eventually released on Biograph. Two more outtakes, “Eternal Circle” and “Suze (The Cough Song)”, were later issued on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991.

Albums involved:

ALBUM Release date CODE
The Times They Are A-Changin’ 1964-01-13 TTTAA
Biograph 1985-11-07 BIO
The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3
(Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991
1991-03-26 TBS1-3

 

Studio A
Columbia Recording Studio
New York City, New York
October 24, 1963, 10-1 pm

Produced by Tom Wilson.
Engineers: Knuerr and Dauria.

Continue reading Bob Dylan – The 5th recording session for “The Times They Are A-Changin’” – 24 October 1963 – update

Bob Dylan – The 4th recording session for “The Times They Are A-Changin’” – 23 October 1963 – update

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“The message isn’t in the words, …. I don’t do anything with a sort of message.
I’m just transferring my thoughts into music. Nobody can give you a message like that.”
~Bob Dylan (to Ray Coleman, May 1965)

To me, that song [When The Ship Comes In] says a whole lot. Patti LaBelle should do that. You know? You know, there again, that comes from hanging out at a lot of poetry gatherings. Those kind of images are very romantic. They’re very gothic and romantic at the same time. And they have a sweetness to it, also. So It’s a combination of a lot of different elements at the time. That’s not a contrived line. That’s not sitting down and writing a song. Those kind of songs, they just come out. They’re in you so they’ve got to come out.
~Bob Dylan (to Paul Zollo, April 1991)

49 years ago Dylan did his 4th recording session for “The Time They are A-Changin'” 

Some background info from Wikipedia:

The Times They Are a-Changin’ is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in January 1964 by Columbia Records.

Produced by Tom Wilson, it is the singer-songwriter’s first collection to feature only original compositions. The album consists mostly of stark, sparsely-arranged story songs concerning issues such as racism, poverty, and social change. The title track is one of Dylan’s most famous; many felt that it captured the spirit of social and political upheaval that characterized the 1960s.

Sessions did not resume for more than two months. During the interim, Dylan toured briefly with Joan Baez, performing a number of key concerts that raised his profile in the media. When Dylan returned to Studio A on October 23, he had six more original compositions ready for recording. Master takes for “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” and “When the Ship Comes In” were both culled from the October 23 session. A master take for “Percy’s Song” was also recorded, but it was ultimately set aside and was not officially released until Biograph in 1985.

Albums involved:

ALBUM Release date CODE
The Times They Are A-Changin’ 1964-01-13 TTTAA
Biograph 1985-11-07 BIO
Love @ Theft bonus disc 2001-09-11 LTB

Studio A
Columbia Recording Studio
New York City, New York
October 23, 1963, 10-1 pm

Produced by Tom Wilson.
Engineers: Knuerr and Dauria.

Songs:

  1. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
  2. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
  3. When The Ship Comes In
  4. When The Ship Comes In
  5. The Times They Are A-Changin’
  6. Percy’s Song – BIO
    “….the exquisitely performed ‘protest’ number ‘Percy’s Song’…”
    ~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

    “Percy’s song” makes one think Dylan could have had a career as a courtroom lawyer….. “Percy’s song” is long – too long, I think, for the simple story it tells; the appeal here is the melody and Dylan’s evident affection for this tune and for the repeating lines, “turn. turn, turn again… turn, turn to the rain and the wind.” He weaves a spell with these lines, passing along the spell they wove on him….
    ~Paul Williams (Performing artist 60-73)

  7. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
  8. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll – TTTAA
    “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” is an extremely moving song that has stood the test of time better than any of Dylan’s other early topical songs of this sort… Dylan sings it from the heart; he really cares about the woman who died – her dignity and the value of her life come through in the song, it is a memorial to her and a tribute to people like her as much as an attack on her killer and people like him and the system that coddles them.
    ~Paul Williams (Performin Artist 60-73)

    “Although a song such as his magnificent ‘Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll’ makes an ordinary worker into a kind of heroine, Dylan makes this happen as a device, not an end in itself: a device for strengthening an essentially political and social polemic.
    ~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)



  9. When The Ship Comes In
  10. When The Ship Comes In – TTTAA
    “Even as words on the page, though, the song has a charm very much its own—like a glimpse into a world both real and unreal: morally mature (if severe) yet child-like in conception. The internal rhyming is so effective, driving the vision along in the rhythm of the oncoming ship as it meets, again and again, relentlessly, the swell of the sea: ‘And the song, will, lift, as the main, sail, shifts / And the boat, drifts . . .’ and this internal rhyming collaborates perfectly with the alliterative effects (as well, of course, as with the tune): ‘Then the sands will roll out a carpet of gold / For your weary toes to be a-touchin’. . .’ The child-like allegory comes over as a quite unexceptionable moral cleanliness—a convincing wisdom. …” ~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)


  11. The Times They Are A-Changin’ – L&TB
    (note: either this take or take 16 was released on L&TB)

  12. The Times They Are A-Changin’
  13. The Times They Are A-Changin’
  14. The Times They Are A-Changin’
  15. The Times They Are A-Changin’
  16. The Times They Are A-Changin’
  17. East Laredo Blues
  18. Key To The Highway (Charles Segar/Willie Broonzy)
  19. That’s All Right Mama (Arthur Crudup)


Related articles @ JV:

References:

-Egil