Category Archives: Bob Dylan

August 30: Bob Dylan released Highway 61 Revisited in 1965

Bob_Dylan_-_Highway_61_Revisited

 

August 30: Bob Dylan released Highway 61 Revisited in 1965

“I never wanted to write topical songs, have you heard my last two records, Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61? It’s all there. That’s the real Dylan.”
~Bob Dylan (Frances Taylor Interview, Aug 1965)

[Highway 61] Oh yes, it goes from where I used to live… I used to live related to that highway. It ran right through my home town in Minnesota. I traveled it for a long period of time
actually. It goes down the middle of the country, sort of southwest…. lot of famous people came off that highway.
~Bob Dylan (John Cohen And Happy Traum Interview, June/July 1968)

Dylan’s sixth album and his first fully fledged eagle-flight into rock. Revolutionary and stunning, not just for its energy, freshness and panache but in its vision: fusing radical electric music—electric music as the
embodiment of our whole out-of-control, nervouenergy-fuelled, chaotic civilization—with lyrics that were light-years ahead of anyone else’s, Dylan here unites the force of blues-based rock’n’roll with the power of poetry.
~Michael Gray (Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

Like a Rolling Stone:

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

From Wikipedia:

Released August 30, 1965
Recorded Columbia Studio A, 799 Seventh Avenue, New York, June 15 – August 4, 1965
Genre Rock, folk rock
Length 51:26
Label Columbia
Producer Bob Johnston, Tom Wilson on “Like a Rolling Stone”

Highway 61 Revisited is the sixth studio album by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It was released in August 1965 by Columbia Records. On his previous album, Bringing It All Back Home, Dylan devoted Side One of the album to songs accompanied by an electric rock band, and Side Two to solo acoustic numbers. For Highway 61 Revisited, Dylan used rock backing on every track, except for the closing 11-minute acoustic song, “Desolation Row”. Critics have written that Dylan’s ability to combine driving, complex, blues-based rock music with the power of poetry made Highway 61 Revisited one of the most influential albums ever recorded.

bob dylan highway 61 album

Leading off with his hit single of that summer, “Like a Rolling Stone”, the album features many songs that have been acclaimed as classics and that Dylan has continued to perform live over his long career, including “Highway 61 Revisited”, “Ballad of a Thin Man”, and “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”. Dylan named the album after one of the great North American arteries, which connected his birthplace in Minnesota to southern cities famed for their musical heritage, including St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans.

Highway 61 Revisited peaked at number three in the United States charts and number four in the United Kingdom. The album has received multiple accolades and was ranked number four on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The single “Like a Rolling Stone” reached number two in the US charts and number four in the UK. It has been described by critics as Dylan’s magnum opus and was number one on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. Two further songs, “Desolation Row”, and “Highway 61 Revisited”, were listed at number 185 and number 364 respectively.

bob dylan 1965 highway 61

Ballad of a Thin Man:

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Background:

In May 1965, Dylan returned from his tour of England feeling tired and dissatisfied with his material. “I was going to quit singing. I was very drained… I was playing a lot of songs I didn’t want to play,” Dylan told Nat Hentoff in 1966.

“It’s very tiring having other people tell you how much they dig you if you yourself don’t dig you.”

Out of this dissatisfaction, Dylan wrote an extended piece of verse which Dylan described as a “long piece of vomit”. He refined this long poem into a song consisting of four verses and a chorus—”Like a Rolling Stone”. 

Dylan told Hentoff that the process of writing and recording “Like a Rolling Stone” washed away this dissatisfaction, and renewed his enthusiasm for creating music. Speaking of the breakthrough of writing that song, forty years later, Dylan told Robert Hilburn in 2004,

“It’s like a ghost is writing a song like that… You don’t know what it means except the ghost picked me to write the song.”

Highway 61 Revisited was recorded in two blocks of recording sessions, which took place in Studio A of Columbia Records in New York City, located at 799 Seventh Avenue, just north of West 52nd Street. The first session, June 15 and June 16, was produced by Tom Wilson and resulted in the single, “Like a Rolling Stone”. On July 25, Dylan performed his controversial electric set at the Newport Folk Festival, where some sections of the crowd booed his performance. Four days after Newport, Dylan returned to the recording studio. From July 29 to August 4, Dylan and his band completed recording Highway 61 Revisited, but under the supervision of a new producer, Bob Johnston.

bob dylan highway 61 studio

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Like a Rolling Stone” 6:09
2. “Tombstone Blues” 5:58
3. “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” 4:09
4. “From a Buick 6” 3:19
5. “Ballad of a Thin Man” 5:58

Side two
6. “Queen Jane Approximately” 5:31
7. “Highway 61 Revisited” 3:30
8. “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” 5:31
9. “Desolation Row”

—-

My ratings (0-10):

Bob_Dylan studio 1965

Reception:

  • Singer-songwriter Phil Ochs told Broadside magazine, immediately after the record’s release, that Dylan had “produced the most important and revolutionary album ever made”. Speaking to Anthony Scaduto five years later, Ochs said, “I put on Highway 61 and I laughed and said it’s so ridiculous. It’s impossibly good, it just can’t be that good. How can a human mind do this?
  • The album cemented Dylan’s mastery of a new genre—combining verbal complexity with a hard rock sound. One 1965 reviewer wrote: “Bob Dylan used to sound like a lung cancer victim singing Woody Guthrie. Now he sounds like a Rolling Stone singing Immanuel Kant“.
  • The album was a hit, peaking at number 3 on the Billboard 200 chart of top albums. In August 1967, Highway 61 was certificated as a gold record.
  • Highway 61 Revisited has remained among the most highly acclaimed of Dylan’s works. Scaduto, Dylan’s first serious biographer, wrote that it may be “one of the most brilliant pop records ever made. As rock, it cuts through to the core of the music—a hard driving beat without frills, without self-consciousness.” Commenting on Dylan’s imagery, Scaduto wrote: “Not since Rimbaud has a poet used all the language of the street to expose the horrors of the streets, to describe a state of the union that is ugly and absurd.”
  • Dylan critic Michael Gray called Highway 61 “revolutionary and stunning, not just for its energy and panache but in its vision: fusing radical, electrical music … with lyrics that were light years ahead of anyone else’s; Dylan here unites the force of blues-based rock’n’roll with the power of poetry. Rock culture, in an important sense, the 1960s, started here.”
  • In 1995 Highway 61 Revisited was named the fifth greatest album of all time in a poll conducted by Mojo magazine. 
  • In 2001, the TV network VH1 placed it at number 22. 
  • In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine, describing Highway 61 as “one of those albums that, quite simply, changed everything”, placed it at number four in its list of the greatest albums of all time. 
  • The Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest songs of all time ranked “Highway 61 Revisited”, “Desolation Row” and “Like a Rolling Stone” at #364, #185 and #1, respectively.

…. The whole rock culture, the whole post-BEATLE pop-rock world, and so in an important sense the 1960s, started here. It isn’t only ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and the unprecedentedly long Armageddon epic ‘Desolation Row’: it’s every song. It’s the carving out of a new emotional correspondence with a new chaos-reality. There it all was in one bombshell of an album, for a generation who only recognized what world they were living in when Dylan illuminated it so piercingly.
~Michael Gray (Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

Desolation Row:

And the riot squad they’re restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row

Personnel:

  • Bob Dylan – guitar, harmonica, piano, vocals, liner notes, police siren
Additional musicians
  • Mike Bloomfield – guitar
  • Harvey Brooks – bass guitar
  • Bobby Gregg – drums
  • Paul Griffin – organ, piano
  • Al Kooper – organ, piano (Hohner pianet)
  • Sam Lay – drums
  • Charlie McCoy – guitar
  • Frank Owens – piano
  • Russ Savakus – bass guitar
Technical personnel
  • Bob Johnston – production
  • Daniel Kramer – cover photographer
  • Tom Wilson – production on “Like a Rolling Stone”

Album of the day – Highway 61 Revisited (1965):

Other August 30:

Continue reading August 30: Bob Dylan released Highway 61 Revisited in 1965

Bob Dylan: “Watching The River Flow” Cardiff, Wales 23 September 2000 (Video)

bob dylan cardiff 2000

 

What’s the matter with me
I don’t have much to say
Daylight sneakin’ through the window
And I’m still in this all-night café
Walkin’ to and fro beneath the moon
Out to where the trucks are rollin’ slow
To sit down on this bank of sand
And watch the river flow

Cardiff International Centre Arena
Cardiff, Wales
23 September 2000

Musicians:

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Charlie Sexton (guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • David Kemper (drums & percussion)

Wish I was back in the city
Instead of this old bank of sand
With the sun beating down over the chimney tops
And the one I love so close at hand
If I had wings and I could fly
I know where I would go
But right now I’ll just sit here so contentedly
And watch the river flow

People disagreeing on all just about everything, yeah
Makes you stop and all wonder why
Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
Who just couldn’t help but cry
Oh, this ol’ river keeps on rollin’, though
No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow
And as long as it does I’ll just sit here
And watch the river flow

People disagreeing everywhere you look
Makes you wanna stop and read a book
Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
That was really shook
But this ol’ river keeps on rollin’, though
No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow
And as long as it does I’ll just sit here
And watch the river flow

Watch the river flow
Watchin’ the river flow
Watchin’ the river flow
But I’ll sit down on this bank of sand
And watch the river flow

Check out:

-Egil

Bob Dylan: Manchester, England 10 October 2011 (full concert video)

bob dylan manchester 2011

Manchester Evening News Arena
Manchester, England
10 October 2011

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & keyboard)
  • Stu Kimball (guitar)
  • Charlie Sexton (guitar)
  • Donnie Herron (violin, mandolin, steel guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • George Receli (drums & percussion)

Setlist:

  1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
  2. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
  3. Things Have Changed
  4. Tangled Up In Blue
  5. Honest With Me
  6. Simple Twist Of Fate
  7. Summer Days
  8. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
  9. Highway 61 Revisited
  10. Forgetful Heart (Bob Dylan-Robert Hunter/Bob Dylan)
  11. Thunder On The Mountain
  12. Ballad Of A Thin Man
  13. Like A Rolling Stone
  14. All Along The Watchtower

The Video also contains 4 bonus songs from London Nov 21st 2011:

Things Have Changed, Forgetful Heart, Ballad Of A Thin Man & Forever Young

Check out:

-Egil

Bob Dylan: Glasgow, Scotland 23 June 2004 (full concert video)

bob dylan glasgow 2004

 

Hall 4
Scottish Exhibition And Conference Center
Glasgow, Scotland
23 June 2004

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & piano)
  • Stu Kimball (guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • George Recile (drums & percussion)

Setlist:

  1. The Wicked Messenger
  2. The Times They Are A-Changin’
  3. Cry A While
  4. Tryin’ To Get To Heaven
  5. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
  6. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
  7. Man In The Long Black Coat
  8. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
  9. Boots Of Spanish Leather
  10. I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
  11. Forever Young
  12. Honest With Me
  13. Every Grain Of Sand
  14. Summer Days
  15. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
  16. Like A Rolling Stone
  17. All Along The Watchtower

Check out:

-Egil

Bob Dylan – Across The Borderline (Cooder/Hiatt/Dickinson) – Audio & Video

Dylan cooder hiatt dickinson

 

There’s a place where I’ve been told
Every street is paved with gold
And it’s just across the borderline
And when it’s time to take your turn
Here’s one lesson that you must learn
You could lose more than you’ll ever hope to find

 

Other versions

Written by Ry Cooder, John Hiatt & Jim Dickinson, this beautiful song was released on Ry Cooder’s 1987 album “Get Rhythm”.

ry cooder - get rhythm

1. Ry Cooder his album “Get Rhythm” (1978):



Bob Dylan played Ry Cooder & Freddy Fender’s version on show 44 (themed “Texas”) of his “Theme Time Radio Hour”.

freddy-fender-across-the-borderline-mca

2. Here is Freddy Fender:

A couple of more great versions before we move on to Dylan..

Willie Nelson - AcrossTheBorderline

3. Willie Nelson’s version from his 1993 album.. “Across the Borderline”:

jim dickinson a thousand footprints

4. Jim Dickinson live –  from the album “A thousand footprints in the sand” (1997 ):

Bruce Springsteen has covered this pearl many times… there is a couple of great videos on YouTube, BUT my Springsteen choice has to a “audio only YouTube”:

bruce springsteen jackson brown bonnie raitt

5. Bruce Springsteen (with Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt) – 17 November 1990 – Shrine Auditorium, LA:

 

Bob Dylan versions:

When you reach the broken promised land
And every dream slips through your hands
Then you’ll know that it’s too late to change your mind
‘Cause you’ve paid the price to come so far
Just to wind up where you are
And you’re still just across the borderline

Continue reading Bob Dylan – Across The Borderline (Cooder/Hiatt/Dickinson) – Audio & Video