Category Archives: Bob Dylan

Best albums of 2012: number 1 to 5

COLUMBIA RECORDS BOB DYLAN ALBUM

1. Bob Dylan – Tempest

“Playing to the big crowds Playing to the cheap seats 
Another day in your life until your journey’s end
Shine your light, move it on, you burn so bright, roll on John”

When Tempest was released back in September.. I listened to the album intensely for a couple of weeks… It was very likable..  I felt it was way better than Together Through Life & probably better than Modern Times. Now @ EndYear I’m still not certain how good it is.. when you admire an artist as much as I do with Dylan.. this is serious shit. It is however better than TTL, Modern Times.. I’m not sure. Anyhow.. It’s the best new album released this year.

-Egil

There are at least 3 masterpieces on Tempest (and some really good songs in addition to those three) and that earns it the top spot on my year-end list. It is funny to see how it has divided people, it has become a love it or hate it record, we love it. Dylan has changed his singing style (because he has to) and he has changed his music, as he has done so many times before. And everytime he do this, people seem to get offended, it is personal to them, I can understand that, but open up, let the new Dylan in, you will be rewarded with the best album in 2012. Fact.

– Hallgeir

Highlights:


Justin-Townes-Earle-Nothings-Gonna-Change-The-Way-You-Feel-About-Me-Now

2. Justin Townes Earle

– Nothing’s gonna change the way I feel about you now

“Hear my father on the radio singing “Take Me Home Again”
300 miles from the Carolina coast and I’m
I’m skin and bones again
Sometimes I wish that I could get away
Sometimes I wish that he’d just call
Am I that lonely tonight, I don’t know…”

 Justin Townes Earle has returned with his 5th album and it is a great one, more Memphis, less Nashville but still very, very good. Again he’s brutally honest, and this album is almost painful in it’s honesty, he really puts himself down. It doesn’t make me pity him, it makes me think that I repect a man that has such insights and has the nerve to face his demons. It sounds as if it’s born out of recovery, and it probably is…

His melodic sense is fabulous and the lyrics are getting better with each release.

Honest country songwriting with a Memphis sound.

– Hallgeir

Highlights:

  • Egil: Am I that lonely tonight?, Look the other way, Nothing’s gonna change the way you feel about me now
  • Hallgeir: Look the other way, Nothing’s gonna change the way you feel about me now, Memphis in the rain, Am I that lonely tonight?


patterson hood-hlritd

3. Patterson Hood –

Heat lightning rumbles in the distance

“I was 27, my band broke up, I got divorced and left my hometown to live in Memphis…”

Pain, Booze & guilt has often helped artists create great art…  There is a lot of all three in this collection of songs from the Drive-By Truckers front man. These are heartfelt songs telling stories from a period in Patterson Hoods life when he was really down… even considered suicide.

“…  My car got stolen, our band’s truck got stripped and I fell in love. I fell out with my family (who I was very, very close to) and had my heart broken. I seriously pondered killing myself several times but instead wrote literally over 500 songs in a three-year period.”
~Patterson Hood (from promotional materials for Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance.)

Nearly all songs on this album are great, but Come Back Little Star shines brightest.. and is a strong contender for a top 5 position on my list for the best new songs of 2012.

-Egil

Highlights:

  • Egil: Come Back Little Star, (untold pretties), 12:01 & Leaving Time
  • Hallgeir: Come back little star, (untold pretties), After the damage, Leaving Time


Unknown

4. Jack White – Blunderbuss

“And you’ll be watching me, girl
Taking over the world
Let the stripes unfurl
Gettin’ rich, singin’ poor boy”

“Blues singers and people who are singing on stage have the same feelings and emotions that someone who is called to be a priest might have.” – Jack White

Music is Jack White’s calling, it is his mission in life, and we at JV are regulars when he preaches. Jack White is a musical genius. He’s a rock auteur. You can hear “his voice” on everything he’s involved in. That is a good thing, and his first solo album really shines.

The music is less raw than with The White Stripes, this doesn’t mean that it is too polished, but I guess that it is an easier introduction into Mr. White’s world than any of his previous projects. His chosen musicians are a tight band and they really brings something to, and enhances his songs. His solo project sounds more like a band than The White Stripes ever did (for the record, I really love The White Stripes).

A tight band and Jack’s guitar explosions on a marvelous break-up record.

Highlights:

  • Egil: Sixteen Saltines, Freedom at 21, Blunderbuss & Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy
  • Hallgeir: Sixteen Saltines, Freedom at 21, Love interruption,  Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy

the-south-cover

5. The South – The South

This album is the one I’ve played most often in 2012, and I do not get tired of it. It  is a great americana album. It’s varied and very well produced by Motorpsycho’s Bent Sæther. It sometimes sound like Little Feat, sometimes Allman Brothers, then The Band and then in goes into the Laurel Canyon landscape. The South is an extremely competent band and they really know their music history.The ballad, Walk in your shadow (a duet with Ida Jenshus) sounds like classic Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris .  This may sound as if they’re not original, but they are, you listen to a song and even if it reminds you of former bands it still sounds brand new.

The album has a soft organic sound, but the band dynamics really comes through, and the guitars are still the main instrument.

The 5th best international album this year and clearly the best Norwegian album in 2012.

…the best part of the album is when the guitars are let loose on I’ll be the one, about 3.45 into the song and right until the end, magnificent!

Country, soul and rock’n roll in one big stew.

– Hallgeir

I’ve just gotta add one comment here.. “The South” is a wonderful album.. BUT live in concert.. they even sound way better! A great live band!

-Egil

Highlights:

  • Egil: Can’t find my way back home, I’ll be the one, Walk in your shadow, Juggernaut
  • Hallgeir: Can’t find my way back home, I’ll be the one, Walk in your shadow, Juggernaut

 

Link to the complete LIST

 

Bob Dylan & Patti Smith – Dark Eyes – Electric Factory Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 17 December 1995

BD & PS

From the last (and one of the best) concerts of the 95-tour we get this great version of “Dark Eyes”.

…. and then three nights in Philadelphia (December 15–17). Every night Patti Smith would come on in the middle for the tenth song of the set and they would
share vocals on ‘Dark Eyes’, the acoustic song from
the end of the Empire Burlesque album of ten years
earlier, and which he had never sung live before.
The routine might have been the same every
night but there was nothing routine about it. ….
….but without question live performance brought it
alive, and it was Patti Smith who made it happen.
Here, in the tingling electricity between them as
they traded verses and duetted on the choruses, the song was the conduit of a beauty and excitement it had never possessed.
Many Dylan followers believed that he felt challenged by Patti Smith’s still possessing a fierce anti-showbiz, anti-bullshit credibility that had in his own case been compromised by then: that she therefore kept him on his toes as no performance with his own band alone would have done. As it was, he rose higher than his toes.
~Michael Gray (Bob Dylan Ecyclopedia)

BD & PS2

Lyrics:

Oh, the gentlemen are talking and the midnight moon is on the riverside
They’re drinking up and walking and it is time for me to slide
I live in another world where life and death are memorized
Where the earth is strung with lovers’ pearls and all I see are dark eyes

A cock is crowing far away and another soldier’s deep in prayer
Some mother’s child has gone astray, she can’t find him anywhere
But I can hear another drum beating for the dead that rise
Whom nature’s beast fears as they come and all I see are dark eyes

They tell me to be discreet for all intended purposes,
They tell me revenge is sweet and from where they stand, I’m sure it is.
But I feel nothing for their game where beauty goes unrecognized,
All I feel is heat and flame and all I see are dark eyes.

Oh, the French girl, she’s in paradise and a drunken man is at the wheel
Hunger pays a heavy price to the falling gods of speed and steel
Oh, time is short and the days are sweet and passion rules the arrow that flies
A million faces at my feet but all I see are dark eyes



BD & PS3

-Egil

Bob Dylan’s best songs – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – #16, released version

The hard rain is gonna fall is in the last verse when I say “when the pellets of poison are flooding the waters”. I mean, all the lies, you know, all the lies that people get told on their radios and their newspapers which, all you have to do is
just think for a minute, y’know, try and take peoples brains away, y’know, which maybe’s been done already. I dunno, maybe, I hate to think it’s been done, but all the lies, which are considered poison, y’know, er…
Bob Dylan (to Studs Terkel, April 63)

‘Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’… I wrote the words of it on a piece of paper. But there was just no tune that really fit to it, so I just sort of play chords without a tune. If all this comes under the heading of a definition, then I don’t care really to define what I do. Other people seem to have a hard time doing that.
~Bob Dylan (to Max Jones, May 64)

From “The Witmark Demos” (Bootleg Series 9):

@ #16 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs. The original version from “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” was recorded on December 6 – 1962…. 50 year’s ago today. The Witmark version above was recorded sometime in December 62.

‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’, recorded December 6, 1962, is another song whose genius and power are so great that our analytical minds (not our hearts) may have difficulty accepting and recognizing it’s simplicity.
~Paul Williams (Performing Artist 60-73)

from 1964:

 

Continue reading Bob Dylan’s best songs – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – #16, released version

Bob Dylan songs covered by Jimi Hendrix

“Sometimes I do a Dylan song and it seems to fit me so right that I figure maybe I wrote it. Dylan didn’t always do it for me as a singer, not in the early days, but then I started listening to the lyrics. That sold me.” – Jimi Hendrix, Beat International 1969

Though they were not close friends, Jimi Hendrix was a huge fan of Bob Dylan and covered five of his songs (to my knowledge), both live and in the studio. These tracks are “Like a Rolling Stone,” “All Along the Watchtower,” “Drifter’s Escape” , “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” and “Tears of Rage” (by Dylan and Richard Manuel)

From Seven Ages of Rock (BBC):

“First time I saw him, he was playing with John Hammond. He was incredible then. I’d already been to England and beyond, and although he didn’t sing, I kinda had a feeling that he figured into things. The last time I saw him was a couple of months before he died. He was in that band with Buddy Miles. It was an eerie scene. He was slouched down in the back of a limousine. I was riding by on a bicycle. I remember saying something about that song “Wind Cried Mary,” it was a long way from playing behind John Hammond. That was my favorite song of his – that and “Dolly Dagger”… I don’t know, it was strange, both of us were a little lost for words, he’d gone through like a fireball without knowing it, I’d done the same thing like being shot out of a cannon…” -Bob Dylan (Biograph liner notes)

Like a Rolling Stone:

“I love Dylan. I only met him once, about three years ago, back at the Kettle of Fish on MacDougal Street. That was before I went to England. I think both of us were pretty drunk at the time, so he probably doesn’t remember it.” – Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stone Magazine

A tender cover of Bob Dylan and The Band‘s classic Tears of Rage from the 4cd set “West Coast Seattle Boy” (Spotify):

Continue reading Bob Dylan songs covered by Jimi Hendrix

Bob Dylan’s best songs – It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) – #7, released version

Well, I still do that song [It’s Alright Ma]. It’s still very relevant to me.
~Bob Dylan (June 1985)

“I’ve written some songs that I look at, and they just give me a sense of awe,… Stuff like, It’s Alright, Ma, just the alliteration in that blows me away. And I can also look back and know where I was tricky and where I was really saying something that just
happened to have a spark of poetry to it.”
~Bob Dylan (to John Pareles, Sept 1997)

Ironically, this song, which Dylan performs unaccompanied on the “folk-side” of his half-folk, half electric album, is more of a rock and roll performance than anything else on the record.
~Paul Williams (Performing Artist 60-73)

@ no.7 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs.. comes this acoustic masterpiece with lyrics that still makes me shiver in awe…

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

best of the best:

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words, proves to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying

original version:

Lyrics:

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words, proves to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying

Temptation’s page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover that you’d just be one more
Person crying

So don’t fear if you hear
A foreign sound to your ear
It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Make everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged
It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge
And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it

Advertising signs they con
You into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks they really found you

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit
To satisfy, insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something they invest in

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God bless him

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he’s in

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him

Old lady judges watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer’s pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death’s honesty
Won’t fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes must get lonely

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed
Graveyards, false gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough, what else can you show me?

And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only

….and proceeded to record the final versions of “Mr. Tambourine Man”, “It’s Alright, Ma” & “Gates of Eden” in a single take, with no playback between songs! ….. It is as though all three songs came out of him in one breath, easily the greatest breath drawn by an american artist since Ginsberg & Kerouac exhaled “Howl” & “On the Road” a decade earlier.
~Paul Williams (Performing Artist 60-73)

Continue reading Bob Dylan’s best songs – It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) – #7, released version