Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: Visions of Johanna





“The ghost of ’lectricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place”
— from “Visions of Johanna”

In 1982 readers of ‘The Telegraph” voted ‘Visions of Johanna’ their “favourite Dylan Song” by a wide margin (‘Like A Rolling Stone’ & ‘It’s Alrght, Ma’ tied for second). Why? There is a depth in this song, an intimate bond created between the singer and the listener, that defies analysis & explanation
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist 1960-73)

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September 10: Bob Dylan released Under The Red Sky in 1990

bob dylan under the red sky

“It’s just another record,” [Dylan says of Red Sky] “You can only make the records as good as
you can and hope they sell.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen, Aug 1990)

I made this record, Under the Red Sky, with Don Was, but at the same time I was also doing the Wilburys record. I don’t know how it happened that I got into both albums at the same time.
~Bob Dylan (to Jonathan Lethem, Aug 2006)

Anyway, Leadbelly did most of those kind of songs. He’d been out of prison for some time when he decided to do children’s songs and people said oh, why did Leadbelly change? Some people liked the old ones, some people liked the new ones. Some people liked both songs. But he didn’t change, he was the same man! Anyway, this is a song called …, It’s a new song I wrote a while back. I’m gonna try and do it as good as I can. there’s somebody important here tonight who wants to hear it, so we’ll give it our best …
– preface to ‘Caribbean Wind’, Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, November 12, 1980

Born In Time (with Eric Clapton, 1999):

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September 10 – Watch: Bob Dylan @ WTTW-TV Studios Chicago, Illinois 1975

bob dylan 10 september 1975

His presence burns from the video screen. His music bursts with aliveness. Anyone can see he’s being driven by some kind of primal force.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)

GREAT performance from Dylan & his trio (core of what would become the The Rolling Thunder tour band).. They were the last act this day.. the filming was running late & they didn’t get to play before 2 am. Still there is fire in Dylan’s eyes.. and he drives his band through the songs.

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Bob Dylan @ Stanhope, New Jersey – September 10, 1988 (full concert video)

bob-dylan-new-jersey-1988

Waterloo Village
Stanhope, New Jersey
10 September 1988

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • G. E. Smith (guitar)
  • Kenny Aaronson (bass)
  • Christopher Parker (drums)

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Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: Blowin’ in the Wind

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and know it’s wrong. I’m only 21 years old and I know that there’s been too many wars… You people over 21 should know better. The first way to answer these questions in the song is by asking them. But lots of people have to first find the wind.
~Bob Dylan (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan Liner Notes – 1963)

The version of “Blowin’ in the Wind” that eventually appeared on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was recorded at this July 9 session. Of all the available performances of this song from 1962 and 1963, this “official” recording is my favorite. It has a presence, a magic, as if Dylan took a deep breath and thought, “Okay, this one’s for posterity.” I don’t think Dylan ever put quite as much of himself into the song again. He didn’t have to. The song itself was in the wind at that point.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist 1960-1973 The Early Years)

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