This is not a “best from 1981” list, just 5 Great songs Bob Dylan recorded in 1981.
How to comment on this extraordinary piece of writing? Recorded at the ‘Shot of Love’ sessions of April-May 1980, Angelina is unlike anything else Bob Dylan has ever written – part Cocteau film, part Braque painting, totally surreal, it defies logic and heads off for the deepest, darkest parts of poetic mystery. Though Dylan has never commented about the song in public, chances are that he’d confess that it was as much mystery to him as to anyone else.
~John Bauldie (TBS1-3 booklet)
Santa Monica, California
26 March 1981
1st Shot Of Love recording session. Produced by Jimmy Iovine.
Released on THE BOOTLEG SERIES (RARE & UNRELEASED) 1961-1991, 26 March 1991.
Well, it’s always been my nature
To take chances
My right hand drawing back
While my left hand advances
Continue reading Bob Dylan: 5 great songs recorded in 1981
Dylan delivers a knock-out performance. The gospel material is powerful and biting without a condescending edge. The older standards are performed with a new fire and passion that includes them among the best live versions to date. Dylan stumbles on the lyrics once or twice, but adds new lines as well that more than compensate. The vocals are crisp are over the top out front and in your face. The music is tight, well mixed, and well performed.
Saenger Performing Arts Center
New Orleans, Louisiana
10 November 1981
- Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
- Fred Tackett (guitar)
- Steve Ripley (guitar)
- Al Kooper (keyboards)
- Tim Drummond (bass)
- Jim Keltner (drums)
- Arthur Rosato (drums)
- Clydie King, Regina Havis, Madelyn Quebec (background vocals)
Continue reading November 10: Bob Dylan, Saenger Theater, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1981 (full concert audio)
That was an inspired song that came to me. I felt like I was just putting down words that were coming from somewhere else, and I just stuck it out.
~Bob Dylan (“Biograph” notes)
“That’s an excellent song, very painless song to write,… It took like 12 seconds – or that’s how it felt.”
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – Feb 1992)
…But “Every Grain of Sand” is something special: the “Chimes of Freedom” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” of Bob Dylan’s Christian period. A pearl among swine, it has surety and strength all down the line. Also vulnerability.
~Paul Nelson (from his famous “Rolling Stone Magazine” review of “Shot Of Love” – Oct. 1981)
Continue reading Bob Dylan’s best songs: Every Grain of Sand
August 10: Bob Dylan released Shot of Love in 1981
I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there’s someone there, other times it’s only me
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand
Shot of Love is Bob Dylan’s 21st studio album, it was released by Columbia Records in August 1981.
It is generally considered to be Dylan’s last of a trilogy of overtly religious, Christian albums. Also, it was his first since becoming born-again to focus on secular themes, from straight-ahead love songs to an ode to the deceased comedian Lenny Bruce. Arrangements are rooted more in rock’n’roll, less in gospel than on Dylan’s previous two albums. So maybe it is more of a new start than a gospel-tinged end?
Continue reading August 10: Bob Dylan released Shot of Love in 1981