Tag Archives: Bob Dylan

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

Today: The late Duane Allman was born in 1946 – 66 years ago

“I will take love wherever I find it and offer it to everyone who will take it.., seek knowledge from those wiser than me and try to teach those who wish to learn from me.”
― Duane Allman

Nice tribute:

From Wikipedia:

Birth name Howard Duane Allman
Also known as Skydog
Born November 20, 1946
Nashville, Tennessee
Died October 29, 1971 (aged 24)
Macon, Georgia
Genres Southern rock, blues, blues-rock, soul, rock, jazz
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1961–1971
Labels Mercury, Capricorn
Associated acts The Hour Glass, Wilson Pickett,The Allman Brothers Band,Derek and the Dominos, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Mann, Gregg Allman, The Allman Joys
Website AllmanBrothersBand.com

Howard Duane Allman (November 20, 1946 – October 29, 1971) was an American guitarist, session musician and the primary leader and co-founder of the The Allman Brothers Band, until his death in a motorcycle accident in 1971 at the age of 24.

The Allman Brothers Band was formed in 1969 and, unusual for the time, based in the Southeastern United States. In the early 1970s the band was hugely successful. Duane is best remembered for his brief but influential tenure in the band, and in particular for his expressive slide guitar playing and inventive improvisational skills. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Allman at #2 in their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, second only to Jimi Hendrix and in 2011 he was ranked #9. His tone (achieved with a Gibson Les Paul and two 50-watt bass Marshall amplifiers) was named one of the greatest guitar tones of all time by Guitar Player.

Allman Brothers – Whipping Post, 9/23/70:

A sought-after session musician both before and during his tenure with the band, Duane Allman performed with such established stars as King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Herbie Mann. He also contributed heavily to the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos.

Duane Allman’s skills as a guitarist were complemented by personal qualities such as his intensity, drive and ability to draw the best out of others in making music. He is still referred to by his nickname “Skydog”.

Allman Brothers – In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, 9/23/70:

From rollingstone.com (100 greatest guitarists):
If the late Duane Allman had done nothing but session work, he would still be on this list. His contributions on lead and slide guitar to dozens of records as fine and as varied as Wilson Pickett’s down-home ’69 cover of “Hey Jude” and Eric Clapton’s 1970 masterpiece with Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, constitute an astounding body of work. But Allman also transformed the poetry of jamming with the Allman Brothers Band, the group he founded in 1969 with his younger brother, singer-organist Gregg. Duane applied the same black soul and rebel fire he displayed as a sideman to the Allmans’ extended investigations of Muddy Waters and Blind Willie McTell covers and to his psychedelic-jazz interplay with second guitarist Dickey Betts in live showpieces such as “Whipping Post.” Although Duane and Gregg had played in bands together since 1960, Duane did not learn to play slide until shortly before the start of the Allmans. In his only Rolling Stone interview, in early’ 71, Duane said that the first song he tried to conquer was McTell’s “Statesboro Blues.” Allman’s blastoff licks in the recording that opens his band’s third album, At Fillmore East, show how far and fast he had come — and leave you wondering how much further he could have gone. In October 1971, eight months after the Fillmore East gigs, Allman died in a motorcycle accident in the band’s home base of Macon, Georgia.  -> Read more: rollingstone.com

 Album of the day:

Stepehen Thomas Erlwine (allmusic.com):
Whereas most great live rock albums are about energy, At Fillmore East is like a great live jazz session, where the pleasure comes from the musicians’ interaction and playing. The great thing about that is, the original album that brought the Allmans so much acclaim is as notable for its clever studio editing as it is for its performances. Producer Tom Dowd skillfully trimmed some of the performances down to relatively concise running time (edits later restored on the double-disc set The Fillmore Concerts), at times condensing several performances into one track. Far from being a sacrilege, this tactic helps present the Allmans in their best light, since even if the music isn’t necessarily concise (three tracks run over ten minutes, with two in the 20-minute range), it does showcase the group’s terrific instrumental interplay, letting each member (but particularly guitarist Duane and keyboardist/vocalist Gregg) shine. Even after the release of the unedited concerts, this original double album (single CD) remains the pinnacle of the Allmans and Southern rock at its most elastic, bluesy, and jazzy.

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Today: Dan Penn is 71

At the dark end of the street
That’s where we always meet
Hiding in shadows where we don’t belong
Livin in darkness to hide a wrong
You and me
At the dark end of the street
You and me

Dan Penn was an important player in the development of the “Southern Soul scene” in Memphis in the early 60’s.

Here he performs one of the greatest soul songs ever, which he wrote together with Chips Moman in 1966:

Dark End of The Street:

I also need to include the best version of this fantastic song – James Carr:

From Wikipedia:

Dan Penn (born Wallace Daniel Pennington, 16 November 1941) is an American singer, musician, songwriter, and record producer who co-wrote many soul hits of the 1960s including “Dark End Of The Street” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” with Chips Moman as well as “Out Of Left Field” and “Cry Like a Baby” with Spooner Oldham. Penn also produced many hits including “The Letter” by The Box Tops. Though considered to be one of the great white soul singers of his generation, Penn has released relatively few records featuring his own vocals and musicianship preferring the relative anonymity of songwriting and producing.

I’m Your Puppet (Penn/Spooner Oldham):

Steve Kurutz (allmusic.com):
Songwriter/producer Dan Penn has been a quiet force behind Southern soul music for over thirty years. Always moving just out of view of the limelight, Penn has produced and written hits for the Box Tops, Solomon Burke, Aretha Franklin and Ronnie Milsap, among others.
Originally from Vernon, Alabama, Penn began his career as a performer, leading several white R&B bands around the Muscle Shoals area. Achieving early success by selling a hit song to Conway Twitty (“Is a Bluebird Blue?”), the songwriter eventually moved to Memphis, joining producer Chips Moman at his American Studios. Together the two, along with Penn’s writing partner, organist Spooner Oldham, wrote and/or produced several hits for the Box Tops, such as “The Letter” and “Cry Like a Baby,” throughout the late ’60s.
…read more over @ allmusic.com

Album of the day:

Do Right Man (1994):


From allmusic.com (Chris Nickson):
If James Brown is Soul Brother Number One, you can make a very credible case for Dan Penn being number two. The Alabama native has had a hand in writing a fair number of classic soul songs, and here he commits his versions of them to tape for the first time, recording, of course, in Muscle Shoals, with their fabulous house band, and a horn section including former Memphis Horn member Wayne Jackson. It’s a tall order Penn sets himself, offering himself up for comparison with greats like James Carr, Aretha Franklin, and James and Bobby Purify, who have sung his songs — and that’s just the start of the list. However, he comes out very well, beginning with a quiet take on”The Dark End of the Street,” coming across like a note to a secret lover, rather than a cry of pain.
…read more – allmusic.com 

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Today: Bob Dylan recorded “Forever Young” in 1973 – 39 years ago

  • Bob Dylan recorded master versions of “Dirge” (probably) & “Forever Young” on November 14 – 1973
  • Bob Dylan recorded master versions of “Mixed-Up Confusion”, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” & “Kingsport Town” on November 14 –  1962

German single cover

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

“So, I don’t know. I think so. It’s all in the heart, whatever keeps you that way. Keeps you forever young. Forever young doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t grow old, but you just have some contact with what put you where you are. You know, keep some type of contact. Anyway…”
~Bob Dylan (to Marc Rowland in Sept. 1978)

“This song should be sung every morning by every child in every school in every country”
~Allen Ginsberg

From Wikipedia:

…….Though there was enough material to fill an album, Dylan decided to hold one more session. On the 14th, The Band was called back to record two songs. The first was another arrangement of “Forever Young,” this time with Helm on mandolin and Danko on fiddle. This new version of “Forever Young” would create the second of two master takes for the song, and both of them would be included on the album.

The second song recorded on the 14th was “Dirge” (or “Dirge For Martha” as it was marked on the tape box). “Bob went out and played the piano while we were mixing [the album]. All of a sudden, he came in and said, ‘I’d like to try ‘Dirge’ on the piano.’…We put up a tape and he said to Robbie, ‘Maybe you could play guitar on this.’ They did it once, Bob playing piano and singing, and Robbie playing acoustic guitar. The second time was the take.”

from Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid

Village Recorder
Santa Monica, California
14 November 1973
6th and last Planet Waves session  

Engineer: Rob Fraboni

Songs:

  1. Forever Young
  2. Forever Young
  3. Forever Young
  4. Forever Young
  5. Forever Young
  6. Dirge

I hate myself for lovin’ you and the weakness that it showed
You were just a painted face on a trip down Suicide Road
The stage was set, the lights went out all around the old hotel
I hate myself for lovin’ you and I’m glad the curtain fell

Personnel:

  • 1-5 Bob Dylan (guitar, harmonica, vocal).
  • 1-3 Robbie Robertson (guitar), Rick Danko (bass), Richard Manuel (drums), Garth Hudson (organ), Levon Helm (mandolin).
  • 4, 5 Robbie Robertson (mandolin), Rick Danko (fiddle), Richard Manuel (piano), Garth Hudson (organ), Levon Helm (drums).
  • 6 Bob Dylan (vocal, piano), Robbie Robertson (guitar).

Today: Bruce Springsteen meets Bob Dylan for the first time in 1975 – 37 years ago


Photo by Ken Regan

Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen meet for the first time backstage during the Rolling Thunder Revue tour in New Haven, CT.

——

Russell Tyrone Jones (November 15, 1968 – November 13, 2004) was an American rapper and occasional producer, who went by the stage name Ol’ Dirty BastardODB, Ason Unique, Osirus, Rainman, and Big Baby Jesus. He was one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan, a rap group primarily from Staten Island, New York that first rose to mainstream prominence with their 1993 debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

After establishing the Wu-Tang Clan, Ol’ Dirty Bastard went on to pursue a successful solo career. However, his professional success was hampered by frequent legal troubles, including incarceration. He died in late 2004 of a drug overdose, two days before his 36th birthday. Prior to his death, Ol’ Dirty Bastard managed to record his third solo album, which has been repeatedly delayed and as of 2012 has not been released.

C.R.E.A.M. (Wu Tang Clan)

Album of The Day:

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

Steve Huey (allmusic.com):
Along with Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, the Wu-Tang Clan’s debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), was one of the most influential rap albums of the ’90s. Its spare yet atmospheric production — courtesy of RZA — mapped out the sonic blueprint that countless other hardcore rappers would follow for years to come. It laid the groundwork for the rebirth of New York hip-hop in the hardcore age, paving the way for everybody from Biggie and Jay-Z to Nas and Mobb Deep. Moreover, it introduced a colorful cast of hugely talented MCs, some of whom ranked among the best and most unique individual rappers of the decade. Some were outsized, theatrical personalities, others were cerebral storytellers and lyrical technicians, but each had his own distinctive style, which made for an album of tremendous variety and consistency. Every track on Enter the Wu-Tang is packed with fresh, inventive rhymes, which are filled with martial arts metaphors, pop culture references (everything from Voltron to Lucky Charms cereal commercials to Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were”), bizarre threats of violence, and a truly twisted sense of humor. ... read more @ allmusic.com

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