“On this album, I took a few steps backward, but I also took a bunch of steps forward because I had a lot of time to concentrate on it. I also had the band sounding like I want it to sound. It’s got that organ sound from ‘Blonde on Blonde’ again. That’s something that has been missing.”
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – May 1978)
Jonathan Cott interview – Sept. 1978: Jonathan Cott: What do you think of all the criticisms of Street Legal? Bob Dylan: I read some of them. In fact, I didn’t understand them. I don’t think these people have had the experiences I’ve had to write those songs. The reviews didn’t strike me as being particularly interesting one way or another, or as compelling to my particular scene. I don’t know who these people are. They don’t travel in the same crowd, anyway. So it would be like me criticizing Pancho Villa.
First of all… “Street-Legal” is a fantastic album. I have never “understood” all the criticism it got.. and still gets, and I even dig the original overall sound & production.
The first & second recording session (April 25 & 26) did not produce much (probably only a master of “We Better Talk This Over”), but on this sessions we (probably) got 4 masters: No Time To Think, Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat), True Love Tends To Forget & Changing Of The Guards.
Sixteen banners united over the field
Where the good shepherd grieves
Desperate men, desperate women divided
Spreading their wings ’neath the falling leaves
I stepped forth from the shadows, to the marketplace
Merchants and thieves, hungry for power, my last deal gone down
She’s smelling sweet like the meadows where she was born
On midsummer’s eve, near the tower
This is a gem!
Municipal Auditorium Nashville, Tennessee 2 December 1978
Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
Billy Cross (lead guitar)
Alan Pasqua (keyboards)
Steven Soles (rhythm guitar, backup vocals)
David Mansfield (violin & mandolin)
Steve Douglas (horns)
Jerry Scheff (bass)
Bobbye Hall (percussion)
Ian Wallace (drums)
Helena Springs, Jo Ann Harris, Carolyn Dennis (background vocals)
I stumbled to my feet I rode past destruction in the ditches With the stitches still mending beneath a heart-shaped tattoo Renegade priests and treacherous young witches Were handing out the flowers that I’d given to you.
The Best Dylan Covers: Patti Smith – Changing Of The Guards
“…I had finished Gone Again in memory of Fred [‘Sonic’ Smith, her late husband], and I really didn’t think about touring at all, since my children were in school, but I heard from Dylan in 1995, and he asked whether I wanted to do a series of East coast dates with him. … Bob and I spoke privately and I thanked him for giving me the opportunity, and he really encouraged me to come back into the fold. He said the people would be happy to see me. I truthfully wasn’t certain how I would be received, or what I should do, and being encouraged by him was very important to me. I mean, Bob – the man I know – is a man of few words, but the words are always meaningful. And so that was very important. He was very encouraging to me about my place in the community of rock’n’roll.”
– Patti Smith (Kirk Elder, interview 2009, AlternativesToValium)
Changing of the Guards is a song written by Bob Dylan, released in 1978 as a single and as the first track on his album Street-Legal.
Lyrically, this song has provoked much critical insight, both positive and negative. According to Oliver Trager author of Keys to the Rain: The Definitive Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, “Changing of the Guards” has been criticized as a “song in which Dylan unsuccessfully and cynically parodies his anthemic self in haunting fashion…