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Bob Dylan: 10 best songs recorded in 1983

Dylan 1983

This is an updated & revised post originally published a year ago.

The “Infidels” Birthday inspired me to set up a list of Dylan’s best songs recorded in 1983.

I’ve chosen to include 2 versions of “Blind Willie McTell”. This is by far the best song Dylan recorded in 1983… and the both versions are fantastic.

1 Blind Willie McTell – electric version not released*
2 Blind Willie McTell – acoustic version The Bootleg Series 3
3 Jokerman Infidels
4 Foot of Pride The Bootleg Series 3
5 Someone’s Got A Hold Of My Heart – alt.version not released*
6 License To Kill Infidels
7 I & I Infidels
8 Lord Protect My Child The Bootleg Series 3
9 Sweetheart Like You Infidels
10 Tell Me The Bootleg Series 3

 

* My source is the “Rough Cuts” bootleg:

bob dylan rough cuts

Check out bobsboots.com

Now for the goodies..

1. Blind Willie McTell – electric version:

I didn’t think I recorded it right. But I don’t know why that stuff gets out on me. I mean,
it never seems to get out on other people.
~Bob Dylan (to Kurt Loder, March 1984)

Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem”
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, I heard that hoot owl singing
As they were taking down the tents
The stars above the barren trees
Were his only audience
Them charcoal gypsy maidens
Can strut their feathers well
But nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

See them big plantations burning
Hear the cracking of the whips
Smell that sweet magnolia blooming
See the ghosts of slavery ships
I can hear them tribes a-moaning
Hear that undertaker’s bell
Nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

There’s a woman by the river
With some fine young handsome man
He’s dressed up like a squire
Bootlegged whiskey in his hand
There’s a chain gang on the highway
I can hear them rebels yell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, God is in His heaven
And we all want what’s His
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is
I’m gazing out the window
Of the St. James Hotel
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Continue reading Bob Dylan: 10 best songs recorded in 1983

Bob Dylan Albums @ alldylan.com

bob_dylan-bob_dylans_greatest_hits

I hear it sometimes on the radio or a record player and I see that it’s badly mixed and it doesn’t sound very good, but what can you do? I’ve got, on Columbia Records alone, 21 or 22 albums out. So every time you make an album, you want it to be new, good and different, but personally, when you look back on them for me all my albums are, are just measuring points for wherever I was at a certain period of time. I went into the studio, recorded the songs as good as I could, and left. Basically, realistically, I’m a live performer and want to play onstage for the people and not make records that may sound really good.
~Bob Dylan (Lynn Allen interview, Dec 1978)

A list of “Dylan album” posts @ alldylan.com:

-Egil

Today – Bob Dylan – 15th Infidels recording session in 1983 – 30 years ago

infidels

…..I did the album, and I call it that, but what it means is for other people to interpret, you know, if it means something to them. Infidels is a word that’s in the dictionary and whoever it applies to… to everybody on the album, every character. Maybe it’s all about infidels.
~Bob Dylan (to Kurt Loder in March 1984)

Foot of Pride:

 “Bob’s musical ability is limited, in terms of being able to play a guitar or a piano,….. It’s rudimentary, but it doesn’t affect his variety, his sense of melody, his singing. It’s all there. In fact, some of the things he plays on piano while he’s singing are lovely, even though they’re rudimentary. That all demonstrates the fact that you don’t have to be a great technician. It’s the same old story: If something is played with soul, that’s what’s important.
~Mark Knopfler

“I’ve made shoes for everyone, even you, while I still go barefoot”
~Bob Dylan (from “I and I”)

Studio A
Power Station
New York City, New York
27 April 1983

Produced by Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan

  1. From Paul
  2. Foot Of Pride
  3. Foot Of Pride
  4. Foot Of Pride
  5. Foot Of Pride
    ….Composing it was alright, it probably had a bunch of extra verses that probably… most likely weren’t necessary, they should have been… they should have been combined. But, the reason why it was never used was because the tempo speeded up, but there wasn’t any drum machine used on that, the tempo just automatically took off, for some vague and curious reason.
    ~Bob Dylan (to Eliot Mintz – March 1991)

    Foot of pride is in fact, in the words Dylan used to describe the composition “Like A Rolling Stone,” “a long piece of vomit”. … it’s about how pride destroys us and turns us into monsters.
    ~Paul Williams (BD performing artist 1974-86)
  6. Union Sundown
  7. Union Sundown
  8. (Unidentified Song)
  9. (Harmonica)
  10. (Unidentified Song)
  11. I And I
  12. I And I
  13. I And I
  14. I And I
  15. I And I
  16. I And I
    …according to author/critic Tim Riley, “updates the Dylan mythos. Even though it substitutes self-pity for the [pessimism found throughout Infidels], you can’t ignore it as a Dylan spyglass: ‘Someone else is speakin’ with my mouth, but I’m listening only to my heart/I’ve made shoes for everyone, even you, while I still go barefoot.'” Riley sees the song as an exploration of the distance between Dylan’s “inner identity and the public face he wears”.
    ~Wikipedia

    “I and I”, the other epic from these sessions, is a beautiful song, powerfully sung, with a wonderfully moody and evocative instrumental setting….
    ~Paul Williams (BD perfroming artist 1974-86) 
  17. I And I
  18. I And I
  19. I And I
  20. Julius And Ethel
  21. Julius And Ethel

infidels back

Musicians:

  • Bob Dylan (vocal, harmonica, keyboards & guitar)
  • Mark Knopfler (guitar)
  • Mick Taylor (guitar)
  • Alan Clark (keyboards)
  • Robbie Shakespeare (bass)
  • Sly Dunbar (drums)

6, 7, 20, 21 Clydie King (backing/shared vocal)

Related articles here @ JV:

References:

Playlist of the day:

Other APR 27:

Continue reading Today – Bob Dylan – 15th Infidels recording session in 1983 – 30 years ago

Bob Dylan – 10 best songs recorded in 1983 – updated

OLD post … You’re being redirected to a newer version……

Picture by Lynn Goldsmith

The “Infidels” Birthday inspired me to set up a list of Dylan’s best songs recorded in 1983.

I’ve chosen to include 2 versions of “Blind Willie McTell”. This is by far the best song Dylan recorded in 1983… and the both versions are fantastic.

  1. Blind Willie McTell – electric version (not released)*
  2. Blind Willie McTell – acoustic version (The Bootleg Series 3)
  3. Jokerman – Infidels
  4. Foot of Pride – The Bootleg Series 3
  5. Someone’s Got A Hold Of My Heart – alt.version (not released)*
  6. License To Kill – Infidels
  7. I & I – Infidels
  8. Lord Protect My Child – The Bootleg Series 3
  9. Sweetheart Like You – Infidels
  10. Tell Me – The Bootleg Series 3

* My source is the “Rough Cuts” bootleg:

Check out bobsboots.com

Over to the goodies..

1. Blind Willie McTell – electric version:

Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem”
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, I heard that hoot owl singing
As they were taking down the tents
The stars above the barren trees
Were his only audience
Them charcoal gypsy maidens
Can strut their feathers well
But nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

See them big plantations burning
Hear the cracking of the whips
Smell that sweet magnolia blooming
See the ghosts of slavery ships
I can hear them tribes a-moaning
Hear that undertaker’s bell
Nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

There’s a woman by the river
With some fine young handsome man
He’s dressed up like a squire
Bootlegged whiskey in his hand
There’s a chain gang on the highway
I can hear them rebels yell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, God is in His heaven
And we all want what’s His
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is
I’m gazing out the window
Of the St. James Hotel
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Continue reading Bob Dylan – 10 best songs recorded in 1983 – updated

Today: Bob Dylan released “Infidels” in 1983 – 29 years ago

….I wanted to call my next album, whenever I made it, Surviving In A Ruthless World. I wanted to call it that. Before we even went into the studio, “The next album I do I’m gonna call Surviving in a Ruthless World”. But something was holding me back from it, because for some reason… somebody pointed out to me that the last bunch of albums that I made all started with the letter S. And I’d say, “Is that right?” There must be a story or something. I didn’t want to do another one beginning with S just f for superstitious reasons. I didn’t want to get bogged down in the letter S whatever the letter S stands for. And this Infidels came out, just came into my head one day, I guess. This was after we had that album done that it just came in my head that this is the right title for this album. I mean, I don’t know any more about it than anybody else really. I did it. I did the album, and I call it that, but what it means is for other people to interpret, you know, if it means something to them. Infidels is a word that’s in the dictionary and whoever it applies to… to everybody on the album, every character. Maybe it’s all about infidels.
~Bob Dylan (to Kurt Loder in March 1984)

Jokerman – official video:

From Wikipedia:

Released October 27, 1983
Recorded April–May 1983 at the Power Station, New York
Genre Rock
Length 41:39
Label Columbia
Producer Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler

Infidels is the twenty-second studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in October 1983 by Columbia Records.

Produced by Mark Knopfler and Dylan himself, Infidels is seen as his return to secular music, following a conversion to Christianity, three evangelical, gospel records and a subsequent return to a secular, culturally Jewish lifestyle. Though he has never abandoned religious imagery, Infidels gained much attention for its focus on more personal themes of love and loss, in addition to commentary on the environment and geopolitics.

The critical reaction was the strongest for Dylan in years, almost universally hailed for its songwriting and performances. The album also fared well commercially, reaching #20 in the US and going gold, and #9 in the UK. Still, many fans and critics were disappointed that several songs were inexplicably cut from the album just prior to mastering—primarily “Blind Willie McTell“, considered a career highlight by many critics, and not officially released until it appeared on The Bootleg Series Volume III eight years later.

Here is a “legendary” performance of Jokerman @ Letterman:

Continue reading Today: Bob Dylan released “Infidels” in 1983 – 29 years ago