June 15: Bob Dylan released Street-Legal in 1978
“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.
Continue reading June 15: Bob Dylan released Street-Legal in 1978
Do you love me, or are you just extending goodwill?
Do you need me half as bad as you say, or are you just feeling guilt?
I’ve been burned before and I know the score
So you won’t hear me complain
Will I be able to count on you
Or is your love in vain?
Is your love in vain? is a song from Dylan’s Street Legal album, but my favourite version (official, that is…) is from Live at Budokan. It’s a heart achingly honest love song, he really bares his heart, and I feel for the man. The song is profoundly touching, and in my book, one of Bob Dylan’s best love songs. It received a fair amount of negative response when it was released, some critics meant it was degrading women. I think that is harsh, I simply cannot see it.
Ian Hunter performed the song for a TV-show in 1981 (aired 1982?) and has been released on a bootleg/semi-official compilation album, Bald At The Station (2012).
“The CD ends with one song from a 1982 Don Kirshner performance and finds Hunter diving back to his roots, dirging up Dylan’s “Love in Vain” and making it his own. If a better-quality recording exists, let’s hope it turns up somewhere soon. In the meantime, it’s a marvelous end to a surprisingly useful odds ‘n’ oddities collection, and proof that we were all severely shortchanged when the Ian Hunter anthology turned out to be a mere two discs. He deserved at least four.”
– Dave Thompson (allmusic.com)
Continue reading Ian Hunter Is Your Love In Vain (Dylan) – Happy Birthday Mr. Hunter!
April 23: Bob Dylan at Budokan was released in 1979
The Budokan album was only supposed to be for Japan. They twisted my arm to do a live album for Japan. It was the same band I used on Street Legal, and we had just started findin’ our way into things on that tour when they recorded it. I never meant for it to be any type of representation of my stuff or my band or my live show.
~Bob Dylan (to Kurt Loder – March 1984)
I believe this double LP was made available so our hero could boast of being outclassed by Cheap Trick, who had the self-control to release but a single disc from this location.
~Robert Christgau (robertchristgau.com)
Released 37 years ago today (April 23).
The album was slaughtered by many critics.. especially in the US.
“The writers complain the show’s disco or Las Vegas. I don’t know how they came up with those theories. We never heard them when we played Australia or Japan or Europe. It’s like someone made it up in one town and the writer in the next town read it. I don’t know what the reviewers mean half the time. I don’t even care.”
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – Nov 1978)
Continue reading April 23: Bob Dylan at Budokan was released in 1979