Tag Archives: Muscle Shoals

May 4: Bob Dylan – 5th and last Slow Train Coming Recording Session in 1979

Bob Dylan slow train

 

“The reaction on the (U.S.) Slow Train tour was disheartening at times. But it doesn’t wound you because you get used to the ups and downs. You get to where the praise doesn’t mean anything because it’s often for the wrong reason, and it’s the same with the criticism. Besides, I don’t think I’ll be perceived properly till 100 years after I’m gone. I really believe that. I don’t think anybody has really caught on to Blonde On Blonde yet.”
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – June 1984)

…. Musically, this is probably Dylan’s finest record, a rare coming together of inspiration, desire and talent that completely fuse strength, vision and art. Bob Dylan is the greatest singer of our times. No one is better. No one, in objective fact, is even very close. His versatility and vocal skills are unmatched. His resonance and feeling are beyond those of any of his contemporaries. More than his ability with words, and more than his insight, his voice is God’s greatest gift to him. So when I listen to “When He Returns,” the words finally don’t matter at all. They are as good as they ever were, maybe even better. … I am hearing a voice.
~Jann Wenner (the famous “Slow Train Coming” review Sept 1979)

The last recording session brought us 4 masters: Gotta Serve Somebody, Do Right To Me Baby (Do Unto Others), When He Returns & Man Gave Names To All The Animals.

bob dylan slow train back

Continue reading May 4: Bob Dylan – 5th and last Slow Train Coming Recording Session in 1979

May 3: Bob Dylan 4th Slow Train Coming Recording Session, 1979

Bob Dylan slow train

 

Today I’m accused of being a follower of religion. But I’ve always been a follower! My thoughts, my personal needs have always been expressed through my songs; you can feel them there even in ‘Mr Tambourine Man’. When I write a song, when I make a record, I don’t think about whether it’ll sell millions of copies. I only think about making it, the musical end-product, the sound, and the rhythmic effect of the words. It’s purely a technical piece of work because the most important thing is to come out with something that’s perfect artistically. Even Charlie Chaplin used to say that and I respect him for that judgment.
~Bob Dylan (to Sandra Jones – June 1981)

And it’s this dishonesty, this unhelpful concealment of the soul when we most needed to know what was going [on] inside the man, which hurts the hardest… …. His handling of matters spiritual is bad enough, but when he applies himself to more worldly topics he’s frighteningly inflammatory and positively dangerous..
~Chris Bohn (review – Slow Train Coming, Melody Maker – 26 Aug. 1979)

On the 4th recording session we got 2 new master versions… one of them “Slow Train” is i fact the best song from the album. The other is also among the best: “I Believe in You“.

Continue reading May 3: Bob Dylan 4th Slow Train Coming Recording Session, 1979

Bob Dylan: The Gospel Years, Part 3 – Slow Train Coming (album)

bob dylan slow train coming

It’s in my system. I don’t really have enough time to talk about it. If someone really wants to know, I can explain it to them, but there are other people who can do it just as well. I don’t feel compelled to do it. I was doing a bit of that last year on the stage. I was saying stuff I figured people needed to know. I thought I was giving people an idea of what was behind the songs. I don’t think it’s necessary any more. When I walk around some of the towns we go to, however, I’m totally convinced people need Jesus. Look at the junkies and the winos and the troubled people. It’s all a sickness which can be healed in an instant. The powers that be won’t let that happen. The powers that be say it has to be healed politically.
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – Nov 1980)

Musically, this is probably Dylan’s finest record, a rare coming together of inspiration, desire and talent that completely fuse strength, vision and art.
~Jann S. Wenner (rollingstone.com – Sept. 1979)

Slow Train Coming was a collection of songs Dylan had originally intended to donate to backing singer Carolyn Dennis.
~Clinton Heylin (The Recording Sessions)

Sometimes I feel so low-down and disgusted
Can’t help but wonder what’s happenin’ to my companions
Are they lost or are they found
Have they counted the cost it’ll take to bring down
All their earthly principles they’re gonna have to abandon?
There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend
~Bob Dylan (from the title cut)

Slow Train Coming:

Continue reading Bob Dylan: The Gospel Years, Part 3 – Slow Train Coming (album)

May 2: Bob Dylan 3rd Slow Train Coming Recording Session 1979

 

Bob Dylan slow train

May 2: Bob Dylan 3rd Slow Train Coming Recording Session 1979

It’s in my system. I don’t really have enough time to talk about it. If someone really wants to know, I can explain it to them, but there are other people who can do it just as well. I don’t feel compelled to do it. I was doing a bit of that last year on the stage. I was saying stuff I figured people needed to know. I thought I was giving people an idea of what was behind the songs. I don’t think it’s necessary any more. When I walk around some of the towns we go to, however, I’m totally convinced people need Jesus. Look at the junkies and the winos and the troubled people. It’s all a sickness which can be healed in an instant. The powers that be won’t let that happen. The powers that be say it has to be healed politically.
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – Nov 1980)

Slow Train Coming was a collection of songs Dylan had originally intended to donate to backing singer Carolyn Dennis.
~Clinton Heylin (The Recording Sessions)

The first 2 recording sessions for “Slow Train Coming” had only resulted one master take for the album – Precious Angel (recorded the previous day).

Continue reading May 2: Bob Dylan 3rd Slow Train Coming Recording Session 1979

August 21: Etta James released Tell Mama in 1968

etta-front

August 21: Etta James released Tell Mama in 1968

Something told me it was over
When I saw you and her talking.
Something deep down in my soul said cry girl,
When I saw you and that girl walking.

I would rather,
I would rather go blind, boy,
Than to see you walk away from me, child.

Tell Mama is the eighth studio album by Etta James. The album was released August 21, 1968 on Cadet Records and was produced by Rick Hall. Tell Mama was James’ first album since 1963 to enter the Billboard 200 albums chart and contained her first Top 10 and 20 hits since 1964. It was her second release for the Cadet record label.

Tell Mama (on US TV, Happening ’68, 1968):

Leonard Chess sent Etta James to Muscle Shoals in 1967 (2 August – 6 December), and it really paid off with what might be her best  Cadet album. The record has a fantastic title cut, it has the moving soul ballad I’d Rather Go Blind, it has the incredible The Love of My Man and a many more very fine soul numbers. The tight studio band at Fame Studios really shone next to Etta James. The music they made is timeless soul/blues, it’s a masterclass in record making.

An incredibly good version of I’d Rather Be Blind (Live at Montreux 1975):

“The question of why a rural Alabama town became a conduit for some of the most memorable and instantly identifiable grooves may still be up for debate. The evidence exists in droves and Tell Mama could certainly be considered exhibit A. “
– Lindsay Planer (Allmusic)

One of the best soul albums ever made, and certainly among Etta James’ best records!

Listen to Miss James testify in a  country church style  on It Hurts Me So Much, oh my God how good it is!

Etta James – Tell Mama (Album, The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions, Spotify):

– Hallgeir

Sources: Liner notes Tell Mama, Wikipedia, Allmusic