Tag Archives: Tempest

September 7: Tempest by Bob Dylan was released in 2012

Bob_Dylan-Tempest

Shine your light
Movin’ on
You burned so bright
Roll on, John

Three years have gone since we was offered Tempest from Bob Dylan, it still sounds great.

Tempest is the thirty-fifth studio album by Dylan, released on September 7 to 11 (different countries and continents), 2012 . The album was recorded at Jackson Browne’s Groove Masters Studios in Santa Monica, California. Dylan wrote all of the songs himself with the exception of the track “Duquesne Whistle”, which he co-wrote with Robert Hunter.

Tempest was very well received by contemporary music critics, who praised its traditional music influences and Dylan’s dark lyrics. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200.

The album’s title initially spurred rumors that it would be Dylan’s final album, based on its similarity to the title of Shakespeare’s final play.
Dylan later responded:

“Shakespeare’s last play was called The Tempest. It wasn’t called just plain “Tempest”. The name of my record is just plain Tempest. It’s two different titles.”

Some facts from Wikipedia:

Released From September 7 to September 11, 2012
Recorded January–March 2012 at Groove Masters Studios in Santa Monica, California
Genre Rock, folk rock
Length 1:08:31
Label Columbia
Producer Bob Dylan

Here are three tracks from Tempest (with my analysis, sort of…):

Tin Angel 
“For me, after listening to it for two days, the most obvious masterpiece on Bob Dylan’s new album is the murder ballad, Tin Angel. It’s a story-song, the kind Dylan has done so magnificently many times before. Cross the Green Mountain, Tweeter and the Monkey Man and  Brownsville Girl springs to mind. They are extremely cinematic songs and they tell a story over many verses.  Another song that pops up in my head is the wonderful story of Spanish Jack by Willy DeVille, not very like in sound but in tone.”  Read More…

Pay in Blood
“Bob Dylan says the stigma of slavery ruined America and he doubts the country can get rid of the shame because it was “founded on the backs of slaves.”

Bob Dylan told in a recent interview with Rolling Stone Magazine that in America “people are at each other’s throats just because they are of a different color, it will hold any nation back.” He went on to say that black people know that some white people  “didn’t want to give up slavery.””  Read more…

Scarlet Town
“The song feels like a mash of several songs, and that’s actually what it is. He draws inspiration from the old ballad Barbara Allen, but he just uses it as a framework to tell an even more sinister tale. The new parts of the song also feels like a split between two different songs, one set in biblical times and the other addressing the state of USA/The Western world today.”  Read more…

Continue reading September 7: Tempest by Bob Dylan was released in 2012

Great Song: Scarlet Town by Bob Dylan

Painting By Joachim Patinir, Landscape with The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

I will not pretend to know what Bob Dylan’s exact meaning with this song is but I will offer my thoughts on what I consider the second best song on Tempest.

Scarlet Town from the Bob Dylan album Tempest (with film footage from Masked & Anonymous):

The song feels like a mash of several songs, and that’s actually what it is. He draws inspiration from the old ballad Barbara Allen, but he just uses it as a framework to tell an even more sinister tale. The new parts of the song also feels like a split between two different songs, one set in biblical times and the other addressing the state of USA/The Western world today.

Lyrics Barbara Allen (The three first verses):

In younder town where I was born
There was a fair maid dwell’n
Made every youth cry well away
Her name was Bar-bry Ellen

Was in th merry month of May
When greenbuds they were swell’n
Sweet William come from th western state
An’ courted Bar-bry Ellen

Was all in the month o’ June
When everything was blooming
Sweet William on his death bed lay
For th love of Bar-bry Ellen

Bob Dylan has a long lasting relationship with Barbara Allen (the song) and I’ve included some versions here just as a reference.

Here is a wonderful separate post concerning Barbara Allen from Egil.

The first two verses from the Gaslight tapes (it’s eight minutes and has a lot of verses):

In Charlotte town, not far from here,
There was a fair maid dwellin.’
Had a name was known both far and near,
An’ her name was Barb’ry Allen.

‘Twas in the merry month of May,
Green buds they were swellin’,
Poor William on his death-bed lay,
For the love of Barb’ry Allen.

1988 live:

The first two verses in the -88 version:

In Scarlet Town where I was born
there was a fair maid dwelling,
and her name was known both far and near,
and they called her Barbara Allen.

T’was in the merry month of may
the green buds they were swelling,
sweet William on his death bed lay
for the love of Barbara Allen.

Two other artist that has used this song as a basis for an entirely new song are Gillian Welch and David Rawlings:

Not at all like the original Barbara Allen and the only two things it has in common with Bob Dylan’s song are, the title and it’s origin. The melody is different and the “story”/text is completely different (even if both have a distictly sombre tone). Gillian Welch/David Rawlings have more folksy/appalachian feel, while Dylan sings in a more talking blues style.

Continue reading Great Song: Scarlet Town by Bob Dylan

Great song: Pay in Blood by Bob Dylan – A land built on slavery.

Bob Dylan says the stigma of slavery ruined America and he doubts the country can get rid of the shame because it was “founded on the backs of slaves.”

Bob Dylan told in a recent interview with Rolling Stone Magazine that in America “people are at each other’s throats just because they are of a different color, it will hold any nation back.” He went on to say that black people know that some white people  “didn’t want to give up slavery.”

Dylan continued with, “If slavery had been given up in a more peaceful way, America would be far ahead today.”

When asked on his opinion if President Barack Obama was helping to shift a change, Dylan said: “I don’t have any opinion on that. You have to change your heart if you want to change.”

My third choice of songs from Bob Dylan’s new album is the “angry speech”, Pay in Blood. I call it an angry speech because it is clearly a man with lot on his mind who vents his thoughts in this song, or maybe it is three men? It is not a story-song (as such), this is someone’s view of their world at a particular moment. This man is, Bob Dylan, on one level. It’s about his life, but it is also so much more. Again I think it paints a picture of Americas past and present.

Continue reading Great song: Pay in Blood by Bob Dylan – A land built on slavery.

Bob Dylan album posts @ 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 @ JV:

-Egil

Bob Dylan – Tin Angel Revisited

COLUMBIA RECORDS BOB DYLAN ALBUM

Just a few thoughts on the song Tin Angel.

For me, after listening to it for two days, the most obvious masterpiece on Bob Dylan’s new album is the murder ballad, Tin Angel. It’s a story-song, the kind Dylan has done so magnificently many times before. Cross the Green Mountain, Tweeter and the Monkey Man and  Brownsville Girl springs to mind. They are extremely cinematic songs and they tell a story over many verses.  Another song that pops up in my head is the wonderful story of Spanish Jack by Willy DeVille, not very like in sound but in tone.

The music on Tin Angel is repetitive, but not in a bad way, it’s an hypnotic rhythm and a bass that sucks the wind straight out of you. It transcends ordinary music and serves as a enhancement of the fascinating story that is told over the 28 verses.

I could try to analyze the song, but I don’t think we should. It is straightforward ballad of three doomed lovers, told in a dark, dark song, and it sounds like Bob Dylan is having a hell of a time when he tells it.

After I got a comment on the original post about the song Gypsy Davy I just had to do a revision (see the bottom of the post)!

..and why is it called Tin Angel, I have an idea, but I could be off the mark. Joni Mitchell has accused Dylan of being unoriginal, and I think he is poking fun at her  by naming the song Tin Angel. The same title as a song recorded by Mitchell but written by somebody else.

Here’s the spotify link:

It is a bit difficult to see who says what in the story, I have put who I think delivers the lines after each line of dialogue in the song.

The “playas”:

The Boss
The Wife
Henry Lee
Servant

The story starts at home at the mansion:

It was late last night when the boss came home
To a deserted mansion and a desolate throne
Servant said: “Boss, the lady’s gone
She left this morning just ‘fore dawn.” (Servant)

“You got something to tell me, tell it to me, man
Come to the point as straight as you can” (The Boss)
“Old Henry Lee, chief of the clan
Came riding through the woods and took her by the hand” (Servant)

The boss he lay back flat on his bed
He cursed the heat and he clutched his head
He pondered the future of his fate
To wait another day would be far too late

“Go fetch me my coat and my tie
And the cheapest labour that money can buy
Saddle me up my buckskin mare
If you see me go by, put up a prayer” (The Boss)

The Boss is determined to “set things straight” and rides off to get his wife and to kill Henry Lee. Henry Lee is a name that we know from an old song on the Harry Smith collection (the first on the first cd). Covered by Bob Dylan earlier (as Love, Henry), also covered by Nick Cave on the album Murder Ballads. An album where Tin Angel would fit very naturally.

The next 6 verses tells us about his journey and how he sneaks up on the unknowing lovers. Dylan really sets a terrifying scene for what is about to happen. The Boss really gets into a killing mood, “he renounces his faith, he denies his lord”:

Well, they rode all night, and they rode all day
Eastward, long down the broad highway
His spirit was tired and his vision was bent
His men deserted him and onward he went

He came to a place where the light was dull
His forehead pounding in his skull
Heavy heart was racked with pain
Insomnia raging in his brain

Well, he threw down his helmet and his cross-handled sword
He renounced his faith, he denied his lord
Crawled on his belly, put his ear to the wall
One way or another put an end to it all

He leaned down, cut the electric wire
Stared into the flames and he snorted the fire
Peered through the darkness, caught a glimpse of the two
It was hard to tell for certain who was who

He lowered himself down on a golden chain
His nerves were quaking in every vein
His knuckles were bloody, he sucked in the air
He ran his fingers through his greasy hair

They looked at each other and their glasses clinked
One single unit, inseparably linked
“Got a strange premonition there’s a man close by” (Henry Lee)
“Don’t worry about him, he wouldn’t harm a fly” (The Wife)


As we hear, the wife is not very worried or affraid of her husband.

A small snippet seems to be taken from The Fire-King by Sir Walter Scott:  “He has thrown by his helmet, and cross-handled sword, Renouncing his knighthood, denying his Lord”. I’m sure there are a lot of other small “thefts” as well.

Love and theft, baby, love and theft.

Continue reading Bob Dylan – Tin Angel Revisited