Posts Tagged ‘Bob Dylan’

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Gearing up for the release of Blonde on the Tracks, her album of Bob Dylan covers, Emma Swift has dropped a tender rendition of “Queen Jane Approximately.”

A highlight from 1965’s Highway 61 Revisited, Swift’s cover showcases her delicate vocals over a 12-string Rickenbacker guitar. The video, which features animation and photos by Hugh Hales-Tooke, contains imagery from Dylan’s 1975-1976 Rolling Thunder Revue tour. He appears as a full moon in his iconic whiteface makeup, as Swift views him through a telescope.

“The idea for the album came about during a long depressive phase,” Swift said of Blonde on the Tracks. “The kind where it’s hard to get out of bed and get dressed and present to the world as a high-functioning human. I was lost on all fronts no doubt, but especially creatively.”

“I’ve never been a prolific writer, but this period was especially wordless,” she continued.  “Sad, listless and desperate, I began singing Bob Dylan songs as a way to have something to wake up for. Interpreting other people’s emotions is how I learned to sing and I’ve always enjoyed hearing Dylan’s songs from a female perspective. You can learn a lot about melody and feeling by the way a singer chooses to interpret someone else’s song.”

“Queen Jane Approximately” follows Swift’s cover of “I Contain Multitudes,” the original of which appears on Dylan’s latest album, Rough and Rowdy Ways. Other songs on the LP include the Blonde on Blonde tracks “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)” and “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” as well as “Simple Twist of Fate” and “You’re a Big Girl Now” from Blood on the Tracks.

Blonde on the Tracks was first recorded at Nashville’s Magnetic Sound Studio in 2017. It was produced by Wilco’s Patrick Sansone and features Robyn Hitchcock on guitar, Thayer Serrano on pedal steel guitar, Jon Estes on bass and Jon Radford on drums.

From Emma’s forthcoming album “Blonde on the Tracks”: a reimagining of Bob Dylan songs out August 14 on Tiny Ghost Records.

Pretty Good Stuff: Dylan historian James Adams’ hour-long, monthly, program diving deep into the depths of all things Dwarf Music. Listen to the show below, and to explore further, support our Patreon for the individual tracks and more.

Pretty Good Stuff: Ep. 7

Bob Dylan :: Pretty Good Stuff | Episode 7

Opening: DJ talk over theme: What Can I Do For You? 19980-01-15 – Seattle, WA)
01:17: Shelter From The Storm (1995-04-09 Glasgow, Scotland)
07:53: The Ballad of the Gliding Swan (1962-12-30 London, England – Madhouse on Castle Street)
08:54: The Man In Me (1978-06-01 Los Angeles, CA)
12:37: Bob Dylan – Excerpt from Interview with Jann Wenner – 2007
13:13: God Knows (2006-04-08 Sun City West, AZ)
18:44: Scarlet Town (2018-11-20 Waterbury, CT)
23:56: Come Together (1985-00-00 Unknown)
27:39: Lady Came From Baltimore (1994-04-06 Davenport, IA)
30:30: DJ talk over Born In Time (1998-11-02 Syracuse, NY)
33:20: Watching The River Flow (1987-10-05 Locarno, Switzerland)
37:12: Bob Dylan – Excerpt from NPR Interview – 2004
38:19: Tryin’ to Get to Heaven (2000-09-27 Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
43:15: Maggie’s Farm (1976-05-18 Oklahoma City, OK)
48:14: One Too Many Mornings (1989-06-07 Birmingham, England)
52:28: DJ talk over Stay With Me (2015-04-24 Atlanta, GA)
54:28: Love Sick (11-22-15 Milan, Italy)
59:25: Out

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In recent weeks, musicians have come up with an impressive variety of ways to keep their fans amused during lockdown. There have been online listening parties and Q&As, free guitar lessons via Instagram, live performances beamed direct from bedrooms, DJ sets and kitchen discos. But no artist has risen to the task of keeping their audience occupied quite like Bob Dylan. A crowdpleaser only in sofar as the crowd he attracts would be pleased whatever he did – a significant proportion of his latter-day audience are so partisan you get the feeling they’d be sent into paroxysms of ecstasy if he stood on stage with a comb and paper for two hours, he simply released three new songs. An artist who’s quite literally said nothing new for the last eight years (his last three albums have been comprised entirely of covers from the Great American Songbook, the rest of his release schedule made up of archival recordings).

The first, “Murder Most Foul”, went on for 17 minutes and sounded unlike anything he had previously recorded, a recitation set to a haze of piano, violin and lightly struck drums. The second, “I Contain Multitudes”, was significantly shorter and more conventional – a delicate, percussion-free ballad – but still contained enough lyrical heft to provoke news stories: within a week of its release, the British press was triumphantly reporting that someone had cracked the mention of the Irish village of Ballinalee in its first verse, tapping a Harvard professor to attest that it was a reference to the work of a blind 18th-century poet called Antoine Ó Raifteirí. The third, “False Prophet”, was a ferocious blues song, the latest in a series of adaptations of other artists’ material that stretches back to the dawn of Dylan’s career: this time a 1954 B-side by Billy “The Kid” Emerson, an obscure R&B singer-songwriter once signed to Sun Records. In the lyrics, meanwhile, the search for the Holy Grail jostled for space with characters from old rock’n’roll songs – Ricky Nelson’s Mary Lou, Jimmy Wages’ Miss Pearl – recast in the role that Virgil played in Dante’s Inferno: “fleet-footed guides from the underworld”. Clearly, the task of unpicking everything that was going on in the lyrics would keep Dylanologists indoors long after lockdown ended.
Perhaps more importantly, they were the kind of Dylan songs that brooked very little argument about their quality, the kind of Dylan song you could play to a Dylan agnostic as testament to his continued greatness. This is a category of material that’s been a little thinner on the ground on his latest albums than their more hysterical reviews would suggest: for all the hosannahs thrown in its direction, it was entirely possible to listen to 2012’s Tempest and be alternately thrilled by the furious power of Pay in Blood and faintly mortified by Roll on John, a Lennon tribute that strung Beatles lyrics together in a way that would make Noel Gallagher blush.

Happily, the standard set by the three tracks that heralded its arrival is kept up all the way through Rough and Rowdy Ways. The musical abstraction of Murder Most Foul turns out to be a feint: tellingly it occupies a separate disc to the rest of the album when the whole thing could easily have fitted on one CD. The rest almost exclusively deals in music that hails from the era before Dylan showed up and changed everything: with the possible exception of the lambent penultimate track, Key West (Philosopher Pirate), which carries a faint hint of The Basement Tapes about its sound – albeit with an accordion filling the space Garth Hudson’s organ would have done – everything else feels directly rooted in the 50s or earlier.

There’s a lot of rhythm and blues, while I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You sets its utterly beautiful descending melody to a sound that carries traces of both small-hours doo-wop and pre-rock’n’roll pop. The musical inspiration behind Goodbye Jimmy Reed is obvious from its title, but by the third verse, Dylan doesn’t seem to be talking about the titular bluesman so much as himself when forced to face down the various expectations that audiences have attached to him virtually from the moment he first appeared: “They threw everything at me, everything in the book … they had no pity, they wouldn’t lend a hand, I can’t sing a song I don’t understand.”

These are musical areas in which Dylan has worked for years. What sets Rough and Rowdy Ways apart from Tempest or 2006’s Modern Times is the sheer consistency of the songwriting; there’s nothing here that sounds like dashed-off filler, nothing that doesn’t hit home. Dylan nuts have a great line in telling you how hilarious lyrics that seem capable of raising at best a wry smile are – “Freddie or not, here I come”, “I’m not dead yet, my bell still rings” etc – but My Own Version, in which the protagonist turns Frankenstein and builds himself a lover out of bits of corpses, is packed with genuinely funny lines amid the references to Shakespeare, Homer’s Iliad, Bo Diddley and Martin Scorsese, as well as a curious interlude during which Freud and Marx are depicted as “enemies of mankind” burning in hell: “All through the summers into January, I’ve been visiting morgues and monasteries … if I do it right and put the head on straight, I’ll be saved by the creature that I create.”

This is obviously humour of a dark hue: if Tempest’s prevalent mood was one of murderous fury, then here it’s brooding menace and imminent doom. It’s there in the music – the weird tension in Crossing the Rubicon’s muted R&B shuffle and the way the backing on Black Rider keeps lapsing into ominous silence. You lose count of the lyrical references to judgment day and Armageddon, of the mysterious characters that keep cropping up with malevolence on their minds: “I can feel the bones beneath my skin and they’re trembling with rage, I’ll make your wife a widow, you’ll never see middle age,” he sings on Crossing the Rubicon. Of course, grouchily informing the world that everything is turning to shit has been one of Dylan’s prevalent songwriting modes for a quarter of a century – it’s the thread that binds Not Dark Yet, Things Have Changed, Ain’t Talkin’ and Early Roman Kings, among others – but this time the message seems to have shifted slightly: if you think everything has turned to shit now, Rough and Rowdy Ways keeps insisting, just you wait.

This isn’t perhaps the most comforting communique to issue in the middle of a global pandemic, but then the man behind it has seldom dealt in soothing reassurance. And besides, it doesn’t matter. For all its bleakness, Rough and Rowdy Ways might well be Bob Dylan’s most consistently brilliant set of songs in years: the die-hards can spend months unravelling the knottier lyrics, but you don’t need a PhD in Dylanology to appreciate its singular quality and power.

Rough and Rowdy Ways is released on Columbia on 19th June.

“For this series of paintings the idea was to create pictures that would not be misinterpreted or misunderstood by me or anybody else.” – Bob Dylan about The Beaten Path

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The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde and James Walbourne recorded an atmospheric version of Bob Dylan’s “Standing in the Doorway” for the latest installment of their “Dylan Lockdown Series.”. Chrissie Hynde is keeping busy during this pandemic. She’s a got a Lockdown Series of Bob Dylan covers she’s recorded with Pretenders guitarist James Walborne. This is all in anticipation of the new Pretenders record coming in July. Since I can listen to Chrissie sing the phone book, here are the three covers they’ve done so far.

Like the original version on 1997’s “Time Out of Mind”, the revamped take stretches out past seven minutes, with Hynde softly singing over airy piano, organ, electric guitar and distant percussion. They paired the song with a video full of vivid shots of farmland, train tracks and raindrops trickling down window panes.

“Thanks one more to Tchad Blake on mixing duties and the whole Blake family for the video,” Hynde wrote on Instagram of the release, the third in their series following “In the Summertime” and “You’re a Big Girl Now.”

The Dylan covers precede the Pretenders’ upcoming 11th studio LP, “Hate for Sale”, out July 17th. The album features the previously issued title-track, “You Can’t Hurt a Fool” and “The Buzz,” the latter of which they paired with a surreal video.

I was so buoyed up by the new Dylan songs that I talked to Pretenders Guitar playing hot-shot James Walbourne and we decided it’s a good time to do those Dylan songs we’ve always talked about doing. Every singer-songwriter in the world covers the master’s songs and there is an endless supply of them. So we’ve started, and will do one a week until lockdown ends.

The First was off the Shot of Love album, In The Summertime. We did it from home on our phones. I did the rhythm – sent it to James, he added guitar , sent it back to me, i put on the vocal , sent it back to him, he put on some back up vocals and organ, then we sent it to Tchad Blake to tidy up. I know you don’t need the behind the scenes details so I won’t repeat myself on the next one.

Hynde and Walbourne co-wrote all the songs on Hate for Sale, the Pretenders record in over 21 years to feature founding drummer Martin Chambers.

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Hello, and welcome to Sunday Series No. 5!
I’ve been reading a lot of Wallace Stevens in the past few days, and I keep coming back to a poem called The House Was Quiet and The World Was Calm (opposite to current experience) and this bit in particular:  “The words were spoken as if there was no book, Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom,The summer night is like a perfection of thought. The house was quiet because it had to be.”

I love this image of leaning into something that you know will lead to growth, something true. I won’t wax on about Bob Dylan’s impact on my love for lyrics — endless others have expressed what he’s given to us far more eloquently than I ever could — but the leaning reader in this poem pretty well describes how I have always listened to him. Like reading a great book — that rush of receiving a perfect string of words. I always lean in.

Released May 17th, 2020

“Knockin‘ On Heaven’s Door” (Written by Dylan)

Tanya: vocal, guitar
Russell Chudnofsky: acoustic guitar
Joe McMahon: piano
Dean Fisher: snare, tambourine
Lilia Halpern: vocals, guitar


This Japanese original compilation release of Bob Dylan Japanese released single features the high fidelity Blu-spec CD2 format. Includes 31 songs from his singles originally released as vinyl format from 1965 through 1985, and they are included in this compilation in release date order. Single version(s) becomes available as CD format for the first time in the world. Comes with a booklet with photos of vinyl discs of 31 songs

Late April 2020, Bob Dylan is embarking on his ninth tour of Japan.  Sony Japan commemorated the event on March 25th with a new 2-CD set, “Japanese Single Collection”.  It brings together 20 years’ worth of A-sides released from 1965 to 1985, presented in the order they were released in Japan, including the rarity “George Jackson (Big Band Version).”

As far as packaging, the album cover was newly designed in Japan and the illustrated booklet includes discographical information and scans of the original Japanese picture sleeves.  The music is pressed on the Japanese Blu-Spec CD2 format, compatible with standard CD players.

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Disc: 1

1. Subterranean Homesick Blues (CBS LL-764-C, 1965)
2. Like a Rolling Stone (CBS LL-821-C, 1965)
3. Positively 4th Street (CBS LL-847-C, 1965)
4. Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? (CBS LL-882-C, 1966)
5. One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) (CBS LL-919-C, 1966)
6. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (CBS LL-928-C, 1966)
7. I Want You (CBS LL-956-C, 1966)
8. Just Like a Woman (CBS LL-987-C, 1966)
9. Blowin’ in the Wind (CBS LSS-434-C, 1966)
10. The Times They Are A-Changin’ (CBS LSS-434-C, 1966)
11. Lay, Lady, Lay (Cbs/Sony Cbsa 82001, 1969)
12. Take a Message to Mary (Cbs/Sony Cbsa 82070, 1970)
13. Watching the River Flow (Cbs/Sony Cbsa 82116, 1971)
14. When I Paint My Masterpiece (Cbs/Sony Cbsa 82132, 1971)
15. George Jackson (Big Band Version) (Cbs/Sony Sopa 1,1972)
16. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Cbs/Sony Sopb 257, 1973)
17. A Fool Such As I (Cbs/Sony Sopb 269, 1973)















To tie-in with the new set, Sony Japan will also release a pink vinyl reissue of “Subterranean Homesick Blues” b/w “She Belongs To Me,” utilizing the 2010 mono remasters.

Though Amazon U.S. links are not available at the time of writing, fans can order the single and the 2-CD set from Amazon Japan, HMV, CDJapan, or Tower Records (still big in Japan!)  CDJapan buyers will receive a postcard with the Japanese Single Collection album artwork while supplies last.

So, Dylan collectors, get ready to place those pre-orders.

Bob Dylan, Japanese Single Collection (Sony Japan, 2020) (Amazon U.S. [not live] / Amazon Japan / HMV Japan / CDJapan [with bonus postcard] / Tower Records Japan)

Disc: 2

1. On a Night Like This (Asylum/Warner-Pioneer P-1293 y, 1974)
2. Something There Is About You (Asylum/Warner-Pioneer P-1315 y, 1974)
3. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine) (From Before the Flood) (Asylum/Warner-Pioneer P-1330Y, 1974)
4. Tangled Up in Blue (Cbs/Sony Sopb 307, 1975)
5. Mr. Tambourine Man (Cbs/Sony Sopb 321, 1975)
6. Hurricane (Part 1) (Cbs/Sony Sopb 349, 1975)
7. Mozambique (Cbs/Sony Sopb 360, 1976)
8. One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below) (Cbs/Sony 06SP 1,1976)
9. Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again (From Hard Rain) (Cbs/Sony 06SP 126, 1976)*
10. Baby Stop Crying (Cbs/Sony 06SP 241, 1978)
11. Gotta Serve Somebody (Cbs/Sony 06SP 410, 1979)
12. Man Gave Names to All the Animals (Cbs/Sony 06SP 433, 1979)
13. Sweetheart Like You (Cbs/Sony 07SP 765, 1983)
14. Tight Connection to My Heart (Cbs/Sony 07SP 901, 1985)


BobDylan FalseProphet Spotify

Bob Dylan has been on a roll, getting us through lockdown with new singles that find him as clever and compelling as ever. On Thursday evening, May 7th, the Bob Dylan Twitter account posted another cryptic tweet – complete with a pulp book-inspired illustration and a lyric quote – which had fans everywhere wondering if we might get another treat to tide us over.

Well, come midnight, we got our answer as another new song “False Prophet” was released on digital streaming services. The third surprise single in what’s become a triweekly tradition, “False Prophet” is a departure from the more atmospheric “Murder Most Foul” and “I Contain Multitudes.”  The new track is a rollicking and bluesy, guitar-heavy track with intense and growling vocals from Dylan. As if a new single weren’t enough, Dylan also announced his first album of new original material in eight years.  Due out June 19th on Columbia Records, Rough and Rowdy Ways will be a ten-song, two-CD affair.

The album opens with “I Contain Multitudes,” followed by “False Prophet,” then by seven as-yet-unknown tracks.  The epic “Murder Most Foul” will be included on its own on CD 2.  The two discs will be housed in a 4-panel, 2-pocket gatefold digipak. A 2-LP edition will also be pressed up, boasting 180-gram vinyl, gatefold packaging, and printed inner sleeves.  That configuration is set to arrive July 17th.  And for those readers who may have ventured into streaming during lockdown, the album will be released across digital platforms, too, on the same day as the CD.

So mark your calendars for June 19th for this much-welcome gift from Bob Dylan, Rough and Rowdy Ways.

Yesterday evening, Bob Dylan’s Twitter feed sent out the simple message: #IContainMultitudes. Just three weeks had passed since his epic “Murder Most Foul” stunned and confused listeners, and Dylanologists everywhere wondered what could be next. This morning, we have the answer as Dylan has released “I Contain Multitudes.” The new single (its title inspired by Walt Whitman) clocks in at roughly four-and-a-half minutes, but it’s no less engaging than the lengthy track that preceded it. The singer-songwriter-storyteller is in a ruminative if cryptic mood on the evocative ballad, its reflective lyrics alternately wry and poignant, fantastical and earthbound.

Could this point to a larger project ahead? We sure hope so and we’ll be sure to update you with any news. In the meantime, take a listen to the brand-new single.

Bob Dylan, I Contain Multitudes (Columbia, 2020)

BOB DYLAN – ” Murder Most Foul “

Posted: March 27, 2020 in MUSIC

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Bob Dylan has shared his first new track in eight years. “Murder Most Foul” is a 17-minute song about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Listen to Dylan’s new ballad about that “dark day in Dallas” below.

“Greetings to my fans and followers with gratitude for all your support and loyalty across the years,” Dylan writes. “This is an unreleased song we recorded a while back that you might find interesting. Stay safe, stay observant and may God be with you.”

The new song features numerous references to cultural figures and events throughout the years, particularly the 1960s and ’70s. Dylan references the Beatles’ early hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” Patsy Cline, and Woodstock, as well as Stevie Nicks and the Eagles’ Don Henley and Glenn Frey.

Dylan’s last studio album of original songs was 2012’s Tempest. Since then, he’s shared multiple albums of standards, such as Shadows in the Night (2015), Fallen Angels (2016), and Triplicate (2017).

Dylan has also released new editions of his ongoing Bootleg Series, the most recent iteration being Travelin’ Thru, Featuring Johnny Cash: The Bootleg Series Vol. 15, which arrived last year.