Posts Tagged ‘Columbia Records’

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Last week, Vampire Weekend continued to roll out tracks from their upcoming new album, Father of the Bride” (due out May 3rd via Columbia Records), and today the band shared a new video for one of the new tunes, “Sunshine,” a playful track featuring The Internet’s Steve Lacy.

The video, which was directed by Jonah Hill and features some disorienting camera work, follows Lacy and frontman Ezra Koenig as they walk through Upper East Side Manhattan staples Zabar’s and Barney Greengrass, and happen to run into comedian Jerry Seinfeld at the latter establishment.

Vampire Weekend will play a run of London shows later this month


Fresh off a two-record stint with Asylum, Bob Dylan returned to Columbia Records in 1975 with one of the most acclaimed records of his career.  Blood on the Tracks found Dylan reinvigorating the “confessional” singer-songwriter genre, even as he repeatedly insisted that the album’s songs had no relation to his own life and then-recent marital turmoil.  Whatever the truth, Blood on the Tracks was painfully raw, vulnerable, and altogether exquisite, boasting such all-time classic compositions as “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Simple Twist of Fate,” and “Shelter from the Storm.”   The making of the album was anything but smooth, however – and now, the full story can be told on the fourteenth volume of Dylan’s long-running Bootleg Series More Blood, More Tracks will be available on November 2nd as a 6-CD box set or 2-LP/1-CD highlights editions, chronicling the album’s original New York sessions and subsequent Minnesota rebirth via all of the extant session material including 75 previously unreleased tracks.

Dylan began recording at New York’s A&R Studios with producer-engineer Phil Ramone on September 16th, 1974. The first group of musicians including Eric Weissberg and his band, Deliverance, only lasted a couple of days before the artist brought in Paul Griffin on organ and Buddy Cage on steel guitar.  (Tony Brown was retained from Weissberg’s group.)  After ten days and four sessions with this group, Dylan had assembled an entire 10-song album which Columbia took to the test pressing stage in November.  But the restless Dylan had second thoughts.  With a new set of musicians, he entered Minneapolis’ Sound 80 studios in December.  In a couple of days, he re-recorded five of the ten songs, and the raw, stark, and powerful Blood on the Tracks as we know it was finished.

Over the years, session material has trickled out.  Only one of the five tracks from the test pressing, “You’re a Big Girl Now,” has ever been officially reissued.  It appeared on the Biograph box set along with a version of the outtake “Up to Me.”  Subsequently, The Bootleg Series Vols. 1-3featured New York alternate takes of “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Idiot Wind,” and “If You See Her, Say Hello.”  “Call Letter Blues,” an embryonic version of “Meet Me in the Morning,” was also included on that set.  An alternate of “Shelter from the Storm” was released on the Jerry Maguire soundtrack, and in 2012, an alternate “Meet Me in the Morning” appeared as the B-side of “Duquesne Whistle” on a Record Store Day single.  That left “Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts” as the only song from the New York sessions which had not been released in any take.

More Blood, More Tracks follows the format of The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965-1966 in presenting all of the available studio material in chronological order and so every song is heard in multiple versions.  (Alas, it seems much of the Minnesota session material no longer exists.)  The leadoff “single” is the first take of “If You See Her, Say Hello.”The 6-CD box set boasts a lengthy hardcover book featuring new liner notes as well as high-quality reproductions of pages from Dylan’s original notebooks used during the Blood on the Tracks sessions. A 1-CD or 2-LP version will have one alternate version of each song plus one take of “Up to Me.”

The Bootleg Series Vol. 14: More Blood, More Tracks arrives from Columbia/Legacy on November 2nd.

The earlier album sessions that went down in New York City left many more demos and alternate versions on the cutting room than most anyone outside the innermost Dylan camp imagined.

Disc 1 consists entirely of Dylan alone in the studio, accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica, at the very beginning of the process. None of these appeared on the original album. The second disc is made up of Dylan’s initial band sessions with the group Eric Weissberg & Deliverance, whom he quickly grew dissatisfied with and replaced. Only one of those made the finished album. It’s these two discs that may represent the greatest treasure trove for serious fans.

But the remaining four discs are hardly fool’s gold themselves. Disc 3 finds him continuing to work in New York with a mostly different band that was more to his liking and produced more of the eventual album. On Discs 4 and 5 and the first part of Disc 6, he ditches that band and performs the songs solo once again, or with just a bass player, ending the New York portion of the proceedings as intimately as they started, in the creation of what many consider his most intimate album.

Bob DylanMore Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series Vol. 14(Columbia/Legacy, 2018)

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Remembering Alexander Lee “Skip” Spence, born on April 18th, 1946, born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada — he died on April 16yj, 1999.

He was co-founder of Moby Grape, and played guitar with them until 1969. The first Moby Grape album is probably in the Top 10 Psychedelica rock albums of all time! Skip released only one solo album, 1969’s Oar, and then largely withdrew from the music industry. He had started his career as a guitarist in an early line-up of Quicksilver Messenger Service, and was the drummer on Jefferson Airplane’s debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off.
He has been described on the Allmusic website as “one of Psychedelia’s brightest lights”; however, his career was plagued by drug addictions coupled with mental health problems, and he has been described by a biographer as a man who “neither died young nor had a chance to find his way out.”

Described as “one of the most harrowing documents of pain and confusion ever made”,the album was recorded after Spence had spent six months in Bellevue Hospital. Spence had been committed to Bellevue following a delusion-driven attempt to attack his ex Moby Grape bandmates Don Stevenson and Jerry Miller with a axe.

In November 1968, Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence stepped outside Bellevue Hospital for the first time in five months. While he had dozens of new songs and sketches in his head, he was no longer a member of Moby Grape. He needed another outlet. Meeting with producer David Rubinson at a hotel in Manhattan, Spence hatched a plan to record his new material in Tennessee.

Receiving some advance money from Columbia, he bought a motorcycle, and… well, either he returned to his family in California, or he drove down to Nashville. The timeline and course of events is uncertain. What is certain, however, is that in early December, Spence entered Columbia’s Nashville studio on 16th Ave. Though his future was unclear, he was ready to embark on a solo project. It turned out to be a recording process – and record – like no other.

The 12 original songs on Oar communicate a whole range of emotions. Often, it’s as though Spence is whispering to us, stuck somewhere between accusation and confession. At times, he croons in a baritone, telling tales of travel and betrayal. Other times, he cracks himself up with his own wordplay. There are moments when his music veers towards the dreamy, others when the sense of intimacy is arresting.

After its original release in May 1969, Oar went out of print. Yet over the years it has returned to us again and again. When first released, Oar was not promoted by Columbia Records, despite pleadings fromproducer  Rubinson. It was at the time the lowest-selling album in Columbia Records history. Subsequent reissues have added ten more songs, in different stages of completion, to the original dozen. The original release ended with a fade out of “Grey / Afro”. The 1999 Sony/Sundazed reissue appends “This Time He Has Come” to a fade-less “Grey / Afro”, which reflects how the two songs appeared on the master tapes.

Bob dylan nashvilleskyline

Released 46 years ago, it surely is one of his most controversial albums.. “Embracing” classic Country music & kicking off the “Country Rock” genre.

I’ve always liked this album… not a masterpiece, but a solid Dylan album.
Recorded February 12th–21th, 1969
Nashville Skyline is the ninth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in April 1969 by Columbia Records.

Building on the rustic style he experimented with on John Wesley Harding, “Nashville Skyline” displayed a complete immersion into country music. Along with the more basic lyrical themes, simple songwriting structures, and charming domestic feel, it introduced audiences to a radically new singing voice from Dylan—a soft, affected country croon.

The result received a generally positive reaction from critics, and was a commercial success. Reaching number 3 in the US, the album also scored Bob Dylan his fourth UK number 1 album.

bob dylan nashville skyline back

“Lay Lady Lay” turned out to be one of Dylan’s biggest pop hits, reaching #7 in the US, and giving him his biggest single in three years. “Lay Lady Lay” was originally written for the film Midnight Cowboy, but Dylan did not deliver it in time for it to be included in the score. He was initially reluctant to authorize the single’s release, but eventually approved at the insistence of Columbia president Clive Davis.

In the end, Nashville Skyline is a lovely album but not a heavyweight contender, though its effects were major ones. Country music was despised, hick music when Dylan took it up. People were divided into the hip and the non-hip. The counterculture was in full swing and riddled with its own self-importance and snobbery. Nashville Skyline was a hard pill to swallow: but it did ’em good.
~Michael Gray (Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

Nashville Skyline was a full-fledged country album, complete with steel guitars and brief, direct songs. It’s a warm, friendly album, particularly since Bob Dylan is singing in a previously unheard gentle croon — the sound of his voice is so different it may be disarming upon first listen, but it suits the songs.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (

So here he is, folks, Homebody Bob, singin’ ten songs for your listenin’ pleasure — well, nine, actually one is a hoedown sort o’ thing. Everyone knows by now, I hope, how intense that pleasure is. But hasn’t anyone noticed something odd? ….. but no one mentioned that by the mere trick of changing his entire vocal style, Dylan had crossed us up again, that “Nashville Skyline” was a bigger switcheroo than “John Wesley Harding.” It is touching that everyone wants to believe Bobby has settled down, but don’t bet on it. All those protestations of easy innocence may be just one more shuck.
~Robert Christgau (Village voice – May 1, 1969)


Blood on the Tracks is the fifteenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in January 1975 on Columbia Records. The album marked Dylan’s return to Columbia after a two-album stint with Asylum Records. Most of the lyrics on the album revolve around heartache, anger, and loneliness.

The album, which followed on the resurgence of critical acclaim for Dylan’s work after Planet Waves, was greeted enthusiastically by fans and critics. In the years following its release it has come to be regarded as one of his best albums; it is common for subsequent records to be labeled his “best since Blood on the Tracks.” It is also commonly seen as a standard for confessional singer-songwriter albums; though Dylan has denied that the songs are autobiographical, but his son Jakob Dylan has stated: “The songs are my parents talking.”


With good reason, Dylan is most revered for his nearly unparalleled streak of legendary albums in the 1960s (including 1963’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, 1965’s Highway 61 Revisited, and 1966’s Blonde on Blonde), but he saved arguably his finest album ever until 1975, making one of rock ’n’ roll’s most jaw-dropping comebacks with the striking, emotional Blood on the Tracks. Despite being recorded in a ridiculous 10 days (barring a last-minute re-tracking of a few songs), the album remains Dylan’s warmest, richest recording—loads of purring organs, shuffling acoustics, and soulful rhythm sections. But as always with Dylan albums, it’s the words that steal the show, particularly on the bitter epic “Idiot Wind” and the haunting, uplifting “Tangled Up in Blue.” Rock’s most critically acclaimed troubadour kept on releasing wonderful albums after Blood on the Tracks but he never topped this classic album release.

Well, Blood On The Tracks did consciously what I used to do unconsciously. I didn’t perform it well, I didn’t have the power to perform it well, but I did write the songs; they can be changed but the idea was right…
~Bob Dylan (to Matt Damsker, September 1978)

in stunning, total contrast to the previous album, Before the Flood, this 16th Dylan album triumphantly shows more subtlety and nuance than anything he’d ever done, and as honed a use of understatement as on John Wesley Harding. At the time this was the most unexpected leap of Dylan’s career. After years of comparatively second-rate work and a considerable decline in his reputation, here was an album to stand with Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde.
~Michael Gray

‘Simple Twist of Fate’ is another absolutely extraordinary performance. Where ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ is bright, bouncy, jangly, ‘Simple Twist Of Fate’ is soft and warm and mournful. Dylan’s voice is.. gentle and rounded.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)

Bob Dylan BOTT back

thanks to All Dylan

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Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit have unveiled the title track from their forthcoming LP, Ruins, due out on January. 19th via Columbia Records.

Following the release of advance tracks “It’s A Shame,” “Postcard” and “Fireworks,” “Ruins” is a more somber affair, its introspective folk musing on the end of a relationship with the duo’s vocals beautifully weaving in and out of one another, surrounded by minimal, calming instrumentation.

The “Ruins” video is a live performance from the Rebel Hearts Club Austin Texas, featuring a witty introduction from an older British man before the duo’s acoustic song gently mesmerizes with its lap-steel guitar and luscious, tender country vocals. Watch the live video for “Ruins” below.

The duo’s fourth studio album, Ruins was produced by Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, Laura Veirs) and recorded in Portland, Ore. where the Söderberg sisters collaborated with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and Midlake’s McKenzie Smith.

Rachel Platten

Growing up in Boston, Rachel Platten recalls harmonizing with her family to finely crafted pop songs – from Sam Cooke to The Beatles – that dominated her parents’ vinyl collection. As a teenager, Rachel gravitated towards, and began to become affected by, hip-hop and female singer-songwriters. “My CD collection was Tori Amos and Patti Griffin but then A Tribe Called Quest and Nas.” The commonality between the two seemingly different genres: confessional and vulnerable songwriting. Singing in various bands in New York Rachel went solo and booked herself on a coffee shop tour before collating her demos into an album and releasing single “1000 Ships” on an indie label. Her first single through Columbia “Fight Song” followed in 2015 and Wildfire is available now.

Jeff Lynne’s ELO packed London’s enormous Wembley Stadium to the rafters this past June with a greatest-hits set featuring many of the band’s most classic songs including “Mr. Blue Sky,” “Evil Woman,” and “All Over the World.”  Now, that gig is getting a wide release this Friday, November 17th.  Wembley or Bust will arrive on that date from Columbia Records in a variety of formats: 2CD/1DVD; 2CD/1BD; 2 CD; and 3LP.

Jeff Lynne’s ELO performing Telephone Line (Live at Wembley Stadium). (C) 2017 Big Trilby Records, under exclusive license to Columbia Records,

Recorded on June 24th, the Wembley concert has been described by recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Lynne as “the best time I ever had in music” and “beyond anything I could have imagined.”  The upcoming release preserves the 23-song  marathon setlist, which in addition to the famous ELO songs, also included The Traveling Wilburys’ “Handle with Care” – a particularly poignant inclusion now after the untimely passing of Lynne’s friend and bandmate, Tom Petty.  The nostalgic ballad “When I Was a Boy,” from ELO’s acclaimed 2015 album All Alone in the Universe, was also played.

You can watch the trailer for Wembley or Bust at the link below, and the track listing and pre-order links are also available now!  Look for this joyful release this Friday, November 17th

Depeche Moe, 2017

Depeche Mode has been performing a cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” on its Global Spirit Tour for the past several months, and today the group released a music video for a studio version of the cut in honor of the iconic song’s 40th anniversary. Tomorrow marks 40 years since Bowie released the title track from “Heroes” – the second in his acclaimed and so-called ‘Berlin Trilogy’. Having made their rendition a staple highlight of their ‘immaculate’ recent live sets, Depeche Mode have honoured the song with an official cover and video recorded from the ‘Highline Sessions’ and directed by Tim Saccenti.

Of the song, frontman Dave Gahan says:
’Heroes’ is the most special song to me at the moment. Bowie is the one artist who I’ve stuck with since I was in my early teens. His albums are always my go-to on tour and covering ‘Heroes’ is paying homage to Bowie.”

Music video by Depeche Mode performing Heroes. (C) 2017 Venusnote Ltd., under exclusive license to Columbia Records,


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“The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” is certainly one of the most well-known Dylan’s record. It put Bob on the map as this new Folk singer with incredible original compositions and lyrics.

The album in itself is a work of art, gathering some of his best songs like Blowin’ In The Wind, Girl From The North Country, Masters Of War, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right, and more. Any artist with just one of these songs would have become a star (Blowin’ In The Wind launched Peter, Paul & Mary on the national stage).
It is especially poignant to hear outtakes of The Death Of Emmett Till and Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues , With that album, Bob Dylan gradually became the voice of a generation, a prophet, and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, culminating with him singing during the March On Washington, along Joan Baez and others. He refused all those terms and continued his path into other musical territories for the next 55 years.

The Freewheelin’ is also revered for its cover, Bob and Suze Rotolo (Bob’s girlfriend from 1962 to 1964) walking down in West Village in New York, the epitomy of youth and love for the Baby Boomers.

Most of the material was unknown to most until 2012. At the end of that year, Columbia (Sony) released an under the radar collection, called “The Copyright Extension Collection Vol.I “, with less than a hundred copies. This collection had to be released due to changes in the European laws on copyright. If Sony wanted to keep the rights on those recordings for the next 70 years, they had to release all the material they have before the 50 years mark, each year. That is why we have for Christmas every year since 2012 a special release from several musical acts.

On this video, you have more than 50 outtakes available in superb quality, spanning from April 1962 to April 1963, including the rare tracks of the promotional edition of the album like Rocks & Gravel (broadcasted in an overdubbed version on the first season of the HBO show True Detective). A really great collection.  Edited it down so to exclude officially released material on the album or the bootleg series.

Studio A, Columbia Recording Studios, New York City: 24 April 1962    The 1st Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan session, produced by John Hammond.

1. Goin’ To New Orleans (Take 1) 2. Goin’ To New Orleans (Take 2) 3. Sally Gal (Take 2) 4. Sally Gal (Take 3) 5. Rambling, Gambling Willie (Take 1) 6. Rambling, Gambling Willie (Take 3) 7. Corrina, Corrina (Take 1) 8. Corrina, Corrina (Take 2) 9. The Death Of Emmett Till 10. Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues 11. (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle [Take 2]

Studio A, Columbia Recording Studios, New York City: 25 April 1962    The 2nd Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan session, produced by John Hammond.

1. Rocks And Gravel (Solid Road) [Take 3] 2. Sally Gal (Take 4) 3. Sally Gal (Take 5) 4. Baby Please Don’t Go (Take 1) 5. Milk Cow (Calf’s) Blues (Good Morning Blues) [Take 1] 6. Milk Cow (Calf’s) Blues (Good Morning Blues) [Take 3] 7. Wichita Blues (Going To Louisiana) [Take 1] 8. Talkin’ Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues (Take 2) 9. Milk Cow (Calf’s) Blues (Good Morning Blues) [Take 4] 10. Wichita Blues (Going To Louisiana) [Take 2]

Studio A, Columbia Recording Studios, New York City: 9 July 1962   The 3rd  Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan session, produced by John Hammond.

1. Baby, I’m In The Mood For You (Take 2) 2. Blowin’ In The Wind (Take 1) 3. Blowin’ In The Wind (Take 2) 4. Worried Blues (Take 2)  5. Babe, I’m In The Mood For You (Take 4) 6. Bob Dylan’s Blues (Take 2)

Studio A, Columbia Recording Studios, New York City: 26 October 1962   The 4th  Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan session, produced by John Hammond.

1. Corrina, Corrina (Take 2) 2. Corrina, Corrina (Take 3) 3. That’s All Right, Mama (Take 1) 4. That’s All Right, Mama (Take 3) 5. That’s All Right, Mama (Take 5) 6. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 3) 7. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 5) 8. Corrina, Corrina (Take 7)

Studio A, Columbia Recording Studios, New York City: 1 November 1962    The 5th Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan session, produced by John Hammond.

1. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 1) 2. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 2) 3. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 4) 4. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 5) 5. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 6) 6. That’s All Right Mama 7. Rocks And Gravel (Solid Road) [Take 1] 8. Rocks And Gravel (Solid Road) [Take 2]

Studio A, Columbia Recording Studios, New York City: 14 November 1962    The 6th Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan session, produced by John Hammond.

1. The Ballad Of Hollis Brown (Take 2) 2. Kingsport Town (Take 1) 3. Whatcha Gonna Do? Studio A, Columbia Recording Studios, New York Studio: 6 December 1962   The 7th Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan session, produced by John Hammond. 1. Hero Blues (Take 1) 2. Whatcha Gonna Do? (Take) 3. I Shall Be Free (Take 3) 4. I Shall Be Free (Take 5) 5. Hero Blues (Take 2) 6. Hero Blues (Take 4)

Credits to