Apr 092020

Our old friend mikeydread got in touch to pass along this piece on a disappointing album. I think this is a nicely balanced expression of disappointment, not the kind of thing we’d hear from smack-talking E. Pluribus Gergely.

You’ve all had enough time to reflect on Nashville Skyline, and I really don’t think Bob Dylan is a Townsperson, so you won’t need to worry about missing out on advance copies of his next Bootleg Series: On a scale of Bad to Meh to Great, how do you rate this album?


  42 Responses to “Disappointing”

  1. I can’t be objective about Nashville Skyline as I may be the only Dylan fanatic in the world who came to him though this album.

    In 1969 I knew of Dylan, knew “Blowin’ In The Wind”, “Times…”, “Like A Rolling Stone”, and such but didn’t have any albums. I borrowed Nashville Skyline from a cousin, immediately loved it, and within a few months had his entire back catalogue, no small accomplishment for a poor 14 year-old, saving up his money from delivering the Philadelphia Bulletin. I think at least one of those LPs still has the shrink-wrap on it with the sticker ($2.98!!) bought at the little record shop/music instrument place on 69th Street in Upper Darby; anyone remember that place or its name (and, no, not Record Museum; it was equidistant from the Tower Theater in the other direction)?

    And just so you know what you are dealing with, I’ve bought every album since. Hell, I’m waiting delivery of a new Japanese singles collection that I spent $45 on because it has the big band version of George Jackson on it which I don’t think I have on a legitimate CD (I have the original single and I have it on a boot, and maybe it’s even on that Sidetracks disc I have but, you know, this is what I do; not proud of it or anything).

    How are you going to criticize an album for not being Highway 61 Revisited? Doesn’t pretty much every album ever made (warning: mild hyperbole alert) pale in comparison to that?

    What I recently wrote to Geo about “Murder Most Foul” applies to Nashville Skyline as well –

    “I love it. I’m not sure how great a song – although I do think it is great and greater with every listen – it is in the Dylan canon but it surely is amazing. And Dylan, well, he never fails us, does he? Almost 60 years into this and still breaking ground, still innovating, still surprising. And so out of the blue.

    Why do I keep being surprised by him? In a world that can be turned upside down in the space of a few weeks, Bob Dylan, even as he changes all the time, never standing still, never looking back, is like a rock.”

    He started doing this with Another Side, then with Highway 61 Revisited, and on through John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, Saved, Shadows In The Night, and now this new one.

    C’mon, “Lay Lady Lay”, “I Threw It All Away”, “Tell Me That It Isn’t True”, “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You”? You gotta be the least romantic person in the world to not love this album.

  2. For the record, I don’t dislike the album, but I play it less than any of his albums considered “good-to-great” from the first phase or two of his career, however one slices it up. I think it’s a bit “meh.” As some of you may recall, however, I love the John Wesley Harding album, perhaps more than most would consider imaginable.

  3. diskojoe

    Nashville Skyline has a bunch of great songs that I like, including “Lay, Lady, Lay”, “I Threw It All Away”, “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” & the duet w/Johnny Cash. However, it’s a short album, only about 29 minutes or so, when all his previous albums were about 50 or so minutes long, which probably explains its “meh” status.

    As for “George Jackson” , I only first heard it recently when listening to a rebroadcast of Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 show from 1971. There’s a station in Cape Cod that rebrocast the 70s shows on Saturday AM & the 80s shows on Sunday AM. I love listening to the shows from 1970-1974 from #40 to #30, which has quirky & interesting stuff such as James Brown & other obscure soul & one hit wonders

  4. BigSteve

    I vote meh. I am a huge Bob Dylan fan, but after John Wesley Harding I just took a vacation from him for a while. I liked New Morning, but for me he doesn’t get interesting again until Planet Waves.

    I’m not against him being a country crooner for a while in theory, but there’s just not enough A material on this album to keep my interest even now. I’ve never liked Lay Lady Lay. There I said it. I’ve always liked Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You, but I think I had that song because it was on Greatest Hits Vol. 2. Nowadays I really love I Threw It All Away, but I never really got into it until its appearance on Kojak Variety.

    I’ve been acquiring most of the Bootleg Series collections. The one covering the Self Portrait era really showed that there was enough good material for that album to have been better, but for reasons known only to His Bobness the lamer stuff ended up on the album. The newest Bootleg Series volume that covers the Nashville Skyline era got a big pass from me. I’m just not interested.

    The best thing you can say about Nashville Skyline is that it’s not as bad as Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Speaking of which I never want to hear anyone sing Knocking on Heaven’s Door EVER AGAIN.

  5. You’ve made my week, BigSteve, by pointing out the need to block any further airings of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by anybody. That song’s rise to prominence thanks to Guns ‘n Roses is regrettable. Even Dylan’s version is a trinket that was only worth hearing twice annually.

  6. I went to High School with Al and came to Dylan right around the same time. The first two albums that I was exposed to were, pretty much simultaneously, “Nashville Skyline” and “Greatest Hits,” probably in 1969 when NS came out. I was in 8th grade and one of my older sisters had those albums. I was buying records, including albums since about ’67, when Underground radio and The Beatles started to move the dominant musical format from singles to albums. Anyway, I knew Dylan well from his big radio hits, “Rolling Stone,” “Positively Fourth Street,” and, particularly, “Rainy Day Women.” I wasn’t disappointed by NS because when I first heard it, I had no specific expectations of a Bob Dylan album, not having really firsthand experience with any of his earlier albums. I will say, however, that is was definitely the Greatest Hits album that sent me on the hunt for the back catalogue and I could very well see myself being disappointed if I had hopped on the train a few stops earlier.

    Also, to digress, that Greatest Hits album is killer. I just looked at the track listing and it’s entirely clear how that could lead to an endless series of subsequent purchases. The non-radio hit stuff was a mix of instantly iconic songs that spoke very clearly, for example “The Times They Are a-Changin”, radio hits for other artists with Dylan’s unique take, “Tambourine Man” and “It Ain’t Me, Babe” and combinations of the two, “Blowin’ in the Wind.” I have a feeling that if Al replays his Dylan explorations, he’ll realize that this album, way more than NS is the key to his obsession.

    I clearly recall my disappointment when I purchased “John Wesley Harding” and found it didn’t include “Memphis Blues Again.” From the airplay MBA had gotten on Philadelphia’s FM underground, I assumed it wasn’t included on GH because it was on the album that came out later.

  7. One more thing, my entry tune to Television was their version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” When I went to see them and Talking Heads in NYC at the recommendation of a friend living up there, I wasn’t really feeling it for the first few songs seeming like a slightly unfocused standard rock band. When they did their version of KNOHD, with its epic stops with ringing harmonics hanging in the silences, what they were up to became very compelling. So I have to make that exception for that cover.

  8. 2000 Man

    I think it would aspire to “meh” status. The best thing about it is it doesn’t last very long.

  9. Happiness Stan

    As a confirmed Bob-ophile, albeit in an alternate universe where Street Legal was his last album, or Infidels if I was feeling charitable, I’d agree with “meh”, but probably only because it was the first “meh” album since the first, which was obviously years before Like a Rolling Stone was the yardstick for everything else to be measured against. At the risk of turning all the townsfolk agin me before I’ve even said anything half as controversial as I used to, I’d make an exception for Christmas in the Heart, which I’m able to enjoy in a non-ironic way, along with Tiny Tim’s Christmas Album, both of which capture the spirit of the season in a way that bloody Waitresses song and that horrible dirge by the Pretenders fail dismally at.

    If JWH sounds like he’s treading water, at least you’re listening to an Olympic swimmer doing it. Nashville Skyline was a pointer to where he was heading with the next three albums and those of us who love him and wish him well are still in denial about it.

    If it was on I wouldn’t switch it off. I was parked up in the car the other day when I heard about Murder Most Foul and put it on to listen to when I drove off. I got to four minutes fifty, but only because I couldn’t find anywhere to stop from about the three minute mark. Don’t know if any of you are familiar with the works of the poet William McGonagall, but by the second verse I was expecting him to start rambling about the beautiful bridge over the silvery Tay. Perhaps someone who’s got all the way through might let me know if he does? I want expecting greatness, but so wanted it to be good.

    So, on a scale from Highway 61 to Murder Most Foul, I’d say it was Infidels. I’d rather listen to it twice than the first two verses of MMF, but then I’d rather listen to “Dylan” than inflict that on myself again.

  10. saturnismine

    It’s a needle skipper for sure. I always felt better about the idea of Nashville Skyline than the experience of actually listening to it. But when the wife and I are eating breakfast and we need something unobtrusive that sounds like the syrup we’re putting on our pancakes, and we’re tired of Harvest or the Gilded Palace of Sin, we do occasionally reach for Nasville Skyline.

    Tonight, I’ll be Staying Here with You will always have a special place in my heart. And I always appreciated the ambling, but heartfelt reading of North Country by Mssrs. Dylan and Cash. I unknowingly cribbed more of One More Night’s melody than I care to admit for one of my own songs, so I guess it was more deeply embedded in my musical DNA than I ever realized before I did that.

    Was it disappointing? I don’t know how it could be, but I do get the complaint; by mere dint of it’s being by Dylan, in 1969 no less, it’s *supposed to be great.* And alas, it aint.

    But I think by the time I had received it, I had no concept of it as a “must have” that would have subsequently let me down upon first playing it. Its reputation had waxed and waned several times by the time I got around to it. Everyone has a different opinion of it. There’s no unanimity on its greatness. So I never regarded it as something that would blow my mind the way Bringin’ it All Back Home did. To me, it just sounded like the part of Dylan’s career where he realized he had the right to explore the musical idioms he loved; that his obligation was no longer to be the voice of a generation. Nashville sees him pulling off that mantle somewhat awkwardly (weird voice, cliche’d lyrics, the over-ripened return to an earlier staple with a country-a-billy stalwart in tow). But I don’t blame him for finally shedding it. He had wanted to for years.

  11. saturnismine

    Oh…and I fall somewhere between Meh and Great with this, but closer to Meh.

    And Geo, I totally get the notion of Harding as the disappointment threshold. I considered moving my “pulling of the mantle” comments back to that album. But it still feels like it has those trappings in those folk tunes that have a moral to them, or Dear Landlord, which sounds like a personal-to-political extrapolation in a class-ist / Marxist sense. Nashville sees him removing the voice-of-a-generation mantle once and for all, with consistency. It’s part of the reason I like it, I suppose. He seems to be enjoying himself, even if I don’t enjoy every outing on it.

  12. RTH is back and so are the hatas! 😏 I can accept a lot of criticisms of this disc – I acknowledged that is isn’t Highway 61 Revisited and that my opinion was colored by it being my first love – but it’s too short?!?! Really!?!?

  13. BigSteve

    One aspect of the ‘was it disappointing?’ question is that Dylan seems to have been actually trying to disappoint his fans, to shake off people who thought he was some kind of prophet or something. This is even truer of Self Portrait, but it goes for everything until he decided to step up again with Blood on the Tracks.

  14. For the record, the last thing I was trying to do by posting the article mikeydread passed along was to raise an argument. I thought the piece’s measured angle on its meh-ness would lead to people nodding their heads and raising their glass of brandy in humble admiration.

    It has been nice thinking about those two greatest hits album’s again, which were also my way into Dylan. I first heard them on 8-track in my uncle’s room. I was shocked when “Watching the River Flow” came on. In my little kid mind, that was my uncle’s song, something he frequently played at the piano.

  15. saturnismine

    Basically, I agree with mikey. There are some songs there that I truly love. But a rising tide doesn’t lift all boats for me in this case.

    BigSteve, I hear ya where it comes to Dylan antagonizing his audience comes into play here. I have a slight variation on your idea. I think he was sincere about the direction he took on Nashville. I think he got into deliberately disappointing his audiences after the response to Nashville.

  16. Been thinking a lot about Dylan these days because my 19 year old stepson can’t get enough of him. Last week, while Lady Gergely researched the ins and outs of feeding her sourdough starter, her son worked out the intro piano part of “Queen Jane Approximately”. We screwed around with that for a while, piano and guitar, until we got it right enough to put a smile on our faces. All that reminded me that Dylan. was most probably at his best on Highway 61 Revisited because the band on that LP brought out the very best in his rock band fueled songs. The players are a little bit tighter than the Bringing it All Back Home and Blonde on Blonde boys.

    Nashville Skyline? Not great, but certainly nothing to put me in a foul mood like Costello’s Goodbye Cruel World. ” I Threw It All Away” is an absolute winner. Just thinking about the song gets me breaking out in goosebumps. I more or less skipped the rest of the catalog. I reached for “Blood on the Tracks.” Money well spent. Saved cash was then spent on lots of great Dylan boots that reaffirmed his genius: “Who Killed Davy Moore?”, “If You Gotta Go, Go Now”, “Can You Please Crawl out Your Window?” (the slower version, with that Highway 61 band, featuring that killer honky tonk piano player), “Nowadays”, “John Brown”…what decision maker unwisely decided that these tracks weren’t good enough for the released LPs? Whatever the case, the archaeological dig always adds major points, especially when good stuff is turned up over and over again. And that’s the key here. As far as the unleashed trove was concerned, his is far greater and more rewarding than any other major player, including that of the Beatles (the Beatles will always be #1 in my book, but besides “I’m Looking Through You #2”, “That Means a Lot”, and “How Do You Do It”, there’s nothing there like any one of those previously mentioned Dylan jaw droppers.

    Glad to see everyone up here once again!

    E. Pluribus

  17. saturnismine – I wasn’t actually suggesting moving the disappointment threshold back to JWH, just describing my 14 year old ignorance of the Dylan catalogue. I totally assumed Memphis Blues Again would’ve had to be on the Greatest Hits album if it had been released, totally unaware of the fact that the sound of JWH was nothing like it. I was disappointed strictly because I thought I finally had a copy of MBA…and I was wrong.

    I don’t think JWH is disappointing because it definitely retained the mystique in a way that NS does not. It seems more like when someone emphasizes the importance of what they’re saying by reducing the voice to a whisper.

  18. Mod – I think of Watching the River Flow as a lost, great, Dylan moment. New Morning came along just 5 months after SP, and redeemed Dylan for me. But this was followed by a long period of silence, especially for a 15 year old that had just finished buying up all of the back catalogue and was waiting for what came next. Watching the River Flow puts it right out there: Bob didn’t feel like he had much to say, so he was sayin’ it and otherwise keeping quiet. It didn’t hurt that I really liked Leon Russell and the record rocked.

  19. Just for the record, John Wesley Harding never did anything for me. If you opt to use a band behind the songs, have the band do something, anything for that matter, that does something for the songs.

    E. Pluribus

  20. saturnismine

    Plurbis, maybe you know this already, but maybe you don’t. You can blame Robbie Robertson’s lack of imagination / inner ear for that sparse approach on JWH. What’s there was only supposed to be a foundation, which is why it’s so basic. Dylan claims he “didn’t plan” on it sounding that way. He brought the tapes to Robertson and Garth to add tracks to each tune, but Robertson claims, “We did talk about doing some overdubbing on it, but I really liked it when I heard it and I couldn’t really think right about overdubbing on it. So it ended up coming out the way he brought it [to us].”

  21. Didn’t know that! I appreciate the info, but it doesn’t matter much to me. Let me restate my problem with the thing: If you opt to use a band behind the songs, have the band do something, anything for that matter, that does something for the songs. And more importantly, never ever listen to the advice of Robbie Robertson. Yes, he did indeed transform “Obviously Five Believers” into a wild thin mercury masterpiece and wrote two masterpieces shortly afterwards, but he spent the rest of his career cranking out snoozer after snoozer. As far as Garth Brooks is concerned, I’ve never heard him give any kind of coherent interview about anything whatsoever. I don’t really think he’s capable of giving any kind of advice. He definitely has chops, but it doesn’t seem to me that it matters much to him whether he uses them with someone like Dylan or someone crafting an ad for cat litter.

    And that whole “here’s the backstory behind the song” thing is a lot of nonsense. If it sounds bad, it’s bad.

    I can’t sell that album. And the reason for that is that it stinks.

    That said, I miss you and your taste, which is a lot like mine. That’s probably why I miss reading your writing so much. Do me favor. Put on The Who Sell Out, and let me know if you think it still holds up. Love that album! And rewatch that Jumpin’ Jack Flash clip, especially the 3 second slow motion section of Keith power strumming, with his head cocked to the side, mouth open wide. You know what I’m talkin’ about!

    Finished watching Tiger King. Unbelievable! Me and the Mrs, are now watching Last Tango in Hastings. Superb!

    E. Pluribus

  22. Plurbis,

    The bass and drums on JWH are great. Listen to, for example, “As I Went Out One Morning.” Don’t give me a lotta shit on this. They are really grooving.

    And like the Blind Squirrel getting the nut, you are right on “The Who Sell Out.”

  23. THIS is the Pluribus I’ve seen evolve so beautifully since 2016. The man’s learned the art of coalition building, which is so great to see, because we WANT to coalesce around him. As a too-huge proponent of using a band as the kitchen sink, I get what you’re saying about under-utilization of the band on JWH, but I feel this is a rare time when it helps. I’m also rarely a proponent of “mysticism,” but that album does it for me. Again, I know I like it more than even Dylan could have intended.

  24. general slocum

    I think this is pretty great for an RTH thread. Sure there’s some “2 in a row” comments that don’t really add, you know, “needle lifters.” But I think you can really hear how everyone has aged, and is less concerned with the recepetion from the fans. Some might miss the old “shredding” Gergley, but I dig this new feel. A little more watercolor, if you will. And I don’t mean that critically. People stick to their guns, but not in a Heston way.

  25. saturnismine

    E Plurbs…you’re on my side. I’m not defending the sparse approach. I’m just tellin’ ya where it came from. “Never listen to Robbie Robertson” indeed. No truer words…

    And Sell Out holds up better than Tommy. The Jumpin’ Jack Flash clip will forever be aces.

    Slocum…is it okay that I said Nashville has “needle lifters?” Not sure what you’re on about there…

    Mod…Question: what happened to the “reply” function? Sorry if that was explained and I missed it.

  26. Saturnismine, I believe you’re referring to the ability to reply within subthreads. That’s been put aside for this brief return. Sammymaudlin and I wanted to get a functional version of what we had tuned up and ready for quick release, to get us some Hall time while we are all in this weird state. Should this forum once more have legs and serve a fun purpose that isn’t met in such intimate fashion through social media, we’d be open to doing a full update and overhaul and seeing what RTH could look like for the coming years. Right now, we’re la-la-living for today. Thanks for your patience.

  27. Saturn: Tommy was/has been/and will always an unlistenable and inexcusable waste of high quality Decca vinyl. Forgive me for even pondering the idea that Sell Out might not hold up.

    Slocum: The new me is all due to Mrs. Gergely. We’ve been together for four years, and it’s absolutely and positively brought out the best in me.

    Geo: Despite the fact that you’re responsible for what is probably one my favorite local songwriting and production efforts, and you’re the epitome of decency, your taste continues to frighten. And I didn’t think this was possible, but based on what I’ve read during the last couple of days, it may even be worse than it was six or so years ago. That’s saying a lot because you’re the only armchair musicologist I know of who’s not embarrassed to tell the world that After Bathing at Baxter’s is more or less the rock equivalent of Beethoven’s 5th. Because I value our friendship, I revsited “As I Went Out One Morning.” Know that I went out like a light after the first 35 seconds or so. An elephant tranquilizer couldn’t have done a better job. I marvel at your mind’s ability to look at a snow saucer sized cowpie, and transform that vision into pure gold.

    Moderator: You turned me on to “Willin'”. And there they are again, Goosebumps just by typing the song title.

  28. Plurbs,

    I’d like to mention that I turned Mod onto that version of “willin'”. As stated previously, “even the blind squirrel gets a nut occasionally.

  29. I was not aware of that. Please point me in the direction of another Little Feat track that delivers like “Willin'”

  30. “Willin'” is probably “The Weight” of the Little Feat catalogue for you, but there are others on the “Sailin’ Shoes” album that you might like. specifically the title cut and Trouble. I love the whole album, but you know me.

  31. Thank you, my dear,dear friend. I will listen to them tonight and get back to you. You may find this hard to believe, but I love to be proved wrong. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s a very beautiful thing.

  32. Mad props to you, geo, for shoving that Sailin’ Shoes album into my gut and telling me I needed to make peace with it. I only take an assist for turning EPG onto the amazing “Willin’,” which I’ve heaped mighty praise on. Next to that song, I like the songs with the heavier guitars, like “It’s So Easy to Slip” and that “Cold, Cold, Cold” song. The singing and lyrics don’t make me tear up, like “Willin’,” but they split the difference between Exile and the more macho Jackson Browne songs. “Trouble” is pretty good, but it’s got a little too much songwriterly sophistication for me. The title track almost does it for me, but I feel like Randy Newman is going to pop up at any time.

    Beside the one track that I can live my life by, what I like most about this album is that it hints at an artistry that Lowell George must have brought to the band. There’s something to this album, if I’m in just the right mood, that I can dig in ways I can’t with all that stuff that was more often played on the radio in the late-1970s – “Time Loves a Hero” and that “Dixie Chicken” song. That stuff had more of a showtune feel to it, as if Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers had a baby.

  33. Agreed that the opening two, “Easy to Slip” and “Cold, Cold, Cold” are really nice. I like the comparison to Exile, for example “Rocks Off,” but to me the groove and the sound is way deeper. I love that thick Warner Brothers early 70’s sound, In fact, Mick borrowed it for “Memo to Turner.”

    I saw a Lowell George documentary a while back and it showed pretty clearly that the guy was immensely talented but seemingly always distracted by the next thing he wanted to try. I think Sailin’ Shoes was the time when his focus was right on the task at hand.

  34. saturnismine

    No worries about the reply function, Mr. Mod! It all makes sense. I was just askin’. 😉

  35. PS, geo – I played Sailin’ Shoes all the way through while working today. The last two songs, “Cat Fever” and “Texas Rose Cafe,” also stand out for me, although I wouldn’t recommend them to EPG, who I don’t think shares my love for Leon Russell.

  36. mikeydread

    I can’t take credit for the column, only for passing it along. Tony Thompson, the writer, grew up in Canada and is a Melbourne-based writer, teacher and musician. His 51 Disappointing Albums is a regular column at The New Daily website.

  37. Geo,

    I listened to the songs, the other so called “Willin’ ” like winners.

    Two years ago, a very close friend of mine advised Mrs.Gergely and myself that we would find a stay at the Allentown Hilton Garden Inn most pleasurable. Regardless of the fact that we thought this was nonsense, we stayed there anyway, Surprisingly, the hotel and the surrounding grounds looked pretty good, but once we were inside, it was a whole ‘nother matter.

    What looked regal in the website photos was fairly miserable: the king size bed was a:lumpy queen, the “generous” serving of salmon looked and tasted like day old spam, and the Kona went down like Postum. I can’t speak for the wife, but I got the runs in the middle of the night.

    Let’s just leave it at that.

  38. Amazing. It was six or seven posts before you took a scatological turn. I had called it for three in the pool.

  39. Good morning, Geo. Sun’s up. I’m feeling pretty good. I’m feeling alright.

    Don’t know if I ever told you about how the whole thing with Lady Gergely got started. I knew I had to make her mine the day I met her, and because of that I threw out the right and wrong rule book about 15 minutes after I first met her. More on that later, in private. On our first date, I got all gussied, tried to make myself look like Paul Newman in The Hustler, a flawless movie that’s definitely in my top five. I also spent a good hour or so agonizing about what music I wanted for the trip, For some reason or another, “2120 South Michigan Ave” from the Stones 12×5 LP had to be the track playing in the background when I picked her up. Love that album. To me, it’s the first punk rock album. I wish somebody up here could flesh that idea out. My trick bag doesn’t have the necessary equipment for that kind of work.

    Anyway, I hop in the car, drive to the corner (we’ve lived in the same neighborhood for fifteen years or so but never met each other, and that all changed after a chance meet up while walking our dogs, recently gotten from the SPCA), and she’s standing there, drop dead gorgeous, looking like Annabella Sciorra during her Jungle Fever days. My confidence went right down the john, and I stuttered while saying hi to her when she got in the car. God only knows how I was going to pull this off. I think she realized pretty quick that I was a nervous wreck so she started asking me about the music I was playing, that she liked it, and that her and her older son, the Dylan obsessive I told you about earlier, were really enjoying Freaks and Geeks. Then she tells me that she’s not a Deadhead, that she doesn’t get that whole thing, but she loves the song “Box of Rain.” Right then and there, I knew I was going to ask her to marry me, which I did about a month or so later. Right away, she said yes, and I decided that there may indeed be some kind of god after all.

    What is it with that song? I thought I had once read that the song was written by Phil Lesh, that it was about the death of his father. I never really got that from the lyrics, but it didn’t seem to matter. It “felt” like it had to be about his father. And it still always makes me think of my father’s death and our up and down relationship. I’m a wreck every time I hear it or even think of it.

    At some get together, some Deadhead told me I had it all wrong, that the song had nothing to do with any of that. And then he went on with a lot of painfully pointless minutia. After a while, I turned on the verisimilitude switch and thought about other stuff. What is it with these Deadheads? Most of them are very nice people, but they’re continually boring and extremely uninsightful. Simply put, I consider it a major character flaw if you’re a fan of that band. And if you don’t think the Beatles are the second coming of Christ, I think that’s a major character flaw as well.

    Anyway, I’m glad all this rambling will most probably be buried in a few days or so. You’re a good guy, Geo. I mean that. When I went to see the Rolling Thunder Review movie, I really didn’t get it. Bob’s sound during those years, the “Yeah, just play anything you want while I’m trying out yet another new singing voice” era is not for me. That said, when the movie ended, the rest of the crowd loved what they were seeing; they actually stood up and applauded. I turned around and saw a theater filled with ecstatically happy people. They were sincerely having the time of their lives. They looked like all those old fart Philadelphia Folk Festivalers who could and still can never get enough of bands like Fairportless Convention (post Richard Thompson), Wishbone Ash, and Seatrain. In other words, your people. You all get something that refuses to rap itself around my brain. All this has bothered me for years. Can’t speak about the rest of those folks, but I’ve known you for quite some time and have always thought the world of you. I’d like to think there’s at least some kind of mutual respect there, but when it comes to music, there’s just nothing happening in the center of the Venn diagram.

    That’s all for now, Geo. Know that I’m so looking forward to seeing you again when this whole nightmare is finally over.

  40. BigSteve

    Man did we ever talk about Little Feat, one of my favorite bands ever, back in the old days?

    I lol’d at Mr Mod’s comment: “The title track [i.e., Sailin’ Shoes] almost does it for me, but I feel like Randy Newman is going to pop up at any time.”

    After Lowell died there was a tribute album called Rock and Roll Doctor, and Sailin’ Shoes was covered by Mr. Newman (with Valerie Carter):


  41. And people accuse me of making unfounded leaps, BigSteve! I had no idea, but I leap with the confidence of a blind squirrel.

  42. Little Feat – Roll ’em Easy from Dixie Chicken Excellent track.

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