May 202013


This May 24, 2013 is Bob Dylan‘s 72nd birthday. To celebrate the occasion, the Worcester Art Museum is offering free admission to anyone who comes “dressed as Bob.” I’m curious to know how liberal the museum staff’s interpretation of coming “dressed as Bob” will be. Being a bit of a wiseass, I can’t help but think of my reaction, in my younger days, to restaurants that had a tie and jacket dress code.

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Nov 122012

Give it away.

I didn’t know until today that Judy Collins first covered Bob Dylan‘s then-unreleased song “I’ll Keep it With Mine” in 1965. I’ve never heard her version, but whoever got the song on the road to the version that I first learned through Fairport Convention‘s chilling take had both ears and vision.

Fairport Convention, I’ll Keep It With Mine

Next, sometime in sophomore year in college, I heard the Nico version, clearly guided by the sensibilities of her producer John Cale. I believe this preceded Fairport’s version, so Mad props! to Nico.

Finally, a few years later, I heard Dylan’s demo. Like a few other Dylan demos that were turned into great covers (eg, “Quinn the Eskimo,” by Manfred Mann; “One Too Many Mornings,” by the Beau Brummels), I was stunned anyone could hear anything of great worth in the song. It’s OK, but his performance indicates little focus or drama. Can you imagine hearing this acetate and wanting to run with it the way Fairport Convention and Nico did? Check it out… Continue reading »

Aug 272012

Despite a horrible album cover, as discussed previously here, “Duquesne Whistle,” the first track released from Bob Dylan‘s upcoming Tempest, is pretty good. Check it out here.

The song sounds nothing like the album cover! I only wish Bob’s beyond-repair voice was mixed a little lower so I could better enjoy the groove the band cooks up behind him.

Aug 152012

I'm Not You.

My friend,

How’s it going? I know we spoke on the phone last night and I know we discussed plans to get together and hash out some serious stuff, but I miss the private, personal communications we used to have here, in public. I’ve got something I’d like to discuss. Man to man.

I just tried watching a half hour of a movie I’ve put off watching for the last couple of years, a movie I’ve repeatedly been tempted to watch, I’m Not Here, the Dylan movie by Todd Haynes, who’s directed a couple of films I like a lot, especially Safe, that one with Julianne Moore, before she broke through by dropping trou in that Robert Altman flick. Have you seen it? (The Dylan movie, that is.)

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Jan 172012

In the recent Laura Nyro thread Townsman alexmagic made some hyperbolic statements regarding Mike Nesmith. (Seriously, Mike Nesmith “is the most indefensible omission from the Hall of Fame?” I think I could successfully defend his exclusion from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as easily as I could defend his exclusion from the Baseball Hall of Fame.) However, he touched on one point that I think the uni-mind that is Rock Town Hall should explore, to whit, the thought that Mike Nesmith is “often given credit for launching the ‘country rock’ genre.”

There seem to be a lot of candidates for that. There are The Byrds, whose Notorious Byrd Brothers showed a bit of country and was released in January 1968, or the more often cited Sweetheart of the Rodeo, released in August, 1968. The latter made it all the way to #77 on Billboard and featured a number by another candidate for country rock launcher, Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.”

And there’s Graham Parsons & the International Submarine Band, whose Safe At Home came out in 1968. Wikipedia says their b-side cover of Buck Owens’ “Truck Drivin’ Man,” released in April 1966, is “now largely considered the first country rock recording.” It starts at 2:11 of the following clip:

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