Tag Archives: Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan: A Style Icon 40 Years After His Seminal Record ‘Desire’

Legendary American singer Bob Dylan has a body of work for which there simply is no equal. Through his lengthy career Dylan has released no fewer than 36 studio albums. You can add to that 11 live Dylan albums, over 30 compilation albums, 12 “bootleg” series releases and an astounding 58 singles. Dylan has long been credited as a master wordsmith, the first rock poet and, for many, Bob is the finest writer of contemporary music the world has ever known.

Dylan’s career was launched way back in 1962 with his eponymous Bob Dylan release. Amazingly Dylan’s most recent release, last years Shadows in the Night, shows that Bob is as popular as ever. Dylan’s album hit the top spot in the U.K. and at No 7 in the Billboard 200. A remarkable success for a man who will be 75-years-old in just a few months.

via Bob Dylan: A Style Icon 40 Years After His Seminal Record ‘Desire’.

Bob Dylan Does It His Way With An Album Of Sinatra Covers

During his first interview in three years legendary, rock poet Bob Dylan talked about his love of Frank Sinatra and his decision to release an album of covers of the crooner’s songs.

Dylan, 73, is a true American legend. He has been in the public eye for over 50 years, and yet he remains an enigma. He is famously reclusive and private, and even on stage, he rarely communicates other than through his music. This year marks 40 years since the release of Dylan’s most personal album Blood on the Tracks, and many Dylan fans hold the view that his more recent albums contain some of the best songs he has ever written. It may therefore seem like a strange time to release an album of cover versions.

Not according to Bob, who told AARP that he has been thinking about doing this album for a long time.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1780769/bob-dylan-does-it-his-way-releasing-an-album-of-sinatra-covers/#5UhHOhZQjqLp47rY.99

75 Essential Albums – Day #59 – Rod Stewart

Here goes with day 59 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells A Story

Today is a day for a little self indulgence in another of my little guilty pleasures.  Every Picture Tells A Story was the third album by Anglo Scottish Rocker Rod Stewart.  The album features a veritable ‘Who’s who’ of British musical royalty including:  Ronnie Wood, Ronnie Lane, Maggie Bell, Danny Thompson and Long John Baldry.  As a result it is multi-faceted with Blues, Jazz, Rock, Country, Folk and Soul influences all apparent.

“Every Picture Tells a Story” defines what was Great about Stewart and the Faces during his early career.  Opening track “Every Picture Tells a Story” is both musically and vocally fiery and passionate.  The energy of ‘The Faces’ is apparent from the get go their hot tones and impeccable timing mark ‘The Faces’ as an outstanding band. Ronnie Wood is in fine form with his gutsy screaming bluesy solo’s but it is of course Stewarts Vocal performance that holds the whole thing together as a piece.  His gritty, throaty, growling vocals are a joy throughout, his voice unique as he croons his lyrics as a superb compliment to the Faces playing.

Stewarts performances are always dynamic and moving, but he really does justice to the cover songs included on the album.  Covers of songs by Bob Dylan and The Temptations amongst others, compliment Stewart’s own tunes perfectly.  That said Stewarts own songs “Mandolin Wind,” “Maggie May” and the title track are the standout tracks on the album.  They are beautifully written life narratives about ordinary people, full of maturity and social commentary.  Whilst Stewart does come over as world weary on occasion  “Every Picture Tells a Story,”  is a high-energy, vibrant, danceable, fun and engaging album.  All involved come over as having a great time and as a result you will too.  every track will have you rocking along though in all honesty I could have well done without a cover version of ‘Amazing Grace’, the one track that seems (at least to me) to have no place on the album.

‘Maggie May’ a stunning narrative about a young mans relationship with an older woman was a huge hit and is one of the strongest tracks on the album.  Mandolin Wind is a great track, another story about love and life, it is oddly touching and even has Stewart playing a banjo part.

So Every Picture Tells A Story is an interesting, fun, touching and engaging album full of highlights.  It is most certainly worth a listen.

As always thanks for dropping by my blog.  if you like what you read please hit the like button or leave a comment.  If you don’t like what you read then please leave a comment explaining why 🙂

75 Essential Albums – Day #57 – Bob Dylan

Here goes with day 57 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Bob Dylan – Desire

Desire was Dylan’s 17th Studio album and one of his most collaborative.  Many of the tracks feature the musicians involved in the ‘Rolling Thunder Review’ and vocals from Emmylou Harris.  In true Dylan fashion he bounced up from the agonised navel gazing of Blood On The Tracks with a more buoyant, less cynical album.   Desire is a much more optimistic album filled with epic tracks that tell a story in themselves rather than across the album as a piece.  His collaboration in the writing of the songs make desire a unique Dylan project.

Desire marks a move away from the 3 -4 minute song and goes beyond Dylans epics, he moves from 7 minute epics to 11 minutes plus.  Album opener ‘Hurricane’ tells the story of ‘Rubin Carter’ a boxer who was allegedly framed for a murder and clocks in at 8.33 in length.  The longest song of the album is “Joey”. A twelve-verse 11.30 minute ballad, it describes the life of deceased gangster Joey Gallo.    Dylan presents Gallo as an outlaw with morals, a picture that may well have been inaccurate and which attracted a great deal of controversy with Dylan being accused of glorifying gangsterism.

Isis is one of Dylan’s most celebrated songs, a symbolic travelogue that plays out against a backdrop of minor chords and droning piano.  Lyrically, Dylan speaks his mind with an uncharacteristic bluntness, he addresses his crumbling marriage (Sara) with a raw emotional hostility.   Dylan is at his most controversial where he tells a tale of racism in Hurricane.  Dylan returns to a theme of inequality that was prominent in ‘The Lonesome death of Hattie Carroll, a decade earlier.

It is the drawing together of a range of genres and cultures that make desire a great album.  This is very obvious in both Mozambique and especially in Romance in Durango which displays a distinctly Latin feel  where Harris and Dylan clash in Spanish verses, while horns and Latin percussion chime behind them.

The album closes with the gorgeous Sara, arguably Dylan’s most personal song ever.  A tribute to his wife It is touching and painful, beautiful but desperate, an opus to one he loves but is losing.  Desire is an engaging and captivating album, it is full of allegory and the interpretation is left to the listener.   Multi-layered, beautifully produced and full of interest it is a Dylan classic.

As always thanks for dropping by my blog.  if you like what you read please hit the like button or leave a comment.  If you don’t like what you read then please leave a comment explaining why 🙂

75 Essential Albums – Day #11 Bob Dylan – John Wesley Harding

Here goes with day 10 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Bob Dylan – John Wesley Harding 

It is well documented that John Wesley harding was pulled together when Dylan had hit the big time and responded by withdrawing the public eye. He claimed he was recovering from a motorcycle accident but many claimed that this was just an excuse for Dylan to spend some time out of the limelight.  Whatever the truth the period he spent out of the public eye was an extremely creative period with a huge number of songs being written.  In late 1967 he went to Nashville and recorded John Wesley Harding an album with more than a tinge of a Country music feel about it.  

The snarling growl from Blonde on Blonde gave way to a much more laid back, tuned down and relaxed album.   This was the second of Dylans reinventions of himself.  The critics loved it, the fans were as confused as they had been after he went electric at Newport in 1965.  ‘John Wesley Harding’ was in my view a work of genius it feels casual and relaxed but the clever lyrics, the allegory, the shuffle guitar and the biting blues harp interludes showcase an artist at the top of his game.

The title track, I dreamed I saw St Augustine and the Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest all sparkle with energy, they all throw the battle between good and evil into stark relief and in the latter Dylan produces what in my opinion is one of his greatest ever pieces of work.

‘All Along the Watchtower’ and ‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’ perhaps sound a little more like the Dylan of previous albums  but this was Dylans move back to exploring the roots of american music.  The music is a brilliant adaption of traditional blues and country and western music.

“Dear Landlord” is a veiled pop at capitalism whilst “I Am A Lonesome Hobo” recalls Rimbaud’s travels through Europe evoking perhaps a passing nod to one of his hero’s Woody Guthrie.   This really was a ground breaking album, if you don’t know it I urge you to give it a listen.  It is well worth the effort and is in my view one of Dylan’s most under-rated masterpieces.

That Friday Feeling – Masters of War

That Friday feeling is a place to share something with the world.  It could be a song, a poem, a painting or a photograph, anything at all.  There is but one rule.  Whatever it is must touch you on an emotional level.

Either drop me a note with a link and I will post here or leave a comment with a ping back to your own blog.  Join in and share that Friday feeling 🙂

This week I am sharing a video of Justin Sullivan (New Model Army) doing a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Masters of War’.  We live in very scary times as conflict in the Middle East seems to be getting worse not better.  It makes me sad and angry that this song is even more relevant now than it was in 1963 when it was written.  I like this version even more than the original.

The Bleedin Noses – AlbumReview

P7163765 I picked up the Bleedin Noses eponymous CD after their recent run of superb performances at this years Larmer Tree Festival.  I have listened to it on numerous occasions since the festival and I have sat down to write my review a number of times, yet something has stopped me.  I couldn’t put my finger on what held me up, there were thousands of words running around in my head and I loved the album from the first listen.  I would normally have sat down and banged out 1000 words telling you how great the album is and moved on to the next project, but something held me back.  I guess that subconsciously I knew deep down that the album had secrets to yield, that somewhere under the surface there was something that I had yet to understand.

When you pick the CD up you see a plain white cardboard folder with ‘The Bleedin Noses’ on the front cover in simple typescript and the names of the tracks on the back in the same font.  The disc is plain white, once again with just the bands name on it, no manufacturing details, no credits, no copyright information.  Likewise the lyric insert front cover.  You are set up to think that the message is plain and simple, easy on the eye, easy to read and understand, comforting.  The first few listens give the same impression.  It feels comfortably familiar, the band give a nod to the folk, americana, country and rock genre’s and at times it embraces all of them and none.  The songs are deeply personal, sometimes angry, sometimes sad, often jolly.  The album holds your attention from the opening bars of  ‘The Win’ to the closing bars of  ‘Road to…’ and beyond.   It is beautifully mixed and very nicely engineered and yet I could not shake the feeling that I was missing something.

I was listening once again this morning as I walked my dogs on the heathland near my home when suddenly it hit me.  I had got some way through the disc, all the way to track 8 ‘Nutters’ before the penny dropped.  On getting home I grabbed the lyric sheet and went back to the beginning.  The lyric sheet is messy and complex in comparison with the stark and simple packaging.  A mix of fonts, different sized text, variations in clarity and opacity and even graphics which are reminiscent of dried blood on the pages.  It is only when you delve beyond the obvious, when you take everything as a package, that you finally understand.  This is P7163778an album of contrasts, anger dressed up in a great tune, Joe Calzaghe’s punch coming from a smiling face, a wolf in sheeps clothing, the anarchist in a 3 piece suit.  This is an album that keeps giving if you are willing to work for the rewards.  You can sit back and simply enjoy cleverly written, pleasant, well performed songs but the real reward is the challenge, the food for thought, the anger and the anti war message.

This is an album about the dominance of the few over the many, the rich over the poor, the self serving attitudes of government and religion and the ability of our leaders to cause devastation in our name and then to walk away from their responsibilities whilst making millions from the arms industry, the oil cartels and the multi nationals who buy the influence of the political classes by offering seats on the board.  This points out the irony of appointing Tony Blair as a middle east peace envoy,  the fear engendered by having someone like George Bush with their finger on the nuclear button and how it is all hidden behind a dust storm of misinformation that masks the truth.  TP7163848here are echoes of pain, frustration and discontent hidden behind wonderfully written, accessible and enjoyable tunes.

Once I had interpreted the underlying message everything made sense.  Suddenly I found that some of the tunes reminded me of Creedence Clearwater Revival, others remind me of The Band.  Bob Dylan or Neil Young would be proud of the songwriting.  To summarise I think this is a quite brilliant album, it is accessible and enjoyable from the first listen and it is hugely rewarding.  I hope the band are proud of their efforts, they should be.  I highly recommend buying this superb album.  Pop over to iTunes and support a fantastic band.  You won’t regret it.

You really should make a point of hearing these tunes performed live.  The Bleedin Noses provide a full on live experience, powerful songs, bags of attitude and a ton of energy.  Songs that come over really well on disc, but true appreciation is, as always, in the live performance.

 

 

 

 

Copyright A. Ewart 2014 – All rights reserved.  If you wish to reproduce any part of this blog for any reason then please ensure that the author is credited and a link back to this page is included.