A sly, surly and sardonically funny Bob Dylan lays into Time Magazine correspondent Horace Judson in this scene captured by D.A. Pennebaker in 1965. This IS punk rock! John Lydon was 9 years old when this footage was shot. Bob went out on a limb when most pop stars played it safe. You know Lennon was paying attention.
Judson ended up writing a favorable piece on Dylan.
Here’s a very nicely done and highly marvy little innerweb commercial for the spankin’ new Bob Dylan box: The Original Mono Recordings. I don’t think I’ll be shelling out for it but it’s an awfully cool idea.
Among musicians, the infamous Troggs Tapes is the tabula rasa of rock and roll memes. As band members Reg, Dennis, Tony and Ronnie desperately try to nail a take of a song, they progressively meltdown, bickering, ranting, and collectively uttering more “fucks” than Tony Montana in Scarface. The tapes are claimed to have been a source of inspiration for Spinal Tap.
Here’s a groovy unattributed anecdote which, whether true or not, illustrates the mythology connected to this iconic tape;
Ron Wood was doing some studio work with Bob Dylan and over the course of the gig played Dylan the “Troggs Tapes”. Not unnaturally, Dylan thought they were very funny.
It turned out that Troggs singer Reg Presley was working in an adjacent studio making a demo for a commercial.
When Wood discovered this, he approached Dylan all excited, saying “Remember that guy on the tape I played you? Well, he’s next door right now!”
Dylan says, “Really?! Wow, I gotta meet him. You gotta introduce me!”
So Ron Wood takes Bob Dylan next door to find Reg disconsolately fumbling with a bass guitar.
Dylan, by way of introduction, says “Hey, I didn’t know you played bass, man. How long you been playing bass?”
Reg looks up and with a deep sigh says, “All fuckin’ afternoon, mate, all fuckin’ afternoon”.
Larry Page has posted a transcript of the Troggs Tape here.
Following up from Bradley’s awesome Tom Waits and Bob Dylan post, here we have a Family Guy spoof of the two rock stars along with two of our other favorites, Muhammed Ali and Popeye! “Why didn’t you play Hurricane?” Thanks Britt!
In honor of his birthday, here’s some truly wonderful Robert Zimmerman esoterica! On his Sirus XM show, Theme Time Radio Hour, Bob Dylan sometimes (infrequently, I’m guessing) features the often hilarious musings of his pal and fellow troubadour, Tom Waits. Now, thanks to Aquarium Drunkard, you can catch up with five of those segments here.
Dig if you will Dylan’s nasally intro to the Body Parts segment, “I don’t tell a lot of people this, but Tom Waits and I have been sending cassettes back and forth to each other for quite some time.” Wow, how do I get taped dispatches from Tom Waits sent to me?! And to demonstrate how even the most familiar of Dylan compositions can be stretched like silly putty, here’s PJ Harvey‘s take on Highway 61 Revisited:
I love His Bobness as much as the next guy or gal but instead of picking one of his revered classics to share today I couldn’t resist putting up this hilarious and spot-on parody by National Lampoon from back in the early 70’s which without a doubt has pissed off many an earnest fan the world over ever since. Enjoy !
Bonus: One of the finest Dylan covers ever, The 13th Floor Elevators doing It’s All Over Now Baby Blue
The mid to late 70s were an odd time for music: On one hand you had all of these amazing performers from the 60s who were now… past their prime and on the other hand you had all sorts of great new and unheard sounds emanating from punk quarters. Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming album falls into the first category. It must’ve come out when I was 13 years old and it was simply confusing for me at that age. I bought it (via Columbia Record House!) and when it arrived I slapped it on the turntable and… it totally sucked. Where was the awesome Bob Dylan of Like a Rolling Stone and the other great songs if his they played on the radio? This was… shite.
Over 30 years later, Slow Train Coming still sucks, in my adult opinion—despite the Jerry Wexler production and the Muscle Shoals participation, it sounds like it was recorded with bored, day-jobbing session musicians and the songs are not memorable—but there is a perfectly wonderful—and seldom seen—animated video for the song Gotta Serve Somebody, that remains, for your viewing pleasure.
Bob Dylan and Bette Midler recorded together in the 1970s, when she did a cover of Buckets of Rain for her Songs for the New Depression album. Some of tapes from these sessions are starting to make the rounds on bootleg sites, including a 27-minute long fly on the wall recording:
One of the highlights of [Bob Dylan New York Sessions 1974-1975] is the newly-found tape of Dylan’s sessions with Bette Midler in October, 1975 which produced her cover of Buckets Of Rain. The bootlegger says: “It opens with some upgrades of the original Blood On The Tracks sessions from September 1974, and progresses chronologically through some early Desire sessions, winding up to the main event: almost half an hour of never-heard October 1975 session outtakes of the recording of Bette Midler’s cover of Buckets Of Rain with Dylan, which would show up on her Songs For The New Depression album the following January.”
Collectorsmusicreviews.com noted: “At one point Midler says, ’I can’t sing I Ain’t No Monkey, but Dylan gets her to do it. At one point in the session they get into a great version of I Don’t Believe You lead by [Moogy] Klingman on the piano. Some may question the value, but tapes like this, which reveal Dylan and his creative process, are extremely rare and valuable. This also give insight into him working with an up and coming star, Bette Midler.”
Check out the part where she dishes Paul Simon!
Dagb has made it available on Vimeo (see below). You can also hear the tracks at Big O
Interesting 2007 essay by Sean Wilentz from the Oxford American Magazine about the recording of one of the greatest albums of the last century, Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. A couple of interesting quotes in the piece from actor-musician Kris Kristofferson, who at the time (1965) worked as a janitor in the recording studio where the album was made. Here Wilentz describes the scene when the epic Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands was created:
The strangest Nashville recording dates were the second and third. The second began at six in the evening and did not end until five-thirty the next morning, but Dylan played only for the final ninety minutes, and on only one song: “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.” He would later call it a piece of religious carnival music, which makes sense given its melodic echoes of Johann Sebastian Bach, especially the chorale “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” Unlike “Visions of Johanna,” though, this epic needed work, and Dylan toiled over the lyrics for hours. The level of efficiency was military: Hurry up and wait.
Kristofferson described the scene: “I saw Dylan sitting out in the studio at the piano, writing all night long by himself. Dark glasses on,” and Bob Johnston recalled to the journalist Louis Black that Dylan did not even get up to go to the bathroom despite consuming so many Cokes, chocolate bars, and other sweets that Johnston began to think the artist was a junkie: “But he wasn’t; he wasn’t hooked on anything but time and space.” The tired, strung-along musicians shot the breeze and played ping-pong while racking up their pay. (They may even have laid down ten takes of their own instrumental number, which appears on the session tape, though Charlie McCoy doesn’t recollect doing this, and the recording may come from a different date.) Finally, at 4 a.m., Dylan was ready.
“After you’ve tried to stay awake ’til four o’clock in the morning, to play something so slow and long was really, really tough,” McCoy says. Dylan continued polishing the lyrics in front of the microphone. After he finished an abbreviated run-through, he counted off, and the musicians fell in. Kenny Buttrey recalled that they were prepared for a two- or three-minute song, and started out accordingly: “If you notice that record, that thing after like the second chorus starts building and building like crazy, and everybody’s just peaking it up ’cause we thought, ‘Man, this is it….’ After about ten minutes of this thing we’re cracking up at each other, at what we were doing. I mean, we peaked five minutes ago. Where do we go from here?”
The song came to life as swiftly as any of Dylan’s ever had, requiring only two complete takes.
Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands took just two takes? WTF?
Dangerous Minds pal Michael Simmons got a listen to the new Bob Dylan album, Christmas In the Heart and reviewed it over at MOJO. Here’s his verdict:
Overall, it’s without a doubt the most minor and oddest record in Bob’s canon. The 15 selections are all straightforward Christmas standards and there’s a cognitive dissonance on hearing He Who Gargles With Battery Acid backed by what sound like the Anita Kerr Singers. That Dylan’s voice is shot (albeit poignantly so) isn’t as glaring when he sings If You Ever Go To Houston; it’s when he attempts Winter Wonderland. And throughout Christmas In The Heart Dylan makes Tom Waits sound like Antony Hegarty.
Moreover, the mixture of kitsch and reverence is surreal, referencing both his jokey Theme Time Radio Hour persona and the Born-Again Bob’s true believer trip, reinforced by graphics that include the Three Wise Men as well as Bettie Page in a scanty Santa get-up.
I think Michael’s being way too kind. If I had a job in a retail environment and I was forced to listen to this over and over again, I’d gouge my ears out:
Publicists for the show were able to provide images of two works that will appear at the museum. Both images come from Dylan’s “The Drawn Blank” series.
In the first image (above), titled “Train Tracks” (2009), Dylan revisits his obsession with railway tracks that he has depicted in numerous paintings in the past. This latest variation features a blood-red sky dominating an anonymous rural landscape. The earth seems to reflect the hues of the sky as the railway stretches into infinity.
In the second image (below), titled “Man on a Bridge” (2009), Dylan once again depicts a favorite visual subject—a man in a hat standing solitary in what appears to be a European city. The musician has created many variations on this striking composition. In a statement, the museum’s chief curator, Kasper Monrad, said that several of Dylan’s images “reveal an affinity for some of the modernist masters, not least Henri Matisse’s works from the 1920s.”
Won’t be making it to Denmark next year? Well, below you can watch a Drawn Blank slideshow. It’s set to Dylan’s exceedingly lovely, Suze (the Cough Song).
In reference to Rudy Wurlitzer‘s ‘69 debut, Nog, none other than Thomas Pynchon said: “The novel of bullshit is dead.”” A not bad start for Wurlitzer, the sole member of the piano-making clan who never saw a dime (or not many) from his family name.
Tracing the often-psychedelic wanderlust of its title character who was either insane or drug-addicted (or both), Nog brought Wurlitzer a certain degree of fame as a novelist, but he’s perhaps best known, and celebrated, for his screenwriting. His collaboration with Sam Peckinpah yielded the Bob Dylan-scored Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Two years before that, though, he and Monte Hellman pulled off one of my all-time cinematic favorites, Two-Lane Blacktop.
Starring James Taylor and Dennis Wilson (both looking shockingly boyish) as eternally drifting drivers, Two-Lane featured sparse dialogue and even sparser performances. Visually, though, it’s pure poetry, and, to me, a still-vital piece of American existentialism—especially in its final moment. The trailer for Two-Lane follows below.
And just up at Chuck Palahniuk‘s website, an excellent, yet typically elusive, interview with Wurlitzer where he discusses everything from Dylan to Pynchon. Regarding his new-ish novel, The Drop Edge of Yonder, Wurlitzer also addresses, politely, “l’affaire de Jim Jarmusch.” Apparently, the director “pillaged” from Wurlitzer the raw material he’d later shape into Dead Man. You can read the interview here.
If TMZ had been around in the 60s, you can bet that D.A. Pennbaker’s famous film of John Lennon and Bob Dylan “clearly fucked up on junk” in the back of Dylan’s limo would have made it to their blog and been blasted all over the Internet. But it wasn’t until the mid-80s when the videotape trading underground really took off, that copies made their way into collector’s eager hands (I had a copy). Now it’s easy to see, of course, on YouTube.
I’d always read that Dylan was extremely drunk and that Lennon was tripping or else just stoned, but maybe they were on something stronger. Lennon would know, right? It would explain the vomit talk, I guess! Dylan is obviously out of his mind on something and makes little, if any sense. Lennon seems a little embarrassed but still willing to play along. Whatever surreal flights of rock god verbal fantasy they had planned for this filming, the results were something rather less than coherent.
This is history baby. Not like great history or anything, but history nonetheless…
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
I'll repeat that: We're not necessarily endorsing everything you'll find here, we're merely saying "Here it is." We think human beings are very strange and often totally hilarious. We enjoy weird and inexplicable things very much. We believe things have to change and change swiftly. It's got to be about the common good or it's no good at all. We like to get suggestions of fun/serious things from our good-looking, high IQ readers. We are your favorite distraction.