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Bob Dylan is 80 Years Old


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  • Bob Dylan is 80 Years Old

    On this very special day, this huge fan will offer a list of his favorite Dylan albums, songs, and lyrics!

    From "John Brown"
    Oh, and I thought when I was there, God, what am I doing here?
    I'm-a-tryin' to kill somebody or die tryin'
    But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close
    And I saw that his face looked just like mine"

    A Hard Rain's-a-Gonna Fall
    The entire song!!

    The Times They Are-A-Changin'
    The whole album, but mainly the title song, With God On Our Side, One Too Many Mornings, Only a Pawn in Their Game, Boots of Spanish Leather, When the Ship Comess In, and The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll

    From "Chimes of Freedom"
    Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail
    The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
    That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
    Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder
    Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind
    Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind
    An' the unpawned painter behind beyond his rightful time
    As we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

    But the whole song!

    "To Ramona"
    A beautiful song!

    "Motorpsycho Nightmare"
    A hilarious take on Psycho!

    "Ballad in Plain D"
    A mostly unheralded song supposedly based on what happened betweeen Bob, Suze Rotolo and Suze's sister!
    Rotolo was Bob's girlfriend for a few years, and is seen on the cover of his Freewheelin' album!
    She also wrote an interesting memoir of her time with Dylan!

    Bringing It All Back Home
    Highway 61 Revisited
    Blonde on Blonde
    These 3 albums are sometimes called Dylan's finest set of albums (that were released consecutively).
    I was living in LA then, and saw him in concert at the time of each album's release!
    I'll never forget the first time I heard him play Desolation Row!!

    So many fantastic songs and lyrics from these albums, including what I think is his best single verse ever!!
    It's the first verse of "Visions of Johanna", and years later--after I became really interested in art--I saw that verse as a Edward Hopper painting come to life, or saw Van Gogh's "Night Cafe" or "Bedroom in Arles" in the lyrics!
    They painted such a vivid portrait of post-midnight city life among the beat crowd!!

    Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're trying to be so quiet?
    We sit here stranded; we're all doing our best to deny it
    And Louise holds a handful of rain tempting you to defy it
    Lights flicker from the opposite loft
    In this room the heat pipes just cough
    The country music station plays soft
    But there's nothing, really nothing to turn off
    Just Louise and her lover so entwined
    And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind

    To be continued!
    Last edited by aaronk; 05-24-2021, 10:46 AM.

  • #2
    Continued from previous post!

    Dylan had that now infamous motorcycle accident in July 1966.
    It essentially changed his entire career!

    In early 1968, during the hippie thing and music called "psychedelic rock", and the "San Francisco sound", there were two anomalies!
    One was the emergence of Simon and Garfunkel.
    The other was Dylan's "John Wesley Harding album!
    This included a series of short and sweet parables, with some real names included, beginning with the title song.
    Others were I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine, and the personage of Tom Paine in As I Went Out One Morning.
    All Along the Watchtower got covered by Jimi Hendrix, and that version became a hit!!

    Nashville Skyline and a couple that followed are forgettable, although Lay, Lady, Lay and I Threw It All Away on the Nashville album are good songs!
    The next album I liked was Planet Waves from early 1974.
    It was the "old Dylan" resurrected, with his hair longer and back to its Afro style wildness, and his lyrics more intense and free!

    In Something There Is About You, he sings--
    Thought I'd shaken the wonder and the phantoms of my youth
    Rainy days on the Great Lakes, walkin' the hills of old Duluth
    There was me and Danny Lopez, cold eyes, black night, and then there was Ruth
    Something there is about you that brings back a long forgotten truth

    Or, from Dirge--
    I hate myself for lovin' you and the weakness that it showed
    You were just a painted face on a trip down Suicide Road

    Then came his ultimate work, Blood On the Tracks!
    The entire album is a Masterpiece of lyricism, voice, emotions and feelings expressed like no one else has ever done!!
    Tangled Up in Blue, You're a Big Girl Now, Idiot Wind, Shelter from the Storm!
    He also has a knack for long rambling narratives which sound like Biblical parables--The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest, and on this album, Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts!

    Desire brought us Hurricane, the story of the false arrest of Rubin Carter, a famous boxer!
    Great song, but I'm a fan of his Isis and One more Cup of Coffee, with its great Hassidic Jews chanting voice and Scarlet Rivera's haunting violin!
    And we can't forget Sara--named after his then wife!

    Sara, oh, Sara
    Scorpio sphinx in a calico dress
    Sara, Sara
    You must forgive me my unworthiness

    Street Legal is difficult to measure!
    The lyrics are a mix of plaintive love (Baby, Stop Cryin--True Love Tends to Forget, and Is Your Love in Vain?.
    But we also have Changing of the Guards, Senor (Tales of Yankee Power), and Where Are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat)!

    I love the song called New Pony!
    Once I had a pony, her name was Lucifer
    She broke her leg and she needed shooting
    I swear it hurt me more than it could have hurted her

    And THEN we come to his Christian phase!
    His religious beliefs go from growing up Jewish to this Christian period, and then to who knows where!
    Three easily dismissed albums!!

    To be continued!


    • #3
      To Ramona is my favorite Dylan song that nobody seems to know about. But I also like his longer, epic stuff - like Tangled Up in Blue, Desolation Row, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, and the one you mentioned - Lily Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts

      Something I listen to almost every weekend Saturday morning - and have gotten Walt Murphy into - there is a streaming online radio show called My Back Pages hosted by a DJ named Barnes Newberry. Its 4 hours of 1960s/1970s folk music, and more recent covers of same, and he always ends it with a lot of Dylan covers and some original Dylan songs. Also usually spends some of the last hour with Jimmy LaFave doing Dylan covers. Its on mvyradio and you can access it at under My Back Pages for anyone interested.


      • #4

        In 1983, Dylan turned 42.
        He was now supposedly a couple of years beyond his Christian phase, yet he has a song on his Infidels album called Man of Peace.
        In the chorus, he says that "sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace".

        A complete departure comes on his Empire Burlesque album from 1985.
        A song that defines true friendship--and one I personally hold very dear to my heart--is I'll Remember You!

        I'll remember you
        When the wind blows through the piney wood
        It was you who came right through
        It was you who understood
        Though I'd never say...that I done it the'd have liked me to
        In the end, my dear sweet friend
        I'll remember you

        I'll always think of this as my song for Lee Greene, my best ever friend, just as she said about me!!

        But that whole album is good, including the opener--Tight Connection to My Heart!
        You want to talk to me, go ahead and talk
        Whatever you got to say to me won't come as any shock
        I must be guilty of something; you just whisper it in my ear
        Madame Butterfly, she lulled me to sleep
        In a town without ;pity where the water runs deep
        She said "Be easy, baby, there ain't nothin' worth stealing in here"

        Except for the Song Brownsville Girl (written with Sam Shepard), the albums Knocked Out Loaded and Down in the Groove can be left on the shelf!

        Then we come to my favorite overall album of the 80's!
        Now 48, he releases an album called Oh Mercy.

        Where Teardrops Fall, Ring Them Bells, Man in the Long Black Coat, Shooting Star are some of the best here!
        But I really love his song Most of the Time!

        Most of the time, my head is on straight
        Most of the time, I'm strong enough not to hate
        I don't build up illusion till it makes me sick
        I ain't afraid of confusion no matter how thick
        I can smile in the face of mankind
        Don't even remember what her lips felt like on mine (and then Dylan has a pregnant pause before singing) most of the time!

        It tears at my heart every time I listen to it!

        BTW, there were 2 songs that were not on this album, but were later released on his bootlegs that need a mention.
        Series of Dreams and Dignity.
        The music on Dreams is relentless and smooth.
        Dignity still confuses me a bit!
        Fantastic lyrics, BUT is Dignity the name of a girl, or is he speaking of one's dignity?

        Searchin' high, searchin' low
        Searchin' everywhere I know
        Askin' the cops wherever I go
        Have you seen dignity?

        A brilliant set of lyrics throughout this masterpiece!
        You can see him perform it on his 1995 album MTV Unplugged!
        (It's also on the MTV Unplugged CD!)

        Under the Red Sky began his 90's period!
        Which turned out to hold a variety of releases!
        That first you can add to the burn pile!
        But then came two albums of NON-original songs--old folk songs with blues undertones!
        World Gone Wrong and Good As I Been To You
        Froggie Goes-a-Courtin' is my favorite song from those, but both are worth adding to your collection to remind you Dylan emerged from the folk era!

        In 1994, he recorded the MTV concert!
        Besides Dignity, he sings a selection of his greatest hits!
        A great concert, with Dylan wearing his dark shades until he's done!

        To be continued!


        • #5
          Have been to 14 live Dylan concerts ...the first, in Long Beach, CA, shortly after he went electric at Newport. The audience booed for about 30secs and then STFU when he started playing "Like a Rolling Stone".


          • #6
            After a serious heart problem, Dylan emerged with an album--Time Out of Mind--which many critics think is his best, or at least his best since Blood On the Tracks!
            They also say that "Time", and the two that followed--Love & Theft" and "Modern Times" are his greatest trio of consecutive albums since the 60's (See my initial post!).
            I agree...and disagree somewhat!

            That 1997 release IS a brilliant collection of 11 songs that any Dylan lover MUST have--and play repeatedly!
            Standing in the Doorway, Till I Fell in Love with You, Cold Irons Bound, Make You Feel My Love--all great beyond words!

            Love Sick opens the album.
            The strangest Dylan story is that this song about a man being sick of love is the song Virginia's Secret used in a lingerie ad!!
            How does THAT song relate to bra's and panty's?
            I'd really like to know VS's reasoning on that one!!

            My favorite is Tryin' to Get to Heaven!
            You know, I have that same thought sometimes!

            Then there's Highlands!
            Apparently a song where he muses about a beautiful pastoral part of Minnesota, it becomes something entirely different in the 8th verse!
            (It's a 16 minute song!)
            He's suddenly left behind the beauty of the Highlands, and he's now sitting in a downtown Boston restaurant, supposedly after midnight, with just him and a pretty waitress out front!

            She wants him to draw her portrait before taking his order, but he doesn't have any drawing paper.
            So she hands him a napkin, but then he says he doesn't have a pencil.
            She takes her's from behind her ear and hands it to him!

            Oh my!
            These 7 verses (in the restaurant) are so weird, yet so normal sounding, it's cinematic!!

            He then returns for 6 more verses!

            Love & Theft has a song called Mississippi.
            This album was released ON September 11, 2001.
            The release date had been scheduled months in advance!

            In Mississippi, he sings--
            Stick with me, baby, stick with me anyhow
            Things should start to get interesting right about now

            Boy, did they ever!!!!

            This trilogy of albums was a bit spoiled by two other releases, both coming the same year as Modern Times, in 2006!
            Together Through Life is lifeless and bereft of anything reminding you of Bob Dylan!
            But his Christmas in the Heart is another anomaly I came to love!
            It's Bob singing traditional Christmas songs in a very raspy voice, with female singers and a band backing him!
            It's a throwaway, but worth listening to.
            Only complaint is he left out Jingle Bells, Silent Night, and 12 Days of Christmas!

            He opens Modern Times with Thunder On the Mountain.
            In which he's searching "clear through Tennessee" for Alicia Keys!!
            Did he desire her?
            Why Alicia Keys?

            There are so many delicious lines in this song.
            Here's a select few--
            Gonna sleep over there; that's where the music coming from
            I don't need any guide, I already know the way.

            I want some real good woman to do just what I say
            Everybody gotta wonder what's the matter with this cruel world today

            I've been to St Herman's church and I've said my religious vows
            I've sucked the milk out of a thousand cows

            Shame on your greed, shame on your wickedness schemes
            I'll say this; I don't give a damn about your dreams!!

            But Rollin' and Tumblin' has my favorite blues verse--
            I'm flat out spent, this woman been drivin' me to tears
            I'm flat out spent, this woman, she been drivin' me to tears
            This woman so crazy
            I swear I ain't gonna touch another one for years!

            He's never lost his sense of sardonic sarcastic humor!!

            Most every song on these three albums are worth listening to!
            Many are true classics!

            BTW, to read these lyrics in full--for every song he wrote from 1962 through 2012, get his book "Lyrics 1961-2012".
            It's only the lyrics, no music notations!
            Beware, however, he changed or added a few lyrics from the recorded albums!!
            That's part of what makes Dylan unique!

            The final post will follow!

            Last edited by aaronk; 05-25-2021, 05:11 PM.


            • #7
              This Dylan fellow is apparently well known and only 10 years younger than I. How did I miss him? I listened to a couple of his songs. Can't understand the lyrics but the guitar work is catchy.


              • #8
                Was a bit surprised to see that Captain Kirk is your age:


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bad hammy View Post
                  Was a bit surprised to see that Captain Kirk is your age:
                  And hanging out with Kaley Cuoco.