WBEZ | Bob Dylan http://www.wbez.org/tags/bob-dylan Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Love and lyrics http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-12/love-and-lyrics-109327 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Flickr%3AGreen%20Watermelon.png" title="(Flickr/greenwatermelon)" /></div></div><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">When reflecting on a past relationship, one song can bring back a tidal wave of memories.</p><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">You go to a party with someone new; and just as his hand reaches for yours, the turntable clicks to a song that your first love used to play for you on lazy Sundays.</p><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">You have a record that you used to enjoy, but now resent; every chord reminds you of her.</p><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">You&#39;re picking up milk at the grocery store when you hear a song that you danced to at a wedding once, and that stab of recognition is enough to make your lungs gasp for air.&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;"><em>&quot;You&#39;re the reason why I&#39;ll move to the city/You&#39;re why I&#39;ll need to leave.&quot; - Sharon Van Etten</em></p></blockquote><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">When I met you, I was all of 18. I liked Coldplay and Damien Rice. You introduced me to Bob Dylan, Spoon, and Nick Drake. To the tune and timbre of your records, I fell in love.</p><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">We cooked pasta to Andrew Bird. We fell asleep to Iron &amp; Wine. We sang in the car to The Avett Brothers. We dissected the lyrics of Wilco and Arcade Fire. We made memories to Neutral Milk Hotel, St. Vincent, The Decemberists, and Radiohead. We were happy. And then we weren&#39;t.</p><blockquote><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;"><em>&nbsp;&quot;Now I&#39;m weaker than the palest blue/Oh so weak in this need for you&quot; - Nick Drake</em></p></blockquote><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">Life without him was an apple that I needed to eat, eat, eat, but I couldn&#39;t. Without his worldly guidance and protection, his superior knowledge of seemingly everything that mattered, I was convinced that biting into the forbidden fruit would destroy me. My own demons were already too much to bear; I needed relief. I needed him to save me.</p><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">Little did I know that attaching myself to him was the real poison, already pulsing its sweet nectar through my veins.</p><blockquote><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;"><em>&quot;Come on, skinny love, just last the year/Pour a little salt we were never here/My my my, my my my, my my/staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer&quot; - Bon Iver</em></p></blockquote><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">I tore away from him eventually, and life went on somehow. I found fleeting comfort in the arms of others, busying myself to forget his face, his voice, and the way his kiss felt like nothing I had ever known before, and never would again.</p><blockquote><p><em>&nbsp; &nbsp; &quot;And this is the room, one afternoon/I knew I could love you&quot; - Neutral Milk Hotel</em></p></blockquote><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">I made the mistake of seeing him through many a Thanksgiving and Christmas in my abandoned hometown, stealing nights and promises that didn&#39;t belong to me anymore.</p><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">Now, he was just an idea of a person. He was a shell of what I needed him to be; a dream that kept me warm at night. I willed his declarations to mean something. I pretended that he cared.</p><blockquote><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;"><em>&quot;I&#39;ve got reservations/about so many things/but not about you&quot; - Wilco </em></p></blockquote><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">I didn&#39;t understand why he kept hurting me, as if breaking me was a bad habit that he just couldn&#39;t shake. I kept entertaining the notion that he would change, that he would turn back into the person whom I used to know so well and now missed so terribly.</p><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;">He never did.</p><blockquote><p style="margin-left:13.5pt;"><em>&quot;I spent the summer on my back/Another attack/Steal you just to get along, get along, get along/Turn off the TV, wait in bed/Blue and red/A little something to get along, get along, get along/Best, finest surgeon/Come cut me open&quot; - St. Vincent</em></p></blockquote><p style="margin-left:.25in;">I wish that I could write a letter to myself, ages 21-24:</p><p style="margin-left:.25in;">If you&#39;re feeling sad and lonely, don&#39;t tell him. If you are happy and successful, don&#39;t tell him. When your health is failing, when the doctor tells you in no uncertain terms that your death is imminent, don&#39;t even think about telling him.</p><p style="margin-left:.25in;">I had to learn this the hard way.</p><blockquote><p><em>&quot;Don&#39;t dismiss it like it&#39;s easy/&#39;Cause tell me what&#39;s so easy/&#39;Bout comin&#39; to say goodbye/You&#39;re gonna miss her in the evening/You know all you need is/somebody when you come to die&quot; - Andrew Bird</em></p></blockquote><p style="margin-left:.25in;">I&#39;m stronger now, physically better. A small ache still lingers, like a tiny, hot needle that stings ever so furtively, but the heaviest burden is gone. The most exquisite, excruciating pain has been lifted. I&#39;m no longer in love with a ghost.</p><blockquote><p><em>&quot;Tied to my bed/I was younger then/I had nothing to spend but time on you/but it made me love/it made me love/it made me love more&quot; - Sharon Van Etten</em></p></blockquote><p style="margin-left:.25in;">I&#39;ve made peace with my past; I&#39;ve learned to let go. I fumbled through relationships with others, finding myself along the way. I found love again, this time with someone who is equally capable of loving me back.</p><p style="margin-left:.25in;">I&#39;ve realized that this is what true happiness feels like.</p><p style="margin-left:.25in;">I still listen to your records; I only think of you sometimes.</p><blockquote><p style="margin-left:.25in;"><em>&quot;Don&#39;t think twice, it&#39;s alright&quot; - Bob Dylan</em></p></blockquote><p style="margin-left:.25in;">I bit into the apple. I&#39;m still here.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-left:.25in;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lp8mXk4UvXM" width="420"></iframe></p><p style="margin-left:.25in;"><em>Leah Pickett writes about art and popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 09 Dec 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-12/love-and-lyrics-109327 Bob Dylan cracks me up http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/bob-dylan-cracks-me-102511 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bob-Dylan-Tempest.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 450px;" title="" /></div><p>Most critics and worshipful fans (which usually are one and the same) take ol&rsquo; Bobby Zimmerman way too seriously.</p><p>Yeah, sure, of course: At age 71, marking his 50<sup>th</sup> year as a recording artist and with 35 studio albums to his credit, the man from Minnesota is a living legend and a bona fide American treasure certain to be lauded and studied in the decades to come as intensely as, say, Mark Twain or H.L. Mencken. But as with those two literary lions, Dylan&rsquo;s sense of humor will be a primary reason his work endures, even if too few mention that now.</p><p>The musician&rsquo;s love of surrealism by way of Beat sarcasm has been there throughout his entire time in the spotlight, via his consistent embrace of the perverse and the unpredictable and a razor-sharp wit so dry and subtle that many never catch it at all. As if making one final bid to get folks to lighten up and realize that much of the time he&rsquo;s just been having fun, he&rsquo;s amplified the &ldquo;goof quotient&rdquo; in many of the songs on his last few albums&mdash;and not always with great results. Witness the so-goofy-it&rsquo;s-unpalatable <em>Christmas in the Heart </em>in 2009.</p><p>Still, the man certainly has earned the right to crack wise and just kick out the jams, and it&rsquo;s likely that those who&rsquo;d deny him this pleasure are the folks he was targeting in a recent interview with <em>Rolling Stone </em>where he derided critics as &ldquo;pussies and wussies,&rdquo; as well as &ldquo;evil mother----ers.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Oh, that Bob!</em> And that wasn&rsquo;t the only gem in that chat. Asked about those contemplating whether <em>Tempest </em>will be his final album, with a title inspired by that of an even more famous bard&rsquo;s final play, the ever straight-faced comedian replied, &ldquo;Shakespeare&rsquo;s last play was called <em>The Tempest</em>. It wasn&rsquo;t called just plain <em>Tempest</em>. The name of my record is just plain <em>Tempest</em>. It&rsquo;s two different titles.&rdquo;</p><p><em>He kills me, this guy; he just kills me!</em> And because there&rsquo;s more of this sort of thing on <em>Tempest </em>than on any album he&rsquo;s given us this century, both in the music and in the lyrics, it also is my favorite from this stretch.</p><p>As if to provide the heaviosity so many expect of him, and in keeping with much of his recent material, Dylan considers his mortality many times in these 10 tracks. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m armed to the hilt, and I&rsquo;m struggling hard/You won&rsquo;t get out of here unscarred,&rdquo; he rasps in &ldquo;Narrow Way.&rdquo; &ldquo;I ain&rsquo;t dead yet, my bell still rings,&rdquo; he croaks in &ldquo;Early Roman Kings.&rdquo; &ldquo;The more I take the more I give/The more I die the more I live,&rdquo; he wheezes in &ldquo;Pay in Blood.&rdquo; And so on.</p><p>Yet even as he delivers these lines in the worst, most time-ravaged and least musical voice of his career, he gleefully glides like Fred Astaire through backing tracks that are full of life, lust and joy. Self-produced under the pseudonym Jack Frost, and recorded with live-in-the-room, slapdash spontaneity, he spotlights a great, loose yet extremely sensitive band driven by mainstay Tony Garnier on bass. The guitars thankfully are ratcheted up a bit from the last few discs (cudos to Charlie Sexton and Stu Kimball), and the proceedings are gorgeously decorated with steel guitar, banjo, violin, mandolin and accordion (courtesy of Donnie Herron and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos). Waylaid by arthritis, he may not be able to lead the band on his own axe anymore, as he did so effectively during much of the &rsquo;90s. But musically, he&rsquo;s finally got his groove back.</p><p>Riding that time-honored train while collaborating with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter on &ldquo;Duquesne Whistle,&rdquo; romantically waltzing through &ldquo;Soon After Midnight,&rdquo; singing the blues while questioning power and hypocrisy for the umpteenth time in &ldquo;Early Roman Kings&rdquo; and bringing the rock Dylan-style on &ldquo;Narrow Way,&rdquo; the fun&rsquo;s he&rsquo;s having here is palpable and contagious. I mean, even if you don&rsquo;t consider the dude a god, you&rsquo;ve got to smile like a loon when, in the midst of the latter tune, he announces to his &ldquo;heavy stacked woman&rdquo; that &ldquo;I&rsquo;m gonna have to take my head and bury it between your breasts/It&rsquo;s a long road, it&rsquo;s a long and narrow way/If I can&rsquo;t work up to you, you&rsquo;ll surely have to work down to me someday.&rdquo;</p><p>Even the failures here are easier to accept that those on, say, <em>Modern Times </em>or <em>Love and Theft</em>. The much-derided Lennon tribute &ldquo;Roll on John&rdquo; and the much-debated 14-minute-long title track, with its strange conflation of the real-life disaster of the Titanic and James Cameron and Leo DiCaprio&rsquo;s popular fictions, are best appreciated as not necessarily being about what they seem to be about but as ruminations on mythmaking, much like his equally strange odes to the boxer Rubin &ldquo;Hurricane&rdquo; Carter or the mobster Joey Gallo from eras past.</p><p>Is <em>Tempest </em>a masterpiece, or one of the Top 10 you&rsquo;d reach for when choosing your Dylan desert-island discography? Heck, no. But as the sage himself has been trying to tell us for half a century now, sometimes it&rsquo;s enough just to dance and smile a bit.</p><p><strong>Bob Dylan, <em>Tempest </em>(Columbia Records)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the 4-star scale: 3.5 stars</strong></p></p> Wed, 19 Sep 2012 06:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/bob-dylan-cracks-me-102511 Happy Birthday to Metro http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/happy-birthday-metro-100993 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5378034349_7d825accf2_z.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Metro on Chicago's North Side. (Flickr/vxla)" /></div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" src="https://rd.io/i/QX9-5DNPc_8" width="500"></iframe></p><p>Bob Dylan, R.E.M, James Brown, Nirvana, Iggy Pop and Prince:&nbsp;Those are some of the big names that have graced the stage of Chicago&rsquo;s venerable independent music venue Metro Chicago over the past three decades.</p><p>I should be able to say I saw one of those bands, but I didn&rsquo;t and here&rsquo;s why: When R.E.M. played Metro back in 1982, they were hardly a household name. In fact, the Athens, Georgia band was an opener that night for the British band Gang of Four. That was the band I was excited to see; having just purchased their seminal Entertainment! record at Val&rsquo;s Halla in Oak Park. So I didn&rsquo;t even bother trying to make it for the R.E.M. set. At that time, their music was a bit too mellow for me compared to the jagged punk funk of Gang of Four.</p><p>Even before that show, there was Depeche Mode and Ministry sharing a bill at what was still called Stages Music Hall; I had never seen a group of guys singing to recorded music before that. The reel to reel tape machines were on stage behind them! What did we care? We were 18 years old and had gotten into a 21 and over show dancing to one of our favorite bands. And Ministry was in its earliest incarnations.</p><p>Black Flag, Skinny Puppy, Naked Raygun; those were some of the shows I&rsquo;d seen during the early days of what was then called Cabaret Metro. By the late &#39;80s through the early &#39;90s, my excursions to that great big music room had dwindled considerably due to fatherhood and a busy work/school schedule. But by the late &#39;90s I was back and one memorable show was the acid jazz ensemble The Greyboy All-Stars; funky!</p><p>It&rsquo;s amazing when you look back at the history of this place and realize all of the bands that have played Metro. So I tip a glass and toast the main man behind all my fun at Metro &mdash; Joe Shanahan. Here&rsquo;s to your dedication and love of music and of course, your curiosity and courage to take chances on so many artists.</p></p> Wed, 18 Jul 2012 08:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/happy-birthday-metro-100993 Music Thursdays with Tony Sarabia and Richard Steele: Protest songs http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-and-richard-steele-protest-songs-99231 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/6218762466_1f2aaace38_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong>Tony Sarabia:</strong></p><p>Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Gil-Scott Heron: They&#39;re three names that immediately come to mind when I think of the phrase &ldquo;protest song.&rdquo; But the history of protest songs began decades before Guthrie&rsquo;s landmark 1940 album, <em>Dustbowl Ballad</em>s. Some of the first protest songs surfaced not long after the founding of the United States and those were primarily by and about slaves.</p><p>This week on <em>Music Thursday</em>, WBEZ&rsquo;s Richard Steele and I survey the protest song in its numerous forms.</p><p>Below are some tunes I think best capture a spirit of rebellion, frustration, displacement and oppression of people from the Southern U.S. to the African country of Zimbabwe.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/h4ZyuULy9zs" width="480"></iframe></p><p>This first song comes at the end of what many called the terrible &#39;30s and not without good reason: the Depression and the Dustbowl. More horrifying though than being left without a job or on a farm buried in dust was the brutal lynching of African Americans &ndash; mostly men.</p><p>Between 1889 and 1930, 3,724 blacks were lynched. A Bronx-raised teacher named Abel Meeropol was moved to write a poem titled &quot;Bitter Fruit&quot; after he saw a graphic newspaper photo of a lynching. Meeropol wrote poetry and music under the pseudonym Lewis Allen. Billie Holiday, herself the victim of racism time and again, was playing New York&rsquo;s Café Society one evening when Meeropol approached her with the song. She and pianist Sonny White decided to perform the song at the end of their show. According to accounts, the room was completely dark except a spotlight on Holiday. The song&rsquo;s graphic lyrics and haunting melody resulted in a totally silent room after the song was performed.</p><p>Holiday&rsquo;s then record company, RCA, refused to release the song, prompting her to move to the more progressive Commodore label. The song is considered one of the most important in the protest song canon. I only wish I was at Café Society that night to witness the haunting beauty of Lady Day&rsquo;s delivery.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/O7adjRhjpu4" width="480"></iframe></p><p>There&rsquo;s been no shortage of controversy in the history of American popular music: Elvis, jazz, rap lyrics, even the merits of disco. But imagine living in a country where performing a particular genre could get you killed.</p><p>That used to be the case with Algerian rai. &quot;Rai&quot; means &quot;opinion&quot; and originated in Oran, Algeria, created by Bedouin shepherds in the 1930s. The music is a stylistic mix of Arab, French, Spanish and African. It was forbidden music, but since the 1980s, restrictions have loosened and it&rsquo;s no longer the underground music it once was.</p><p>Cheb Mami is a contemporary rai artist who Americans may have heard in 1999, the year he sang with Sting on the former Police member&rsquo;s <em>Desert Rose</em>. That same year, Mami, already known as the prince of rai, released &quot;Parisien du Nord&quot; with rapper K-Mel, a French rapper of North African descent. The song became an anthem against racism and the issue of identity. A serious topic with a groove behind it.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/gYMkEMCHtJ4" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Talk about a slow jam dance groove laced with anger and a sense of despair. I remember running into the old Club 950 in Chicago&rsquo;s Lincoln Park neighborhood after parking the car one night back in &#39;82, because my friends and I could hear the DJ blasting this song. I had purchased the 12-inch after hearing it on WGCI radio late one night. I&rsquo;m pretty sure it was the first time the rap genre had been used in protest music. This song hits you in the face with the singer&rsquo;s &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t take it anymore&rdquo; mood in the chorus: &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t push me cuz I&rsquo;m close to the edge.&quot; A Gil Scott Heron attitude for a new decade.</p><p>If you ask a Zimbabwean to describe chimurenga music, they&rsquo;ll probably say two words: Thomas Mapfumo. The word is Shona and it means struggle and Mapfumo has used music to bring attention to the struggles in his home country, beginning with his involvement in the fight to transform white-dominated Rhodesia into the Republic of Zimbabwe in 1980. He was forced into exile by his criticism of Robert Mugabe&#39;s old regime and now lives in Oregon. The man known as the Lion of Zimbabwe doesn&rsquo;t get his music played in the country of his birth because it&rsquo;s banned there.</p><p>Chimurenga dates back to at least the 1890s. For black Zimbaweans, the music is emblematic of nationalist sentiment: an icon of the strength, integrity and modernity of black tradition. The sound of Thomas Mapfumo&rsquo;s chimurenga is based on Shona mbira (thumb piano) music, where the guitar replaces the mbira.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s highly danceable with tinges of reggae horns, rock and roll and afropop,&nbsp;which dates back to the 1930s and has primarily evolved through women in the culture.</p><p><strong>Richard Steele:</strong></p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/f39Zs0gB87c" width="480"></iframe></p><p>Marvin Gaye was one of the legendary recording artists for Motown Records, but the birth of the song &ldquo;What&rsquo;s Going On&rdquo; was touch and go in the delivery room. It almost never saw the light of day.</p><p>The basic structure of the song was written by Obie Benson, bass singer for The Four Tops. He brought it to his label-mate for some retooling; then Gaye called in Al Cleveland to help. The end result was one of the most impactful contemporary protest songs ever written.</p><p>But Berry Gordy was not impressed! Not only didn&rsquo;t he like the song, he thought it was a mistake for Gaye to step outside of his romantic image with female fans. Gordy was adamant about his position that Gaye not do a protest song. This was one of the few times Gordy was wrong.</p><p>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s Going On&rdquo; (the single) went to number one shortly after its release. Gordy then gave Gaye, whose brother was a returning vet, the green light to do an entire album addressing a range of social issues, including the Vietnam War. Gaye&rsquo;s question regarding all of these social issues was &ldquo;What&rsquo;s Going On.&rdquo; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/4BTNjeKqpEk" width="480"></iframe></p><p>In the mid &lsquo;50s, Nina Simone played piano and accompanyed her own vocals in small clubs in and around New York and also working in Atlantic City. Simone recorded for a small label during this period, and her music covered a wide range of categories including blues, jazz and folk. She hit the jackpot in 1959 with her recording of &ldquo;I Loves You Porgy&rdquo; from the Gershwins&rsquo; folk opera <em>Porgy and Bess</em>.</p><p>Simone had a very unique voice and admirable song-writing skills. She lent those abilities to the Civil Rights Movement of the &lsquo;60s with songs like the classic &ldquo;Mississippi Goddam.&rdquo; Some of her anger stemmed from the fact that she had always wanted to become a classical pianist. She even studied at Julliard, but she felt that being a black woman in the 1950s held her back.&nbsp;</p><p>She co-wrote and recorded &ldquo;Revolution&rdquo; in 1969. This version was a performance at the Harlem Cultural Festival that same year. This song should not be confused with &ldquo;Revolution&rdquo; by The Beatles, which was written a year earlier and has no connection to Simone&rsquo;s recording. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/UZ1ohsissjE" width="480"></iframe></p><p>Bobby Darin was a man of many talents who lived a very short life; he died at age 37. Some might say that this singer, actor and musician was dealt a bad hand. He had rheumatic fever as a child, which damaged his heart and gave him a short life expectancy, so he worked hard to get in as much as he could.</p><p>Darin started writing songs and working as a demo singer early on. Then in 1959 he hit it big with a recording of &ldquo;Mack The Knife,&rdquo; which earned him a Grammy.</p><p>Darin was especially close to Robert Kennedy. After the senator&rsquo;s assassination, Darin wrote and recorded some protest albums, which tended to show his feelings of pacifism. &ldquo;Simple Song of Freedom&rdquo; is a reflection of where his thoughts were at that point in his life.</p></p> Thu, 17 May 2012 08:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-and-richard-steele-protest-songs-99231 Bob Dylan's electric shift revisited on Sound Opinions http://www.wbez.org/content/bob-dylans-electric-shift-revisited-sound-opinions <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-04/dylan.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" height="300" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-04/dylan_wide.jpg" title="" width="600"></p><p>This is Part 2 of our appreciation of <a href="http://www.bobdylan.com/" target="_blank">Bob Dylan</a> at 70. His birthday is May 24, 2011. And during this episode, Dylan plugs in. Jim and Greg discuss how and why Dylan went electric in 1965, and get a first-hand account of his famous, or infamous, concert at the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newport_Folk_Festival" target="_blank">Newport Folk Festival</a> from musician, songwriter and A&amp;R man <a href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/al-kooper-p4704/biography" target="_blank">Al Kooper</a>. Al performed with Dylan onstage at Newport, and he explains to Jim and Greg that there has been a lot of misinformation when it comes to the “<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-fheY1HaCw" target="_blank">boos</a>.” He also lent his signature organ playing to tracks like “<a href="http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/like-a-rolling-stone" target="_blank">Like a Rolling Stone</a>,” which really changed the game in rock ‘n’ roll.</p><p>In the second half of Jim and Greg’s discussion with <a href="http://www.alkooper.com/" target="_blank">Al Kooper</a>, they focus on the masterful double album <a href="http://www.bobdylan.com/music/blonde-blonde" target="_blank"><span class="ds3">Blonde on Blonde</span></a>, which turns 45 this year. Al shares memories from the recording sessions on Nashville where he, Dylan and Robbie Robertson were joined by harmonica player, guitarist and bassist Charlie McCoy, guitarist Wayne Moss, guitarist and bassist Joe South, and drummer Kenny Buttrey. Al recalls being truly impressed with the musicians, and describes the vibe as much more refined than during the chaotic sessions of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Highway-61-Revisited-Bob-Dylan/dp/B0000024SI" target="_blank"><span class="ds3">Highway 61 Revisited</span></a>. He compares <span class="ds3">Blonde on Blonde</span> to a finely manicured lawn. To go out, Jim and Greg play their two favorite tracks from the album. <a href="http://www.jimdero.com/News2003/GreatJune15Dylan.htm" target="_blank">Jim</a> goes with “<a href="http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/leopard-skin-pill-box-hat" target="_blank">Leopard Skin Pill-box Hat</a>,” which illustrates Dylan’s sense of music history and also his great use of humor. Greg plays “<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNN-AUF38Aw&amp;feature=related" target="_blank">Visions of Johanna</a>” which he describes as the quintessential song from the quintessential Dylan album.</p></p> Wed, 04 May 2011 16:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/bob-dylans-electric-shift-revisited-sound-opinions Bob Dylan's early years examined on Sound Opinions http://www.wbez.org/content/bob-dylans-early-years-examined-sound-opinions <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/dylan1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-06/dylan1%5B1%5D.jpg" style="width: 599px; height: 252px;" title=""></p><p><a href="http://www.bobdylan.com/" target="_blank">Bob Dylan</a> is turning 70 this May. And Sound Opinions feels that this birthday boy deserves not one, but three episodes in his honor. This week is the first installment and focuses on Dylan’s early years as a folkie and protest singer in New York. Dylan moved to Greenwich Village in 1961 at age 19, and in just a few years he was signed to Columbia Records, teamed up with manager Albert Grossman, released 4 albums and became “the voice of a generation.” Never one to be pigeonholed, Dylan abandoned categories just as soon as he was assigned them. Jim and Greg talk to Dylan expert <a href="http://www.clinton-heylin.com/" target="_blank">Clinton Heylin</a> about the singer’s influences during those years, and his growth as a songwriter and performer. Clinton recently explored Dylan’s entire song catalog in two companion books, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Revolution-Air-Songs-1957-1973-Cappella/dp/1556528434" target="_blank"><span class="ds3">Revolution in the Air</span></a> and <a href="http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Still-on-the-Road/Clinton-Heylin/e/9781556528446" target="_blank"><span class="ds3">Still on the Road</span></a>.</p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 21:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/bob-dylans-early-years-examined-sound-opinions