I seem to spend a lot of my spare time thinking about Bob Dylan. This Bob backwards business has been quite a revelation for me. One thing it’s done has made me take in the last 14 years or so of the Dylan canon and try to understand what he was saying and where he was heading. Apart from the catalogue of songs I think Dylan’s era coincides perfectly with the phenomenon that we now call the ‘album.’ It was really the Long Playing Record and at thirty three and a third r.p.m. it was something which was to change our understanding of popular music.
Not only could you put a bunch of songs together in one place, but it was also possible to force people to listen to them in a certain order. Keys, tempos, lyrical themes, openings and endings all came into play. In celebrating Bob it should be remembered that we may be celebrating the holy forty minutes that it takes to play an album.
This week it’s Love and Theft and I have a feeling it’s perhaps the recent album that gets forgotten about. Less obvious sleeve, no big radio hits or covers but remarkably it has much to recommend it. Not least its production credit; Jack Frost – the pen name of Dylan.I’ll let you decide on Friday….we’ll play a couple of my favourites and also a track where you can see Bob’s slip showing…in a nice way.
Talking about albums, I had a lovely experience this week. This one’s not going to be easy but stay with it and you’ll be rewarded. Josh T Pearson anyone……? The album is called ‘Last of The Country Gentlemen’ and think you might like it. If you can join me on Friday I can give you a flavour of the album experience…but only a flavour. For the real thing you’ll need a quiet 40 minutes in March.
In other news I met up with Justin Townes Earle during Celtic Connections. He’s a different Justin to the one I met two years ago but as vital as ever. He has three songs from “Harlem River Blues” recorded for us plus a chat about all the usual stuff.
As promised there’s more from The Decembrists and Wanda Jackson plus a Band of Horses surprise. Oh yeah, and I’ll give you the heads up on some exciting gig news and tell you all about Wednesday night on Sauchiehall Street with The Hold Steady. How was the gig you say?……….well like Craig Finn, I’m still smiling.