There was a fair amount of hoo-ha about Bob Dylan‘s new album the other week. People who haven’t followed the nuances of his career were as mystified as one of my old chums at the BBC in Edinburgh who simply asked, ‘Is it true?’
Yes, it’s true and it’s rather good. I have two pointers: When I really first became ‘fascinated’ (I was never, thankfully, obsessed) by Dylan in the mid 70s a college chum told me about how he famously said, ‘I’m just a song and dance man.’ We laughed then – I think we were meant to – but there was a huge truth in that sentence. Much, much later Mrs. Ross and I spent a very happy evening at The Armadillo in Glasgow sitting in the dark as Bob and his brilliant band went through their live show. There were many magical bits but sometimes the mood was set perfectly by the short impress played in the dark between songs. The steel would gently cry and strings would bend enough to suggest other, wilder places and times. When I heard Shadows in the Night all the way through I thought of these mini overtures, and realised they had to lead somewhere.
In his speech to Musicares Bob settled a few old scores. On Friday night we will try to connect you to some of these as well as celebrating the sound of that new record. As if by magic a new album celebrating one of the towns that Bob mentioned, Bakersfield, comes out and its by the least likely celebrants of that famed west-coast country centre, Cracker. All will be explained and music shall be played……and yes, we’ll definitely here Buck Owens.
We will have beautiful old vinyl from theses two…
We will also hear some fine new things from Father John Misty who comes to Glasgow next week to play his fine new album, ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ at King Tuts. We’ll have a new single from AC faves, Lord Huron, another fab new single from our pals, Ward Thomas and a newly minted piece of vinyl from this man…
Nathaniel Rateliff‘s second album is one of theses records you will put on and not want to take off. We suggest vinyl might be the best way to enjoy.
There will be so much more…..but for that you’ll have to tune in on Friday from five past eight on BBC Scotland (FM please) …….The narrow band width has that noisy fella who plays the kit for some old rock combo.
Years ago, I went on a package holiday to California, and we had a ‘lunch stop’ at a diner in Bakersfield. It’s a strange place, surrounded by all these oil derricks pumping out the ol’ Black Gold (‘Texas Tea!’), and it seemed like as unlikely (or paradoxically, more than likely) place for a distinctive Country music sound to develop. It seemed back then to be very Blue Collar, and that ‘Bakersfield Sound’ reached all the way through to the Beatles (they covered ‘Act Naturally’, one of Buck Owens’ hits, of course), even if they did give it to Ringo to sing! Great sound, all the same.