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.
I remember buying Love & Theft on the day it was released in Sainsbury’s in Edinburgh and saying to the girl at the check out that i had never seen the place so quiet, and at that point she said people were probably at home watching the TV footage of planes flying into the World Trade Centre… and i thought she was joking.
When i got round to listening to the album I liked it. Was surprised to hear Bob croon a few numbers on it. Loved Po’ Boy… the first Bob song to make me smile and laugh in a while. Bob’s humour on the early records was one of the things that got me interested
Sounds like another great show.
Love and Theft is a tremendous record though I must admit that the version of Missisipi here is not as good as the versions on Bootleg 8…..but a minor gripe!
Charlie Sexton is brilliant on this record.
Like Dougie I love Po’Boy and High Water(for Charley Patton) is another standout….
Decemberists record is superb (as an aside).
… and Mississippi WAS covered by Sheryl Crow before Love & Theft was released… an earlier Bob recording was made during the Time Out of Mind sessions and Sheryl got the ‘demo’ version to work with.
Bob set to sing at the Grammy’s for the 5th time. Still remember the stage invasion during Lovesick in 1998! http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2011/02/bob-dylan-to-perform-at-the-grammy-ceremony-alongside-mumford-sons-and-the-avett-bros.html
Josh T Pearson – a bit out there?
Not at all, it fits in perfectly with the other music on the show.
I did see Lift To Experience back in the day – in a tiny room as hot as a sauna, with the band’s Marshall stacks occupying roughly half of the tiny stage. I left sweaty, deaf and not entirely convinced – but ‘Country Dumb’ is utterly amazing.
I must sound like a stuck thirty-three-and-a-third Long Playing Record myself, but I’ll say it anyway: great show!
For some reason (probably trying to limit how much money “Another Country costs” me!) to date I’d only bought the song “Harlem River Blues” from Justin Townes Earle. I was well overdue buying the album, but a combination of this and watching his recent Celtic Connections show over the iPlayer has left me unable to resist any longer! Can’t wait for that to arrive, and an insightful interview as ever, Ricky.
I too enjoyed Josh T Pearson and thought the song fitted the tone of the show just fine. Thanks for sharing that freebie!
And… Dolly. I’ve said this before, but seeing her live is one of my gigging highlights also and unlikely to be toppled from the upper echelons of that list, so it’s wonderful to hear she’s coming back in 2011. Look forward to new material too, however she’s choosing to market it. She’s a canny businesswoman, so I wouldn’t argue against any strategy she chooses either! Good luck on that mission, Ricky – I would love to hear her on “Another Country” and am sure she’d love to take part. Maybe she can co-host an entire show!