Tuesday, January 20, 2015

blood on the tracks

Bob Dylan used a little too much force, yet was right on target, so direct, with the deep and soulful intimate expression of this lethal dose of salvation.  During a successful two month tour with The Band (his first in eight years, documented by the double live release 'Before the Flood') supporting the album 'Planet Waves', Dylan became involved with Ellen Bernstein, who worked at Columbia Records.  He and his wife Sara had become estranged over disagreements regarding the house they were remodeling, and he had bought a farm back in Minnesota with his brother David.  It was there that he retreated with his new lady friend to work on new songs.  Also in the Spring of 1974, Dylan had sat in on art classes with painter Norman Raeben at Carnegie Hall:   "[My time with Raeben] locked me into the present time more than anything else I ever did...I was constantly being intermingled with myself, and all the different selves that were in there, until this one left, then that one left, and I finally got down to the one that I was familiar with...[Norman Raeben] taught me how to see...in  a way that allowed me to do consciously what I unconsciously felt.  And I didnt' know how to pull it off.  I wasn't sure it could be done in songs because I'd never written a song like that.  But when I started doing it, the first album I made was 'Blood on the Tracks'.  Everybody agrees that that was pretty different, and what's different about it is there's a code in the lyrics, and also there's no sense of time."

In August, Dylan re-signed with his original label Columbia after a brief stint with Asylum Records.  His new deal gave him control over his master recordings.  Recording for 'Blood on the Tracks' began at  A&R Recording Studios in New York City during September of 1974 with  Bob Dylan on vocals, guitar, harmonica, and production;   with Charles Brown, III on guitar,  Tony Brown on bass guitar,  Buddy Cage on steel guitar,  Richard Crooks on drums,  Paul Griffin on organ and keyboards,  Barry Kornfeld on guitar, Thomas McFaul on keyboards,  Eric Weissberg on banjo and guitar,  Phil Ramone on engineering,  and Glenn Berger as tape operator and assistant engineer.  

Dylan says:  'Blood On The Tracks' was another one of those records we went in and did in three or four days.  I had the acetate.  I hadn't listened to it for a couple of months.  I didn't think I'd got this song off.  The record still hadn't come out, and I put it on.  I just didn't...I though the songs could have sounded differently, better, so I went in and re-recorded them."

The second round of sessions took place in December of 1974 at Sound 80 in Minneapolis, Minnesota with  Bob Dylan on vocals, guitar, harmonica, and production;  with Bill Berg on drums,  Gregg Inhofer on keyboards, Kevin Odegard on guitar,  Peter Ostroushko on mandolin,  Billy Peterson on bass guitar,  Chris Weber on guitar, and 12-string guitar,  and Paul Martinson on engineering.   

'Blood on the Tracks' reached number five in the Netherlands; four in the UK; two in Norway; and number one in Canada, New Zealand, and the US.  The subject matter led to rampant speculation that the songs were an autobiographical catharsis of his crumbling marriage.  Dylan took exception to this:  "I read this was supposed to be about my wife.  I wish somebody would ask me first before they go ahead and print stuff like that. I mean it couldn't be about anybody else but my wife, right?  Stupid and misleading jerks sometimes these interpreters are - I mean I'm always trying to stay one step ahead of myself and keep changing with the times, right?  Like that my foolish mission,  How many roles can I play?  Fools, they limit you to their own unimaginative mentality.  They never stop to thin that somebody has been exposed to experiences that they haven't been ... anyway it's not even the experience that counts, it's the attitude toward the experience. There is so much misunderstanding by people who are cought up in their own little worlds laid on you...contrary to what some so-called experts believe.  I don't constantly 're-invent' myself - I was there from the beginning.  I'm also not any seeker or a searcher of God knows what, had it all together a while back and can go any kind of way. There's nothing in any of my songs to ever imply that I'm even halfway searching for some list gold at the end of any great mysterious rainbow - propaganda, that's all that is...never have considered myself as an outsider looking in, everything I do is from the inside looking out, you know, I'm a mystery only to those who haven't felt the same things I have...you can't take my stuff and verbalize it. like I don't write confessional songs.  Emotion's got nothing to do with it.  It only seems so, like it seems that Laurence Olivier is Hamlet ... I'm not concerned with the myth, because I can't work under the myth.  The myth can't write the songs.  It's the blood behind the myth that creates the art.  The myth doesn't exist for me like it may for other people. I'd rather go on, above the myth."


"Tangled Up In Blue"

tangled up in blue - bob dylan from me.greg on Vimeo.

Early one mornin’ the sun was shinin’
I was layin’ in bed
Wond’rin’ if she’d changed at all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like Mama’s homemade dress
Papa’s bankbook wasn’t big enough
And I was standin’ on the side of the road
Rain fallin’ on my shoes
Heading out for the East Coast
Lord knows I’ve paid some dues gettin’ through
Tangled up in blue

She was married when we first met
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam, I guess
But I used a little too much force
We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out West
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best
She turned around to look at me
As I was walkin’ away
I heard her say over my shoulder
“We’ll meet again someday on the avenue”
Tangled up in blue

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the ax just fell
So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Workin’ for a while on a fishin’ boat
Right outside of Delacroix
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind, and I just grew
Tangled up in blue

She was workin’ in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer
I just kept lookin’ at the side of her face
In the spotlight so clear
And later on as the crowd thinned out
I’s just about to do the same
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me, “Don’t I know your name?”
I muttered somethin’ underneath my breath
She studied the lines on my face
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe
Tangled up in blue

She lit a burner on the stove
And offered me a pipe
“I thought you’d never say hello,” she said
“You look like the silent type”
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century
And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burnin’ coal
Pourin’ off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you
Tangled up in blue

I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafés at night
And revolution in the air
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside
And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin’ on like a bird that flew
Tangled up in blue

So now I’m goin’ back again
I got to get to her somehow
All the people we used to know
They’re an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenters’ wives
Don’t know how it all got started
I don’t know what they’re doin’ with their lives
But me, I’m still on the road
Headin’ for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point of view
Tangled up in blue

"You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go"

You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome from Harper Fitzgerald on Vimeo.

"Shelter from the Storm"  

'Blood on the Tracks' 
full album:


All songs written and composed by Bob Dylan.

Side one
1. "Tangled Up in Blue"   December 30, 1974 in Minneapolis 5:42
2. "Simple Twist of Fate"   September 19, 1974 in New York City 4:19
3. "You're a Big Girl Now"   December 27, 1974 in Minneapolis 4:36
4. "Idiot Wind"   December 27, 1974 in Minneapolis 7:48
5. "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go"   September 17, 1974 in New York City 2:55
Side two
6. "Meet Me in the Morning"   September 16, 1974 in New York City 4:22
7. "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts"   December 30, 1974 in Minneapolis 8:51
8. "If You See Her, Say Hello"   December 30, 1974 in Minneapolis 4:49
9. "Shelter from the Storm"   September 17, 1974 in New York City 5:02
10. "Buckets of Rain"   September 19, 1974 in New York City 3:22

New York sessions:


"Up To Me"

Bob Dylan 'Up To Me' Blood On The Tracks Outtake by Philsuarez7

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