Sunday, August 30, 2015

highway 61 revisited

Bob Dylan hit the harder stuff and unloaded his head with this uncompromising electric vision of desolation, creation, beautiful strangers, and the holy slow train.    After four albums of acoustic folk  (Bob Dylan in 1962,   The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in 1963,  and  The Times They Are a-Changin' and  Another Side of Bob Dylan in 1964),  he had begun experimenting with an electric blues sound on the half-acoustic, half-electric  'Bringing It All Back Home'.  The tour that followed had left him exhausted, with many fans reacting angrily to the new electric direction.  Dylan would express:   "I was very drained.  I was playing a lot of songs I didn't want to play.  I was singing words I didn't really want to sing...It's very tiring having other people tell you how much they dig you if you yourself don't dig you...I'd literally quit singing and playing and I found myself writing this song, this story, this long piece of vomit about twenty pages long, and out of it I took 'Like A Rolling Stone' and made it a single.  And I'd never written anything like that before.  It wasn't called anything, just a rhythm thing on paper...I had never thought of it as a song, until one day I was at the piano, and on the paper it was singing, 'How does it feel?' in a slow motion pace, in the utmost of slow motion following something...It's like a ghost is writing a song like that."  

'Highway 61 Revisited' was recorded at Columbia Studio A, 799 Seventh Avenue, New York.   Tom Wilson was producer on the sessions in mid-June of 1965 that resulted in"Like a Rolling Stone".  Dylan was backed by Bobby Gregg on drums, Joe Macho, Jr. on bass, Paul Griffin on piano, Frank Owens on guitar, Michael Bloomfield of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and a young Al Kooper, who was allowed to sit in on the session and improvised an organ riff that became integral to the song.    Dylan says:   "Sometimes the 'you' in my songs is me talking to me.  Other times I can be talking to somebody else.  If I'm talking to me in a song, I'm not going to drop everything and say, alright, now I'm talking to you. It's up to you to figure out who's who.  A lot of times it's 'you' talking to 'you'. The 'I', like in 'I and I', also changes.  It could be I, or it could be the 'I' who created me.  And also, it could be another person who' saying 'I'.  when I say 'I' right now, I don't know who I'm talking about."

Dylan spent a month at his new home in Woodstock, New York writing new songs.  He also appeared at the Newport Folk Festival, where he was booed by some audience members.  He returned to the studio in late July with a new bassist Harvey Brooks and a new producer Bob Johnston.   Dylan would consider:  "I can't remember...all I know is that I was out recording one day, and Tom had always been there – I had no reason to think he wasn't going to be there – and I looked up one day and Bob was there. [Laughs.]...I don't recall how that happened ... [Laughs.] He did [bring that rock & roll soundto a certain extent. That is true. He did. He had a sound in mind."

'Highway 61 Revisited' credits Bob Dylan on vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano, and police car;   Mike Bloomfield on electric guitar;   Charlie McCoy on guitar;   Paul Griffin, Al Kooper on piano and organ;  Frank Owens on piano;   Harvey Brooks and Russ Savakus on bass guitar;   and   Bobby Gregg and Sam Lay on drums.   The album went to number four in the UK and three in the US.  

Dylan says:    "Highway 61, the main thoroughfare of the country blues, begins about where I began. I always felt like I'd started on it, always had been on it and could go anywhere, even down in to the deep Delta country. It was the same road, full of the same contradictions, the same one-horse towns, the same spiritual ancestors ... It was my place in the universe, always felt like it was in my blood."

"Like a Rolling Stone" 

Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan from Mr. Harrison on Vimeo.

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You’ve gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out you’re gonna have to get used to it
You said you’d never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He’s not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And ask him do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain’t no good
You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone Lyrics HD from Jolly Sincere on Vimeo.

"Ballad of a Thin Man"

Bob Dylan - The Ballad of a Thin Man from Vasco Cavalcante on Vimeo.

You walk into the room
With your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked
And you say, “Who is that man?”
You try so hard
But you don’t understand
Just what you’ll say
When you get home

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

You raise up your head
And you ask, “Is this where it is?”
And somebody points to you and says
“It’s his”
And you say, “What’s mine?”
And somebody else says, “Where what is?”
And you say, “Oh my God
Am I here all alone?”

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

You hand in your ticket
And you go watch the geek
Who immediately walks up to you
When he hears you speak
And says, “How does it feel
To be such a freak?”
And you say, “Impossible”
As he hands you a bone

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

You have many contacts
Among the lumberjacks
To get you facts
When someone attacks your imagination
But nobody has any respect
Anyway they already expect you
To just give a check
To tax-deductible charity organizations

You’ve been with the professors
And they’ve all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You’ve been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books
You’re very well read
It’s well known

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Well, the sword swallower, he comes up to you
And then he kneels
He crosses himself
And then he clicks his high heels
And without further notice
He asks you how it feels
And he says, “Here is your throat back
Thanks for the loan”

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting the word “NOW”
And you say, “For what reason?”
And he says, “How?”
And you say, “What does this mean?”
And he screams back, “You’re a cow
Give me some milk
Or else go home”

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Well, you walk into the room
Like a camel and then you frown
You put your eyes in your pocket
And your nose on the ground
There ought to be a law
Against you comin’ around
You should be made
To wear earphones

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

"Highway 61 Revisited"

Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisted Cartoon video by ajsmith1234

"Desolation Row"
Desolation Row from Paul Tattam on Vimeo.

'Highway 61 Revisited' 
full album:

All songs written and composed by Bob Dylan.

Side one
1. "Like a Rolling Stone"   6:13
2. "Tombstone Blues"   6:00
3. "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry"   4:09
4. "From a Buick 6"   3:19
5. "Ballad of a Thin Man"   5:58
Side two
1. "Queen Jane Approximately"   5:31
2. "Highway 61 Revisited"   3:30
3. "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"   5:32
4. "Desolation Row"   11:21


 "Positively 4th Street"

Positively 4th Street from Sean Harmer on Vimeo.

"Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?"

 "Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence"

liner notes:

On the slow train time does not interfere and at the Arabian crossing waits White Heap, the man from the newspaper and behind him the hundred Inevitables made of solid rock and stone—the Cream Judge and the Clown—the doll house where Savage Rose and Fixable live simply in their wild animal luxury…. Autumn, with two zeros above her nose arguing over the sun being dark or Bach is as famous as its commotion and that she herself—not Orpheus—is the logical poet “I am the logical poet!” she screams “Spring? Spring is only the beginning!’ she attempts to make Cream Judge jealous by telling him of down-to-earth people and while the universe is erupting, she points to the slow train and prays for rain and for time to interfere—she is not extremely fat but rather progressively unhappy…. The hundred Inevitables hide their predictions and go to bars and drink and get drunk in their very special conscious way and when tom dooley, the kind of person you think you’ve seen before, comes strolling in with White Heap, the hundred Inevitables all say “who’s that man who looks so white?” and the bartender, a good boy and one who keeps a buffalo in his mind, says “I don’t know, but I’m sure I’ve seen the other fellow someplace” and when Paul Sargent, a plain-clothes man from 4th street, comes in at three in the morning and busts everybody for being incredible, nobody really gets angry—just a little illiterate most people get and Rome, one of the hundred Inevitables whispers “I told you so” to Madame John…. Savage Rose and Fixable are bravely blowing kisses to Jade Hexagram-Carnaby Street and to all the mysterious juveniles and the Cream Judge is writing a book on the true meaning of a pear—last year, he wrote one of famous dogs of the civil war and now he has false teeth and no children…. when the Cream met Savage Rose and Fixable, he was introduced to them by none other than Lifelessness—Lifelessness is the Great Enemy and always wears a hip guard—he is very hipguard…. Lifelessness said when introducing everybody “go save the world” and “involvement! that’s the issue” and things like that and Savage Rose winked at Fixable and the Cream went off with his arm in a sling singing “summertime and the Livin is easy”…. the Clown appears—puts a gag over Autumn’s mouth and says “there are two kinds of people—simple people and normal people” this usually gets a big laugh from the sandpit and White Heap sneezes—passes out and rips open Autumn’s gag and says “What do you mean you’re Autumn and without you there’d be no spring! you fool! without spring, there’d be no you! what do you think of that???.” then Savage Rose and Fixable come by and kick him in the brains and color him pink for being a phony philosopher—the then Clown comes by and screams “You phony philosopher!” and jumps on his head—Paul Sargent comes by again in an umpire’s suit and some college kid who’s read all about Nietzsche comes by and says “Nietzsche never wore and umpire’s suit” and Paul says “You wanna buy some clothes, kid?” and then Rome and John come out of the bar and they’re going up to Harlem…. we are singing today of the WIPE-OUT GANG—the WIPE-OUT GANG buys, owns and operates the Insanity Factory—if you do not know where the Insanity Factory is located, you should hereby take two steps to the right, paint your teeth and go to sleep…. the songs on this specific record are not so much songs but rather exercises in tonal breath control…. the subject matter—tho meaningless as it is—has something to do with the beautiful strangers…. the beautiful strangers, Vivaldi’s green jacket and the holy slow train

you are right john cohen—quazimodo was right—Mozart was right…. I cannot say the word eye anymore…. when I speak this word eye, it is as if I am speaking of somebody’s eye that I faintly remember….there is no eye—there is only a series of mouths—long live the mouths—your rooftop—if you don’t already know—has been demolished….eye is plasma and you are right about that too—you are lucky—you don’t have to think about such things as eyes and rooftops and quazimodo.

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