Saturday, November 17, 2018

Bob Dylan More Blood, More Tracks & Shows # 746, 747, 748

In 1974, Bob Dylan began work on what would become known as Blood On The Tracks. Around this time, Dylan returned to Columbia Records after releasing a few albums via Asylum records. People often say that this is Dylan’s “break up” album, since at the time his marriage was on the rocks and it would eventually lead to a divorce. At the same time the album revels in the visceral and draws on many narratives that deal with the intricacies of relationships. It has more of a personal edge than his work that preceded this. In his 2004 memoir Chronicles Volume 1, Dylan stated that the album was not about him, but was inspired by the short stories of Anton Chekov. After going through some painting classes with Norman Raeben in New York, Dylan found a new approach to his lyrics that came from his experiences painting. Prior to this Dylan’s lyrics often took on a surrealistic or political edge. While Dylan has always been an artist in flux, he has stated in an interview with Rolling Stone in 1978 that Blood On The Tracks was different and that “There's a code in the lyrics, and also there's no sense of time.”

In September 1974, Bob Dylan began recording Blood On The Tracks in New York. The sessions took place at A&R Recording Studios, where Dylan recorded all of his early acoustic albums. Coincidentally, the songs also take on more of a folk-music approach. Following a quick recording session, with some tracks featuring members of the band Deliverance, test pressings and artwork were printed and sent out. However, after going home for the holidays, Dylan’s brother David Zimmerman said that the songs were too stark and would not go over well with audiences. Following this, Bob Dylan assembled local musicians from Minneapolis and re-recorded five of the album’s tracks in December of 1974. The final album that was released in January 1975 is a combination of five tracks from the initial sessions in New York from September 1974 and the five tracks recorded in Minneapolis in December 1974. Many of the songs on Blood On The Tracks were also sped up by 2-3% percent to give the album a more pleasant sound.

“Tangled Up In Blue” opens the album. This song adheres to Dylan’s “No sense of time” comment mentioned earlier. The song jumps from different narratives from first person to third person and layers a complex tale that references a star crossed couple, their travels, and break up. The song also emphasizes the feeling of lost love, emotional ties that are hard to break, and hope. “Tangled Up In Blue” was referred to by Dylan in Rolling Stone in 1985 as being, "Like a painting where you can see the different parts, but then you also see the whole of it". In this case the paint is lyrics that illustrate this tale. Musically, the song does have a band arrangement, but also the acoustic guitar is quite prominent (as it is throughout Blood On the Tracks). The version found on 1975’s Blood On The Tracks was recorded in December of 1974 with local musicians from Minneapolis. Initially, the song featured just acoustic guitar and bass, was slower, and went back to a sound very similar to Dylan’s 60s acoustic recordings. As mentioned in reviews of the recently released Bootleg Series Volume 14: More Blood, More Tracks, you can even hear the sound of the buttons of Bob Dylan’s shirt hitting his acoustic guitar. There are also several other variations of this song and several others on the box set.

“Simple Twist of Fate” is the second track found on Blood On The Tracks. With just an acoustic guitar, an unobtrusive bassline and harmonica, musically “Simple Twist of Fate” takes on a more somber tone. Lyrically, the song is a poignant, emotionally charged affair. With words such as “He woke up, the room was bare/He didn't see her anywhere/He told himself he didn't care/Pushed the window open wide/Felt an emptiness inside/To which he just could not relate/Brought on by a simple twist of fate” and “I still believe she was my twin/But I lost the ring/She was born in spring/But I was born too late”, Bob Dylan takes to his lyricism in a poetic way that adds themes, mood, and a haunting atmosphere to what seems like a missed connection between two people. “You’re A Big Girl Now” comes in with Spanish styled acoustic guitar before Dylan’s vocals come into this song filled with a strong sense of melody, frustration and regret.

“Idiot Wind” is a song that clocks in over seven minutes and has a certain attitude that was featured in songs such as “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Positively 4th Street”. In this song Dylan rants “Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth/Blowing down the backroads headin’ south/Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth/You’re an idiot, babe/It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe”. In the choruses of this long track, listeners often draw comparisons to Dylan’s marriage at the time, but Dylan has often said that this is incorrect. Regardless of the interpretation, “Idiot Wind” is a venomous song with an undeniable anger, frustration and catharsis that radiates an energy with a seemingly personalized tone. Some love it, some hate it, but the song presents itself in an abrasive way that is like many of Dylan’s songs: many things at once. It has no filter.

“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When I Go” comes in with a musical energy that is reminiscent with songs found on 1969’s Nashville Skyline or even 1968’s John Wesley Harding. Lyrically, the song seems to bring forth images of heartbreak with razor sharp observations. With words such as “Dragon clouds so high above/I’ve only known careless love/It’s always hit me from below/This time around it’s more correct/Right on target, so direct” and “Situations have ended sad/Relationships have all been bad/Mine’ve been like Verlaine’s and Rimbaud/But there’s no way I can compare/All those scenes to this affair/Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go”, Dylan takes the listener to a pool of rich reflections of love, it falling apart, the changes, and lasting imprint that it can leave on a person. “Meet Me In The Morning” is more of a blues affair musically, while “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” is a folk-country song with prominent organ and lyrics that focus on a complex tale with a cast of characters. At almost nine minutes, this song tells a story like only Bob Dylan can. The story revolves around the three main characters in the song’s title, in an old western movie type setting. It is also loaded with literary references, symbolism, meaning, and open to multiple interpretations.

“Shelter From The Storm” comes in with a rustic sounding acoustic guitar and calming basslines. With this song, Bob Dylan once again layers a story complete with metaphors and symbolism that pull in different meanings from different people. However, like many of the songs on Blood On The Tracks, it deals with the concept of time, relationships, the way things once were, the present and the future all at once. Once again, it’s hard not to see possible autobiographical similarities in this song that are similar to occurrences in Dylan’s actual life that the time. In this song’s context there are also religious undertones that many people have also picked up on. With words such as “Not a word was spoke between us/There was little risk involved/Everything up to that point had been left unresolved/Try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm” and “Well, the deputy walks on hard nails and the preacher rides a mount/But nothing really matters much, it’s doom alone that counts/And the one-eyed undertaker/He blows a futile horn” and the repetitive line “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”, the story of a weary traveler is told and his encounters with the harsh outside world. The character finds shelter from these outside occurrences, or storms, in the relationship that he discovers and loses. “Buckets of Rain” ends Blood On The Tracks. Featuring a downbeat acoustic guitar/arpeggio and soothing bassline, it evokes bittersweet emotions with a certain type of melancholy and an undeniable hopefulness.

Blood On The Tracks is an album where the songs take on a literate, complex narrative, but also shows a more personalized Bob Dylan, whether it is autobiographical or not, shedding his emotional turmoil and heartbreak. With the recently released Bootleg Series Volume 14: More Blood, More Tracks, we see glimpses into the creative process and a devotion to these songs that came at a time in Dylan’s career when people thought they had him figured out. The lyrics on this album are delivered in a raw, unapologetic, unnerving fashion. Dylan rearranges the concepts of time within the context of the songs on this album, challenging song conventions and his approach to lyrics that are different from what he had done before. As the listener makes their way through the album’s ten tracks, the pains of break ups, their aftermath and emotional baggage that come along with them, we see that these are tracks we all must cross at some point. But, sometimes certain feelings are not so easy to leave behind.

Show 748 (Originally Aired On November 10th, 2018)(Bob Dylan More Blood On The Tracks):

1. Bob Dylan - Tangled Up In Blue (Take 2 Remake)
2. Bob Dylan - Simple Twist of Fate (Take 2)
3. Bob Dylan - You're A Big Girl Now (Take 1 Remake 2)
4. Bob Dylan - Idiot Wind (Take 6)
5. Bob Dylan - You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When I Go (Take 4)
6. Volunteers - Dollar Bill
7. Volunteers - Don't Get Me Down
8. Snake River - Let us Be Something Seen
9. A.Savage - Buffalo Calf Road Woman
10. Urban Surf Kings - Groovy Haberdashery
11. Ketamines - 1 YR
12. Flesh Rag - In Another Dimension
13. Deerhunter - Death In Midsummer
14. Gregor - I'll Prove It To You
15. Catholic Girls - The Room
16. Cellos - Toronto
17. Secret V's - Empty
18. Calvin Johnson - Like You Do
19. Bob Dylan - Meet Me In The Morning (Take 1)
20. Bob Dylan - Lily Rosemary and the Jack Of Hearts (Take 2)
21. Bob Dylan - If You See Her Say Hello (Take 1)
22. Bob Dylan - Shelter From The Storm (Take 2)
23. Bob Dylan - Buckets of Rain (Take 2 Remake)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 10.

Show 747 (Originally Aired On November 3rd, 2018)(Repeat of Show # 740: South River Slim (Acoustic Session):

1. Archie & The Bunkers - Pacemaker
2. The Modern Lovers - Government Center
3. Reigning Sound - Call Me
4. Phono Pony - Monkey Paw
5. Billy Moon - Dingus
6. Broken Social Scene - ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)
7. The Sadies - Starling Auto
8. The Sadies - Tried Not To
9. South River Slim (w/Dale D'Amore) - Blind Lemon Girl (CJAM Acoustic Live Session)
10. South River Slim (w/Dale D'Amore) - Girl Trouble (CJAM Acoustic Live Session)
11. South River Slim - Bang Bang
12. Angelo Badalamenti - The Pink Room
13. Idles - Never Fight A Man With A Perm
14. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - dang
15. Jesus Lizard - Mouth Breather
16. Jesus Lizard - My Own Urine
17. Pissed Jeans - Bathroom Laughter
18. OFF! - Legion of Evil
19. Platinum Blonde - No Regrets
20. Nap Eyes - Judgement
21. R.E.M. - Wolves, Lower
22. Josef K - Drone
23. The Soft Pack - Parasites
24. Dead Ghosts - You Don't Belong
25. The 427's - Victory City
26. B-52's - Party Out Of Bounds
27. The Mummies - Just One More Dance
28. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jubilee Street (Live in Copenhagen)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 3.

Show 746 (Originally Aired On October 27th, 2018)(Halloween Themed Episode):

1. The Ventures - The Bat
2. Swanks - Ghost Train
3. Condition - Ghost Train
4. Bauhaus - Stigmata Martyr
5. Sonic Youth - Death Valley 69
6. John Carpenter - The Shape Lurks
7. Goblin - Witch
8. Thom Yorke - Has Ended
9. Unicorns - Tuff Ghost
10. Archie & The Bunkers - 122 Hours of Fear
11. Swamp Rats - Psycho
12. Cord - Ghost Power
13. The Five Blobs - The Blob Theme
14. The Gories - Casting My Spell
15. Mark Sultan - Black Magic
16. Bloodshot Bill - Monsters In The Bayou
17. The Gruesomes - Dementia 13
18. King Khan & The Shrines - Darkness
19. The Courtneys - Lost Boys
20. Siouxsie & The Banshees - Halloween
21. The Misfits - Night of the Living Dead
22. The Cramps - The Creature From the Black Leather Lagoon
23. The Gooeys - Scary Black Cherry Nap
24. Psychic Void - Night Terrors
25. Dee Dee Ramone & I.C.L.C - I'm Making Monsters For My Friends
26. The Black Angels - Evil Things

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 27.