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Dylan Goes Electric - 50 Years Ago Today

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Any Dylan fans on here? Interesting piece in the Guardian Online about Dylan going into the studio to record Subterranean Homesick Blues, 50 years ago today as part of the Bringing It all Back Home sessions.

 

Only got into Dylan in a biggish way in the last 10 years or so but his 60's back catalogue is nothing short of genius and now I'd say he's my favourite non soul artist from that period.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/jan/13/bob-dylan-subterranean-homesick-blues-50th-anniversary

 

 

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To be honest I couldn't tell you a single record of his. But if you mentioned one I would probably say oh yes but then wouldn't know how it went. He stood for everything that a soul boy in the 70,s hated. Rock music.

Steve

Edited by Winsford Soul

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I bought Subterranean Homesick Blues when it was first issued, it has close resemblance to Too Much Monkey Business by Chuck Berry. Dylan going electric caused quite a furore at the time, he was regarded as a traitor by many who would probably be classed as lovers of acoustic folk music and were disappointed he had stopped writing and singing overtly political songs such as Masters Of War and With God On My Side.

 

I actually prefer the flipside of SHB, She Belongs To Me. Bringing It All Back Home has one acoustic side and one electric, haven't played it for years, must dig it out. The Byrds' version of Mr Tambourine Man is not, in my opinion, as good as Dylans, which is longer if my memory is correct. My favourite of his post acoustic records is Like A Rolling Stone, I remember the Melody Maker comparing it to records by the Animals, presumably because of the organ.

 

I bought his first four albums earlier and actually think they are his best work, some of the political statements are a bit naive but songs like The Death Of Hattie Carroll and North Country Blues still have their effect. And there are some lovely songs on these albums, e.g. Girl From The North Country, To Ramona and Ballad In Plain D.

 

To me one of the greats of music.

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I bought Subterranean Homesick Blues when it was first issued, it has close resemblance to Too Much Monkey Business by Chuck Berry. Dylan going electric caused quite a furore at the time, he was regarded as a traitor by many who would probably be classed as lovers of acoustic folk music and were disappointed he had stopped writing and singing overtly political songs such as Masters Of War and With God On My Side.

 

I actually prefer the flipside of SHB, She Belongs To Me. Bringing It All Back Home has one acoustic side and one electric, haven't played it for years, must dig it out. The Byrds' version of Mr Tambourine Man is not, in my opinion, as good as Dylans, which is longer if my memory is correct. My favourite of his post acoustic records is Like A Rolling Stone, I remember the Melody Maker comparing it to records by the Animals, presumably because of the organ.

 

I bought his first four albums earlier and actually think they are his best work, some of the political statements are a bit naive but songs like The Death Of Hattie Carroll and North Country Blues still have their effect. And there are some lovely songs on these albums, e.g. Girl From The North Country, To Ramona and Ballad In Plain D.

 

To me one of the greats of music.

 

I love the flip She Belongs To Me too. I've bought several of his UK 45's in recent years, that being one of them. I listened to Another Side Of Bob Dylan the other night for the first time and was blown away by Spanish Harlem Incident, To Romona, I don't Believe You and Ballad In Plain D. I'd read about Ballad In Plain D and it being about his break up with his girlfriend Suze Rotolo, but hadn't appreciated that the song contains some of his best ever lyrics. Agree one of the greats of music.

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I love the flip She Belongs To Me too. I've bought several of his UK 45's in recent years, that being one of them. I listened to Another Side Of Bob Dylan the other night for the first time and was blown away by Spanish Harlem Incident, To Romona, I don't Believe You and Ballad In Plain D. I'd read about Ballad In Plain D and it being about his break up with his girlfriend Suze Rotolo, but hadn't appreciated that the song contains some of his best ever lyrics. Agree one of the greats of music.

 

I'd forgotten that it's about his split with her. She is pictured with him on the cover of The Freewheeling Bob Dylan. Incidentally Donovan nicked the tune of Catch The Wind from Dylan's Chimes Of Freedom. And Dylan had taste, he called Smokey Robinson America's greatest living poet, think it was in 1964 or thereabouts.

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Love some of his stuff, not all though.

My favourite LP of his, is Blood On The Tracks.

Interesting fact, when the Albert Hall Bootleg came out with his Electric stuff, fans shouting Judas etc, it was actually recorded from Manchesters Free Trade Hall.

Edited by MrsWoodsrules

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I'm with you Aid in not liking all his stuff. Not keen on much past the 60's except Blood On The Tracks which was a return to form. The heckler who shouted "Judas " at the Free Trade Hall came forward sometime later - I think he was American but studying in Manchester?

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I'm with you Aid in not liking all his stuff. Not keen on much past the 60's except Blood On The Tracks which was a return to form. The heckler who shouted "Judas " at the Free Trade Hall came forward sometime later - I think he was American but studying in Manchester?

Folk Extremists!

Dangerous bunch!

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Love some of his stuff, not all though.

My favourite LP of his, is Blood On The Tracks.

Interesting fact, when the Albert Hall Bootleg came out with his Electric stuff, fans shouting Judas etc, it was actually recorded from Manchesters Free Trade Hall.

 

Ditto....

Some of his lyrics were genius (Cause the Vandals took the handles, etc) but I tended to find I preferred the covers of his music rather than the original.

 

No better example than this...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLV4_xaYynY

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And people say George Lemmons and William Powell can't sing.  I could never get on with his voice, he wants plugging in to the circuit when I hear it sometimes.  Great songwriter though.

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And people say George Lemmons and William Powell can't sing.  I could never get on with his voice, he wants plugging in to the circuit when I hear it sometimes.  Great songwriter though.

 

Yep. That voice is a complete turn off. The guy really cannot sing a note. Songwriter of rare genius all the same. One of the greatest and a huge influence. A lot of Soul artists have memorably covered his songs , Freddie Scott I shall be released, James Govan Just like a woman and The O'Jays Gospel styled Emotionally yours are great examples but there are plenty more.

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Yep. That voice is a complete turn off. The guy really cannot sing a note. Songwriter of rare genius all the same. One of the greatest and a huge influence. A lot of Soul artists have memorably covered his songs , Freddie Scott I shall be released, James Govan Just like a woman and The O'Jays Gospel styled Emotionally yours are great examples but there are plenty more.

 

Agree he wasn't a gifted singer in the conventional sense, but it suited his early troubadour style. I've never fully understood the noticeable and inexplicable changed timbre of his vocal delivery post Blonde On Blonde/ and his motor cycle accident in 1966 which, for me, spoiled most of his later recordings and performances. 

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Agreed - you don't have to hit the notes to be a great singer...let's say vocalist! (e.g. Mark E. Smith)...Bob's phrasing is fantastic!... but his Nashville Skyline voice is a bit scary!

 

Another Side Of Bob Dylan is the one that does it for me - tender, funny, sad, scathing, you name it... and I Shall Be Free No 10 is barking!!! always makes me laugh.

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SHB is a tune n half !   The first rap record (probably)  :g:

  Prolific songwriter and performer..  A lot of artists have done well with a Dylan song, Watchtower by Hendrix is a quality example. 

   As for him going electric,   It didnt do him any harm

Edited by IanP

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When I first heard the lines... "On the cliffs of your wild cat charms I'm riding, I know I'm 'round you but I don't know where, you have made, you have slayed me, I gotta laugh halfways off my heels, I gotta know babe, will you surround me, so I can know if I'm really real" in Spanish Harlem Incident they blew me for six, a mega switching on of lights that had me poring over all his sleeve notes, reading Scaduto's bio and searching out bootlegs. Haven't really ever stopped listening to him. I used to 'calm down' with, of all things, the soundtrack of Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid after allniters!  The Bootleg Series has been fantastic too, the sublime Blind Willie McTell from the Infidels sessions... Farewell Angelina, Mama, You Been On My Mind... the delightful Live 64 set, Scorsese's brilliant No Direction Home movie. Can't imagine a life without Bob to be honest. He's always been there, peering out from a shelf, bookcase, wall etc.  Pretty much agree with Leonard Cohen's assessment of his legacy. Recognise he's not everyone's cup of tea though... Looking forward to his Sinatra tribute. Bob as perverse as he's ever been. ;-) 

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I only really go for the acoustic era, but what great memories it brings back. We had our first record player at Christmas 1964 so as soon as the shops were open again we dashed out and bought records, records, records!! I'm not sure if it was because they seemed more exotic, or just better value for money but everything we bought was EPs.

 

Rolling Stones, Pretty Things, Kinks, Moody Blues etc. etc. and Bob Dylan. We played them to death so I could probably remember the words of every one to this day. The Dylan EP had Don't Think Twice, Blowin' in the Wind, Corrina Corrina and When The Ship Comes In.

 

I'm sure most on here will have seen this but what a great early video this was . . . . . .

 

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To be honest I couldn't tell you a single record of his. But if you mentioned one I would probably say oh yes but then wouldn't know how it went. He stood for everything that a soul boy in the 70,s hated. Rock music.

Steve

One little ditty of his that made waves in the 20th century was called Blowin' In The Wind. I think even the most recalcitrant Dylan haters might be familiar with that one. As much a hymn as a song, strongly connected to the US Civil Rights struggle and the inspiration for Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come. 

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 The Bootleg Series has been fantastic too,

 

Macca

 

I imagine you're talking here about the fairly recent series.

 

But I always associate Dylan with the term bootleg right back to the 60s. Back then bootleg meant an illegal recording of a live concert and nothing else. And the very first bootleg LP I ever saw, on a market stall somewhere, was a Bob Dylan concert.

 

It always comes to mind when the term bootleg gets discussed on this forum.  

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Yes mate. I was referring to the Bootleg Series that Columbia officially unleashed on the public coinciding with his 50th in 1991. The excellent Biograph from 1985 featuring a handful of previously unreleased studio and live cuts had been a taster of sorts. Jeff Rosen his press officer apparently cajoled him into releasing the 1991 series, vols 1-3 and since then we've had another 8 volumes. Much of the material had already been in circulation on the late 60s, 70s and 80s bootlegs you mentioned, but never or rarely in the pristine sound quality of the official releases. Most of us were stunned at the tme and continue to be stunned with the quality of the stuff he rejected (Blood On The Tracks NYC sessions, the aforementioned Blind Willie McTell, Mississippi, Dignity etc). I was an avid collector of the TMQ and Swingin' Pig bootlegs in the 70s and 80s. I was also collecting Northern at the same time, so it was a bloody expensive habit to maintain. :-) 

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The commonly acknowledged first bootleg, known as the "Great White Wonder", was circulated around 1969, and featured cuts from what came to be known as the Basement Tapes and a bunch of pre Columbia contract songs reel to reel recorded at house parties and coffee house gigs. Soon after that we got the Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1966" boot from TMQ. Many say it was this LP that precipitated the flood of illegal live recordings (audience recorded or from soundboards) featuring not only Dylan but lots of his contemporaries too. It was the birth of a lucrative industry effectively killed by Internet since they've all been "liberated" and can be downloaded from torrent sites. An ironic twist to the tale is that a clandestine recording made by a member of the audience in the early 2000s (Cocaine Blues, I think) has been used as a bonus track one of the Bootleg Series releases. Cheek!

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The end of my favourite Dylan song from 1976,

She said "Where ya been ?" I said "No place special ?"
She said "You look different" I said "Well I guess"
She said "You been gone" I said "That's only natural"
She said "You gonna stay ?" I said "If you want me to, Yeah ".

Isis oh Isis you mystical child
What drives me to you is what drives me insane
I still can remember the way that you smiled
On the fifth day of May in the drizzling rain.

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I'm with you Aid in not liking all his stuff. Not keen on much past the 60's except Blood On The Tracks which was a return to form. The heckler who shouted "Judas " at the Free Trade Hall came forward sometime later - I think he was American but studying in Manchester?

Dr C P Lee of Salford University has been known to claim that the truth is that he had misplaced his girlfriend at the FTH that night and was simply shouting her name...."Judith".....and was misheard. He's written a couple of books about Dylan so is a proper authority and I therefore believe him!

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Dr C P Lee of Salford University has been known to claim that the truth is that he had misplaced his girlfriend at the FTH that night and was simply shouting her name...."Judith".....and was misheard. He's written a couple of books about Dylan so is a proper authority and I therefore believe him!

 

That's what's great about the Dylan story, it's vast and a lot of it documented or commented upon so you can immerse yourself in it, if you're a fan. Hadn't heard the one about " Judith " but there's a clip on Youtube ( not the one below ) with some audio from a bootleg of the concert, suggesting that there were two people who shouted out, one of them saying that he ( Bob ) was the greatest living artist since Dylan Thomas, and that Dylan was responding to that comment. Whatever is correct, it's still a great part of the " pop " story.

 

Edited by autumnstoned

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When I first heard the lines... "On the cliffs of your wild cat charms I'm riding, I know I'm 'round you but I don't know where, you have made, you have slayed me, I gotta laugh halfways off my heels, I gotta know babe, will you surround me, so I can know if I'm really real" in Spanish Harlem Incident they blew me for six, a mega switching on of lights that had me poring over all his sleeve notes, reading Scaduto's bio and searching out bootlegs. Haven't really ever stopped listening to him. I used to 'calm down' with, of all things, the soundtrack of Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid after allniters!  The Bootleg Series has been fantastic too, the sublime Blind Willie McTell from the Infidels sessions... Farewell Angelina, Mama, You Been On My Mind... the delightful Live 64 set, Scorsese's brilliant No Direction Home movie. Can't imagine a life without Bob to be honest. He's always been there, peering out from a shelf, bookcase, wall etc.  Pretty much agree with Leonard Cohen's assessment of his legacy. Recognise he's not everyone's cup of tea though... Looking forward to his Sinatra tribute. Bob as perverse as he's ever been. ;-) 

 

A true fan's perspective. Nice one! The Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid film soundtrack is superb (as is the film). Perfect for post all nighter come down.

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Ditto....

Some of his lyrics were genius (Cause the Vandals took the handles, etc) but I tended to find I preferred the covers of his music rather than the original.

 

No better example than this...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLV4_xaYynY

 

Just seen this, I agree this is better than the original. Hendrix's guitar is magical on this, my favourite record by him. The lyrics make me think of a fortress somewhere out on the steppes, guess that's the idea, to make you use your imagination.

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Love both! Dylan's version is very stark, like the lyrics.. the musicalment accompaniment of kenny buttrey and charlie mccoy and dylan's driving acoustic guitar and wailing harp is the perfect foil to Dylan's I am the prophet Elijah voice. let us not talk falsely now, for the hour is getting late. I'm getting carried away.

 

M

 

p.s. it's very easy to associate the Hendrix version with images of carpet bombing in Vietnam, innit? 

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Ditto....

Some of his lyrics were genius (Cause the Vandals took the handles, etc) but I tended to find I preferred the covers of his music rather than the original.

 

No better example than this...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLV4_xaYynY

 

 

Just seen this, I agree this is better than the original. Hendrix's guitar is magical on this, my favourite record by him. The lyrics make me think of a fortress somewhere out on the steppes, guess that's the idea, to make you use your imagination.

 

Saw Hendrix play this live. Not many claims to fame in my life. But that's one of them. LOL :D

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In the studio, unlikely, even though McGuinn was usually a part of his NYC 'rat pack' 64-66'. Dylan joined them on stage for a number at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in LA late 1965. Love The Byrds too. 

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