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Thread: Bob Dylan - More Blood, More Tracks

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    Senior Member Kieran's Avatar
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    Default Bob Dylan - More Blood, More Tracks

    Anybody get this, episode 14 in the Bootleg series, includes the complete NYC sessions for Blood on the Tracks, and the five re-recorded songs in Minnesota? I got it yesterday and it's not only for completist muppets like me. Play this and you'll be struck dumb, it's so compelling to listen to. Sure, it has about sixteen versions of every song, and it's stacked heavy with acoustic ballads, but they're gems, they're pearls. He sings with such conviction, and flexibility in how the songs are arranged, it's almost like listening to one long, unstoppable ballad.

    Blood on the Tracks is one of those records where Dylan marshalled all his troops into one county and dominated: his lyrics are piercing, his melodies are large, his vocals bite. This new boxset is the process that spawned the record. A controversy arises among Dylan nuts as to whether or not he improved the record when he famously stalled its release to go to Minneapolis and re-record five of the songs. Now we can compare and make decisions, make playlists, produce our own Blood on the Tracks.

    My own take on it is, he improved Tangled Up In Blue, but didn't improve You're a Big Girl Now, or If You See Her, Say Hello. Idiot Wind is magnificent on the album but the difference between the re-recorded version and the NYC one is so vast that they're different species, almost. I prefer the NYC original though, where it's sung through gritted teeth, and the fury we feel from the Minnesota version has not yet been vented. The fifth re-do is Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts, which is a song I tend to be indifferent towards, and I don't prefer either version over the other.

    That leaves me with a problem, had I been there when Bob sequenced this record: I'd only have the re-recorded Tangled Up in Blue - which would unbalance the record maybe, because there would be a same-ish tone and sound to the rest of it. So maybe he was right all along to redo some songs at a faster tempo, and with a different band? This argument will rumble on and on, and the great boxset I'm listening to now, even as we speak, will not resolve it...
    The Brain - is wider than the Sky

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Yes, like Kieran, I'm down that particular rabbit hole too! I just got it yesterday and I've only just started listening. It's one of my all time favourite periods of Bob and what I've heard so far is just brilliant. Obviously non fanatics need not apply but for those of us who are committed (and we probably should be) fans this is a delight.
    No sound ever comes from the Gates of Eden.

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    Senior Member Captainnumber36's Avatar
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    Dylan can't sing.

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    Senior Member Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captainnumber36 View Post
    Dylan can't sing.


    Actually, I'm listening to him singing right now and he's singing quite beautifully, with great intensity and rare conviction. The bloke's a great singer - always was!

    The Brain - is wider than the Sky

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    Senior Member Belowpar's Avatar
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    That must be why Lamont Dozier told Levi Stubbs to sing "Reach out", like Dylan. Lots of others paid 'homage' to him.

    Define singing and Dylan's expressivity gets him in there every time.

    PS re the recording the second band was really sloppy compared to the earlier session musicians. This is one of those "Bootlegs" you finally get to hear, that really lives up to the hype. If you like BOTT at all, its well worth getting the contrasting version to compare.
    Last edited by Belowpar; Nov-05-2018 at 07:38.

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    Senior Member Room2201974's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captainnumber36 View Post
    Dylan can't sing.
    Best vocal quality: No
    Decent range: No
    Perfectly on pitch: No, heck lots of times he's microtonal.

    And none of that matters. His ability to shade a word or a line with a certain expressiveness conveys a world of meaning that other singers can only dream about obtaining. Like the way he sings the word "Delacroix" on Tangled Up In Blue, or that totally pi$$ed off feeling he conveys in Idiot Wind: " You're an idiot babe it's a wonder that you still know how to breathe. " Blood On The Tracks is filled with this, so is Time Out Of Mind.

    This Bob gestalt doesn't work for every song but when it does, you'll notice that the song in question hits the nail more squarely on the head than just about any pop artist. Without the pathos of Dylan's voice Time Out Of Mind is just a collection of good songs instead of a masterpiece that few know how to paint.

    The songs of Blood On The Tracks are about a relationship breaking apart. And so are the vocal shadings. It's like listening to a Vermeer.
    "He who makes songs without feeling spoils both his words and his music. " ~ Guillaume de Machaut

    "It is insulting to address anyone in a language which they do not understand." ~ Benjamin Britten

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    Senior Member Belowpar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Room2201974 View Post

    It's like listening to a Vermeer.
    You seemed on a roll but now I wonder if you need to turn the sound up?

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    Senior Member Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belowpar View Post

    PS re the recording the second band was really sloppy compared to the earlier session musicians. This is one of those "Bootlegs" you finally get to hear, that really lives up to the hype. If you like BOTT at all, its well worth getting the contrasting version to compare.
    Yeah, I feel that way too. In fact, I think If You See Her and You're A Big Girl sound a bit "fake" compared to the NYC versions, if you know what I mean. Even his singing sounds like he's straining for feeling, whereas there's a fierce bite to the intended NYC release of You're A Big Girl Now, as well as a more beautiful performance by the musicians. "I'm goin' outta my mind," sung through gritted teeth, sounds exactly like he is going out of his mind, but it never loses its musical exactness, and becomes more compelling for sounding so real. In the Minnesota version, I think he's not getting it.

    Idiot Wind, when he snarls "blowing every time you move your jaw, from the Grand Coulee Dam to the Mardi Gras," you can't help but be struck dumb with wonder.

    I suppose his predicament was that the album might sound a little one-note, in a way, in that it's all folk ballads in the same key. I know that after Time Out of Mind came out, he moaned about the lack of faster songs that didn't get on the record, a situation he remedied spectacularly on Love & Theft. But I've been playing the originally intended album, based on the NYC sessions, in the car and I think it was way ahead of even the released record. Really, only the Minnesota version of Tangled Up in Blue matches the NYC sessions, in my opinion, but I can live with Idiot Wind and Lily, Rosemary- too.

    By the way, an interesting thing I didn't realise was that Call Letter Blues and Meet Me in the Morning both were recorded side by side in the studio. I had thought that Meet Me in the Morning was a much later attempt, a rewritten song from the tune of Call Letter Blues...
    Last edited by Kieran; Nov-05-2018 at 17:04.
    The Brain - is wider than the Sky

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    Senior Member Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Room2201974 View Post
    Best vocal quality: No
    Decent range: No
    Perfectly on pitch: No, heck lots of times he's microtonal.

    And none of that matters. His ability to shade a word or a line with a certain expressiveness conveys a world of meaning that other singers can only dream about obtaining. Like the way he sings the word "Delacroix" on Tangled Up In Blue, or that totally pi$$ed off feeling he conveys in Idiot Wind: " You're an idiot babe it's a wonder that you still know how to breathe. " Blood On The Tracks is filled with this, so is Time Out Of Mind.

    This Bob gestalt doesn't work for every song but when it does, you'll notice that the song in question hits the nail more squarely on the head than just about any pop artist. Without the pathos of Dylan's voice Time Out Of Mind is just a collection of good songs instead of a masterpiece that few know how to paint.

    The songs of Blood On The Tracks are about a relationship breaking apart. And so are the vocal shadings. It's like listening to a Vermeer.
    Yeah, he really knows how to express the meaning of the songs through his performance, like a great character actor in a timeless movie. This one's for the Cap'n:

    The Brain - is wider than the Sky

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    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    BOTT is a major gallery in the world-class museum of Bob.

    People miss the whole point of folk music. It wasn't that he couldn't sing, or play harmonica, but that nobody else did those things like Bob. This is what makes him an American original, if I may use the cliche, like Leadbelly, Big Mama Thornton, Muddy Waters....

    I must admit that vocals can be an objective criticism when applied to someone who isn't putting out good songs, and that would be the Bob Dylan I hear on many of his albums since the 80s, when he began to sound more like Jimmy Durante than a sage beyond his years. I don't need to hear anybody else's voice on a lot of those great songs in his prime, though OTOH a lot of those songs have been covered well.

    I saw him live once and it blew me away, his band could do anything, playing mostly new arrangements, and Bob's rasp was fit for the whole songlist.

    I see there is a sampler on Spotify, maybe see you in the rabbit hole...

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    Yeah, he really knows how to express the meaning of the songs through his performance, like a great character actor in a timeless movie. This one's for the Cap'n:

    I like the studio version way better. Not a fan of Live albums. Blood on the Tracks is the most listenable Dylan album to me.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Senior Member Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    I like the studio version way better. Not a fan of Live albums. Blood on the Tracks is the most listenable Dylan album to me.
    This version is one of the out-takes from the NYC sessions for the song. Debate rages still as to whether or not he was wise to stall delay of these sessions and decamp to Minnesota to fiddle with them anew. My mind is still open, but now we have the lot of them, we can make our own versions!
    The Brain - is wider than the Sky

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