Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

But I shot a man in Reno, Just to watch him dieJohnny Cash

It doesn’t get much better than that.

The man in black was The Man. Not many performers can cross genres like Johnny Cash did and still does. He first recorded this song in 1955 at Sun Records as the B side to “S3o Doggone Lonesome” but it was the live 1969 version that hit.

The At Folsom Prison album helped revitalize Cash’s career. Up to this point, his last Country top 40 entry was in 1964. This was recorded live at Folsom Prison in California on January 13, 1968, and that album came to define his outlaw image. The record company told him it wouldn’t work but Johnny recorded at the prison anyway.

Folsom Prison Blues peaked at #1 on the Billboard Country Charts, #1 on the Canadian Country Charts, #32 on the Billboard 100,  and #17 on the Canadian Pop Charts.  The song and album generated a lot of interest in the rebellious Johnny Cash, who made prison reform his political cause of choice. He started regularly performing in jails, doing about 12 shows a year for free mostly in Folsom and San Quentin.

The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Country Charts, #13 in the Billboard Album Charts, and #27 in Canada.

Johnny Cash Flipping Bird

This iconic picture came from Folsom Prison. According to photographer Jim Marshall…he asked Cash to express what he thought of the prison authorities when he played the show. Marshall told Cash “let’s do a shot for the warden” and the picture was born. 

Cash saw Crane Wilbur’s 90-minute film Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison while stationed in Germany. It left an impression on Cash, who emphasized the tale of the imprisoned men, and inspired him to write a song. Johnny Cash: “It was a violent movie, I just wanted to write a song that would tell what I thought it would be like in prison.”

Cash’s first prison performance occurred in 1957 when he performed for inmates at Huntsville State Prison. The favorable response inspired Cash to perform at more prisons through the years. His next hit, recorded in San Quentin Prison, was the humorous “A Boy Named Sue,” which proved that he could be clever and funny.

Cash came off as a champion for the oppressed.  He got his own national TV show in 1969 and became one of the most popular entertainers of his era. His guests included Derek and the Dominos,  Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newbury, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, James Taylor, Tammy Wynette, and Roy Orbison.

Isn’t that list incredible? Cash was considered a Country-Folk artist but look at the range of performers. The late sixties and seventies were like this ….and it’s the reason I like them so much…all the generations intersected at that point in time. I mean you have Eric Clapton and then you have Tammy Wynette on the guest list.

The lyrics to this song were based on a 1953 recording called Crescent City Blues by a bandleader named Gordon Jenkins with Beverly Maher on vocals. After filing a lawsuit, Gordon Jenkins received an out-of-court settlement from Cash in 1969. I have to say it does sound really close.

Johnny Cash: “I don’t see anything good come out of prison. You put them in like animals and tear out the souls and guts of them, and let them out worse than they went in.”

Rosanne Cash: “He was a real man with great faults, and great genius and beauty in him, but he wasn’t this guy who could save you or anyone else.”

Folsom Prison Blues

(Hello, I’m Johnny Cash)

I hear the train a-comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine
Since I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a-rollin’
On down to San Antone

When I was just a baby
My Mama told me, “son
Always be a good boy
Don’t ever play with guns”
But I shot a man in Reno
Just to watch him die
When I hear that whistle blowin’
I hang my head and cry (play it to the verse, yeah)
(Sue it)

I bet there’s rich folks eatin’
From a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee
And smokin’ big cigars
Well, I know I had it comin’
I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a-movin’
And that’s what tortures me (hit it)

(Howdy-ho)

Well, if they freed me from this prison
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move it on, a little
Farther down the line
Far from Folsom Prison
That’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle
Blow my blues away

(yeah)

Band – The Last Waltz

Happy Thanksgiving! Watching The Last Waltz is just as part of Thanksgiving as the meal with the family…that and Alice’s Restaurant which is coming.

The Band on Thanksgiving in 1976 at the Fillmore West. The film starts off with THIS FILM MUST BE PLAYED LOUD! A cut to Rick Danko playing pool and then it then to the Band playing “Don’t Do It”…the last song they performed that night after hours of playing. Through the music and some interviews, their musical journey and influences are retraced.

This film is considered by many the best concert film ever made. It was directed by Martin Scorsese. I love the setting with the chandeliers that were from the movie Gone With The Wind. The quality of the picture is great because it was shot with a 35-millimeter camera which wasn’t normally done with concerts.

Before the Band and guests hit the stage, Bill Graham, the promoter, served a Thanksgiving dinner to 5000 people that made up the audience with long tables with white tablecloths.

The Band’s musical guests included

Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield, Van Morrison (my favorite performance), Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton and Muddy Waters

The Staple Singers and Emmylou Harris also appear but their segments were taped later on a sound stage and not at the concert.

Robbie wanted off the road earlier and that is what the Last Waltz was all about…the last concert by The Band with a lot of musical friends. He was tired of touring and also the habits the band was picking up… drugs and drinking. Richard Manuel, in particular, was in bad shape and needed time.

The rest of the Band supposedly agreed but a few years later all of them but Robbie started to tour as The Band again. Richard Manuel ended up hanging himself in 1986. Rick Danko passed away in 1999 at the end of a tour of a heart attack attributed to years of drug and alcohol abuse. Levon Helm died of cancer in 2012.

The Band sounded great that night and it might be the best version you will ever hear of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

The Last Waltz is a grand farewell to a great band and a film that I revisit at least twice a year… once always around Thanksgiving.

The complete concert is at the bottom…without cuts.

Miss O’Dell: Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton… by Chris O’Dell and Katherine Ketcham

I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s almost like a fantasy book. You are a fan and suddenly you get thrown into the world with The Beatles as friends and co-workers. You move from the Beatles to the Stones, CSNY, Bob Dylan and the list kept growing. 

I will say this… as a Beatle fan, this book gave me insight that I never had before. Chris O’Dell happened to meet Derek Taylor (press officer of the Beatles) in Los Angeles in 1968…she worked for him for a few weeks in LA as a PA. He told her she should come over to London to check out the new company that The Beatles were starting called Apple. He didn’t promise her a job but she took a chance and sold her records and borrowed from her parents to go to London. She was like Alice down the rabbit hole, O’Dell stumbled upon a life even she could not have dreamed of.

She took a chance and went over and that started her career working at The Beatles record company Apple. It took her a few months to get hired full time but after the Beatle’s inner circle knew she could be trusted she was there. She met Paul on her very first day. She said all of them were extremely nice and made her feel welcome. She spent the first few months showing up at the office and making herself useful and securing her place. She was especially close to George as a friend and later Ringo as a little more. 

Chris O'Dell George

After all was said and done…she had 3 songs written about her. Two by Leon Russell called Hummingbird, Pieces Apple Lady, and George Harrison’s Miss O’Dell. She was also the “Mystery Woman” on the Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street cover. She was in the Joni Mitchell song “Coyote” with the line He’s got another woman down the hall…the song about Sam Shepard who Chris O’Dell and Joni Mitchell were seeing. She ended up singing on the Hey Jude recording in the final Na Na chorus.

She was one of the first if not the first female tour manager in rock. The tours she worked on were The Rolling Stones, CSNY, Santana, Bob Dylan, Earth Wind and Fire, Jennifer Warnes, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Led Zeppelin, Phil Collins, Echo and the Bunnymen, ELO, and more.

We also get a glimpse into the personalities of Bob Dylan, Jagger and Richards, CSNY (and the disfunction), Eric Clapton, and more. 

Chris O'Dell's Rockstar Life Revealed

Like all of us through life…she made some cringe-worthy decisions. I’m not trying to play it down but most of the time everything worked out in the end. She was in the right place at the right time and took advantage of that. She remains close friends with Pattie Harrison, Ringo Starr (her son’s Godfather), and many of her old famous acquaintances.

This is not a kiss-and-tell book and she doesn’t trash people which made me happy. The only person to come out of this book bad at all is Eric Clapton who was admittedly jealous of Pattie and Chris’s friendship. After the Stones tour, she got into drugs really bad but managed to quit them only to start up again. She, later on, became a drug counselor and helped people. 

This book is for more than just Beatle fans…it gives you what life was like on the road in the 1970s. Some of the highlights in the book for me were: 

  • How the Apple Office worked including the Hell’s Angels visitors
  • How even the biggest stars had deep insecurities
  • Bob Dylan forgot his harmonicas before the Isle of Wight concert and Chris O’Dell arrived by helicopter to give them to him.
  • Keith Richards sending her to pick up a “package” in LA in the middle of a tour
  • Reading about David Crosby’s complaints of no “cross ventilation in his hotel room”
  • When Roger Taylor of Queen realized that she was Miss O’Dell from George’s song.
  • Insight into Pattie Boyd and Maureen Starkey who is hardly covered in Beatles books
  • Reading about how Bangledesh started and how George got his musician friends to participate. 
  • Being on the roof during Get Back brief concert

Chris O’Dell: I think being a Beatle became very difficult for them. They had a different set of problems than the Stones and CSN&Y.  They didn’t tour that much, they couldn’t go out of their hotel rooms, and they lived in a bubble. I think breaking up for them, and I can only guess, was a relief and very difficult at the same time.

Chris O’Dell:  It was like being let go in Disneyland. That’s what it felt like. It’s like here are the keys to Disneyland, go and enjoy yourself. And I was constantly aware that I was watching history in the making and that was exciting. So every day had some, or certainly every week, had something, a twist to it that made it really exciting

Chris O’Dell now: I am happily remarried to a wonderful man who supports me and accepts me as I am. My twenty-three-year-old son is amazing and gives me some credibility as a parent! I have a private practice in Tucson, specializing in addiction and mental health counseling.  My two dogs are happy and life is just better than I would have expected. 

Excerpt from the book: On being in a room with Mick and Keith before the 72 tour. 

“Listen to this fucking article in Rolling Stone about Harrison’s Bangladesh concert,” Keith said. He started reading from the article.
“The Concert for Bangladesh is rock reaching for its manhood.” Keith raised an eyebrow. “Under the leadership of George Harrison, a group of rock musicians recognized, in a deliberate, self-conscious, and professional way, that they have responsibilities, and went about dealing with them seriously.”
Keith looked at Mick and then at me. “Do you believe this shit? But wait, it gets better. Harrison is “a man with a sense of his own worth, his own role in the place of things… with a few parallels among his peers.”
“Bollocks.” Keith laughed, tossing the magazine on the coffee table. “What a fucking load of shit.”
I knew that Keith wasn’t really amused. He could be terribly insecure.
What a paradox Keith was- a sweet sensitive soul who wrote songs about needing love to be happy and yet he lived his life as if he couldn’t give a shit about anything.
But at that moment I wasn’t too interested in Keith’s feelings. I sat at the far end of the sofa, my legs and arms crossed, smoking a cigarette and drinking my Scotch and Coke as if it were straight Coke. I was pissed. Sure, I knew they were just being competitive, but I couldn’t stand listening to them make fun of George. I wanted to jump into the conversation and tell them to leave him alone. But what could I do? I worked for the Stones now, not the Beatles. This is weird, I know, and particularly strange in the context of the Stone’s remarkable longevity, but at that moment I had a sinking feeling that I was beginning my climb down the ladder. I’d started at the very top with the Beatles and now I was on the rung below. I found myself thinking at that moment that the Stones were sometimes a little too raw, too raunchy, too negative. I liked their music, and I liked each of them individually, but if I had to choose, the Beatles would win.
“You know,” I said, trying to smile but having a hard time of it,
“George is my friend.”
Mick looked over at me as if he had forgotten I was there. “Oh yeah, Chris, you’re a Beatle person, aren’t you? Sorry about that”
We let it go, then, but after I dropped Mick at his house and headed home through the dark canyons, I felt a sudden, intense longing to see Pattie and George. Mick was right. When it came right down to it, I was a Beatle person.”

Miss O’Dell

I’m the only one down here
Who’s got nothing to say
About the war
Or the rice
That keeps going astray on its way to Bombay.
That smog that keeps polluting up our shores
Is boring me to tears.
Why don’t you call me, Miss O’Dell?

I’m the only one down here
Who’s got nothing to fear
From the waves
Or the rice
That keeps rolling on right up to my front porch.
The record player’s broken on the floor,
And Ben, he can’t restore it.
Miss O’Dell.

I can tell you
Nothing new
Has happened since I last saw you.

I’m the only one down here
Who’s got nothing to say
About the hip
Or the dope
Or the cat with most hope to fill the Fillmore.
That pushing, shoving, ringing on my bell
Is not for me tonight.
Why don’t you call me, Miss O’Dell?

Why don’t you call me, Miss O’Dell?

Favorite Rock Lyrics 2

Everyone seemed to like the first one so I thought I would bring it back. I did list many of the lyrics that you suggested in the comments on the other post…SO… this post was written by all of us…and uh…the ones that actually wrote the songs!

Bob Dylan

Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear, it’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there... Bob Dylan

Rolling Stones

The sunshine bores the daylights out of me…Rolling Stones

Who

I asked Bobby Dylan, I asked The Beatles, I asked Timothy Leary, but he couldn’t help me either, they called me the Seeker…The Who

Grateful Dead

Cows are giving kerosene, the kid can’t read at seventeen, the words he knows are all obscene, but it’s alright… The Grateful Dead

band

You take what you need and you leave the rest, but they should never have taken the very best… The Band

Trogg

Wild thing you make my heart sing you make everything groovy… The Troggs

Springsteen

There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away… Bruce Springsteen

ACDC

Rich man, poor man, beggar man thief you ain’t got a hope in hell, that’s my belief… ACDC

Beatles - Rocky Raccoon

The farther one travels the less one knows the less one really knows …The Beatles

Leonard Cohen

My friends are gone and my hair is grey I ache in places I used to play …Leonard Cohen

John Lennon

Whatever gets you through the night … John Lennon

Replacements

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung …The Replacements

Led Zeppelin 1976

Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face and stars fill my dream I’m a traveler of both time and space… Led Zeppelin

Kinks

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, except for Lola La-la-la-la LolaThe Kinks

Queen

She keeps her Moet et Chandon in her pretty cabinet “Let them eat cake”, she says just like Marie AntoinetteQueen

van morrison almost independence day

Shammy cleaning all the windows singing songs about Edith Piaf’s soul… Van

neil young after the goldrush

You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon… Neil Young

Simon and Garfunkel concert Ohio University 10-29-1968

Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again…Simon and Garfunkel

Favorite Rock Lyrics

Here are some cool lyrics to some songs. My all-time favorite is the first one…I’ve used this one over and over whenever at work and in our world. I could have filled this up with Dylan lyrics but I wanted to spread the wealth.

The Who | Music legends, Music pics, Rock and roll

Meet the new boss/same as the old boss…The Who (No truer words have been spoken)

What isn't shown in The Beatles: Get Back — Class A drugs, Yoko baiting and  the dodgy accountant | Times2 | The Times

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make…The Beatles

Chuck Berry: 20 Essential Songs - Rolling Stone

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back
And started walking toward a coffee-colored Cadillac… Chuck Berry

Jimmy Webb on John Lennon's Lost Weekend, Frank Sinatra - Rolling Stone

And I need you more than want you,
And I want you for all time…Jimmy Webb

How Peter Gabriel Conquered the World With 'So'

You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a fire…Peter Gabriel.

Grateful Dead - Wikipedia

Shake the hand that shook the hand of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan… Grateful Dead

Revolutions: Rolling Stones "Beggars Banquet" - YouTube

I wasn’t looking too good but I was feeling real well… Rolling Stones

Johnny Cash photographer reveals truth behind San Quentin Prison shot

But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die… Johnny Cash

Bruce Springsteen – The Highlight Reel (1973-1975) – Pretty In Sync.

We learned more from a three-minute record, than we ever learned in school…Bruce Springsteen

Why Hank Williams Won't Be Reinstated in the Grand Ole Opry - Rolling Stone

The silence of a falling star lights up a purple sky… Hank Williams Sr.

The Band Shares Previously-Unreleased "The Weight" From Royal Albert Hall,  1971 [Listen]

I just spent 60 days in the jailhouse/for the crime of having no dough…The Band

lynyrd skynyrd - one more time

I drank enough whiskey to float a battleship around… Lynyrd Skynyrd

Jimmy Buffett

I blew out my flip-flop stepped on a pop-top/cut my heel had to cruise on back home… Jimmy Buffet

Bob Dylan

She knows there’s no success like failure and that failure’s no success at all… Bob Dylan

Bob Seger

Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then… Bob Seger

TW

In Jersey, anything’s legal, as long as you don’t get caught… The Traveling Wilburys

Ricky Nelson

You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself…Ricky Nelson

Kinks

Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain and celluloid heroes never really die… Kinks

Infamous Rock and Roll Locations…Part II

I did a post earlier on Infamous Rock and Roll Locations and I wanted to do a follow-up on it. If you don’t want to click on the link…I mentioned the Riot/Hyatt House, The Edgewater Inn, The Rainbow Bar and Grille, Villa Nellcôte, and Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco.

To be honest….a few are infamous but the other are just cool. I love reading rock music bios and there are some places I would love to visit one day. A warning though…a few are very morbid.

The Highland Gardens Hotel…Ok…this one is a little morbid…well a lot morbid. On October 4, 1970, Janis Joplin stayed here and it was called The Landmark Motor Hotel. She died in room #105 of a suspected heroin overdose. The same hotel stands but it’s called The Highland Gardens Hotel now. Yes, you can rent room #105. She lived there for months while working on her last album Pearl. The closet has handwriting by visitors but the rest of the room is normal. Yes, I would love to go.

Band Pink House

Big Pink in Saugerties/Woodstock: This is the house where The Band and Bob Dylan recorded The Band’s debut album…Music From Big Pink…this house was pink then and is now. Now you can rent the house but you cannot go down to the basement where they recorded…what’s the fun in that?

The World Famous Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip, West Hollywood CA

Whisky a Go-Go on the Sunset Strip: The one on the Sunset Strip opened in 1964. So many bands played and visited there. The Doors, Van Morrison, Buffalo Springfield, Alice Cooper, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Chicago, Germs, Elton John, Oasis, Buffalo Springfield, Steppenwolf, Van Halen, Johnny Rivers, X, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, KISS, Guns N’ Roses, Death, AC/DC, Linkin Park, Metallica, Mötley Crüe Stryper, and many many more.

The Whiskey is still open now.

The Joshua Tree Inn | Joshua Tree National Park | Joshua Tree CA

The Joshua Tree Inn – Another morbid one but I would stay there. On September 18, 1973, Gram Parsons purchased liquid morphine on that night from an unknown girl and died of an overdose. This all happened in Room 8 of this Inn. Yes, you can rent room 8 today in fact..it’s decorated with posters of Gram.

curzon place cass elliot keith moon

Mayfair…Curzon Square – This apartment was owned by Harry Nilsson at the time. It was in this building, in the same apartment that both Cass Elliot (Mama Cass) and Keith Moon died 4 years apart. Nilsson liked the location because it was near Apple Records and nightclubs. It was decorated by  ROR…Ringo and Robin (Ringo Starr and designer Robin Cruikshank).

On July 29, 1974 after a performance…Mama Cass died of a heart attack. In 1978 Keith Moon wanted to rent it from Nilsson but he was afraid to rent it again because Nilsson remembered what happened to Cass. He ended up talking to Pete Townshend and Townshend told him that  ‘lightning does not strike in the same place twice’ so he let Keith rent it. On September 7, 1978, Keith Moon died because of an overdose of clomethiazole…a prescription drug for combating alcoholism in the same bedroom.

Donovan – Catch The Wind

I watched a Bob Dylan film in the 80s called Don’t Look Back and it covered his 1965 UK tour. In that documentary (which I highly recommend) Donovan comes into Bob’s hotel room and starts playing this folk song called “To Sing For You.” The small audience there is captivated. In the middle of the song, Dylan shouts, “Hey, that’s a good song, man!”

It surprised me because at that time I watched this…all I knew from Donovan were these psychedelic songs like Mellow Yellow and Hurdy Gurdy Man.  The melody to Catch The Wind borrows heavily from Bob Dylan’s “Chimes Of Freedom” but Bob didn’t say a word in the documentary.

Donovan and Dylan also made their UK chart debut in the same week, Donovan with Catch The Wind and Dylan with “The Times They Are A Changin’.” Donovan was often dubbed as Britain’s answer to Dylan…NEVER a good thing to be the “new” Dylan/Elvis/Beatles anywhere. There will be no doubt who influenced him though after a listen to the song. It’s a very accessible folk song.

He dated model Linda Lawrence, who was then the girlfriend of the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones soon after writing this song. He bumped into her four years later and they married in 1970.

The song was added to his first album What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid released in 1965. This was released right after Donovan turned 19. The album peaked at #3 in the UK and #30 on the Billboard Album Charts. I could not find an entry in Canada.

The song peaked at #4 in the UK,#10 in Canada, and #23 on the Billboard 100 in 1965. It has been covered by hundreds of artists including Sammy Hagar, Bruce Springsteen’s first band The Castiles, The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs, and Rickie Lee Jones.

Donovan: “‘Catch The Wind,’ I wrote it for Linda, although I hadn’t really met her yet. It is a song of unrequited love, yet I hadn’t really met her, so how could I miss her? And I seem to write prophetic songs in the sense of the Celtic poet and I wrote this song before I met Linda, of a love I would like to have had and lost.”

‘She was the first paparazzi-worthy girlfriend and was going out with the most charismatic rock star in Britain, Brian Jones. When I met her she’d just split from Brian, and she told me she wasn’t ready for another serious relationship. We had a passionate love affair, but parted in 1965 as she needed some time away from the limelight in which to grow up. She was only 16 when she and Brian had a child together, Julian, who later I’d raise as my own.

Catch The Wind

In the chilly hours and minutes
Of uncertainty, I want to be
In the warm hold of your love and mine

To feel you all around me
And to take your hand along the sand
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

When sundown pales the sky
I want to hide a while behind your smile
And everywhere I’d look your eyes I’d find

For me to love you now
Would be the sweetest thing ‘twould make me sing
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

Di di di di, di di di di
Di di di di, di di di di
Di di di

When rain has hung the leaves with tears
I want you near to kill my fears
To help me to leave all my blues behind

For standin’ in your heart
Is where I want to be and long to be
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

Bob Dylan – Sweetheart Like You

This song was on the Infidels album. That is my favorite Dylan album of the 80s by far. I wore it out when I bought it. Great album. Songs like Jokerman, Neighborhood Bully, Union Sundown, and many more. 

A photograph of Dylan's face, wearing sunglasses and a short beard

I liked the song straight off. It did remind me of the old line that has been used over and over again in bars and clubs ALL over the world. 

Sometimes it’s hard to post Dylan’s music because of the varied meanings of his songs…so I don’t even try to decipher them. I will say this though…the melody and lyrics flow perfectly. Dylan isn’t known much for ballads but this is a great one. 

The first time I heard this song was watching a video of it. That led me to get the album. It was Dylan’s first music video in the MTV era and it pulled me in to buy the album. The video for the song featured Carla Olson, Steve Ripley, drummer Charlie Quintana, and Clydie King. In the clip, Olson mimes former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor’s guitar part and solo. 

Dylan recorded this song with an all-star cast. Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler and the Stones’ Mick Taylor on guitar, Alan Clark on keyboards, Robbie Shakespeare on bass, and Sly Dunbar on drums.

Dylan’s previous album Shot of Love was released in 1981 and wrapped up a trilogy of Christian-based albums. Infidels was thought to be his return to secular music but he kept biblical imagery in this song.  Lines such as “They say in your father’s house, there’s many a mansions” which is a reference to John 14:2 –  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

The album peaked at #20 in the Billboard Album Charts, #14 in Canada, #4 in New Zealand, and #9 in the UK in 1983. Sweetheart Like You peaked at #55 on the Billboard 100 in 1984. 

British engineer Ian Taylor talks about Bob: “He was very specific about how the solo should start, it wasn’t about the sound he wanted, but the first few notes. He wanted the guitar solo at the end, the last thing you hear. So he wanted it to embellish the spirit of the song.” 

Joni Mitchell considers Sweetheart Like You one of her favorite Bob Dylan songs ” for its Damon Runyon style of storytelling” and she recorded it on her “Artist’s Choice: Joni Mitchell—music that matters to her” compilation released through Starbucks in 2005.

Chrissie Hynde also recorded the song on her  Standing in the Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan album. 

Sweetheart Like You

Well the pressure’s down, the boss ain’t here
He’s gone North, for a while
They say that vanity got the best of him
But he sure left here in style
By the way, that’s a cute hat
And that smile’s so hard to resist
But what’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?

You know, I once knew a woman who looked like you
She wanted a whole man, not just a half
She used to call me sweet daddy when I was only a child
You kind of remind me of her when you laugh
In order to deal in this game, got to make the queen disappear
It’s done with a flick of the wrist
What’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?

You know a woman like you should be at home
That’s where you belong
Taking care for somebody nice
Who don’t know how to do you wrong
Just how much abuse will you be able to take?
Well, there’s no way to tell by that first kiss
What’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?

You know you can make a name for yourself
You can hear them tires squeal
You could be known as the most beautiful woman
Who ever crawled across cut glass to make a deal.

You know, news of you has come down the line
Even before ya came in the door
They say in your father’s house, there’s many a mansions
Each one of them got a fireproof floor
Snap out of it baby, people are jealous of you
They smile to your face, but behind your back they hiss
What’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?

Got to be an important person to be in here, honey
Got to have done some evil deed
Got to have your own harem when you come in the door
Got to play your harp until your lips bleed.
They say that patriotism is the last refuge
To which a scoundrel clings
Steal a little and they throw you in jail
Steal a lot and they make you king
There’s only one step down from here, baby
It’s called the land of permanent bliss
What’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?

Bob Dylan – Let’s Stick Together

This post is a 4-in-1 deal…Let’s Stick Together was on Bob Dylan’s album Down In The Groove…considered his worst album by some critics. I never thought that…I bought it when it came out and it’s not that bad. The worse Bob Dylan album is much better than a lot of others.

This song has been covered by a lot of artists. The confusing part is the song not only goes by Let’s Stick Together but also Let’s Work Together.

Our band covered this one and we did it with the arrangement that Dylan laid down. I like this song no matter who covers it. I like Bryan Ferry, Canned Heat, and Wilbert Harrison’s version.

Wilbert Harrison originally wrote and recorded this blues-style R&B number as “Let’s Stick Together,” a plea for fidelity in a fractured marriage. That version, released in 1962, didn’t make the charts (until Bryan Ferry covered it in 1976) but never left Harrison’s mind. Seven years later, he resurrected the song, keeping the melody but changing the lyrics. “I thought I’d put some words to it that meant a bit more.”

Changing the title to “Let’s Work Together,” Harrison’s new message of unity was aimed at a nation rife with conflict over the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War.

Canned Heat didn’t want to overshadow Harrison with their version. In fact, if they’d known the singer was going to have success with it, they never would have recorded it in the first place. They first heard the tune when it was still making the rounds at underground radio stations. Their new guitarist Harvey Mandel played it for the rest of the guys and suggested they cover it, but their co-vocalist, Bob “The Bear” Hite, wanted to wait a few months to see if Harrison would chart first. According to drummer Adolfo de la Parra, Hite didn’t like taking songs away from living black musicians unless they weren’t hits.

Bryan Ferry had success with the song…peaking at #4 in the UK in 1976 and #1 in Australia. In 1988 Ferry did an updated version of the song, re-mixed by Bruce Lampcov & Rhett Davies. This re-recording reached #12 in the UK chart. Ferry had the most success with the song.

Let’s Stick Together

Well, a marriage vow, you know, it’s very sacred
The man put us together, now, you wanna make it
Stick together
Come on, come on, stick together

You know, you made a vow, not to leave one another, never
Well, ya never miss your water ’til your well runs dry
Now, come on, baby, give our love a try, let’s stick together
Come on, come on, stick together

We made a vow, not to leave one another, never
Well, ya never miss your water ’til your well runs dry
Come one, baby, give our love a try, let’s stick together
Come on, come on and stick together
You know, we made a vow, not to leave one another, never

It might be tough for a while, but consider the child
Cannot be happy without his mom and his papi

Let’s stick together
Come on, come on, stick together
You know, we made a vow, not to leave one another, never

Alarm – Sixty Eight Guns

I saw The Alarm open up for someone and I think it was Dylan in the late eighties. At that time I didn’t know who they were but I liked them right away. I kept up with them after that concert. This song stood out from all the ones they did.

When they first started out…like most rock bands they were rebellious. “Sixty Eight Guns” was their battle cry, a call to arms against the establishment. This attitude was formed in their hometown of Rhyl, North Wales, where they grew up in bleak economic times and fought naysayers who saw no need for another rabble-rousing rock band.

The song was written by bass player Eddie Macdonald and lead singer Mike Peters. Many reviews at the time compared them to U2…also calling them U3 at times. The Alarm gained a huge audience by opening up for…guess who? They opened for U2 on a large 1983 tour. This song was released in 1983 and peaked a #39 on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks and #17 in the UK.

In 1991 The Alarm was doing a concert and lead singer Mike Peters suddenly said “We’ve shared some great moments in time over the last ten years and tonight I would like to thank all the people who have supported me from the beginning to the end. Tonight this is my last moment with the Alarm, I’m going out in a Blaze of Glory – my hands are held up high”…… It would have been nice if he would have shared this little bit of info with his bandmates before the concert!

They did regroup occasionally and they have switched up members but have continued to release albums in the 21st century under the name The Alarm MM++.

Mike Peters: “It was about young people at that difficult age where you’re too cool for school, but not wise enough or eligible enough for adult life, So, it’s about people like that – like I was, once. We hung around on street corners, we started bands, we bought clothes, we identified with each other, and we credit these very bonded groups of individuals. And that’s how the Alarm grew.”

“It was a gang that made The Alarm special, ‘Sixty Eight Guns’ is really the description of the feeling that you could make change for yourself and make your life a better place to be in.”

Sixty Eight Guns

And now they’re trying to take my life away 
Forever young I cannot stay
Hey
On every corner I can see them there
They don’t know my name they don’t know my kind
They’re after you with their promises
(Promises of love)
They’re after you to sign your life away
(Yeah, yeaoh)

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
Oh, the Sixty-eight

Living in the backstreets 
That’s our home from home
The painted walls were all we’ve ever known 
?he Guns Forever’ that’s our battle cry
It is the flag that we fly so high 
For every day they’ll try and drag us down
(Drag us down and down)
I cry with anger I have done no crime
No
(Yeah, yeaoh)

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
The Sixty-eight

Up on the terrace I can hear the crowd roar 
Sixty Eight Guns
And in the subway I can hear them whisper 
Sixty Eight Guns
Through all the raging glory of the years 
We never once thought of the fears 
For what we’d do when the battle cry was over . 
Nothing lasts forever is all they seem to tell you when you’re young 

(I, I do swear
To unbreak the promise
To unbreak the vow

Unbreak it)

When you’re young
Have no illusion, no disillusion

Unbreak the promise
Unbreak the vow
Uphold the promise

SIXTY EIGHT GUNS

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
The sixty eight guns
Sixty eight guns
The sixty eight guns

Bob Dylan – Eat The Document

This is a film I so wish they would clean up and release. I watched a bootleg version of it in the 80s VHS. 

This was a film that covered Bob Dylan on his 1966 European tour backed up by the Hawks that eventually became The Band minus, Levon Helm. The film was to be shown on ABC television but ABC rejected and saying it was “incomprehensible” because Dylan himself was one of the editors and wanted the film to have more of an artistic feel.

It was filmed by D.A. Pennebaker who filmed Dylan’s 65 European tour when he played acoustically called Don’t Look Back. Don’t Look Back is terrific. This film is very disjointed. That is not saying I don’t like it. This is the Dylan period that probably is my favorite. The Hawks are raw and powerful and Dylan was

There are some highlights to this odd film. A spontaneous piano duet with Dylan and Johnny Cash, John Lennon and Bob Dylan very high riding around in a cab, and the famous concert where an audience member yells out “Judas” because of Dylan’s conversion to electric music. After the Judas remark, he proceeds to tell Robbie Robertson to play it loud and they kick off in a vicious “Like a Rolling Stone.” My favorite live version of that song. Those folk music fans were harsh.

The film is disjointed and frustrating to watch because some of the songs you want to see and hear are there…but only partly. You will be seeing Dylan performing something and then flash away to something else. Some of the concert footage and film from this ended up in the Martin Scorsese movie No Direction Home…I would recommend No Direction Home to everyone.

Bob was pale and nervous and there is no secret he was doing drugs heavily throughout this movie. After the tour, Dylan had a motorcycle wreck heard around the world and after he recovered he didn’t tour for years.

The cab ride with John Lennon is historical now. Both of them in sunglasses and Lennon trying to inject humor into the situation and Dylan is ok at first and then starts getting sick as the filming stops.

If you are a Dylan fan it’s worth a watch. I’m glad we have “No Direction Home” to see some clear film segments on that tour. Eat The Document has not been officially released but you can get a bootleg of it or watch most of it on youtube.

A Concert of The Mind…Fantasy Park

***Dave from A Sound Day has a new feature Turntable Talk…he will have an article by me today about Why the Beatles are still relevant…hope you get to read it.***

Fantasy Park: 1975 – Twin Cities Music Highlights

Imagine a concert in 1975 with The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Allman Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and more. Well, it happened! Sorta. Rod Serling did all of the radio promos. It would be one of his last projects…he would pass away before it aired.

It was a 48-hour-long rock concert (Fantasy Park) that was aired by nearly 200 radio stations over Labor Day weekend in 1975. The program, produced by KNUS in Dallas, featured performances by dozens of rock stars of the day and even reunited The Beatles. It was also completely imaginary, a theatre-of-the-mind for the 70s.

The “concert” was made up of live and studio recordings by the artists with live effects added to make it sound legit.

The show had college students hitchhiking all over America hoping to get to Fantasy Park. In New Orleans when the concert aired, the IRS came knocking on the doors of WNOE trying to attach the gate receipts to make sure the Feds got their cut! Callers were asking where they could get tickets to this amazing show.

The show was so popular in Minnesota that they played it again in its entirety the next year…now that people knew it wasn’t real and weren’t looking for tickets. The greatest concert that never was.  Fantasy Park had their own emcee and special reporters covering the weekend event giving you the play-by-play details along with some behind-the-scenes updates.

The concert would always be halted due to rain on a Sunday morning to allow the locals to get in their regular (usually religious) programming and the whole event always ended promptly at 6 pm on Sunday.

Now people look for the full 48-hour tapes of the show. They are a hot collector’s item. Rod Serling passed away on June 28, 1975.

Bands at Fantasy Park

Chicago
Elton John
Led Zeppelin
Joe Walsh
Cream
Shawn Phillips
Pink Floyd
Carly Simon
James Taylor (& Carol King)
Poco
Alvin Lee
Eagles
Linda Rondstadt
Dave Mason
Steve Miller
John Denver
Beach Boys
War
Grand Funk
Yes
Deep Purple
Rolling Stones
Cat Stevens
The Who
Rolling Stones
Moody Blues
Marshall Tucker Band
Allman Brothers Band
Seals & Crofts
America
Joni Mitchell
Doobie Brothers
Loggins and Messina
Crosby/Stills/Nash/Young
Bob Dylan
Beatles

Here is 10 minutes of it here.

Bob Dylan – Maggie’s Farm

One of the first songs that caught my attention by Bob Dylan. I’ve seen the man live 8 times and this one…he would always play, at least in the first 5 concerts. After that I only heard it once again.

I don’t post many Dylan songs…not because I’m not a huge fan…like I said I’ve seen the man 8 times. If I get a chance, I’ll see him 8 more times.  When you post a Dylan song you almost feel the urge to do an interpretation of the song…I have no interest in doing that.

Some think he was inspired by The Bentley Brothers’ “Penny’s Farm,” a 1920s song about a rural landlord. In “Maggie’s Farm,” Dylan included descriptions of Maggie, her brother, her father, and her mother in successive verses.

The song was famous for the reaction it got at the Newport Jazz Festival when Dylan “went electric” to his die-hard folk fans. This appearance by Dylan is portrayed as one of the most important and controversial events in the history of American rock and roll. When the band came out to play his new songs from Bringing It Back Home album…much of the crowd were not amused. They wanted Bob to only play the acoustic and sing protest songs…but Bob had already started opening the folk-rock door earlier with bands such as The Byrds covering his songs.

Some say that most of the booing was not because of the songs but with different things like the short set, the volume level (you couldn’t hear Dylan sing), and other things.

Bob didn’t really care…or he didn’t show it much. He was going to do what he wanted to do. He continued with a different backing band later…and that band heard boo’s around the world…the backing band turned out to be The Band…then known as The Hawks.

Al Kooper organist: The reason they booed is because he only played for 15 minutes and everybody else played for 45 minutes to an hour, and he was the headliner of the festival. […] The fact that he was playing electric…I don’t know. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (who had played earlier) had played electric and the crowd didn’t seem too incensed.

Maggies Farm peaked at #22 in the UK in 1965.

From Songfacts

Dylan recorded this at one of his first rock sessions on January 15, 1965. He was backed by two electric guitarists, piano, bass, and drums.

Dylan’s famous (some say infamous) set at the Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965 marks the split of Bob Dylan with the folk movement when he decided to play a set with a backing band of electric instruments. The set included three songs: “Maggie’s Farm,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” and “Phantom Engineer.”

 The audience at the festival was clearly angry with Dylan and they expressed their anger with a growing chorus of boos during the 16-minute set.

The band for this set was hastily thrown together. This would indicate that doing an “electric” set wasn’t necessarily part of Dylan’s plans for this festival.

Several members of this band played with the Paul Butterfiled Blues Band, who played for about 45 minutes just before Dylan took the stage. Guitarist Michael Bloomfield, bassist Jerome Arnold and drummer Sam Lay all played with Dylan that evening. Al Kooper, who didn’t play with the Butterfield band but played the instantly recognizable organ line on “Like A rolling Stone” in the studio recording, rounded out the band. Legend has it that Dylan rehearsed all night with this band the day before the performance, but even with that preparation, the performances were weak. That too could have accounted for the boos.

Al Kooper said later in an interview that he thought the booing was caused by a bad sound system, but recordings don’t bear that out.

But the day before during a blues workshop, Alan Lomax, one of the organizers of the festival, was very condescending in introducing the Butterfield Blues Band. Lomax was a blues purist and felt that white boys had no business playing the blues. That led to a physical fight between Lomax and Albert Grossman who managed both Dylan and the Butterfield Blues Band.

Also, in introducing the evening show, Pete Seeger (another organizer of the festival, and another folk music purist,) played the audience a recording of a newborn baby, and said that the final night’s program was a message from everyone to this baby that the world it was being born into was full of hate, hunger, bombs, and injustice, but that the people – the folk – would overcome, and make it a better world.

Overwrought displays like this also may have set Dylan’s teeth on edge. If he was on the fence about doing an electric set, these two events might have convinced him just to get under the skin of these two pompous organizers.

Or maybe the audience was angry with the short set of only three songs. A rain delay pushed some of the afternoon bands into the evening show. So people had been sitting and waiting for Dylan for a while. Peter Yarrow (of Peter Paul and Mary, and another of the Festival’s organizers) persuaded Dylan to return to the stage to sing a few more songs. Dylan borrowed an acoustic guitar (allegedly from Johnny Cash) and opened with “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” while he appeared to be regaining his wits after being blindsided by the boos from the audience.

The acoustic set seemed to placate everyone. Dylan then started to strum the chords to “Tambourine Man” but realized he didn’t have a harmonica. He asked for anyone with an E harmonic to throw it up to him. There followed a barrage of incoming harmonicas hitting the stage. Dylan picked one up, thanked the crowd and played on. (This can be seen on the Songfacts.com video of the song.)

The two recordings of Maggie’s Farm presented here – the acoustic studio version, and the video from the Newport Folk Festival – are good examples of how Dylan’s music changed. In 1963, when Dylan released his first successful recordings, he was hailed as one of the most powerful musical voices in America. By 1965, with the growing influence of the Beatles, and the continued musical conservatism of the folk movement as personified by Pete Seeger, the relationship between the folk movement and Dylan became increasingly strained. The final separation came with “Maggie’s Farm” at the Newport Folk Festival of 1965. (Thanks, David Sherman, who teaches the History of Rock and Roll at Excelsior College.) >>

Making his fifth appearance performing on the Grammys, Dylan played this at the 2011 ceremonies backed by The Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons.

Festival! was a 1967 documentary film about Dylan’s three mid-’60s appearances at the Newport Folk Festival, including his controversial electric set from 1965. Uncut magazine asked the movie’s director, Murray Lerner, what he could hear on stage, after Dylan came on and played “Maggie’s Farm.”

“I heard a combination of boos and applause,” he replied. “And some catcalls. And then when he came back and did the acoustic songs, they got with it again. He was nervous when he came back, there’s no question about it. That was sweat you can see rolling down his face. And on ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ asking for a harmonica from the crowd – the fact that he forgot his harmonica.”

Maggie’s Farm

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
No, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
Well, I wake in the morning
Fold my hands and pray for rain
I got a head full of ideas
That are drivin’ me insane
It’s a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more
No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more
Well, he hands you a nickel
He hands you a dime
He asks you with a grin
If you’re havin’ a good time
Then he fines you every time you slam the door
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more
No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more
Well, he puts his cigar
Out in your face just for kicks
His bedroom window
It is made out of bricks
The National Guard stands around his door
Ah, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more
No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more
Well, she talks to all the servants
About man and God and law
Everybody says
She’s the brains behind Pa
She’s sixty eight, but she says she’s fifty four
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
No, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
Well, I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
They sing while you slave and I just get bored
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more

Otis Gibbs

I came across Otis’s youtube channel and I think some of you would be interested. He is a singer songwriter but on his channel he has conversations musicians who have played or worked with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Waylon Jennings, just to name a few, and  his own stories about different musicians. For you music fans it’s worth your time. The guy doesn’t interview people…he lets people talk and tell their stories.  He is also a good story teller. I’m hooked on his channel.

He has stories about Jerry Reed, The Replacements, Dan Baird, Merle Haggard, Ry Cooder, Towns Van Zant, Bill Monroe, George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, John Prine, Mike Campbell and more.

He lives in Indiana but interviews many Nashville connected musicians. Check this guy out…His music is VERY good as well. I’m just checking that out more as I go… his music is classified as alt-country.

I just picked a few random youtube videos from his page below.

This is his youtube page:

https://www.youtube.com/user/otisgibbs

Chuck Mead – 90s Alternative Country band BR5-49…talking about when he toured with Bob Dylan

Kenny Vaughn – Lucinda Williams  guitar player at the time talks about touring with Tom Petty

Chuck Mead again with Keith Richards

Dan Baird on the Replacements

Otis Gibbs Wiki

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otis_Gibbs

Replacements – Merry Go Around

This one is off of their last studio album All Shook Down. I was going to conclude with this one having one off of their studio albums but there is one more coming next week.

This is not my favorite off the album but it did have a commercial sound for that time and it’s something that I thought would have charted in the Billboard 100. Merry Go Round did peak at #1 on the alternative charts. The album peaked at #69 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1990.

“Merry Go Round” was written about the  lives of Westerberg and his sister Mary (“They ignored me with a smile, you as a child”).

The band went to Los Angeles to make a video for Merry Go Round. With Westerberg’s okay, Warner Bros. hired Bob Dylan’s twenty-three-year-old son Jesse Dylan, who was just starting to direct.

It was shot in black and white and later edited to include some colorful inserts. From the opening moments, with a stone-faced Westerberg staring blankly into the camera, the video lacked the fun that had marked some of  their other clips. Paul and Tommy managed a few smiles, and Slim played along gamely. The drummer Chris Mars, miming to Charley Drayton’s drum track, was understandably less than enthused.

Merry Go Round

Hush was the first word you were taught
And they watched you wear
The clothes they claimed that they bought
They brought you down
To watch the merry-go around

In fall, you knew how much it cost
A trouble doll
Around your neck when you lost
You wouldn’t make a sound
But I could hear your little heart pound
And I watched your feet slip off the ground

Merry go round in dreams
Writes ’em down, it seems
When she sleeps, she’s free
Merry go round in dreams

You wake to another day and find
The wind’s blowing out of key with your sky
Only you can see
And the rain dancing in the night
Everybody stands around in delight

Merry go round in dreams
Writes ’em down, it seems
When she sleeps, she’s free
Merry go round in dreams

And everybody thinks she’s sick
She’s got two worlds she can pick
And she’s sad

Hush is the only word you know
And I stopped listening long ago
They ignored me with a smile
You as a child
But the trouble doll hears your heart pound
And your feet they say goodbye to the ground

Merry go round in dreams
Writes ’em down, it seems
When she sleeps, she’s free
Merry go round in dreams

Merry go round in dreams
Merry go round in me
Merry go round
Round and round in me
Merry go round
Round and round in me