Traveling Wilburys – Handle With Care

This was the hit that kicked the Wilburys project off the ground. George Harrsison and Jeff Lynne started the ball rolling… Initially an informal grouping with Roy Orbison and Tom Petty, they got together at Bob Dylan’s Santa Monica, California studio to quickly record an additional track as a B-side for the single release of Harrison’s song This Is Love. This was the song they came up with, which the record company immediately realized was too good to be released as a single B side. They also recorded “You Got It” at the session, which helped convince them to record an album together.

The song made it to #2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs Chart in 1988.

The title Handle With Care came when George Harrison saw the phrase on the side of a cardboard box in the studio.

Tom Petty on Bob Dylan: “There’s nobody I’ve ever met who knows more about the craft of how to put a song together than he does. I learned so much from just watching him work. He has an artist’s mind and can find in a line the keyword and think how to embellish it to bring the line out. I had never written more words than I needed, but he tended to write lots and lots of verses, then he’ll say, this verse is better than that, or this line. Slowly this great picture emerges. He was very good in The Traveling Wilbury’s: when somebody had a line, he could make it a lot better in big ways.”

Handle With Care

Been beat up and battered ’round
Been sent up, and I’ve been shot down
You’re the best thing that I’ve ever found
Handle me with care

Reputations changeable
Situations tolerable
Baby, you’re adorable
Handle me with care

I’m so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care?

Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on

I’ve been fobbed off, and I’ve been fooled
I’ve been robbed and ridiculed
In daycare centers and night schools
Handle me with care

Been stuck in airports, terrorized
Sent to meetings, hypnotized
Overexposed, commercialized
Handle me with care

I’m so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care?

Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on

I’ve been uptight and made a mess
But I’ll clean it up myself, I guess
Oh, the sweet smell of success
Handle me with care

Byrds – You Ain’t Going Nowhere

A great song by The Byrds that was written by Bob Dylan. The Byrds released this song in 1968 and it was on their classic album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Their version was released 3 years before Dylan commercially released a version of the song on his Greatest Hits Vol 2 album in 1971.

You Ain’t Going Nowhere peaked at #74 on the Billboard 100 in 1968. This country-rock song has been covered many times by different artists.

Dylan’s original Basement Tapes demo of this song contained the lyric “Pick up your money, pack up your tent”, which was mistakenly altered by McGuinn in the Byrds’ version to “Pack up your money, pick up your tent.” Dylan took note of this lyric change in his 1971 recording of the song, singing “Pack up your money, put up your tent McGuinn. You ain’t goin’ nowhere.” McGuinn said: “It was an honor to be in a Bob Dylan song! I got the words wrong and he changed all the words for his version of it. He and I have always been kind of like that. He likes to poke fun at me.”

From Songfacts

The likely influence on this song was Dylan’s 1967 motorcycle accident, which severely limited his mobility. The song was recorded in the basement of a house where members of The Band lived, and played with Dylan while he experimented with new sounds. The Basement Tapes album was not officially released until 1975, but the songs were circulated and this one drew the attention of The Byrds, who released it on their 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo

The Byrds released “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” as the first single off the album peaking at #45 in the US and #74 in the UK. Guitarist and singer Roger McGuinn recalled to Uncut that their record label, Columbia Records (which was also Dylan’s record label), sent their producer Gary Usher some demos from Dylan’s Woodstock sessions. Among them were “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and “Nothing Was Delivered” (which the Byrds also recorded), 

Roger McGuinn said “I thought they sounded really good,” he said. “You didn’t know what Bob was up to; and far as I knew, he was just laid up from a motorcycle accident. But I think it was probably a reaction to the psychedelic thing. It just got to be too much and everybody wanted to back off.”

You Ain’t Going Nowhere

Clouds so swift
Rain won’t lift
Gate won’t close
Railings froze
Get your mind off wintertime
You ain’t goin nowhere
Whoo-ee ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day
My bride’s gonna come
Oh, Oh are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chairI don’t care
How many letters they send
Morning came and morning went
Pack up your money
Pick up your tent
You ain’t goin nowhere
Whoo-ee ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day
My bride’s gonna come
Oh, Oh are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chairBuy me a flute
And a gun that shoots
Tailgates and substitutes
Strap yourself
To a tree with roots
You ain’t goin nowhere
Whoo-ee ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day
My bride’s gonna come
Oh, Oh are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

Now Genghis Kahn
He could not keep
All his kings
Supplied with sleep
We’ll climb that hill no matter how steep
When we get up to it
Whoo-ee ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day
My bride’s gonna come
Oh, Oh are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

 

Favorite Lines from Songs Part 2

I did Part 1 over a year ago and it was a fun post. I’ve been meaning to do this again. I remembered some of the lyrics suggested by my friends hanspostcard and allthingsthriller on the last post…I have added those to list. Thanks to both of you.

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

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Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free Janis Joplin/Kris Kristofferson

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

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Doesn’t have a point of view / Knows not where he’s going to / Isn’t he a bit like you and me…The Beatles

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Met myself a coming county welfare line, I was feeling strung out, Hung out on the line…Creedence Clearwater Revival

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And you’ve got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above…Bruce Springsteen

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He’d end up blowing all his wages for the week / All for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek…Kinks

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Well it’s too late, tonight, To drag the past out into the light, We’re one, but we’re not the same, We get to carry each other, Carry each other…U2

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You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a firePeter Gabriel

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Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see…The Beatles

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Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola, C-O-L-A Cola…Kinks

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It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart…Bob Dylan
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A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see oneThe Band

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And the sign said, The words of the prophets, are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls… Simon and Garfunkel

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I lit up from Reno, I was trailed by twenty hounds, Didn’t get to sleep that night
Till the morning came around…Grateful Dead

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When I said that I was lying, I might have been lyingElvis Costello
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Though nothing will keep us together/We can be heroes/Just for one day…David Bowie
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Lose your dreams and you. Will lose your mind…Rolling Stones

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It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win…Bruce Springsteen

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The motor cooled down, the heat went down, and that’s when I heard that highway sound…Chuck Berry

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We were the first band to vomit at the bar, and find the distance to the stage too far…The Who

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Bob Dylan – Ballad of a Thin Man

And you know something’s happening but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

There is a lot of power in just that one line and the song. Not only the lyrics but the intensity that Bob sings it. When it was released everyone wanted to know who Mr. Jones was and people still wonder. Bob Dylan set it straight like only Dylan does with this statement…“I could tell you who Mr. Jones is in my life, but, like, everybody has got their Mr. Jones.” 

“Ballad Of A Thin Man” was recorded on August 2, 1965, at the same session as “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” “Queen Jane Approximately” and “Highway 61 Revisited,” when you get those songs out of a session…you are doing alright.

The song was on the great album Highway 61 Revisited. The album peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100 and #4 in the UK in 1965.

From Songfacts

While speculations remain rampant as to who “Mr. Jones” is and what exactly this song is supposed to mean, there is no definitive answer at this time. The closest thing we’ve seen to an answer from Dylan himself appears in an interview given in Keys to the Rain: The Definitive Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, where Dylan asserts that the “Mr. Jones” in question is a real person not known by this name, who is a pinboy, wears suspenders, and “puts his eyes in his pocket” which might mean that he wears glasses.

Before launching into this song in Japan, 1986, Dylan said, “This is a song I wrote in response to people who ask questions all the time. You just get tired of that every once in a while.”

Of the many references to “Ballad of a Thin Man” found throughout media, are the lines “feel so suicidal, just like Dylan’s Mr. Jones” from the Beatles’ “Yer Blues,” “Mr. Jones is a man who doesn’t know who Mr. Jones is” from Momus’ “Who Is Mr. Jones?,” “I wanna be Bob Dylan, Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky.” from Counting Crows’ “Mr. Jones,” and “Mr. Jones won’t lend me a hand” from Country Joe and the Fish’ “Flying High.” While we cannot speculate on the true identity of Mr. Jones, it can be said that the name “Mr. Jones” has come to symbolize for the music world the kind of old-guard “square” who “doesn’t get it,” similar to our modern usage of the mythical “Joe Sixpack.”

This is the song which Bob Dylan and his band played at the Forest Hills concert of 1965 in an attempt to soothe the unruly crowd. As Al Kooper recounts in Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, “It had a quiet intro, and the kids persisted in yelling and booing all the way through it. Dylan shouted to us to ‘keep playing the intro over and over again until they shut up!’ We played it for a good five minutes – doo do da da, do da de da – over and over until they did, in fact, chill. A great piece of theater. When they were finally quiet, Dylan sang the lyrics to them.”

A 1966 cover of this song (titled “Mr. Jones (Ballad of a Thin Man)”) was the first single for The Grass Roots. At the time, the group was led by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri. Sloan credits Bob Dylan for sticking by him when many other musicians and industry insiders dissociated themselves from him. Sloan was an up-and-coming songwriter/producer when he wrote the incendiary hit “Eve Of Destruction,” which went to #1 in 1965, but caused a great deal of controversy and made it very difficult for him to find work.

According to Al Kooper, Bob Dylan took from Ray Charles’s “I Believe to My Soul” for “Ballad of a Thin Man.”

In a September 22, 1966 interview in Austin, Texas, a reporter asked Dylan if “Ballad of a Thin Man” was about “a newspaper reporter or something.” Dylan, who spent the entire interview mocking and evading the questions, responded with a single line: “No, it’s just about a fella that came into a truck stop once.”

The opening line, “You walk into the room with your pencil in your hand,” was at one point, “You walk into the room with a hatchet in your hand.” This was revealed in a lyric sheet that is part of Dylan’s archives in Tulsa.

Before and after their speeches, Black Panther founder Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale regularly played this song over the PA system. Insiders reported they listened to it almost obsessively. The two men felt it was speaking about the black struggle in America.

Ballad of a Thin Man

You walk into the room with your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked and you say, “Who is that man?”
You try so hard but you don’t understand
Just what you will say when you get home
Because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

You raise up your head and you ask, “Is this where it is?”
And somebody points to you and says, “It’s his”
And you say, “What’s mine?” and somebody else says, “Well, what is?”
And you say, “Oh my God, am I here all alone?”
But something is happening and you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

You hand in your ticket and you go watch the geek
Who immediately walks up to you when he hears you speak
And says, “How does it feel to be such a freak?”
And you say, “Impossible!” as he hands you a bone
And something is happening here but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

You have many contacts among the lumberjacks
To get you facts when someone attacks your imagination
But nobody has any respect, anyway they already expect you to all give a check
To tax-deductible charity organizations

Ah, you’ve been with the professors and they’ve all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have discussed lepers and crooks
You’ve been through all of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books
You’re very well-read, it’s well-known
But something is happening here and you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

Well, the sword swallower, he comes up to you and then he kneels
He crosses himself and then he clicks his high heels
And without further notice, he asks you how it feels
And he says, “Here is your throat back, thanks for the loan”
And you know something is happening but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

Now, you see this one-eyed midget shouting the word “Now”
And you say, “For what reason?” and he says, “How”
And you say, “What does this mean?” and he screams back, “You’re a cow”
“Give me some milk or else go home”
And you know something’s happening but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

Well, you walk into the room like a camel, and then you frown
You put your eyes in your pocket and your nose on the ground
There ought to be a law against you comin’ around
You should be made to wear earphones
‘Cause something is happening and you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

Bob Dylan – Duquesne Whistle

This song was off the 2012 album Temptest. Bob wrote this song with Robert Hunter, the Grateful Dead lyricist. The album peaked at #3 in the Billboard Album Charts. My son is who called my attention to this one. Unlike some other older performers, Bob somehow stays relevant to the times.

The memorable video is directed by Nash Edgerton. Bob looks just really cool in this video as he leads some kind of gang.

The song refers to the Duquesne train service that used to run between New York Penn and Pittsburgh Penn Stations, which was named after the 18th century Fort Duquesne in the latter city. That route is now served by the daily Amtrack Pennsylvanian service.

From Songfacts

The bluesy song  The lyrics show Dylan’s distaste at times a changing’. “Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing,” he demands. “Blowing like it’s gonna sweep my world away.”

The Nash Edgerton-directed music video is set on the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Dylan appears briefly throughout the clip.

The line, “I’m gonna stop at Carbondale and keep on going” refers to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, in the northeast corner of the state. Like all of the region, it’s now a small rust belt town, but at the time when the Duquesne train line was running, Carbondale was fat off the anthracite coal industry.

Duquesne Whistle

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like it’s gonna sweep my world away
I’m gonna stop at Carbondale and keep on going
That Duquesne train gon’ rock me night and day

You say I’m a gambler, you say I’m a pimp
But I ain’t neither one

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Sound like it’s on a final run

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like she never blowed before
Little light blinking, red light glowing
Blowing like she’s at my chamber door

You smiling through the fence at me
Just like you’ve always smiled before

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like she ain’t gon’ blow no more

Can’t you hear that Duquesne whistle blowing?
Blowing like the sky’s gonna blow apart
You’re the only thing alive that keeps me going
You’re like a time bomb in my heart

I can hear a sweet voice steadily calling
Must be the mother of our Lord

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like my woman’s on board

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like it’s gon’ blow my blues away
You’re a rascal, I know exactly where you’re going
I’ll lead you there myself at the break of day

I wake up every morning with that woman in my bed
Everybody telling me she’s gone to my head

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like it’s gon’ kill me dead

Can’t you hear that Duquesne whistle blowing?
Blowing through another no good town

The lights on my native land are glowing
I wonder if they’ll know me next time ’round
I wonder if that old oak tree’s still standing
That old oak tree, the one we used to climb

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like she’s blowing right on time

Bob Dylan – Love Minus Zero/No Limit

I usually post single releases but this song is one of my favorites of Bob Dylan. I can just read the lyrics of this song and enjoy it. Bob Dylan is the king of song imagery. It was written about his future wife Sara Lownds. It was released in 1965 on the “Bringing It All Back Home” album.

The lyric that hooked me was She knows there’s no success like failure, And that failure’s no success at all. That line is hard to beat.

The song was included on the album Bringing It All Back Home released in 1965. The song was not released as a single but the album peaked at #6 in the Billboard Album Charts.

The title of the song is one of a kind. It’s fun to read people’s interpretations of Dylan’s songs. His songs mean so many different things to people and he is never too open about revealing what they are about.

I found this of someone attempting to mathematically break down the song.

 It’s a strange way to title a song, with a slash in the middle. Until you realize that this is not a normal title per se. It’s an equation, like 4/2=2. In mathematics, the forward slash represents “divided by. Four divided by two equals two.

So what’s Love minus zero divided by no limit? Well, no limit equals infinity. It is infinite. Ten divided by infinity would be an infinitely small number. In fact, any finite number divided by infinity would be an infinitely small number.

However, if one’s love is infinite, and you subtract zero from that, the equation now reads “Infinity divided by infinity.” Which equals One. If each human heart is an infinity, it is through love that the two become one.

 

Love Minus Zero/No Limit

My love she speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence
She doesn’t have to say she’s faithful
Yet she’s true, like ice, like fire
People carry roses
Make promises by the hours
My love she laughs like the flowers
Valentines can’t buy her

In the dime stores and bus stations
People talk of situations
Read books, repeat quotations
Draw conclusions on the wall
Some speak of the future
My love she speaks softly
She knows there’s no success like failure
And that failure’s no success at all

The cloak and dagger dangles
Madams light the candles
In ceremonies of the horsemen
Even the pawn must hold a grudge
Statues made of matchsticks
Crumble into one another
My love winks, she does not bother
She knows too much to argue or to judge

The bridge at midnight trembles
The country doctor rambles
Bankers’ nieces seek perfection
Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring
The wind howls like a hammer
The night blows cold and rainy
My love she’s like some raven
At my window with a broken wing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Dylan – It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

A great song that sounds like a giant statement. It still rings true today and it’s just an incredible piece of work. Dylan sings this song as if every word has a purpose to it and it does. I’ve seen Bob eight times and he has played this song twice and it was one of the highlights when he did perform it.

The song was included on the album Bringing It All Back Home released in 1965. The song was not released as a single but the album peaked at #6 in the Billboard Album Charts. The song on the album to make it into the top 40 was “Subterranean Homesick Blues” which peaked at #39.

I haven’t posted many Bob Dylan songs because the original songs on youtube were almost impossible to find but observationblogger posted Tuesday that Dylan has released his songs on youtube. You can find almost everything now. 

From Songfacts

Dylan vents about subjects such as commercialism, hypocrisy and warmongering in this song. In the book, Bob Dylan, Performing Artist, author Paul Williams states this song sees Dylan acknowledge “the possibility that the most important (and least articulated) political issue of our times is that we are all being fed a false picture of reality, and it’s coming at us from every direction.”

Williams adds that Dylan portrays an “alienated individual identifying the characteristics of the world around him and thus declaring his freedom from its ‘rules’.”

This song is one of Dylan’s personal favorites. In 1980, he stated: “I don’t think I could sit down now and write ‘It’s Alright, Ma’ again. I wouldn’t even know where to begin, but I can still sing it.”

The opening line, “Darkness at the break of noon,” is referring to a nuclear explosion. After a nuclear explosion, the sky turns black and the sun disappears. >>

The line, “He who is not busy being born in busy dying” is popular with politicians. Jimmy Carter used the line in his acceptance speech at the 1976 Democratic National convention, and while campaigning for President in 2000, Al Gore told talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, that it was his favorite quote. Ironically, the song also contains the line, “But even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked,” which is Dylan alluding to the fact even the most powerful people will be ultimately judged.

The album cover shows a woman lounging by a fireplace with Dylan in the foreground holding a cat. She is Sally Grossman, the wife of Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman. The photo was taken in Grossman’s house, and the cat belonged to Sally.

Bob Dylan – It’s Alright Ma I’m Only Bleeding

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece
The hollow horn plays wasted words
Proves to warn that he’s not busy being born
Is busy dying

Temptation’s page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover that you’d just be
One more person crying

So don’t fear if you hear
A foreign sound to your ear
It’s alright ma, I’m only sighing

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged
It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge
And it’s alright ma, I can make it

Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on 
All around you

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks they really found you

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
Insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing ma, to live up to

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Do what they do just to be nothing more than something they invest in

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say “God bless him”

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole that he’s in

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it’s alright ma, if I can’t please him

Old lady judges watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer’s pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death’s honesty
Won’t fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes must get lonely

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
False gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough
What else can you show me?

And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright ma, it’s life, and life only

Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower

Bob Dylan wrote this song and it was on his John Wesley Harding album. It was the longest time that I finally started to like Jimi’s version. The song peaked at #20 in the Billboard 100 in 1968. This was Jimi’s only top 40 hit in the Billboard 100.

I do like the simplicity of Bob’s original version also.

Bob said this about Jimi Hendrix in a 2015 speech: “We can’t forget Jimi Hendrix. I actually saw Jimi perform when he was with a band called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. Something like that. And Jimi didn’t even sing. He was just the guitar player,” Dylan said. “He took some small songs of mine that nobody paid any attention to and brought them up into the outer limits of the stratosphere, turned them all into classics. I have to thank Jimi, too. I wish he was here.”

From Songfacts

This was written and originally recorded by Bob Dylan in 1967, but it was the Jimi Hendrix cover that made the song famous. Many other artists have covered it, including Eric Clapton, Neil Young, U2, Dave Matthews Band and The Grateful Dead. Dylan was so impressed with Jimi’s version that Dylan for years played it the way that Jimi had recorded it. 

This was Hendrix’ only Top 40 hit in the US, where his influence far outpaced his popularity. He charted a few times in the UK, where he rose to fame before making a name for himself in America.

This was recorded while Hendrix played with the Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hendrix on guitar, Noel Redding on bass, and Mitch Mitchell on drums. For this song, however, Redding was not on bass; Hendrix did it. Redding was also the guitar player for his band Fat Mattress, which Hendrix referred to as Thin Pillow. Hendrix often felt that Redding did not put his heart into the bass and was concerned that Redding concentrated more on Fat Mattress than he did on the Experience. Things like these led to him being replaced by Billy Cox. >>

The original version of this song is very slow. Jimi Hendrix’ version had a large impact on Dylan which made him make his own version “heavier.” 

Hendrix: “All those people who don’t like Bob Dylan’s songs should read his lyrics. They are filled with the joys and sadness of life. I am as Dylan, none of us can sing normally. Sometimes, I play Dylan’s songs and they are so much like me that it seems to me that I wrote them. I have the feeling that Watchtower is a song I could have come up with, but I’m sure I would never have finished it. Thinking about Dylan, I often consider that I’d never be able to write the words he manages to come up with, but I’d like him to help me, because I have loads of songs I can’t finish. I just lay a few words on the paper, and I just can’t go forward. But now things are getting better, I’m a bit more self-confident.” >>

Hendrix had been working on and off with the members of the band Traffic as he recorded Electric Ladyland. Traffic guitarist Dave Mason caught Hendrix at a party and the two discussed Bob Dylan’s newest album, John Wesley Harding, containing “All Along The Watchtower.” Hendrix, long fascinated with Dylan, decided to cover the song on the album. On the resulting track, Mason plays rhythm on a 12-string acoustic guitar.

In our interview with Mason, he explained: “Hendrix just happened to be sitting in one of those semi-private clubs in London. He was there one night just sitting alone, and it was like, “F–k, I’m just going to go over and say hi and talk to him.”

Mason recorded the song himself in the Hendrix arrangement for his 1974 self-titled album. He also made the song a mainstay of his concerts. Mason says it’s a deceptively simple song: “It’s just the same three chords, and they never change.”

This was used in an episode of The Simpsons when Homer’s mother was telling him a story that took place in the ’60s about why she had to leave him. 

In a 2008 poll conducted by a panel of experts in the Total Guitar magazine, this was voted the best cover song of all time. The Beatles’ rendition of “Twist and Shout,” first recorded by the Top Notes, came second, followed by the Guns N’ Roses version of the Wings song “Live and Let Die” in third place.

This was used in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump shortly after the title character arrives in Vietnam.

Yes this is Bob’s version…the only one I could find.

All Along The Watchtower

There must be some kind of way outta here
Said the joker to the thief
There’s too much confusion
I can’t get no relief

Business men, they drink my wine
Plowman dig my earth
None were level on the mind
Nobody up at his word
Hey, hey

No reason to get excited
The thief he kindly spoke
There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke
But, uh, but you and I, we’ve been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us stop talkin’ falsely now
The hour’s getting late, hey

All along the watchtower
Princes kept the view
While all the women came and went
Barefoot servants, too
Outside in the cold distance 
A wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching
And the wind began to howl

Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue

This was on the great album Blood on the Tracks. In my opinion Bob’s best album of the seventies. When I first got this album I couldn’t quit listening to it and I really wore this song out. I could sing this song in my sleep…I know every word because it’s ingrained in my head.

This would make my top 10-15 Bob Dylan songs. I’ve seen Bob 8 times and the first 6 times I saw him I kept waiting for this song because with Bob you don’t know what you will get live. He finally played it on the 7th time and I was surprised the next time because it was the only older song he played.

The song peaked at #31 in the Billboard 100 in 1975.

Talking to  Ron Rosenbaum, Bob Dylan once told him that he’d written “Tangled up in Blue”, after spending a weekend immersed in Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue.

From Songfacts.

Dylan wrote this in the summer of 1974 at a farm he had just bought in Minnesota. He had been touring with The Band earlier that year.

Blood On The Tracks was Dylan’s first album under his new contract with Columbia Records. He left the label a year earlier to record for David Geffen’s label, Asylum Records.

This was influenced by the art classes Dylan was taking with Norman Raeben, a popular teacher in New York. Dylan credits Raeben for making him look at things from a nonlinear perspective, which was reflected in his songs.

This is a very personal song for Dylan. It deals with the changes he was going through, including his marriage falling apart.

Dylan sometimes introduced this on stage by saying it took “Ten years to live and two years to write.”

Tangled Up In Blue

Early one mornin’ the sun was shinin’
I was layin’ in bed
Wondrin’ if she’d changed at all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like
Mama’s homemade dress
Papa’s bank book wasn’t big enough
And I was standin’ on the side of the road
Rain fallin’ on my shoes
Heading out for the east coast
Lord knows I’ve paid some dues
Gettin’ through
Tangled up in blue

She was married when we first met
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam I guess
But I used a little too much force
We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out west
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best
She turned around to look at me
As I was walkin’ away
I heard her say over my shoulder
We’ll meet again some day
On the avenue
Tangled up in blue

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the axe just fell
So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Workin’ for a while on a fishin’ boat
Right outside of Delacroix
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind
And I just grew
Tangled up in blue

She was workin’ in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer
I just kept lookin’ at the side of her face
In the spotlight so clear
And later on as the crowd thinned out
I’s just about to do the same
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me “Don’t I know your name?”
I muttered somethin’ under my breath
She studied the lines on my face
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces
Of my shoe
Tangled up in blue

She lit a burner on the stove
And offered me a pipe
I thought you’d never say hello, she said
You look like the silent type
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century
And everyone of them words rang true
And glowed like burnin’ coal
Pourin’ off of every page
Like it was written in my soul
From me to you
Tangled up in blue

I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside
And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin’ on
Like a bird that flew
Tangled up in blue

So now I’m goin’ back again
I got to get to her somehow
All the people we used to know
They’re an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenters’ wives
Don’t know how it all got started
I don’t know what they’re doin’ with their lives
But me, I’m still on the road
Headin’ for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point
Of view
Tangled up in blue

My Favorite Songwriters

This one was the most fun to do. These are the songwriters that I have listened to and admired the most.

 

1… Bob Dylan – There was no one else I could remotely place as number 1.

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2… Lennon – McCartney – As a team…it was quantity and quality. Their music will live long after we are gone.

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3…Chuck Berry – He wrote the blueprint for future rockers.

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4…Jagger – Richards – For blues rock it doesn’t get much better than these two.

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5…Paul Simon – One of the best craftsman of pop songs there is…

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6…Bruce Springsteen – One of the best writers of his generation.

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7…Goffin and King – Wrote some of the best known and successful songs of the sixties.

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8…Smokey Robinson – Bob Dylan said of Robinson…”America’s greatest living poet”

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9…Pete Townshend – Took the “Rock Opera” to new levels.

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10…Hank Williams – The country poet.

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Honorable Mention

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ray Davis, Neil Young, Townes Van Zandt, Leiber and Stoller, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman, Woody Guthrie, Merle Haggard, Robbie Robertson, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Tom Petty, Curtis Mayfield, John Prine, George Harrison, Steve Wonder, Warren Zevon, Brian Wilson

My Favorite Singers

There are so many singers that I cannot possibly list them all. I could make a top 30 and not get them all. This is my personal favorite top 10 plus some extra.

For the most part, I like singers with soul and meaning to their singing…not vocal gymnastics.

1…Aretha Franklin – Aretha could make any song better by singing it.

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2…Van Morrison, Them and Solo  – Probably my favorite male singer.

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3…John Lennon, Beatles – John hated his voice and always wanted an effect on it…It didn’t need it…one of his best performances was “A Day In The Life”

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4…Bob Dylan – Bob changed popular singing.  I would rather hear Bob sing than many of the great traditional singers.

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5…Elvis Presley – Hey he’s Elvis…

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6…Otis Redding – Just a fantastic singer and performer and just taking off before he was killed in a plane crash.

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7…Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones – Mick makes the most out of his voice.

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8…John Fogerty…CCR – If I could have the voice of anyone…it would be Fogerty. The power that John has is incredible…his voice is its own instrument.

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9…Janis Joplin – She put everything she had in each song. Her last producer Paul A. Rothchild was teaching Janis how to hold back and sing more traditional to save her voice for old age…which never came.

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10…Johnny Cash – Last but far from least.  Only one man can sound like Cash…and that is Cash

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Honorable Mention…any of these could have easily been on the list.

Steve Marriott, Paul McCartney, Levon Helm, Bessie Smith, Little Richard, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Elton John, Neil Young, Roy Orbison, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke, Joe Cocker, Billie Holiday, Freddie Mercury, Kate Bush, Ella Fitzgerald, Paul Rodgers, David Bowie.

 

 

 

 

Byrds – My Back Pages

Possibly my favorite song of the Byrds. I like the Byrds arrangement of this great Bob Dylan song. Roger McGuinn’s voice plus Rickenbacker is always a winning combination. Dylan recorded his version in 1964 on his Another Side of Bob Dylan album. I fell for the song because of the line, I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now. Just a great phrase…

On the countless Dylan songs that are covered, I will usually like Dylan’s version better…on this one I prefer the Byrds. The song peaked at #30 in the Billboard 100 in 1967.

From Songfacts.

Already skilled at turning acoustic Dylan folk tunes into melodic, electric folk-rockers, the Byrds struck gold when they decided to take this somewhat nondescript Dylan tune from 1964 and electrify it for their fourth album. Leader Roger McGuinn cut out two of the more abstract verses and fashioned a chorus where there really wasn’t one, utilizing David Crosby’s harmony singing. McGuinn also does a classic 12-string Rickenbacker solo and Van Dyke Parks fills things out with a soft but essential organ part. As a single it stalled at #30 in 1967, but its reputation as a rock classic has grown through the years. 

In his Songfacts interview, Roger McGuinn of The Byrds said: “I don’t try to interpret what Bob meant when he wrote the song. He doesn’t do that, and to do that, you spoil it for people who have a different meaning of the song.”

The phrase “back pages” never shows up in the lyrics, but it became a favorite saying amongst music writers, who used the term to describe an archive, either literal or figurative. A notable use is the music journalism collection Rock’s Backpages.

My Back Pages

Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin’ high and mighty traps
Countless with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
We’ll meet on edges, soon, said I
Proud ‘neath heated brow

Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now
Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
Rip down all hate, I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
Sisters fled by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

My guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

Bob Dylan – Positively 4th Street

This song down the path of being a Dylan fan. The raw angry emotional way Dylan spits out the lyrics sounds true. The song never lets up…Bob just keeps hammering away at someone relentlessly. The song was rumored about people rather than one person. The people rumored were Phil Ochs, Richard Farina, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and various journalists but we will probably never know because I don’t see Dylan opening up about it. I always thought of this song as Like a Rolling Stone’s sister song.

Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes, You’d know what a drag it is to see you… cutting and brilliant. The song peaked at #7 in the Billboard 100 and #8 in the UK in 1965.

From Songfacts.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, this song is about all the naysayers and plastic people Dylan encountered during his time in Greenwich Village (when he lived on West 4th street) and his stint on fraternity row at the University of Minnesota (located on 4th Street in Minneapolis). The song deals with the jealousy he encountered from people in the artistic community who resented his success.

 

Positively 4th Street

You’ve got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend
When I was down you just stood there grinnin’
You’ve got a lotta nerve to say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on the side that’s winnin’

You say I let you down, ya know its not like that
If you’re so hurt, why then don’t you show it?
You say you’ve lost your faith, but that’s not where its at
You have no faith to lose, and ya know it

I know the reason, that you talked behind my back
I used to be among the crowd you’re in with
Do you take me for such a fool, to think I’d make contact
With the one who tries to hide what he don’t know to begin with?

You see me on the street, you always act surprised
You say “how are you?”, “good luck”, but ya don’t mean it
When you know as well as me, you’d rather see me paralyzed
Why don’t you just come out once and scream it

No, I do not feel that good when I see the heartbreaks you embrace
If I was a master thief perhaps I’d rob them
And tho I know you’re dissatisfied with your position and your place
Don’t you understand, its not my problem?

I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment I could be you
Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is to see you

Glyn Johns: Sound Man

I read this book not knowing what to expect but I did know of Glyn Johns… so many of my albums had his name on it…A name that is known throughout the music industry as a great recording engineer, producer, and mixer. Glyn has worked with huge rock groups such as The Rolling Stones, Beatles, Who, Small Faces, Led Zeppelin, The Band and more.

Glyn is a no-nonsense guy and unlike most of the autobiographies of musicians in that era, he never did drugs and always did his job well. Glyn wanted to be a singer and did make a few records, he covered Rolling Stones Lady Jane,  but he stuck with engineering and gradually became a producer.

Back when Glyn started in the early sixties engineers did not graduate to producing. It was very much a British class system in the music industry. He became the first freelance engineer in the industry because of the clients he attracted. He was one of the first to record the Stones and he began a relationship with them that lasted for years. He knew the Stones because he was really good friends with Ian Stewart and even shared a flat with him.

The Beatles called him to engineer Let It Be and he also helped engineer some of Abbey Road. He worked on Led Zeppelin’s first album. He produced Steve Miller’s first albums and also the first couple of Eagles albums.

This book will be very interesting to classic rock fans. Many anecdotes about the Stones, Beatles, Who and others. Glyn minces no words and has a reputation for saying what is on his mind. He isn’t too technical about recording in the book, he keeps it at a fast enjoyable pace.

He worked on some of the most classic albums ever. The Stones 60’s albums and the classic stretch of albums the Stones released until Black and Blue. He worked on Who’s Next, Quadrophenia, Led Zeppelin, A Nod Is As Good As a Wink… to a Blind Horse, Who Are You, Slowhand, just to name a few.

One interesting thing that happened in 1969. Glyn met Bob Dylan and Dylan told Johns that he would like to make an album with the Beatles and Stones. Glyn went back to England very excited and told Keith Richards and George Harrison and they were all for it. Ringo, Charlie, and Bill said they would do it. John didn’t say no but Mick and Paul said absolutely not…leaves you to wonder what it would have sounded like…

At the bottom of the page, I copied his discography from Wikipedia…it is incredible.

Excerpt from Sound Man about the Stones.

While Keith, Charlie, and Bill drove the band rhythmically, Mick’s energy and intellect drove everything else. I was constantly amazed by his skill as a songwriter and by the extraordinary energy he managed to summon for his vocal performances in the studio.
Both Mick and Keith would take an active part in the mixing process and drove me nuts making me mix a track for hours when I felt I had got it in the first couple of passes. We certainly did not always agree. I guess it would have been even more boring if we had. There were a couple of occasions when finally putting the album together I would play back earlier mixes that I had done on my own, to compare with the one they had chosen after hours of farting around, and in the cold light of day they would agree that mine were better. Equally, there were many occasions when they insisted on me changing a mix quite drastically from the way I heard it, with great effect.
Working with the Stones for all those years certainly had some amazing moments and I am proud to have been associated with them during a period of time when their music was so influential. However, Charlie summed it up perfectly when asked in a recent interview his experience of being in the band for fifty years. He replied, “Ten years of working and forty years of hanging around.”

Excerpt about The Beatles Let It Be

I had been retained originally as an engineer and was quite happy with that, even when I realized that George Martin was not producing. He did come to Twickenham a couple of times to check us out. He had arranged for the gear to be loaned for the recording at Savile Row and turned up on the day we did the filming on the roof, but had nothing to do with the production of the music. At the outset I was quite embarrassed when I realized he was not going to be involved. A couple of days into the project I asked Paul where George Martin was, only to be told that they had decided not to use him. By the time we moved to Savile Row, George, realizing I was in an awkward position, was kind enough to take me to lunch in order to put my mind at rest, saying I was doing a great job, everything was fine, and I was not stepping on his toes in any way. What a gentleman he is.
Having delivered the mixed master of my version of Let It Be, I approached each member of the band separately, asking if I could have a production credit on the album when it was released. I made it quite clear that I was only asking for that and not a royalty. Paul, George, and Ringo had no objection to my request but John was suspicious and could not understand why I was not asking for a royalty. I explained that I felt, because of their stature, the sales of the album would not be affected by my involvement one way or another, so a credit would be a fair settlement for what I had done, as by association it could only be positive for my career in the future. I never got an answer from John.
As it turned out, none of this mattered, as in the end, after the group broke up, John gave the tapes to Phil Spector, who puked all over them, turning the album into the most syrupy load of bullshit I have ever heard. My master tape, perhaps quite rightly, ended up on a shelf in the tape store at EMI. At least my version of the single of “Get Back”/“Don’t Let Me Down” had been released in April 1969.

Below is Glyn’s discography…what a body of work.

Artist Year Album Producer Engineer Mixing
Georgie Fame 1964 Rhythm and Blues at the Flamingo Yes Yes
The Rolling Stones 1965 December’s Children co-eng.Yes co-mix.Yes
The Pretty Things 1965 Get the Picture? co-prod.Yes Yes Yes
The Rolling Stones 1965 Out of Our Heads co-eng.Yes co-mix.Yes
The Rolling Stones 1966 Aftermath co-eng.Yes co-mix.Yes
The Rolling Stones 1966 Got Live if You Want It! Yes Yes
Chris Farlowe 1966 The Art of Chris Farlowe Yes Yes
The Small Faces 1966 Small Faces (Decca) Yes Yes
Chris Farlowe 1966 14 Things to Think About Yes Yes
Twice as Much 1966 Own Up Yes Yes
The Small Faces 1967 From the Beginning Yes Yes
Rolling Stones 1967 Between the Buttons Yes Yes
The Small Faces 1967 Small Faces (Immediate) Yes Yes
The Rolling Stones 1967 Flowers co-eng.Yes co-mix.Yes
The Rolling Stones 1967 Their Satanic Majesties Request Yes Yes
Johnny Hallyday 1967 San Francisco (EP) Yes Yes
The Rolling Stones 1968 Beggars Banquet Yes Yes
The Steve Miller Band 1968 Children of the Future Yes Yes Yes
Twice as Much 1968 That’s All Yes
The Pentangle 1968 The Pentangle Yes Yes
The Move 1968 Something Else from the Move Yes Yes
Spooky Tooth 1968 It’s All About Yes Yes
The Small Faces 1968 Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake Yes Yes
The Steve Miller Band 1968 Sailor Yes Yes Yes
Gerry Temple 1968 Burn Up! Yes
Procol Harum 1968 Shine on Brightly Yes Yes
The Move 1968 The Move Yes Yes
Easybeats 1968 Vigil Yes Yes
Traffic 1968 Traffic Yes Yes
Billy Nichols 1968 Would You Believe Yes Yes
The Steve Miller Band 1969 Brave New World Yes Yes Yes
Family 1969 Family Entertainment Yes Yes Yes
The End 1969 Introspection Yes Yes
The Beatles 1969 Abbey Road Yes
Joe Cocker 1969 Joe Cocker! Yes Yes
Johnny Hallyday 1969 Johnny Hallyday Yes Yes Yes
Led Zeppelin 1969 Led Zeppelin Yes
The Rolling Stones 1969 Let it Bleed Yes Yes
The Steve Miller Band 1969 Your Saving Grace Yes Yes Yes
Lambert and Nuttycombe 1970 At Home Yes Yes
Bob Dylan 1970 Self Portrait co-eng.Yes
The Rolling Stones 1970 Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! Yes Yes Yes
Humble Pie 1970 Humble Pie Yes Yes Yes
Philamore Lincoln 1970 The North Wind Blew South Yes
Billy Preston 1970 That’s the Way God Planned It Yes Yes
Leon Russell 1970 Leon Russell Yes Yes
The Beatles 1970 Let it Be Yes
Joe Cocker 1970 Mad Dogs & Englishmen Yes Yes
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends 1970 On Tour with Eric Clapton Yes
The Move 1970 Shazam Yes Yes
The Band 1970 Stage Fright co-eng.Yes
Spooky Tooth 1970 The Last Puff Yes Yes
McGuinness Flint 1970 McGuinness Flint Yes Yes Yes
The Faces 1971 A Nod Is As Good As a Wink… to a Blind Horse Yes Yes Yes
Boz Scaggs 1971 Boz Scaggs & Band Yes Yes Yes
Ben Sidran 1971 Feel Your Groove Yes Yes
McGuinness Flint 1971 Happy Birthday, Ruthie Baby Yes Yes Yes
Jesse Ed Davis 1971 ¡Jesse Davis! Yes Yes Yes
Leon Russell 1971 Leon Russell and the Shelter People Yes Yes
Boz Scaggs 1971 Moments Yes Yes Yes
Rita Coolidge 1971 Nice Feelin’ Yes
Howlin’ Wolf 1971 The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions Yes
Humble Pie 1971 Rock On Yes Yes Yes
Graham Nash 1971 Songs for Beginners Yes
The Rolling Stones 1971 Sticky Fingers co-eng.Yes co-mix.Yes
Spooky Tooth 1971 Tobacco Road Yes Yes
The Who 1971 Who’s Next co-prod.Yes Yes Yes
Eagles 1972 Eagles Yes Yes Yes
The Rolling Stones 1972 Exile on Main St. co-eng.Yes co-mix.Yes
Rita Coolidge 1972 The Lady’s Not for Sale Yes Yes Yes
Neil Young 1972 Harvest co-eng.Yes
Nicky Hopkins, Ry Cooder, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts 1972 Jamming with Edward Yes Yes Yes
Chris Jagger 1973 Chris Jagger Yes
Eagles 1973 Desperado Yes Yes Yes
Eric Clapton 1973 Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert Yes
The Faces 1973 Ooh La La Yes Yes Yes
The Who 1973 Quadrophenia co-prod.Yes co-eng.Yes
Ric Grech 1973 The Last Five Years Yes Yes Yes
Paul McCartney and Wings 1973 Red Rose Speedway co-eng.Yes
Gallagher & Lyle 1973 Seeds Yes Yes Yes
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils 1973 The Ozark Mountain Daredevils co-prod.Yes Yes Yes
Gallagher & Lyle 1973 Willie and the Lapdog Yes Yes Yes
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils 1974 It’ll Shine When It Shines co-prod.Yes Yes Yes
The Rolling Stones 1974 It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Yes
Eagles 1974 On the Border co-prod.Yes co-eng.Yes
Gallagher & Lyle 1974 The Last Cowboy Yes Yes Yes
Georgie Fame 1974 Georgie Fame Yes Yes Yes
Fairport Convention 1975 Rising for the Moon Yes Yes Yes
The Who 1975 The Who by Numbers Yes Yes Yes
Andy Fairweather Low 1976 Be Bop ‘n’ Holla Yes Yes Yes
Fools Gold 1976 Fools Gold Yes Yes Yes
Joan Armatrading 1976 Joan Armatrading Yes Yes Yes
Ron Wood & Ronnie Lane 1976 Mahoney’s Last Stand Yes Yes Yes
The Rolling Stones 1976 Black and Blue co-eng.Yes
Buckacre 1976 Moring Comes Yes Yes Yes
The Bernie Leadon—Michael Georgiades Band 1977 Natural Progressions Yes Yes Yes
Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane 1977 Rough Mix Yes Yes Yes
Joan Armatrading 1977 Show Some Emotion Yes Yes Yes
Eric Clapton 1977 Slowhand Yes Yes Yes
Eric Clapton 1977 Backless Yes Yes Yes
Craig Nuttycombe 1977 It’s Just a Lifetime Yes Yes Yes
Joan Armatrading 1978 To the Limit Yes Yes Yes
Paul Kennerly and various Artists 1978 White Mansions Yes Yes Yes
The Who 1978 Who Are You co-prodYes co-eng.Yes Yes
Mark Benno 1979 Lost in Austin Yes Yes Yes
Joan Armatrading 1979 Steppin’ Out Yes Yes Yes
Live Wire (band) 1979 Pick it UP Yes
Lazy Racer 1980 Formula II Yes Yes Yes
Tim Renwick 1980 Tim Renwick Yes Yes Yes
Paul Kennerly 1980 Legend of Jessie James Yes Yes Yes
Danny Joe Brown 1981 Danny Joe Brown and the Danny Joe Brown Band Yes Yes Yes
Jools Holland 1981 Jools Holland and His Millionaires Yes Yes Yes
Midnight Oil 1981 Place Without a Postcard Yes Yes Yes
Nine Below Zero 1981 Don’t Point Your Finger Yes Yes Yes
Chris de Burgh 1981 Best Moves Yes Yes Yes
The Clash 1982 Combat Rock Yes
The Who 1982 It’s Hard Yes Yes Yes
Local Boys 1983 Moments of Madness Yes Yes Yes
Various artists 1984 ARMS Concert Yes Yes Yes
Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Albert Lee, 1984 No Introduction Necessary Yes
Téléphone 1984 Un Autre Monde Yes Yes Yes
Bob Dylan 1984 Real Live Yes Yes Yes
Immaculate Fools 1985 Hearts of Fortune Yes
Téléphone 1986 Le Live Yes Yes Yes
Roaring Boys 1986 Roaring Boys Yes Yes Yes
The Big Dish 1986 Swimmer Yes Yes Yes
New Model Army 1986 The Ghost of Cain Yes Yes Yes
Joolz 1987 Hex Yes
Spooky Tooth 1987 Spooky Tooth Yes Yes
Helen Watson 1987 Blue Slipper Yes Yes
Labi Siffre 1987 (Something Inside) So Strong Yes Yes Yes
John Hiatt 1988 Slow Turning Yes Yes
Nancy Griffith 1989 Storms Yes Yes
Green on Red 1989 This Time Around (Green on Red album) Yes Yes
John Hiatt 1990 Stolen Moments Yes Yes
Summerhill 1990 West of Here Yes
Del Shannon 1991 The Liberty Years Yes
Energy Orchard 1992 Stop the Machine Yes Yes
Ethan Johns 1992 Independent Years Yes Yes
David Crosby 1993 Thousand Roads Yes Yes Yes
Crosby, Stills, & Nash 1994 After the Storm Yes Yes Yes
The Subdudes 1994 Annunciation Yes Yes Yes
Jackopierce 1995 Bringing on the Weather Yes
Bruce Cockburn 1994 Dart to the Heart Yes
Joe Satriani 1995 Joe Satriani Yes Yes
The Beatles 1996 Anthology 3 co-eng.Yes
Eric Clapton 1996 Crossroads 2: Live in the Seventies Yes Yes
The Rolling Stones and various artists 1996 The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus Yes Yes
Warm Jets 1997 Future Signs Yes Yes
Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings 1998 Struttin’ Our Stuff Yes
Linda Ronstadt 1998 We Ran Yes Yes
Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings 1999 Anyway the Wind Blows Yes
Emmylou Harris & Linda Ronstadt 1999 Western Wall: The Tucson Sessions Yes Yes Yes
Various artists 1999 Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons Yes Yes Yes
John Hiatt and various artists 20o2 Disney’s The Country Bears musical dir.
Bruce Cockburn 2005 Speechless Yes
Andy Fairweather Low 2006 Sweet Soulful Music Yes Yes Yes
The Clash 2008 Live at Shea Stadium Yes
Ian McLagan & the Bump Band 2008 Never Say Never Yes+ mastering
Ryan Adams 2011 Ashes & Fire Yes Yes Yes
Ben Waters 2011 Boogie 4 Stu: A Tribute to Ian Stewart Yes
The Rolling Stones 2012 Charlie is My Darling: Ireland 1965 Yes
The Staves 2012 Dead & Born & Grown Up & Live co-prod.Yes Yes Yes
The Rolling Stones 2012 GRRR! Yes
Band of Horses 2012 Mirage Rock Yes Yes Yes
Ethan Johns 2012 If Not Now Then When? Yes
Aaron Neville 2013 My True Story Yes
Patty Griffin 2013 Silver Bell Yes
Stephen Stills 2013 Carry On co-prod.Yes co-eng.Yes co-mixYes
Bob Dylan 2013 Another Self Portrait (1969-1971: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10) co-eng.Yes
Benmont Tench 2014 You Should Be So Lucky Yes Yes Yes
Ian McLagan & the Bump Band 2014 United States Yes
Joe Satriani 2014 The Complete Studio Recordings Yes Yes
Bruce Cockburn 2014 Rumours of Glory (True North) Yes
David Bowie 2014 Nothing Has Changed co-eng.Yes
The Small Faces 2014 Here Come the Nice: The Immediate Years 1967-1969 Yes
The Small Faces 20.. Greatest Hits: The Immediate Years 1967-1969 Yes
The Faces 2015 You Can Make Me Dance, Sing or Anything: 1970-1975 Yes Yes
Various artists 2015 Truckers, Kickers, Cowboys Angels: The Blissed-Out Birth of Country-Rock , Vol. 7: 1974 Yes Yes Yes
Various artists 2015 Songs: The Very Best of Acoustic – The Collection co-prod.Yes
The Rolling Stones 2015 From the Vault: The Marquee Club Live in 1971 Yes
Paul McCartney 2016 Pure McCartney Yes
Eric Clapton 2016 I Still Do Yes Yes
Eagles 2017 Their Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 & 2 Yes Yes
Jesse Ed Davis 2017 Red Dirt Boogie: The Atco Recordings 1970-1972 Yes

Testimony

The autobiography of Robbie Robertson. I read this right after My Cross To Bear by Gregg Allman. The only surprising part is it stops at 1976 and doesn’t cover Robbie’s solo career.

Robbie is 33 when the book ends. It ends at a recording session where only Robbie shows up after The Last Waltz.

If you have read Levon Helm’s This Wheels on Fire you know that Levon was pretty hard on Robbie. He rips him for songwriting credits and The Last Waltz. Robbie takes the high road in his book. He talks about the brotherhood they all shared. He mentions that Levon was his best friend he ever had in his life.

Robbie was in the middle of musical history throughout the book. He talks about joining Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks and befriending Levon…they eventually picked up Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, and Garth Hudson. After they split with Ronnie they get busted and gigged at various bars while meeting music legends Sonny Boy Williamson II, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield and then Bob Dylan. After meeting Dylan they start backing him on his first electric tour.

They are in the middle of the chaos of Dylan’s electric tour…Levon quits a few shows into it because of the booing and the people that surround Dylan. The rest of the Band (still called the Hawks) continue to back Dylan around the world. Along the way, they make friends with Brian Jones, The Beatles, Johnny Cash and eventually Jimi Hendrix (Jimmy James at the time).

He also mentions about living at the Chelsea Hotel, Big Pink, Levon coming back, living in Woodstock, playing Woodstock, and being friends with Dylan. This is one book that gives you a side of Dylan you never read much about. Robbie humanizes him while keeping respect. The Band much like the Allman Brothers valued brotherhood. They stuck together and got along really well until heroin started to enter the picture.

He goes into his songwriting and where he got the ideas. A lot of his ideas came from hanging out with Levon at Levon’s home in Arkansas. Robbie enjoyed the area and the southern culture that surrounded him.

Robbie is big foreign film buff who read many screenplays and would have people to pick them up when going through New York. After reading those he said it helped him to express what he felt in lyrics.

You get such a mix of personalities in the book… Edie Sedgwick, Carly Simon, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, to smoking pot with John Lennon in the sixties with John’s special made “cigarettes.”

All of the Band had street smarts and mixed with killers, thieves and mafia members before they made it. They were without money at one point and Robbie and Levon were actually going to wear masks and hold up a high stakes poker game. It’s a wonder one of them wasn’t killed before the band met Dylan.

I’ve read both Levon’s and Robbie’s books. I liked them both. Robbie is more consistent in his telling. There is a reason Robbie wanted to get off the road. Richard Manuel was not in good shape…even on The Last Waltz and Robbie was no angel himself. The road brought temptations that were hard for them to resist.

If you are a Band fan and/or Dylan fan…get it. I would place this book up there with Keith Richard’s book Life. That is about the highest praise I can give…