My good friend David Monterey, a singer, songwriter and musician who leads the band, the String Rays, writes the Song Dog Music blog. Recently, the two of us had a long discussion about the Sixties West Coast Music Scene, particularly what we experienced as kids in the Bay Area.
[Please note: The original inspiration for this post was the above photo, which I saw online and which was misidentified as being a photo of Bob Dylan, Suze Rotolo and her older sister Carla Rotolo. After the post went up it was brought to my attention that the woman identified as Carla Rotolo was actually Lena Sepncer, who ran the club Cafe Lena. Since the post was already live I edited it accordingly.]
The above photo by Joe Alper, taken in the early ’60s, is of Bob Dylan, his one-time girlfriend Suze Rotolo (the girl with Dylan on the cover of The Freewheelin’Bob Dylan) and Lena Spencer, who ran the Caffe Lena club in Saratoga Springs, NY where Dylan played.
Here is a video which includes a picture of Suze’s older sister, Carla.
In Suze Rotolo’s book, “A Freewheelin’ Time,” in a section called “Ballad” she writes:
For a long time my mother had made it clear she didn’t think much of Bobby. By the time Freewheelin’ came out, she and Fred had long since moved to New Jersey. It was easier all around to avoid contact… My mother had objected to Bob from the moment she laid eyes on him back in 1961, but the animosity between my sister and Bob developed over time. Both my mother and Carla were running interference on our relationship, and he couldn’t help resenitng that. I couldnt handle the constant pressure…”
Here are some of the lyrics from Dylan’s “Ballad In Plain D,” which appeared on Another Side Of Bob Dylan in 1964. Dylan had never performed this song live.
Through young summer’s breeze, I stole her away
From her mother and sister, though close did they stay
Each one of them suffering from the failures of their day
With strings of guilt they tried hard to guide us
Of the two sisters, I loved the young
With sensitive instincts, she was the creative one
The constant scapegoat, she was easily undone
By the jealousy of others around her
For her parasite sister, I had no respect
Bound by her boredom, her pride to protect
Countless visions of the other she’d reflect
As a crutch for her scenes and her society
Jesse Malin and Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins covered Bob Dylan’s “From a Buick 6” at photographer Danny Clinch’s book release party last night (Tuesday, October 14, 2014) at the McKittrick Hotel in New York.
Plus check out Gary U.S. Bonds covering “From A Buick 6”:
Thirty songs that have not previously been released — either officially or on bootlegs — are part of the 138 tracks on the upcoming set, The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11, to be released November 4, 2014.
Of those 30 tracks, 13 were recorded in the “Red Room” at Bob Dylan’s house in Woodstock, where the “Basement Tapes” sessions began before moving to the Big Pink house in West Saugerries. As I previously reported, the “Red Room” was not painted red at the time the recordings were made.
The Red Room tracks: “Jelly Bean,” “Any Time,” “Hallelujah, I’ve Just Been Moved,” “My Buckets got a Hole In It,” “That’s The Breaks,” “Down By The Station,” “Edge Of the Ocean,” “Two Dollars and 99 Cents,” “Northern Claim,” Love is Only Mine,” “Pretty Mary,” “Mr. Blue” and “Roll On Train.”
In a few cases a portion of a recording has been heard before. This is so with “Bourbon Street,” which in the version to be released includes an additional four minutes of music, and “900 Miles From My Home.”
“‘900 miles’ is beautiful and not the fragment that you think it is,’ said a source who has heard the Complete Basement Tapes set. “It’s a fully realized version.”
According to my source, this is the complete list of previously unreleased tracks with asterisks marking the “Red Room” recordings:
1. Jelly Bean *
2. Any Time*
3. Hallelujah, I’ve Just Been Moved (trad, arr by Bob Dylan)*
4. My Buckets got a Hole In It (Clarence Williams)*
5. That’s The Breaks*
6. Down By the Station*
7. Edge of the Ocean *
8. Two Dollars and 99 Cents*
9. Northern Claim*
10. Love is Only Mine*
11. Pretty Mary*
12. Mr. Blue (Dewayne Blackwell)*
13. Roll On Train*
14. Will the Circle Be Unbroken
15. She’s On My Mind Again
16. I Shall be Released Take 1
17. Blowin’ in the Wind
18. One Too Many Mornings
19. A Satisfied Mind (Joe Hayes and Jack Rhodes)
20. It Ain’t Me Babe
21. If I Were a Carpenter (Tim Hardin)
22. Ain’t No More Cain (Take 1) (Trad. Arr. By Bob Dylan)
23. Ain’t No More Cain (Take 2) (Trad. Arr by Bob Dylan)
24. My Woman She’s A-Leavin’
25. Mary Lou, I love you Too
26. Dress it Up, Better Have it All
27. What’s It Gonna Be When It Comes Up
28. 900 Miles From My Home
29. Wild Wolf
30. Bourbon Street (an additional 4 minutes added to the track that has not been circulated).
Below are a some versions of songs that Dylan and The Band covered.
Hank Williams, “My Buckets Got a Hole In It”:
The Fleetwoods, “Mr. Blue”:
Porter Wagoner, “A Satisfied Mind”:
Tim Hardin, “If I Were A Carpenter”:
The Band, “Ain’t No More Cane”:
Ernest Williams & James (Iron Head) Baker, “Ain’t No More Cane On The Brazos,” 1933:
[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” There’s info about it here.]
Neil Young is recording an album that will include songs with “big band arrangements,” according to music contractor Gina Zimmitti, who is involved with the project, and who posted photos and wrote about the sessions on the Facebook page for her company, Gina Zimmitti Music Contracting.
Zimmitti wrote that at one session, the musicians played “awesomely loud big band arrangements.”
Young has used an orchestra in the past, most notably on the songs “Expecting to Fly” and “Broken Arrow” recorded with Jack Nitzsche that appeared on Buffalo Springfield Again, and on the Harvest tracks, “A Man Needs A Maid” and “There’s A World” which Nitzsche recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra in London.
Violinist Marc Sazer has participated in at least one of the recent sessions and wrote on his Twitter page, “Recording with @neilyoung, great to have a great choir live in the room with us!”
The album is titled Storytone, according to arranger/conductor Chris Walden, who posted that information on his web site, along with a release date of November 4, 2014, but has subsequently removed that info from his site and replaced it with “untitled” and “2014.” Of course Neil Young is known for changing things at the last minute, so it’s possible that the title and release date could change, or even that Young could decide not to release the album at all.
Walden, according to Wikipedia, is known “for writing big band and orchestral arrangements for recording artists such as Michael Bublé, Diana Krall, Jennifer Hudson, Paul Anka, and Christopher Cross. He has been an arranger for ‘American Idol’ since 2007 and has worked for producers like David Foster, Phil Ramone, and Tommy LiPuma.”
The possible album title, Storytone, apparently refers to a rare early electric piano that Young may be using on the album.
On the Piedmont Piano Company website is info about the Storytone piano pictured above:
This is an extremely rare and historically important instrument. The Storytone piano was built in 1939 in a joint venture between Story & Clark and RCA – the piano has normal strings and action but no soundboard – the sound is amplified by pickups and a speaker system making it the world’s first practical electric piano. The sound is very beautiful considering its design during the infancy of amplified instruments. As you can see the design is striking – art deco at its most radical.
Sessions for the album have taken place at Sony Pictures Scoring Stage and at EastWest Studios, both in L.A., during the last two weeks of August. Young concluded a tour of Europe with Crazy Horse on August 8 of this year.
Niko Bolas, who has worked with Young on such albums as This Note’s for You, Freedom and Living With War, is producing, according to Gina Zimmitti.
On August 19, Zimmitti posted:
“We don’t feel cheesy calling this one a ‘precious moment,’ and posted this photo:
On August 23, Zimmitti wrote:
“2nd day of recording with Neil Young and producer Niko Bolas – this time for some awesomely loud big band arrangements by Chris Walden composer-arranger ! — with Chris Walden at EastWest Studios.”
She also posted this photo on August 23:
On August 27, according to Zimmitti, Young and the orchestra were back in the studio for more days of recording, this time working with arranger Michael Bearden.
Bearden has worked many successful musicians including Madonna, Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie, Chaka Kahn, Patti Austin, James Ingrahm, Babyface, Lenny Kravitz, Yoko Ono, George Benson, Natalie Cole, Anita Baker, Edie Brickell, Nancy Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Liza Minelli and Michael Jackson.
Speaking to Billboard earlier this year, Young said, “I have new songs that I’m working on, and I haven’t stopped doing that. I do it when I feel like it and I’m collecting them. And sometimes I play them live before they come out as a record, and because of the way everything is people hear them before they come out, on the Internet. But I still feel like I’m gonna make records of them.”
One song that Young performed live numerous times this summer with Crazy Horse in Europe is called “Who’s Gonna Stand Up And Save The Earth?”
“I’d like to make a record with a full-blown orchestra, live – a mono recording with one mic,” Young told Billboard. I want to do something like that where we really record what happened, with one point of view and the musicians moved closer and farther away, the way it was done in the past. To me that’s a challenge and it’s a sound that’s unbelievable, and you can’t get it any other way. So I’m into doing that.”
However based on the photos, these sessions utilized numerous microphones. Oh well.
Some of Neil Young’s fans are skeptical regarding the project.
At Steve Hoffman Music Forums, a fan using the name “P(orF)” wrote, “It’s sad because I’ve been listening to him for 45 years, but my only reaction when I hear he’s doing a new recording is ‘What’s the gimmick this time?'”
And “Babyblue” added, “Yep, more and more Neil seems to be more about the gimmick than the actual music. I can see how this could happen to a veteran musician (especially a creative and eccentric one like Neil). It probably keeps things interesting. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always produce good music.”
But there were fans who defended Young. “Six String” wrote, “I’ll wait until I hear the music before passing judgement. It’s only a gimmick if it doesn’t work…”
[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” I’ve got a Goodreads. book giveaway going right now. It’s over sometime September 2, so if you want to enter, now is the time. Click here and enter.]
More than four decades after Bob Dylan and the musicians that would become The Band recorded a crazy mix of original compositions, standards and obscurities – recordings that became known as the ‘Basement Tapes’ – “every salvageable recording from the tapes” is finally being officially released on November 4, 2014, according to bobdylan.com.
Hear a version of “Odds & Ends” that will appear on the new set:
The six-CD deluxe set, titled The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11, will sell for $149.98 and will include a 120-page booklet with liner notes by Dylan expert Syd Griffin, author of “Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the Basement Tapes.”
Although bootlegs of many of the recordings have circulated since a batch of them were first released on the bootleg album, The Great White Wonder, in 1969, and most recently on an 11-CD bootleg, From the Reels – Complete Basement Tapes, the official boxed set will include at least 20 recordings that have not been previously released.
According to Larry Jenkins, who is involved with the project, determining what hasn’t been heard before is “kind of complicated, because this is the first time that all the original sources have been used. So, ultimately all of the recordings sound different.”
Rolling Stones’s Andy Greene writes:
The previously unknown tracks include an epic, apocalyptic rocker, “Wild Wolf”; an early draft of “I Shall Be Released” with slightly different lyrics; a cover of Hank Williams’ 1949 classic “My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It”; and country-fied versions of “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “It Ain’t Me Babe” and “One Too Many Mornings,” featuring Band keyboardist Richard Manuel handling lead vocals on the first verse.
In going through the tracks being released on the new set, and what has previously been released, I come up with this unverified list of previously unreleased ‘Basement Tapes’ recordings. Please let me know if any of these versions have seen the light of day before.
1. Edge of the Ocean
2. My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It (written by Clarence Williams)
3. Roll on Train
4. Mr. Blue (written by Dewayne Blackwell)
5. I’m a Fool for You (Take 2)
6. Blowin’ in the Wind
7. One Too Many Mornings
8. A Satisfied Mind (written by Joe Hayes and Jack Rhodes)
9. It Ain’t Me, Babe
10. My Woman She’s A-Leavin’
11. Mary Lou, I Love You Too
12. Dress it up, Better Have it All
13. What’s it Gonna be When it Comes Up
14. Wild Wolf
15. If I Were A Carpenter (written by James Timothy Hardin)
16. 2 Dollars and 99 Cents
17. Jelly Bean
18. Any Time
19. Down by the Station
20. Hallelujah, I’ve Just Been Moved (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
21. That’s the Breaks
22. Pretty Mary
23. Will the Circle be Unbroken (written by A.P. Carter)
24. She’s on My Mind Again
25. Northern Claim
26. Love is Only Mine
What became know as the ‘Basement Tapes’ sessions began in the “red room” of Bob Dylan’s house, Hi Lo Ha, in upstate New York. “Oddly enough, it was referred to as the ‘red room’, but it was not red,” Jenkins said. ‘At one time, it was probably painted red and the name stuck.”
As for what color the now historic site of the beginnings of the ‘Basement Tapes’ was?
“That information is lost to the sands of time,” said another source close to the project.
For some reason Dylan and company decided to move the sessions to ‘Big Pink,’ the house shared by Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson in West Saugerties, New York. That’s where the rest of the sessions took place.
The musicians who are on these recordings: Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and Levon Helm.
Garth Hudson, who was keyboardist in The Band, and who played on most of the ‘Basement Tapes’ recordings, worked with Canadian music archivist and producer Jan Haust “to restore the deteriorating tapes to pristine sound, with much of this music preserved digitally for the first time,” according to bobdylan.com.
Greil Marcus wrote in his book “Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes”:
There is no common memory, let alone documentation, to provide the exact dates when Bob Dylan and the former Hawks began meeting to try their hand at old songs, or when old songs gave way to a long burst of mockery and novelty (“Bob would be running through an old song,” Robbie Robertson says, “and he’d say, ‘Maybe there’s anew song to be had here'”). Certainly they began playing, and occasionally taping the results, in the Red Room in Dylan’s house in Woodstock. Most of the commonplace or covered material, the least finished and sure, from Ian and Sylvia hits to “Johnny Todd,” from Johnny Cash classics to “Cool Water,” comes from there, beginning in the early summer of 1967. The basement of Big Pink, the house Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel were renting in West Saugerties, was more of a hideaway, or a hideout. Sessions there went on through the summer, then off and on through the rest of the year and into the next. The first few months produced most of the best-known basement originals, and the series of parodies and breakdowns that stretches from “Tupelo” through “I’m in the Mood” into “See You Later, Allen Ginsberg.”
The deluxe edition will include these songs:
BOB DYLAN – THE BASEMENT TAPES COMPLETE:
THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 11
(all songs written by Bob Dylan unless otherwise noted)
1. Edge of the Ocean
2. My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It (written by Clarence Williams)
3. Roll on Train
4. Mr. Blue (written by Dewayne Blackwell)
5. Belshazzar (written by Johnny Cash)
6. I Forgot to Remember to Forget (written by Charlie A Feathers and Stanley A Kesler)
7. You Win Again (written by Hank Williams)
8. Still in Town (written by Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard)
9. Waltzing with Sin (written by Sonny Burns and Red Hayes)
10. Big River (Take 1) (written by Johnny Cash)
11. Big River (Take 2) (written by Johnny Cash)
12. Folsom Prison Blues (written by Johnny Cash)
13. Bells of Rhymney (written by Idris Davies and Peter Seeger)
14. Spanish is the Loving Tongue
15. Under Control
16. Ol’ Roison the Beau (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
17. I’m Guilty of Loving You
18. Cool Water (written by Bob Nolan)
19. The Auld Triangle (written by Brendan Francis Behan)
20. Po’ Lazarus (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
21. I’m a Fool for You (Take 1)
22. I’m a Fool for You (Take 2)
1. Johnny Todd (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
2. Tupelo (written by John Lee Hooker)
3. Kickin’ My Dog Around (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
4. See You Later Allen Ginsberg (Take 1)
5. See You Later Allen Ginsberg (Take 2)
6. Tiny Montgomery
7. Big Dog
8. I’m Your Teenage Prayer
9. Four Strong Winds (written by Ian Tyson)
10. The French Girl (Take 1) (written by Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson)
11. The French Girl (Take 2) (written by Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson)
12. Joshua Gone Barbados (written by Eric Von Schmidt)
13. I’m in the Mood (written by Bernard Besman and John Lee Hooker)
14. Baby Ain’t That Fine (written by Dallas Frazier)
15. Rock, Salt and Nails (written by Bruce Phillips)
16. A Fool Such As I (written by William Marvin Trader)
17. Song for Canada (written by Pete Gzowski and Ian Tyson)
18. People Get Ready (written by Curtis L Mayfield)
19. I Don’t Hurt Anymore (written By Donald I Robertson and Walter E Rollins)
20. Be Careful of Stones That You Throw (written by Benjamin Lee Blankenship)
21. One Man’s Loss
22. Lock Your Door
23. Baby, Won’t You be My Baby
24. Try Me Little Girl
25. I Can’t Make it Alone
26. Don’t You Try Me Now
1. Young but Daily Growing (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
2. Bonnie Ship the Diamond (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
3. The Hills of Mexico (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
4. Down on Me (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
5. One for the Road
6. I’m Alright
7. Million Dollar Bash (Take 1)
8. Million Dollar Bash (Take 2)
9. Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread (Take 1)
10. Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread (Take 2)
11. I’m Not There
12. Please Mrs. Henry
13. Crash on the Levee (Take 1)
14. Crash on the Levee (Take 2)
15. Lo and Behold! (Take 1)
16. Lo and Behold! (Take 2)
17. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Take 1)
18. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Take 2)
19. I Shall be Released (Take 1)
20. I Shall be Released (Take 2)
21. This Wheel’s on Fire (written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko)
22. Too Much of Nothing (Take 1)
23. Too Much of Nothing (Take 2)
1. Tears of Rage (Take 1) (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
2. Tears of Rage (Take 2) (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
3. Tears of Rage (Take 3) (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
4. Quinn the Eskimo (Take 1)
5. Quinn the Eskimo (Take 2)
6. Open the Door Homer (Take 1)
7. Open the Door Homer (Take 2)
8. Open the Door Homer (Take 3)
9. Nothing Was Delivered (Take 1)
10. Nothing Was Delivered (Take 2)
11. Nothing Was Delivered (Take 3)
12. All American Boy (written by Bobby Bare)
13. Sign on the Cross
14. Odds and Ends (Take 1)
15. Odds and Ends (Take 2)
16. Get Your Rocks Off
17. Clothes Line Saga
18. Apple Suckling Tree (Take 1)
19. Apple Suckling Tree (Take 2)
20. Don’t Ya Tell Henry
21. Bourbon Street
1. Blowin’ in the Wind
2. One Too Many Mornings
3. A Satisfied Mind (written by Joe Hayes and Jack Rhodes)
4. It Ain’t Me, Babe
5. Ain’t No More Cane (Take 1) (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
6. Ain’t No More Cane (Take 2) (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
7. My Woman She’s A-Leavin’
9. Mary Lou, I Love You Too
10. Dress it up, Better Have it All
11. Minstrel Boy
12. Silent Weekend
13. What’s it Gonna be When it Comes Up
14. 900 Miles from My Home (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
15. Wildwood Flower (written by A.P. Carter)
16. One Kind Favor (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
17. She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
18. It’s the Flight of the Bumblebee
19. Wild Wolf
20. Goin’ to Acapulco
21. Gonna Get You Now
22. If I Were A Carpenter (written by James Timothy Hardin)
23. Confidential (written by Dorina Morgan)
24. All You Have to do is Dream (Take 1)
25. All You Have to do is Dream (Take 2)
1. 2 Dollars and 99 Cents
2. Jelly Bean
3. Any Time
4. Down by the Station
5. Hallelujah, I’ve Just Been Moved (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
6. That’s the Breaks
7. Pretty Mary
8. Will the Circle be Unbroken (written by A.P. Carter)
9. King of France
10. She’s on My Mind Again
11. Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
12. On a Rainy Afternoon
13. I Can’t Come in with a Broken Heart
14. Next Time on the Highway
15. Northern Claim
16. Love is Only Mine
17. Silhouettes (written by Bob Crewe and Frank C Slay Jr.)
18. Bring it on Home
19. Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
20. The Spanish Song (Take 1)
21. The Spanish Song (Take 2)
[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” I’ve got a Goodreads. book giveaway going right now. Click here and enter.]
The New Zealand photographer Mark Hamilton has made a series of photographs inspired by lyrics from Bob Dylan songs.
The photos were exhibited backstage atClaudelands Arena in Hamilton, New Zealand when Dylan played the venue August 9 and 10.
The photographer was hoping Dylan would see the photos and like them.
“Imagine if he didn’t like it, if he retires after seeing those pictures!” Hamilton told the Waikato Times.
“At the end of the day they’re my interpretations and that’s art. It’s even like Bob Dylan himself, he reinterprets his music all the time. He’ll record it for an album but he’ll never play it the same again.”
There are superb photos of Dylan with Allen Ginsberg, John Sebastian, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Sally Grossman — wife of Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman — who was later in the cover photo for Bringing It All Back Home.
Here’s what’s on Gilbert’s website about the photos:
In July of 1964, one year before his music changed from acoustic to electric, I photographed Bob Dylan for LOOK magazine. I spent time with him at his home in Woodstock, New York, in Greenwich Village, and at the Newport Folk Festival. The story was never published. After reviewing the proposed layout, the editors declared Dylan to be “too scruffy for a family magazine” and killed the story.
Some of the photos were used for The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964, Concert at Philharmonic Hall.
And they appeared in the excellent book: “Forever Young: Photographs of Bob Dylan‚ by Douglas R. Gilbert.”
[In August of this year I’ll be publishing my rock ‘n’ roll/ coming-of-age novel, “True Love Scars,” which features a narrator who is obsessed with Bob Dylan. To read the first chapter, head here.
Or watch an arty video with audio of me reading from the novel here.
–- A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-