Tag Archives: Desolation Row

Live: The Dylan-Kerouac Connection

Jack Kerouac (left) and Bob Dylan.

To celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday, a very special event, “The Dylan-Kerouac Connection,” will be held in Berkeley, CA on Friday, May 18, 2018.

Former Rolling Stone Senior Writer/ West Coast Music Editor Michael Goldberg and acclaimed Bay Area singer/guitarist Johnny Harper will be collaborating on a night of words about and music by Bob Dylan.

Goldberg will read from his new essay, “Bob Dylan’s Beat Visions (Sonic Poetry),” which has just been published in the book “Kerouac On Record” (Bloomsbury). Harper will perform exciting solo versions of “Desolation Row,” “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” Mr. Tambourine Man,” “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and more!

The two set evening will begin at 7:30 pm at The Art House Gallery & Cultural Center, 2905 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

Goldberg’s essay focuses on how Jack Kerouac and other Beat writers had a profound influence on the songwriting of Bob Dylan. In reviewing “Kerouac On Record,” Mojo magazine wrote: “Among the strongest in a strong lot are Michael Goldberg’s examination of Dylan’s lit roots and Kerouac’s own musicological piece — ‘The Beginning Of Bop’ – that attempts to capture jazz in words – and succeeds.”

Johnny Harper is a well-known Bay Area singer, lead guitarist, songwriter, bandleader, arranger, and producer of recordings and concerts.

Harper has been known, for many years, for leading rockin’ bands (Johnny Harper & Carnival and the earlier Hot Links) specializing in the joyous, upbeat, and funky New Orleans R&B sound – the music of artists like Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, the Meters/ Neville Brothers, Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, and many more. He lived in New Orleans for several years at one point, soaking up the Crescent City’s magic first-hand.

In addition to his work in bands, Johnny is a powerful solo performer, accompanying himself in complex lead/rhythm and finger-picking styles on electric and acoustic guitars. He is a veteran performer in a wider range of American roots music styles – blues and gospel, vintage rock and classic country, R&B/ soul, traditional and contemporary folk, and more. He is an expert on the music of The Band, and knows over 100 Bob Dylan songs! And he is a born storyteller whose comments on the music are by turns moving and highly entertaining.

The show will take place at: The Art House Gallery & Cultural Center, 2905 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA. Suggested donation: $15.00 – $25.00

For additional info, please contact Johnny Harper: jjmusic@ix.netcom.com

– A Days of the Crazy-Wild post –

Bob Dylan’s Beat Visions – A Rock’s Back Pages Excerpt

We’ve known for years that Bob Dylan borrowed melodies from older songs, and that particular songs and poems inspired him to write his own lyrics. In a nearly 12,000 word essay in the just published book, “Kerouac On Record: A Literary Soundtrack,” I detail just how extensively Dylan made use of Jack Kerouac’s writing in some of the songs Dylan wrote for Highway 61 Revisited.  You can read an excerpt from my essay at Rock’s Back Pages.

Here’s a bit of what you’ll find there:

‘No rhyme, all cut-up, no nothing, except something happening, which is words’

I couldn’t have written those songs back then. If I had just come out and sung “Desolation Row’ five years ago I probably would have been murdered – Bob Dylan to Nat Hentoff, autumn 1965, unpublished interview for Playboy

Following the 3 May 1965 publication of Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels, the publisher, Coward- McCann, a subsidiary of G. P. Putnam’s Sons, ran full-page ads in the Sunday Times Book Review, the daily New York Times, the New York Review of Books and elsewhere. If you were in New York, and dug Jack Kerouac, it would have been hard not to know that the “King of the Beats’ had a new novel in the stores.

Hi Lo Ha (the house Bob Dylan had just bought in Woodstock, New York, was where Dylan said he wrote the rest of Highway 61 Revisited in the six weeks between the 15 and 16 June sessions in Manhattan where “Like a Rolling Stone” (which he’d written in early June) was recorded, and the late July and early August sessions at which the rest of the Highway 61 Revisited album was completed. (Dylan, ever the poet, said that in one interview, but in another with Jann Wenner for Rolling Stone he said he wrote the Highway 61 song “Desolation Row” “in the back of a taxicab” in New York.)

More interesting than where the songs that comprise Highway 61 Revisited were written is that just six weeks after Desolation Angels was published, Dylan used the book as a major source of raw material for his new songs. “Desolation Row” took the first half of its title from Kerouac”s new book, and Dylan seems to have gotten the idea for the song’s main theme from Kerouac as well. In Desolation Angels, Kerouac writes about “Surrealistic Street,” and describes a wild cast of characters that he sees out on skid row. What is “Desolation Row,” as Dylan describes it in his song, if not a dark, at times horrific version of Kerouac”s “Surrealistic Street”?…

Read the excerpt here and buy the book here.

Cover of “Kerouac On Record.”
– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post –

Video: Bob Dylan Sings ‘Desolation Row,’ Milan, Italy, Nov. 14, 2011

Dylan in Milan.

Bob Dylan and band performing “Desolation Row” at the Assago Forum in Milan, Italy, November 14, 2011:

[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

Video: Bob Dylan Sings ‘Desolation Row’ & ‘Absolutely Sweet Marie’ – England 2002

Dylan at the Bournemouth International Centre, 2002.

Two great clips from a show Bob Dylan did at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth, England on May 5, 2002.

“Desolation Row”:

“Absolutely Sweet Marie”:

[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in the new issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

— A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post —

Audio: Bob Dylan, Shoreline Amphitheater, August 4, 2013 – ‘Desolation Row,’ ‘Blind Willie McTell,’ ‘She Belongs To Me’ & More

Bob Dylan, not at the Shoreline Show.

Here are the last six songs that Bob Dylan played a year ago, August 4, 2013, at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, Ca.

Enjoy.

“Soon After Midnight”:

“She Belongs To Me”:

See below for list of songs on the next clip:

Songs on this clip:

Desolation Row
Blind Willie McTell
Simple Twist Of Fate
Summer Days
All Along The Watchtower
Ballad Of A Thin Man

[I just published 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.

Of just buy the damn thing:

–- A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Audio: Bob Dylan Live At The Hammersmith Apollo, London – Nov. 20, 2011 – Full Set

Bob Dylan’s complete set from his Nov. 20, 2011 appearance at the Hammersmith Apollo in London.

Setlist

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
All Over Now, Baby Blue
Things Have Changed
Trying To Get To Heaven
Honest With Me
Tangled Up In Blue
Summer Days
Blind Willie McTell
Highway 61 Revisited
Desolation Row
Thunder On The Mountain
Ballad Of A Thin Man
All Along The Watchtower
Like A Rolling Stone

— A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post —

Video: Bob Weir & RatDog Do Dynamite ‘Desolation Row’ + News On Weir Documentary

Photo by Jay Blakesberg via Bob Weir’s Facebook page.

Bob Weir and Ratdog did this awesome 11+ minute version of “Desolation Row” at Shea’s Performing Art Center, Buffalo, New York, on March 4, 2014.

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival will screen a new documentary, “The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir. The festival takes place from April 16 to 27 in NYC.

Here’s what’s on the Tribeca site:

The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir

Directed by Mike Fleiss

(USA) – World Premiere, Documentary

Drop out of school to ride with the Merry Pranksters. Form America’s most enduring jam band. Become a family man and father. Never stop chasing the muse. Bob Weir took his own path to and through superstardom as rhythm guitarist for The Grateful Dead. Mike Fleiss re-imagines the whole wild journey in this magnetic rock doc and concert film, with memorable input from bandmates, contemporaries, followers, family, and, of course, the inimitable Bob Weir himself.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –

Audio: Bob Dylan Sings ‘Desolation Row,’ ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’ & More – June 19, 2010

On June 19, 2010 Bob Dylan performed at the Messestadion in Dornbirn, Austria.

Some of these are really great.

The entire setlist is here.

Here are some of the performances:

“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”:

“Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”:

“Desolation Row”:

“Ballad of Hollis Brown”:

“The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carol”:

“Honest With Me”:

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Audio: Ten of Bob Dylan’s Most Mysterious Lyrics; Do You Know What They Mean?

Since I first heard Bob Dylan in 1965 — “Like A ROlling Stone” was on the radio — I’ve loved his voice, his music and his lyrics.

But I think I keep coming back to his songs again and again because I still don’t understand everything he’s saying.

There are layers of meaning in some of the songs.

Here are ten lyrics that I still don’t completely understand. Do you?

If you can help explain what even one of these means, let me know.

1 “She knows there’s no success like failure

And that failure’s no success at all” — from “Love Minus Zero, No Limit”

2 “You will search, babe
At any cost
But how long, babe
Can you search for what’s not lost?
Everybody will help you
Some people are very kind
But if I can save you any time
Come on, give it to me
I’ll keep it with mine ” from “I’ll Keep It With Mine”

I'll Keep It With Mine by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

3 “Now when Ill teach that lady I was born to love her
But she knows that the kingdom waits so high above her
And I run but I race but it’s not too fast or slow
But I dont perceive her, I’m not there, I’m gone

Well, it’s all about confusion and I cry for her
Well, I dont need anybody now beside me to tell
And its all affirmation I receive but its not
Shes adorned by the beauty but she don’t like the spot and she won’t” from “I’m Not There” (I’m not sure of those lyrics are accurate.)

I'm Not There by Bob Dylan & The Band on Grooveshark

4 “Too much of nothing
Can make a man abuse a king
He can walk the streets and boast like most
But he wouldn’t know a thing
Now, it’s all been done before
It’s all been written in the book
But when there’s too much of nothing
Nobody should look” — from “Too Much Of Nothing”

Too Much of Nothing by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

5 “Buy me a flute
And a gun that shoots
Tailgates and substitutes
Strap yourself
To the 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!” — from “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”

04 You Ain't Going Nowhere by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

6 “Mona tried to tell me
To stay away from the train line
She said that all the railroad men
Just drink up your blood like wine
An’ I said, “Oh, I didn’t know that
But then again, there’s only one I’ve met
An’ he just smoked my eyelids
An’ punched my cigarette”
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again” – from “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again”

Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

7 “She wears an Egyptian ring
That sparkles before she speaks
She wears an Egyptian ring
That sparkles before she speaks
She’s a hypnotist collector
You are a walking antique” – “She Belongs To Me”

Also, why did Dylan change “Egyptian red ring” to Egyptian ring” and was a red ring significant?

8 “Louise, she’s all right, she’s just near
She’s delicate and seems like the mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna’s not here
The ghost of ’lectricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place” from “Visions of Johanna”

Visions of Johanna by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

9 “Dear Landlord
Please don’t put a price on my soul
My burden is heavy
My dreams are beyond control
When that steamboat whistle blows
I’m gonna give you all I got to give
And I do hope you receive it well
Dependin’ on the way you feel that you live

Dear landlord
Please heed these words that I speak
I know you’ve suffered much
But in this you are not so unique
All of us, at times, we might work too hard
To have it too fast and too much
And anyone can fill his life up
With things he can see but he just cannot touch” – From “Dear Landlord”

Dear Landlord by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

10 “Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood
With his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago
With his friend, a jealous monk
He looked so immaculately frightful
As he bummed a cigarette
Then he went off sniffing drainpipes
And reciting the alphabet
Now you would not think to look at him
But he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin
On Desolation Row” – from “Desolation Row”

Desolation Row by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Audio: Bob Dylan Delivers Epic ‘Desolation Row’ at Royal Albert Hall, May 27,1966

This is a very cool version of “Desolation Row” from Dylan’s 1966 World Tour.

This recording really is from Dylan’s May 27, 1966 show at the Royal Albert Hall in London. At 13 and a half minutes in length, it’s slightly longer than the 11 and a half minute version played at Free Trade Hall in Manchester 10 days earlier, and the sound quality is good.

Plus a good one from the previous year:

Hollywood Bowl,L.A., Sept. 3, 1965 (excellent recording):

Desolation Row by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-