Tag Archives: Idiot Wind

Bruce Springsteen’s Manager Jon Landau’s Review Of ‘Blood On The Tracks’ – March 13, 1975

Forty years ago, just after rock critic Jon Landau became Bruce Springsteen’s manager and record producer, his review of Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks appeared in the March 13, 1975 issue of Rolling Stone.

What is most interesting to me about the review, some of which is printed below and the rest of it you can link to, is how, what complains about in critiquing Dylan’s recording style and records — that Dylan makes records too quickly, that he doesn’t use the right musicians, and so on — are the things he made sure Bruce Springsteen didn’t do. What I mean is, Dylan might record an album in a few days and record just two or three takes of a song; Springsteen sometimes would spend a year on a record, recording an infinite number of takes with musicians he worked with for years and years.

Anyway, today we can read Landau’s review of an album that has certainly stood the test of time.

Bob Dylan, Blood On The Tracks

Reviewed by Jon Landau (for Rolling Stone)

Bob Dylan may be the Charlie Chaplin of rock & roll. Both men are regarded as geniuses by their entire audience. Both were proclaimed revolutionaries for their early work and subjected to exhaustive attack when later works were thought to be inferior. Both developed their art without so much as a nodding glance toward their peers. Both are multitalented: Chaplin as a director, actor, writer and musician; Dylan as a recording artist, singer, songwriter, prose writer and poet. Both superimposed their personalities over the techniques of their art forms. They rejected the peculiarly 20th century notion that confuses the advancement of the techniques and mechanics of an art form with the growth of art itself. They have stood alone.

When Charlie Chaplin was criticized, it was for his direction, especially in the seemingly lethargic later movies. When I criticize Dylan now, it’s not for his abilities as a singer or songwriter, which are extraordinary, but for his shortcomings as a record maker. Part of me believes that the completed record is the final measure of a pop musician’s accomplishment, just as the completed film is the final measure of a film artist’s accomplishments. It doesn’t matter how an artist gets there — Robert Johnson, Woody Guthrie (and Dylan himself upon occasion) did it with just a voice, a song and a guitar, while Phil Spector did it with orchestras, studios and borrowed voices. But I don’t believe that by the normal criteria for judging records — the mixture of sound playing, singing and words — that Dylan has gotten there often enough or consistently enough.

Chaplin transcended his lack of interest in the function of directing through his physical presence. Almost everyone recognizes that his face was the equal of other directors’ cameras, that his acting became his direction. But Dylan has no one trait — not even his lyrics — that is the equal of Chaplin’s acting. In this respect, Elvis Presley may be more representative of a rock artist whose raw talent has overcome a lack of interest and control in the process of making records.

Read the rest of this review here.

Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue (New York Version 1974 Stereo)

Bob Dylan – You’re A Big Girl Now (New York Version)

Bob Dylan – Idiot Wind (New York Version 1974 Stereo)

Bob Dylan – Lily, Rosemary & The Jack Of Hearts (New York Version Stereo 1974)

Bob Dylan – If You See Her, Say Hello (New York Version 1974 Stereo)

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

[I published my novel, True Love Scars, in August of 2014.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book. Read it here. And Doom & Gloom From The Tomb ran this review which I dig. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

Bob Dylan Sings ‘Idiot Wind’ – Four Live Versions From 1992

Photo via Flicker.

Bob Dylan Sings ‘Idiot Wind’ – Four Live Versions From 1992.

Warfield Theater, San Francisco, May 5, 1992:

Berkeley Community Theater, Berkeley, CA, May 7, 1992:

San Jose State Center, San Jose, CA, May 9, 1992:

Orphium Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 30, 1992:

[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.

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

Audio: Bob Dylan’s ‘Blood On The Tracks’ Sessions, Dec. 27, 1974 – ‘Idiot Wind’

Thirty-nine years ago, on December 27, 1974, Bob Dylan entered Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis and re-recorded two songs he’d previously recorded in New York for a new album he was working on. Those new versions of “Idiot Wind” and “You’re Big Girl Now” are the ones that ended up on Blood On The Tracks.

I remember when I first listened to Blood On The Tracks when it was released in late January, 1975. The song that immediately blew me away was “Idiot Wind.” I thought at the time that Dylan had finally written a kind of followup to “Like A Rolling Stone” due to the bitterness in his voice and the bite of the chorus:

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads headin’ south
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe

The Blood On The Tracks sessions began at Columbia A&R Studios in New York on September 16, 1974. That studio was where he’d recorded his first six albums including Highway 61 Revisited. Dylan recorded in New York off and on, wrapping up on September 25, 1974. A test pressing of the album was made and Dylan planned to release that version of the album, which has been circulating as a bootleg ever since.

However Dylan changed his mind after playing the test pressing for his brother David who, according to Clinton Heylin, suggested Dylan recut the album in Minneapolis with local musicians.

“I had the acetate,” Dylan said years later. “I hadn’t listened to it for a couple of months. The record still hadn’t come out, and I put it on. I just didn’t… I thought the songs could have sounded differently, better. So I went in and re-recorded them.”

Two sessions took place — one on December 27 and a final session on December 30. Five songs recut during those sessions made it onto the album, and, of course, there has been disagreement for nearly 39 years now as to whether Dylan should have stuck with the New York tracks, or gone with the mix of New York and Minneapolis tracks as he did.

Dylan said to a radio interviewer who told him she enjoyed Blood On The Tracks:

“A lot of people tell me they enjoyed that album. It’s hard for me to relate to people enjoying that kind of pain.”

Below you can hear the versions of “Idiot Wind” and “You’re A Big Girl Now” that made it onto the album. I’ve also included versions that didn’t. Plus a couple of live versions.

“Idiot Wind,” Sound 80, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 27, 2013:

Idiot Wind by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“You’re A Big Girl Now,” Sound 80, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 27, 2013:

You're a Big Girl Now by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“Idiot Wind,” New York sessions outtake:

Track 04 by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“Idiot Wind,” outtake — stripped down acoustic version:

Track 11 by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“Idiot Wind,” live New Orleans May 3, 1976:

“You’re A Big Girl Now,” New York outtake, Sept. 23, 1974:

You're A Big Girl Now (NY Outtake) by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“You’re A Big Girl Now,” Jones Beach, Wantaugh, NY June 30, 1988

Plus “Up To Me,” a track recorded in New York that didn’t make the album:

Up to Me by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark