Deportee

Elvis Costello and The Attractions released their album Goodbye Cruel World in June 1984. To say Costello was disappointed with the album is an understatement. In the liner notes for the re-release of Goodbye Cruel World, Costello wrote: “Congratulations! You’ve just purchased our worst album.” After the release of the album, Costello took stock whileContinue reading “Deportee”

Up to Me

On September 19, 1974, Bob Dylan recorded the song “Up to Me”: It was the last day of the New York sessions for what would become the 1975 album Blood on the Tracks. Dylan, aiming for a more commercial sound, re-recorded some of the songs captured in New York before the release of the album.Continue reading “Up to Me”

Time Passes Slowly

In 1940, the German philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin wrote a piece called “On the Concept of History” as he was trying to escape from Vichy France. Within the essay, Benjamin shares a rhyme that was written in the midst of France’s July Revolution of 1830, when it was reported that people had shot atContinue reading “Time Passes Slowly”

Tangled Up in Blue

The artist Jasper Johns wrote the following in his “Sketchbook Notes”: “Make something, a kind of object that as it changes or falls apart (dies as it were) or increases in its parts (grows as it were) offers no clue as to what its state or form or nature was at any previous time. PhysicalContinue reading “Tangled Up in Blue”

Summer Days

When Bob Dylan’s album “Love and Theft” was released in 2001, a common joke among reviewers and fans was that Dylan should have called the album “Highway 61 Revisited Revisited.” This reference was to Dylan’s 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited and the similarities between the two albums, especially the power of the music produced toContinue reading “Summer Days”

Simple Twist of Fate

The incomparable Ralph Ellison published an article for Esquire in 1959 called “The Golden Age, Time Past.” Eulogizing Minton’s Playhouse, the small performance space from which bebop would emerge and change music history forever, this was a major piece by Ellison, capturing a significant moment in African American culture. Ellison started the piece with linesContinue reading “Simple Twist of Fate”

Shelter from the Storm

In September 1974, Bob Dylan entered A & R Studios in New York with an acoustic guitar and a notebook full of new songs. Over the four days he was in the studio, he experimented with the structure of each song, but one song needed only four takes to achieve a master recording, seemingly arrivingContinue reading “Shelter from the Storm”

When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky

On February 19, 1985, Bob Dylan was 44 years old. At that point in his life and career, he had achieved everything he could have dreamed of as a musician: sold best-selling records, loved by millions of listeners, and even recognized as being the “voice of a generation.” He was also a father of five,Continue reading “When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky”

Just Like a Woman

The song “Just Like a Woman” was recorded in Nashville in March 1966 for the album Blonde on Blonde: As recounted previously on Recliner Notes, Blonde on Blonde was primarily recorded in Nashville with the first-call “A-team” of Nashville musicians. The masterful utility of this group of musicians has been explored best by Tyler MahanContinue reading “Just Like a Woman”

If You See Her, Say Hello

Since the release of Blood on the Tracks in 1975, it has been one of Dylan’s most acclaimed and loved albums. Detailing the ins and outs of a relationship, many critics and fans thought that  Dylan was embracing the California confessional singer/songwriter style and musical approach, exhibited most beautifully and successfully on Joni Mitchell’s 1971Continue reading “If You See Her, Say Hello”