Watching the River Flow

In March 1971, Bob Dylan entered the studio searching for a new sound after the pastoral feel of his previous album New Morning. The song “Watching the River Flow” was the single that emerged from those sessions: This recording session was produced by Leon Russell, a former studio musician who had achieved renown for leadingContinue reading “Watching the River Flow”

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”

Series of Dreams

In 2001, the director Richard Linklater released a film called Waking Life, which centers on one man’s experiences as he interacts with a variety of different characters who share observations, memories, and theories with him. These scenes are interrupted by the protagonist waking up and realizing that some of the exchanges he is having withContinue reading “Series of Dreams”

Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)

In the days after my wife and I told our friends that we were expecting our first child, a friend handed me an article torn out of GQ or Esquire with examples of music that parents can play for their kids that won’t turn the parents’ stomach. Included on the list was Bob Dylan’s TheContinue reading “Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)”

Man in the Long Black Coat

The first thing heard on Bob Dylan’s song “Man in the Long Black Coat” is the sound of crickets chirping. The song is the last track on the first side of Dylan’s 1989 album Oh Mercy. The album was produced by Daniel Lanois, which marked the first time Dylan and Lanois worked together after beingContinue reading “Man in the Long Black Coat”

Kickin’ My Dog Around

In 1967 after a grueling world tour fueled by revenge, disgust, and who knows what kind of substances, Bob Dylan retreated from public life to family life in Woodstock, NY. Living out his fantasy of “a nine-to-five existence, a house on a tree-lined block with a white picket fence, pink roses in the backyard” asContinue reading “Kickin’ My Dog Around”

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”

Copper Kettle

Released in 1969, the Great White Wonder was the first bootleg album of an established recording audience to gain widespread popularity and sales. In 1985, Bob Dylan told Cameron Crowe for the Biograph liner notes about 1970’s Self Portrait: “[It] was a bunch of tracks that we’d done all the time I’d gone to Nashville.Continue reading “Copper Kettle”