Desolation Row

In 1963, the director Federico Fellini released his film 8 ½ with the following scene opening the movie: The scene depicts a man feeling a panic attack come over him during a traffic jam in the inner city. Smoke or steam pours into his car. He struggles to leave the car while faces from theContinue reading “Desolation Row”

Tombstone Blues

Bob Dylan was asked about his 1965 hilariously surreal rock ‘n roll masterpiece “Tombstone Blues” for the 1985 box set Biograph by interviewer Cameron Crowe. Dylan recalled the inspiration for the composition of the song 20 years later: “I felt like I’d broken through with this song, that nothing like it had been done before…justContinue reading “Tombstone Blues”

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”

She’s Your Lover Now

On January 21, 1966, Bob Dylan entered Studio A of the Columbia Recording Studios in New York City to continue recording the follow up to his 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited. The goal for the day was a composition by Dylan called “Just a Little Glass of Water” as noted on the recording sheet. HeContinue reading “She’s Your Lover Now”

Like a Rolling Stone

The first time I listened to Bob Dylan was after seeking him out. I was a junior in high school and had been in a serious Beatles phase for a few years. I had listened to every Beatles song multiple times, even buying bootleg Beatles albums with murky sound quality and murky origins with myContinue reading “Like a Rolling Stone”

Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues

In 1965, Dylan recorded “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” as part of the album Highway 61 Revisited: When Dylan first featured electric instrumentation in his music with Bringing It All Back Home, the sound of the music was boisterous rock ‘n roll as if Dylan was so excited to play with other musicians that heContinue reading “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

Arguably the best song title in Bob Dylan’s catalog, “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” off of 1965’s Highway 61 Revisited tells about the back and forth of sexual frustration between a couple.   The narrator starts things off: Well, I ride on a mailtrain, babyCan’t buy a thrill TheContinue reading “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”

I’ll Keep It with Mine

The great English writer Geoff Dyer was asked to provide advice for writers. He gave 10 different tips, and, in typical Dyer fashion, the tips are funny, self deprecating, self contradictory, instructive, and inspirational. The eighth tip, in particular, stands out: “Have regrets. On the page, they blossom into desire.” This is a beautiful concept,Continue reading “I’ll Keep It with Mine”

Highway 61 Revisited

After Bob Dylan began utilizing electric instrumentation to accompany his songs with the album Bringing It All Back Home, some in the media created a new genre to describe the music: “folk rock.” That genre name always seemed affected, suited more to The Byrds covering Dylan as opposed to Dylan’s actual music. Because listening toContinue reading “Highway 61 Revisited”

Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again

In 1966, Dylan was in the midst of his insane tour with The Hawks, welcomed as heroes in some cities, while defiantly fighting off boos in others. Sometimes they would have to deal with both at the same time in the same city. Concurrently, Dylan was attempting to record his follow up album to HighwayContinue reading “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again”