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”

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”

Jokerman

Let’s start with the sidemen: Dylan’s 1983 album Infidels featured Sly Dunbar on drums and Robbie Shakespeare playing bass. Both are from Kingston, Jamaica and make up the duo Sly & Robbie. The pair have recorded many solo records, released records as a duo, produced albums by other artists, and have played on countless recordsContinue reading “Jokerman”

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”

Idiot Wind

idiot noun id·​i·​ot | \ ˈi-dē-ət \ plural idiots Definition of idiot 1: a foolish or stupid person “… Idiot that I am to wear my heart on my sleeve! …” — George Bernard Shaw 2: dated, now offensive: a person affected with extreme intellectual disability As Merriam-Webster says, there are two definitions to theContinue reading “Idiot Wind”

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”

Girl from the North Country

Released in 1963, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was Dylan’s coming out party. Boasting a number of songs that would eventually become classics, Dylan announced to the world that he had arrived as a songwriter and performer. Freewheelin’ displayed Dylan’s full breadth of songwriting talent as it included finger-pointing protest songs (“Masters of War”), humorous wordplayContinue reading “Girl from the North Country”

Foot of Pride

Like “Blind Willie McTell,” “Foot of Pride” was originally recorded in 1983, left off of Infidels, and finally released on The Bootleg Series, Vol 1-3: Rare & Unreleased 1961-1991. The song has a slinky groove with minimal instrumentation; the only musical solos are occasional harmonica flourishes by Dylan. The song maintains this spare sound throughoutContinue reading “Foot of Pride”

Every Grain of Sand

In 1985, Cameron Crowe asked Bob Dylan about the song “Every Grain of Sand” for the Biograph box set. Dylan said: “That was an inspired song that came to me. It wasn’t really too difficult. I felt like I was just putting words down that were coming from somewhere else, and I just stuck itContinue reading “Every Grain of Sand”

Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood)

Find me on a certain day and The Basement Tapes is my favorite Bob Dylan album. It has been written about extensively, most notably by Greil Marcus in The Old Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes and has been the subject of two different releases by Dylan: the first official release inContinue reading “Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood)”