I have two favorite cover artists, Joe Cocker and Richie Havens, who both played at Woodstock. I was fortunate to see both perform live in Connecticut concert settings. Each person generated special magic channeling famous songs by well-known musicians they made their own. What I love is the dimensionality and how much more I came to appreciate the original selections.
Joe Cocker crafted Beatles songs among other tracks with his unique phrasing. If I had to name one song that signified Joe Cocker’s Beatles stamp it would be, “With A Little Help From My Friends”, which I saw him do in the Woodstock film. His performance was both commanding and endearing.
Sir Paul McCartney stated he would be “forever grateful” to Cocker for turning With A Little Help From My Friends into a “soul anthem”.
What I love about Richie Havens is the extra breadth and depth he injected in Bob Dylan’s songs. His interpretation brings Dylan’s songs to life in amazing ways. The gem of Haven’s Dylan’s cover selections is “Just Like A Woman”.
My favorite rendition is Richie Haven’s performing at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration Madison Square Garden event. The audience reaction on the refrain echoes how wonderful Richie knew and understood Dylan.
I constantly revel in the connections that formulate with Patti Smith, most notably historic and literary contemporaries.
The first parallel I drew was two famous authors connecting on one stage in front of 700 people, Patti Smith and Mark Twain.
The Immanuel Congregational Church is a magnificent edifice. I found myself in awe of the mosaic above the altar that depicts the parable of “The Sower.”
I serve as a lector in my church and have read this parable during mass readings. It is especially meaningful as our son’s name is Matthew. The second parallel drawn. 🙂
From Matthew 13.4 (NRSV): “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen”
From Matthew 13.18 (NRSV): “Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this the one who hears the word, but the cares for the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Colin McEnroe was the interviewer, a radio personality with a daily WNPR show, The Colin McEnroe Show. He is a weekly columnist/blogger for The Hartford Courant and a contributing editor at Men’s Health.
The event was recorded for Connecticut Public Radio. Colin McEnroe estimated the podcast to be available in November or December.
Patti took a special interest in the Tiffany mosaic. She shared that the mosaic is made entirely of glass and that it reminded her of Johnny Appleseed sowing seeds for mankind.
I reflected on Patti Smith sowing the seeds of creative consciousness in our midst.
I liked the nature of the third connection. Patti was asked her thoughts were of her friend Bob Dylan being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. You could sense her joy and satisfaction. She stated Dylan deserved the accolade by mentioning such songs as “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowland” and “Desolation Row”. Her special connection with Bob Dylan was heartfelt. For me this was the third parallel drawn.
Patti Smith has revealed songs by Bob Dylan that I was unaware of. She gives them special purpose as a poetess and singer/songwriter. She has a talented ear for the power and the beauty of his work. I found this to be the case on her album Twelve when she covered “Changing of the Guard” from Bob Dylan’s Street Legal.
But what I really love is the song, “Dark Eyes” from Dylan’s Empire Burlesque. It is one of those gems that gleams more brightly via her duet with Bob Dylan on Patti Smith’s comeback tour in 1995.
The fourth parallel drawn was through her longtime admiration for William Blake. She took up her guitar and performed, “My Blakean Year” for us. I always feel William Blake through Patti.
Once again an auspicious evening of spiritual connection with Patti Smith in a pastoral setting.
Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, presented by Citihighlights Dylan’s relationship with Cash. The two cemented their friendship at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival and were reunited in Nashville, in February 1969. Dylan had recorded most of Nashville Skyline when he went into the studio with Cash. They cut more than a dozen duets in two days. One, “Girl from the North Country,” appeared on Nashville Skyline, and Cash wrote Grammy-winning liner notes for the album.
A companion book to the exhibit Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City looks at the Nashville music scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a time of great cultural vitality for Music City. This publication matches the Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Bob Dylan has granted AARP The Magazine an exclusive interview to help promote his forthcoming album, “Shadows In the Night” which will be available on February 3rd.
I must admit that Bob Dylan’s PR team did their homework when it comes to demographics because AARP The Magazine has the world’s largest circulation of readers (estimated to be 47 million). AARP The Magazine’s over 50 crowd is Bob Dylan’s target audience.
The interview was conducted by Robert Love, the Editor-In-Chief who crafted a well structured series of questions for Bob Dylan to answer. Robert Love was with Rolling Stone Magazine for 20 years which grooves the interview like a tight playlist.
The album features songs from the 1920s to the 1960s, including such standards like “Autumn Leaves,” ”That Lucky Old Sun” and “Stay With Me.”
The songs also were recorded by Frank Sinatra. Dylan says he thinks Sinatra would “be amazed I did these songs with a five-piece band.”
My favorite quote from the interview is, “if I had to do it all over again, I’d be a schoolteacher.” He adds that he “probably” would have taught Roman history or theology.
Being a teacher myself who loves music I take pride in learning Dylan’s aspirations. Imagine yourself as a student in Bob’s class, wouldn’t that be motivation to attend school every day. 😉
Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings has released Bob Dylan’s The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 on November 4. Compiled from meticulously restored original tapes – many found only recently – this historic six-disc set is the definitive chronicle of the artist’s legendary 1967 recording sessions with members of his touring ensemble who would later achieve their own fame as The Band.
Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes is a music event 47 years in the making. It’s an historic album project from five of music’s finest artists — Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons) — in unique collaboration with a 26-year-old Bob Dylan. Produced by project creator T Bone Burnett, the album was recorded in March, 2014 at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, where the artists and Burnett convened for two weeks to write and create music for a treasure trove of long-lost lyrics handwritten by Bob Dylan in 1967 during the period that generated the recording of the legendary Basement Tapes. The collective completed and recorded dozens of songs, the first 20 of which appear on this deluxe edition.
Look for this profound Dylan music collaborative on your favorite television talk show this week.
I have acquired a decent collection of Uncut Magazine‘s Ultimate Music Guides. Uncut Magazine has published 23 special issues to date, I have six of their special issues (25%).
Uncut Magazine publishes a strong specialty publication because they offer an in-depth review of every album in the artist’s discography. Each album review provides TrackMarks in an insert which delineates track sequence, 1-5 star ratings, label, production information, personnel, chart position etc. It is in the lower corner of a typical two page album spread.
They also take the painstaking effort to publish live album, compilation, UK singles and rarities information. As an avid music collector I learn much more about the artist’s recorded output via the music guides. It is helpful when I want to listen to the artist’s catalogue on Spotify or my collection. I have many more facts and details to enhance the deeper interest my music historian self demands.
The latest Elvis Costello Ultimate Music Guide is informative and assuring. Elvis Costello(EC) is the #2 music artist in my collection after Santana (I own every commercial recording in the Santana catalogue…). I own 24 of EC’s recordings. I stopped purchasing his music in 2004 (Il Signo). I want to resume my EC collection beginning with The River In Paradise with Allen Toussaint right up to today (primarily the last five commercial albums). I can’t put my finger why I “cut-out” on EC’s music 10 years back. I may have reached maximum exposure but I have no real “root-cause” for why that sentiment built up inside me about his songs and acerbic wit.
The EC Ultimate Users Guide helps to rekindle my interest in his musical creativity and prolific songwriting.
I best get busy savoring the pages of this guide and pulling out all those CDs to play in the Honda ;). I’ll be writing more about Elvis Costello’s past 10 years in later music posts. Once I’ve listened intently first of course.
Before I forget to ask, What is Your Favorite Elvis Costello song? Mine is “All This Useless Beauty”.
Feel free to leave a comment about what your favorite Elvis Costello recording is below.
The music coffee table book that you will want to sink your teeth into is 101 Essential Rock Records, The Golden Age of Vinyl From The Beatles by Jeff Gold.
This volume is a tribute to the vinyl album and celebrates 101 of rock’s most influential records — from The Beatles’ 1963 début Please Please Me — through the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks (1977.)
The book also features contribution writings from musicians Devendra Banhart, David Bowie, Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Nels Cline (Wilco), Robyn Hitchcock, Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Graham Nash, and Suzanne Vega.
The book documents a period in recorded music where vinyl ruled with commanding authority. I love that it was a time when I was a rabid music collector and listener. I am proud to say that I own 60 of the 101 essential rock records 🙂 The book brings back the feelings of going to the record store to buy the rare cover edition of Blind Faith sold to me in a brown paper bag.
Jeff Gold is my new hero. He writes with such passion and conviction. It’s no wonder he is profiled by Rolling Stone as one of five “top collectors of high-end music memorabilia”.
Gold owns the music collectibles website Recordmecca.com, and writes about topics of interest to collectors on its associated blog. By the way the Web site is awesome!
This is a book you will want to squirrel away quality reading and listening time with as you explore the essential records.
So here is the list in chronological order of the 101 Essential Rock Records, see how many you can check off 😉
101 Essential Rock Records
1. The Beatles – Please Please Me
2. Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
3. The Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones
4. Bob Dylan – Another Side of Bob Dylan
5. Davy Graham – Folk Blues & Beyond…
6. Them – Angry Young Them
7. The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man
8. Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
9. The Who – My Generation
10. Simon & Garfunkel – Sounds of Silence
11. The Rolling Stones – Aftermath
12. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
13. Bob Dylan – Blonde On Blonde
14. The Mothers of Invention – Freak Out!
15. Yardbirds – Yardbirds
16. John Mayall with Eric Clapton – Blues Breakers
17. The Butterfield Blues Band – East West
18. The Beatles – Revolver
19. Jefferson Airplane – Takes Off
20. The Kinks – Face to Face
21. The 13th Floor Elevators – The Psychedelic Sounds Of
22. Laura Nyro – More Than A New Discovery
23. The Doors – The Doors
24. Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow
25. The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground
26. Grateful Dead – Grateful Dead
27. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?
28. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
29. Moby Grape – Moby Grape
30. Tim Buckley – Goodbye and Hello
31. Pink Floyd – The Piper At The Gates of Dawn
32. Buffalo Springfield – Again
33. Love – Forever Changes
34. Cream – Disraeli Gears
35. Traffic – Mr. Fantasy
36. The Who – The Who Sell Out
37. Leonard Cohen – Songs of Leonard Cohen
38. The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat
39. Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac
40. The Incredible String Band – The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter
41. The Zombies – Odessey & Oracle
42. Small Faces – Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake
43. The Band – Music From The Big Pink
44. Grateful Dead – Anthem of the Sun
45. Jeff Beck – Truth
46. Big Brother & The Holding Company – Cheap Thrills
47. The Byrds – Sweetheart of the Rodeo
48. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland
49. Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
50. The Beatles – The Beatles (White Album)
51. The Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow
52. The Pentangle – Sweet Child
53. The Soft Machine – The Soft Machine
54. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bayou Country
55. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
56. The Flying Burrito Bros. – The Gilded Palace of Sin
57. MC5 – Kick Out The Jams
58. Sly And The Family Stone – Stand!
59. Neil Young With Crazy Horse – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
60. Alexander Spence – Oar
61. The Who – Tommy
62. Crosby, Stills & Nash – Crosby, Stills & Nash
63. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Trout Mask Replica
64. Blind Faith – Blind Faith
65. Jethro Tull – Stand Up
66. The Stooges – The Stooges
67. Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left
68. King Crimson – In The Court of The Crimson King
69. Vashti Bunyan – Just Another Diamond Day
70. Fairport Convention – Liege & Leaf
71. The Move – Shazam
72. James Taylor – Sweet Baby James
73. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
74. Emerson Lake & Palmer – Emerson Lake & Palmer
75. David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World
76. Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman
77. Carole King – Tapestry
78. Can – Tago Mago
79. Yes – The Yes Album
80. Joni Mitchell – Blue
81. The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East
82. Genesis – Nursery Cryme
83. Faust – Faust
84. The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main St.
85. David Bowie – The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
86. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
87. Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure
88. Iggy And The Stooges – Raw Power
89. New York Dolls – New York Dolls
90. Big Star – #1 Record
91. Kraftwerk – Autobahn
92. Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
93. Patti Smith – Horses
94. Ramones – Ramones
95. The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers
96. AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Cheap
97. Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
98. The Damned – The Damned
99. The Clash – The Clash
100. Talking Heads – Talking Heads: 77
101. Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols
Gospel music and singing in the choir hold a reverent spot in the music of our heart. I sang for several years in the church choir growing up. I find myself at peace when I sing hymns at the weekly celebration of mass. It stands to reason that Bob Dylan‘s music lends itself to a church music setting. After all you “Gotta Serve Somebody” 😉
Something tells us you haven’t heard anything like Dylan’s Gospel by The Brothers and Sisters, a choir of Los Angeles session singers brought gloriously to the fore for a very special, one-off record.
Originally released in 1969 on Ode Records, this rare and sought-after album finds the California collective covering a clutch of Dylan classics in the era’s revolutionary gospel style. Produced by Lou Adler, soon to work his magic on Carole King’s mega-successful Tapestry, and arranged by Gene Page, noted for his work for Motown, the performers were largely unknown, but many went on to find great acclaim. Merry Clayton, the powerhouse singer best known for sparring with Mick Jagger on Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” (and star of the recent documentary 20 Feet from Stardom), appears here, as does Edna Wright of The Honeycones and Gloria Jones who recorded the original version of “Tainted Love” in 1965.
The genesis of the project was Lou Adler, the music business visionary who staged the legendary Monterey International Pop Festival. He imagined a project that joined the songs of Dylan with L.A.‘s most sought after session singers, most of which began their singing in the Baptist churches of South Los Angeles. “Listening to Dylan’s songs, I felt there was a gospel-like feel to them, both spiritually and lyrically,” Adler says in the liner notes. “So those two ideas, to work with these singers and to explore that side of Dylan – came together.” (Background and publicity information courtesy of The Light In The Attic Records).
Madison Square Garden proves once again why it is the “World’s Most Famous Arena”. Twenty-two years ago on October 16, 1992, New York City’s hottest concert ticket was the assemblage of musical friends at Madison Square Garden to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s first Columbia Records album.
It is so heartwarming to see George Harrison performing in the spot with Dylan that gave us The Concert for Bangladesh. I also see that the late Richie Havens sings “Just Like A Woman”. There is a version of “It Ain’t Me Babe” by June Carter Cash/Johnny Cash. The Band appears and does “When I Paint My Masterpiece“. Plus so many other great artists played Dylan classics that night. This is a righteous, must have music video 🙂