A joint effort by Liz & Jane Fate….
Liz… The first listen was a little odd. With every new track there was the unfamiliar sound. I kept thinking to myself…’What’s going on, Liz? You don’t usually listen to things that sound like this?’ What I mean is it sounded new, contemporary especially in the production. I kept reminding myself that these were lost Dylan lyrics from 1967, but instantly the songs stood up in their own right. There was no incongruity between lyrics and the treatment of them. What this project has done has really successfully brought them back to life!
Songs, in no particular order….
Nothing To It
Liz – This was the first of the tracks to be previewed in full with animated video Bob writing. I loved this track immediately. It has a swing kind of beat. I found that that listening to this on a mobile device really adds a bit of bounce to your step. I think the lyrics show depth. They are possibl
The song is 3 1/2 minutes but I actually love the last adventurous minute of freak out fuzz guitar. A big psychedelic final blast with the mumbling vocals about “to die… etc” I think makes this something else showing the range of musicians selected for the project. I was looking forward to this getting a bit of radio play. It could’ve, should’ve, but it sadly didn’t seem to get. Great though…
When I Get My Hands On You
Liz – Standout track for me. I think it takes risks with fabulous results. The simple, sparse Bom Bom Bom Bom refrain is unexpected, but successful. The lyrics though!!!
When I get my hands on you
Gonna make you marry me
And now you know
Everywhere on Earth you go
You’re gonna have me as your man
That does it for me! *Swoon*. I wonder if it was finding this that started the whole project?
Jane says……..Another top favourite. Such passion… but such sadness, too. Sounds of raindrops and tears. Something is saying that it just isn’t going to happen.
Jane says……..An instant folk song of the kind Bob might have covered ca. 1994, along the lines of Long Black Veil or The Lady Came From Baltimore. Proof positive if anyone needed it he didn’t disown his folkie roots, but kept drawing on them. As he told Playboy in February 1966, “There’s nobody that’s going to kill traditional music. All these songs about roses growing out of people’s brains and lovers who are really geese and swans that turn into angels – they’re not going to die.” Seven Curses, anyone?
Liz says….. Beautiful vocal from Rhiannon Giddens delivered with subtlety and power. It reminds me a lot of the folk ballad tradition too. I’d liken it to House Carpenter, or the more dramatic title I prefer, Ballad of the Demon Lover!
There were three sailors, bold and true
With cargo they did carry
They sailed away on the ocean blue
For the love of Spanish Mary
Down On The Bottom
Jane says…….What I find somewhat surprising about Sid Griffin’s assessment of The New Basement Tapes’ opening track is that he thinks it’s close in it’s sound to Time Out Of Mind – surprising since it never once reminded me of my favourite Dylan album (sorry, Sid!), though I think I can see what he’s getting at. That drifting, underwater sound and the effect on the vocal, which is somewhat incongruous in itself on this song – after all, it’s “down to the last drop.” Anyway, it doesn’t sound like any incarnation of Bob to me at all, which to my mind is a good thing. This is not an imitator’s record. If anything, it’s closer to Jakob Dylan’s sound than to Bob’s. What it does recall, though in reverse, is a line on Time Out Of Mind, in Tryin’ To Get To Heaven: “If you think you’ve lost everything / you find out you can always lose a little more.” Never mind he nicked the line from Henry Rollins – the sentiment remains.
Liz says…Ooooh… We only say great things about our pal, Sid. But I, too wonder why he said that? I don’t think this is a great opening track. I find it a little too sombre.
Jane says………One of my top favourites of favourites. Of course, there is a certain irony in the chorus – what with 2014 NET Bob & all this repetition? “And I love you dear, but just how long / Can I keep singing the same old song?” How long indeed? And how long, for love, can we keep listening to them? The irony of ironies, of course, is that his latest tour at the time of writing this song also featured a quite stagnant setlist, and yet is hailed as the tour of tours. He probably didn’t waste a single thought on touring at the time, even though the band was still on his payroll. Musically, I just love the singability of it, but then there are the emotional stirrings – all that waiting and reaching out in vain. The train sounds on the track are quite fitting once you think about it. Someone’s certainly planning leaving quite concretely here. Bob must have had a thing about Kansas City at the time, wonder what it was?
Liz – hmm for me, it’s just ok. If I were to play this ‘out loud’, I’d worry people would start to ask me if I like Ryan Adams?! This happened to me once….. (I’m still traumatised). I guess it’s a pretty successful ‘rock’ treatment for the masses.
Married to my Hack
Liz says….. Just under 2 minutes of strangeness about making lunch, swimming women, air-cooled breaks, goose eyed ladies, carburettors.. & what is a hack anyway? Quite a heavy weird sounding track with Elvis Costello on lead vocal. Backing includes lots of Ooooohs & dabadoos, which sound improvised. Not a clue what it’s about? I like it.
Duncan and Jimmy
Liz says…… This was one that grabbed me instantly. Very catchy stomping bluegrass! I love the banjo and the vocal from Rhiannon Giddons with a bit of Grrrr! I’m intrigued…. who are Duncan & Jimmy? What’s their relationship? What’s happening here?!?
Jane says……..Great tune, with a fabulous opening line. It could have gone anywhere from there, which does make me wish for an actual Dylan version.
Liz says…. I find this one a tad bewildering what are these references to Baby Snooks and things from the fifties that no one gets anymore? For me I’d like a bit of something else in it. Pedal steel? Banjo? Yes it’s very sparse and minimal and there’s a lot to be said for that. I wouldn’t surprise me if there was another different take of this on this on Volume 2….
Lost On The River #12
Jane says……..Come in, she said, I’ll give you shelter from the storm… and hints of Lay Lady Lay, too. Enough said.
Liz says… Elvis Costello on this one. Hmm? I was never a massive fan. I find this a teeny bit bland.. not a stand out for me.
Jane says……….“It’s getting harder and harder to be me” – one of those classic Gemini-schizophrenic Bob Dylan identity lines that he comes out with time and time again. Don’t call it confusion – he’s been moving towards capturing the pain of those shifting identities so brilliantly on Blood On The Tracks and in Renaldo & Clara for a long time. After all, we know that the ghost too was more than one person.
Then in the midst of it all, a genuinely basementy off-hand line like, “Need a little sunshine in my beer.” In my mind, his comic potential is much underrated, esp. by those who only ever like their Dylan serious.
Liz says…. I love this one too. There’s a lot to like. Beautiful lyrics, great melody, nicely structured… very complete & satisfying. Hmm. Blood on the Tracks like, eh? Could be that’s why I like it so much.
Jane says………A song for Jack. Gambling!! A very catchy tune. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with this on my mind, and it’s not even that far up on my favourites list – just a nice fun piece.
Liz says… absolutely, I love this one too!
Jane says……….Even though the “if ever” doesn’t make for a very promising start, the song overall sounds far more hopeful than When I Get My Hands On You. In any case, as with Kansas City, Bob must have been eager to head for Wichita in those days. Might be the song is a more serious cousin to Yea! Heavy And A Bottle Of Bread.
Quick Like A Flash
Liz says…..Promising violin intro but for me a strange sound, nothing like ‘Desire‘ at all! the bass is very prominentand there’s not much guitar. It sounds the most out of place in the collection, to my ears. The backing vocals sound compressed and unnatural but to be admired for a bit of risk taking.
Liz says……..I love the lyrics to this. I’m sure Bob had a lot of experience of situations like this, being a mega star and all!
Never fall in love with a stranger
And that, son, they all said to me
And never fall in love with a stranger
But I can’t help it if she falls in love with me
But it’s how the melody works with these lines, that really makes me smile…
She knows that our love more than any river flows
And I’m done now, all of my intentions are exposed
Not hidden in my clothes
Or in between my toes
A lovely odd little song. I like these peculiar ones!
A word for the Hidee Hidee Ho’s Nos 11 & 16
Liz… Some risqué lyrics here, much the same for both treatments of this song. I’m ever so slightly uncomfortable with the really breathy one!
Number 11 has this extra verse about ropes and bumps etc.
Hidee Hidee Ho (making love on the highway bump)
Hidee Hidee Hee (making love in a pile of rope)
Hidee Hidee Hoo (making love on the driveway ramp)
Final thoughts (Liz)
Readers of the Dylan persuasion have probably already got this. If not I’d seriously recommend a look at the animated videos, which are a little bit of art in their own right. They really add something to the songs, for me.
In the light of this new material I do worry that the Dylan obsessives are , right now doing some serious reviewing of all the biographical information available in the light of potential ‘insights’ from these songs. (I’m afraid that when I see ‘new insights’ on a Dylan biography, I read this as more made up nonsense & speculation.) Apparently in just 2 week these guys did all these tracks plus another albums worth. Stand by for Revisionist biographies after Part 2. Personally, I’ll be happy with more tracks like these!
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