Belated

A very belated happy birthday to Bob Dylan who turned 80 last week. I was preoccupied with my dad’s own 80th birthday (amongst other things) to really pay attention. But this week I enjoyed reading John Harris on Dylan in the Guardian and this by Alan Jacobs from his blog post linkage over at Snakes and Ladders. And BBC 6 Music did a nice 6 Music Artist Collection I am currently listening to.

If I had been able to pay it any mind I would have chosen a song by Dylan for Going For A Song last week instead of choosing nothing. So to cover that omission may I point you in the direction of a GFAS I wrote in 2016 about ‘Sign on the Window’ from New Morning.

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Going For A Song: ‘Always Up’

Low – Always Up

My younger self would lament the fact, but due to the way I now find out about and then listen to music, new albums take their time to filter through to me, and I’m usually a year behind in my listening. This meant, when I started thinking about what albums I most enjoyed this year, I found the majority were pre-2018.

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Other Shows Are Available

I have seen Bob Dylan live. I wasn’t sure at first. I remembered seeing him perhaps at Wembley Stadium, because I had a vague memory of talking with my friend Tim as we made our way out of the gig. But I thought this might have been a dream, a false memory. But no, I was there. I found the ticket stub:

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Going For A Song: ‘Every Grain of Sand’

Bob Dylan – Every Grain of Sand

I watched Trouble No More over the Easter bank holiday. I’m no authority to say so for sure, but the documentary seems to be part of a recent ongoing reassessment of Dylan’s Christian “phase”. And I use scare quotes there because after watching the film I’m inclined to agree with the conclusion of this writer:

In retrospect […] it’s hard to see the singer’s turn to faith as anything other than an authentic change of heart

In the footage of the gig, which is of the tour around the time of his conversion, Dylan’s anything but insincere.

The documentary is a good one. There are sermons interspersed between the live footage, and these are delivered by the actor Michael Shannon and written (I think I noticed his name in the credits) by the writer Luc Santé.

The song ‘Every Grain of Sand’ is one of the stand out songs of that late 70s and early 80s period, even though it ended up on Shot of Love and not on one of the two albums – Slow Train Coming and Saved – directly linked to Dylan’s conversion.*

This version of ‘Every Grain of Sand’ is the one included on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare and Unreleased) 1961-1991 compilation and it is, to my mind, the superior version to the album version.

 

* Saved and Shot of Love began the competition for worst Dylan album cover. A competition that continued unfettered throughout the 1980s.

 

Going For A Song: ‘Sign On The Window’

Bob Dylan – Sign On The Window

I’m currently reading Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop by Bob Stanley. At over 700 pages I’m only a quarter of a way through, but already I’m seriously impressed. One of the things evident is the enthusiasm and the love Stanley has for his subject. And it is not an enthusiasm restricted to just obscure acts, musicians or songs, but an enthusiasm that extends to those more well-known episodes in pop history.

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