Category Archives: Bob Dylan

Today’s Top 5: My Back Pages

I worked from home last Thursday, as I sometimes do. If there’s a chance of snow, or it has snowed, or (as in this case) if Diane and I have a show to go to that night, or if the weatherman is predicting heavy rain, the odds are good that my morning commute will consist of me fighting the traffic from the Keurig machine in our kitchen to here, our second-floor study. Most days, my work consists of banging away on a computer keyboard; the need to be in office is often nil (though it’s always better to be seen than not). This day, however, I also had a meeting so – at the appropriate time – I clicked a Skype link to join in.

The reason I mention it: Those who Skype into my company’s meetings are greeted with our head shots from our company ID cards; they’re visible to everyone in attendance, both in the conference room and online. In my case, it’s a photo that was taken in the mid-2000s; as now, I have long blondish-brown hair and a mustache and beard. Unlike these days, however, there’s nary a white or gray whisker on my upper lip, cheeks and chin.

That’s a long-winded way to say that I was reminded, yet again, that my internal clock is tick-tick-ticking closer to midnight.

There’s a well-documented disconnect between how people perceive time and the reality that is the static measurement based on the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. A month lasts forever when we’re young, for instance, but seemingly blurs by at ever-increasing speeds the older we become. And when looking back, the flawed internal workings of recall come into play. Often, the time between now and then doesn’t seem quite as long as it is. It was just yesterday, right? Other times, even with more recent memories, it might seem like a lifetime ago.

As regular readers know, I sometimes dig through my old desk diaries, excavate old rock magazines, and drill into my brain’s medial temporal lobe (where most memories are stored) for my musings. I’m accustomed to dealing with the figurative distance between the present and past, and in peeling away the nostalgic layers of memory to present life as it was – well, as much as I can in a few hundred words.

But seeing a picture of myself pretty much as I still look, just minus wide swaths of white and gray in my beard? That’s a proverbial slap in the face from the original time lord, Chronos.

And, on that cheerful note, here’s today’s Top 5: My Back Pages.

1) Bob Dylan – “My Back Pages.” From Bob-fest, with Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Eric Clapton and George Harrison, but originally found on Dylan’s 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan.

2) Dusty Springfield – “Goin’ Back.” In 1966 and ‘67, Dusty starred in two seasons of the Dusty TV series on the BBC. In ’68, she moved to ITV for It Must Be Dusty, then returned to the BBC for Decidedly Dusty in 1969. Each episode of each series followed the same pattern: Dusty sang, welcomed a guest, and then sang some more. Some episodes of Dusty are available on DVD, but – sadly – the tapes for many episodes were either erased or misplaced. The audio has survived fo some, however, including of this beautiful rendition of “Goin’ Back” from 1966.

3) Kasey Chambers – “We’re All Gonna Die Someday.” From Kasey’s classic 1999 debut, The Captain. Sometimes you just gotta laugh about our end times.

4) The Chromatics – “Into the Black.” I first heard this cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” via an episode of what was one of my favorite TV shows, Covert Affairs, in 2012. It’s a haunting rendition.

5) Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black).” And here’s Neil riding the Horse on the same song, circa ’79.

And a few bonuses…

6) Bob Seger – “I Knew You When.” The title track from Seger’s most recent album. “We all sit here with our memories/of a glorious long ago…”

7) Steely Dan – “Hey Nineteen.” “Hey nineteen/No, we got nothing in common/No, we can’t talk at all…”

And finally…

8) Courtney Marie Andrews – “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You.” Nah, not a song about death, growing old, or looking back. Just a great Dylan song by a young(er) artist who knows her music history…

Today’s Top 5: #ReleaseThisBlogPost

I’m not sure which is worse: the mendacious Chump, the Clown Car of Corrupt Cronies (aka the current incarnation of the GOP), or the Grammy Awards. Since this is a music blog, I’ll skip the first two. And, for the same reason, I’ll just sideswipe the Grammy Awards and say that, for as long as I can remember, they’ve been simultaneously entertaining and meaningless. Which is why, at 10 o’clock last Sunday night, with an hour left in the ceremony, I felt no remorse in turning off the tube and turning in for the night.

And with that, here’s today’s Top 5: #ReleaseThisBlogPost.

1) Bob Dylan – “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” from Bringing It Back Home (1965).

2) Neil Young – “Ambulance Blues” from On the Beach (1974).

3) Juliana Hatfield – “On Video” from Made in China (2005).

4) Paul Weller – “Wake Up the Nation” from Wake Up the Nation (2010).

5) First Aid Kit’s Klara Söderberg – “The Times They Are a-Changin’” from The Freewheelin’ First Aid Kit (2017).

And two bonuses…

6) Courtney Marie Andrews – “Heart and Mind” (2017). Written shortly after the 2016 election

7) Rumer – “Love Is the Answer” from the Love Is the Answer EP (2015) – a cover of the Todd Rundgren/Utopia classic.

Today’s Top 5: Cool Covers Collection, Vol. LII

The past week has found me excavating the Ruins of First Aid Kit. In addition to their U.S. tour, which just kicked off, they’ve been out in force promoting the release, appearing on CBS This Morning and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, among other TV venues, and stopping by the always cool KCRW “Morning Becomes Eclectic” radio show in L.A. on January 23rd. The latter, which I watched this morning, is an informative and fun session that finds the Sisters Söderberg performing an eight-song set and fielding some good questions –

If you don’t have 45 minutes to spare, however, fast forward to the 32-minute mark and enjoy their rollicking take of Heart’s classic “Crazy on You”…or watch this clip, from the next night in Oakland:

Hopefully they keep it in the set.

Of course, one cool cover leads to another…in this case, a taste of a much-anticipated (by me) LP: Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John. I’m sure some folks will scratch their heads over the project, which is slated for release on April 13th, but I’m thrilled that JH is letting her geek flag fly. (Of note, the video is shot in Bensonhurst, the Brooklyn neighborhood home to Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever.)

(Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, I should mention, is available for preorder over at the American Laundromat one-stop web shop.)

Here’s an oddity that I stumbled over the other night: Bob Dylan with Clydie King, from 1980, covering the Dick Holler-penned Dion hit, “Abraham, Martin & John.”

Speaking of Dylan, here’s Paul Weller’s take on “All Along the Watchtower” (from 2004):

With Weller, there’s a whole host of covers to be had via the YouTube rabbit hole. Here’s one of my favorites: performing CSNY’s classic “Ohio” at Glastonbury 1994. (For what it’s worth, he also released a live version of it on the 1993 The Weaver EP.)

And two bonuses…

One of my favorite covers of all time is the Jam’s take on the Chi-Lites’ “Stoned Out of My Mind.” I featured it recently, however, so here’s another take on the classic tune…by  Joss Stone (from 2012). It’s great.

And since every time I listen to Joss, I wind up listening to her a lot – here’s her take on the Impressions’ 1965 hit “People Get Ready” at the Melbourne Festival in 2011: