Bob Dylan's Fifth Album
July 5, 2019 10:19 PM   Subscribe

Bob Dylan released two albums in 1965. The first was recorded Jan 13-15, released on Mar 22. The cultural flint-and-steel that this album was is probably difficult to assess from our current age. Bringing It All Back Home (WikiPedia link with links to individual songs for background and reception): Side One: Subterranean Homesick Blues [video] (This is the one with the cue cards), She Belongs To Me (Just who is "she" anyway?), Maggie's Farm (A clear cry for independence that extends across multitudes), Love Minus Zero/No Limit (A song for Sara Lownds, Dylan's soon-to-be wife), Outlaw Blues *missing in action*, On The Road Again, Bob Dylan's 115th Dream

(Did you grind your brakes and compression break and take that left turn, because here's Side Two): Mr. Tambourine Man (Every time you listen to this it means something different); Gates Of Eden *missing in action*; It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (If you don't know this album, and you only listen to one song, pick this one.); It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Possibly the best kiss-off song ever written and which was curiously covered by Falco.)
posted by hippybear (46 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
Love that the Pennebaker music vid, with cue cards, has allen ginsberg in it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGxjIBEZvx0
posted by brewsterkahle at 11:17 PM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've been on a blistering Dylan kick since seeing Rolling Thunder Review on Netflix. If you haven't seen it you'll surely get your Ginsberg fix Brewsterkahle.

It's so interesting that he chose, on BIABH, to have the electric set on side one, unlike his live shows where he played his solo acoustic set first and then lit the place on fire in the second set. I guess he figured he had nothing to hide on vinyl.

Thanks for this post, just more Dylan to get my fix tonight.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:35 PM on July 5, 2019


5 May 1965
Birmingham Town Hall (UK)
Set list (all acoustic)

The Times They Are A-Changin'
To Ramona
Gates of Eden
If You Gotta Go, Go Now
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Mr. Tambourine Man
Talkin' World War III Blues
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
With God on Our Side
She Belongs to Me
It Ain't Me, Babe
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
All I Really Want to Do
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

Still the greatest show I've ever had the privilege of being present at.
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:47 PM on July 5, 2019 [11 favorites]


Thanks hippybear. And yes, hb is right, if you are just going to listen to one cut It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) is the one.

Great poet that Dylan. Can play and sing too.
posted by AugustWest at 1:45 AM on July 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Just a year after that Birmingham Town Hall gig Mister Bijou mentions came the most infamous heckle in rock 'n' roll history. There's a strand to that story you may not be familiar with in the two links below.

Andy Kershaw: How I found the man who shouted "Judas".

And here's Kershaw's radio documentary itself.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:22 AM on July 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Bob Dylan released two albums in 1965. The first was recorded Jan 13-15, released on Mar 22.

Since it's not mentioned in the article: the second one was Highway 61 Revisited released in August - and then he put out Blonde on Blonde next year.

When you start reinventing the musical culture of your generation, you have to get busy.
posted by each day we work at 2:43 AM on July 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


"Pure Mercury" I think that's what he called those albums
posted by DJZouke at 4:46 AM on July 6, 2019


1978 Playboy interview by Ron Rosenbaum:
Dylan: The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the Blonde on Blonde album. It's that thin, that wild mercury sound. It's metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up. That's my particular sound.
Rosenbaum: Was that wild mercury sound in "I Want You"?
Dylan: Yeah, it was in "I Want You." It was in a lot of that stuff. It was in the album before that, too.
Rosenbaum: "Highway 61 Revisited"?
Dylan: Yeah. Also in "Bringing It All Back Home." That's the sound I've always heard...
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:48 AM on July 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


I've been watching the Rolling Thunder Review on Netflix in 15-30 minute blocks for a couple of days. He is much more interesting there than in the Pennebacker film, where he seems to spend the whole film avoiding a straight answer.

We had a Dylan Wannabe contest here for many years, and I did 3 off this album alone, including Subterranean Homesick Blues done as a Powerpoint instead of with shirt cardboards.
posted by MtDewd at 6:53 AM on July 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have great respect and appreciation for Bob Dylan's songwriting and depth as an artist but I think my all my favourite songs of his are the whimsical, stream-of-consciousness ones, like 115th Dream and Subterranean Homesick Blues. I just love the way he plays with the language. It sounds effortless and joyful and rhythmic. There's frequently no deeper meaning than just that the words and ideas flowed into each other, so it just feels organic and honest, even if it's absurd.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:53 AM on July 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


I love Don’t Look Back precisely because it shows all of his human facets. Visionary, genius , comic, a jerk at at times . My favorite scene is when Donovan ends up at Dylan’s party and sings a song and it’s quite good, and Dylan yells out “good song!” Maybe in earnest or maybe not, who knows. Then Dylan sings It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue and you can feel the whole room going “oh, right . RIGHT. SHIT.”
posted by freecellwizard at 7:13 AM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've been watching the Rolling Thunder Review on Netflix in 15-30 minute blocks for a couple of days. He is much more interesting there than in the Pennebacker film, where he seems to spend the whole film avoiding a straight answer.

Not too many straight answers in the new movie either. Still a great film, though.
posted by Paul Slade at 7:44 AM on July 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


I know and love every single word of Bringin' It All Back Home." That album caused me to learn how to play the guitar and I learned the ballads. Hwy 61 Revisited was recorded almost entirely with an out of tune guitar. I own that album still and give a listen a coupla times a year. In fact, I want my life back and my guitar. I always want to sing and play The Gates Of Eden. Such beautiful words, in their time (considered politically incorrect now,) the motorcycle black madonna, two wheel gypsy queen, and her silver studded phantom cause the gray flannel dwarf to scream. As he weeps to wicked birds of prey who pick up on his breadcrumb sins...there are no sins inside the gates of Eden. At dawn my lover comes to me...

Thanks HB for the morning memory.
posted by Oyéah at 8:09 AM on July 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Then there is "Sarah," the anthem for every true love, lost, and still on the beach in time....
posted by Oyéah at 8:12 AM on July 6, 2019


He is much more interesting there than in the Pennebacker film, where he seems to spend the whole film avoiding a straight answer

Just being true to his heroes ...

Moréas announced that symbolism was hostile to "plain meanings, declamations, false sentimentality and matter-of-fact description", and that its goal instead was to "clothe the Ideal in a perceptible form" whose "goal was not in itself, but whose sole purpose was to express the Ideal."

So yeah, if you are going to listen to just one cut ...

Young man wired on amphetamines and Beaujolais and a truckload of symbolist poetry

(shameless self-link)
posted by philip-random at 8:14 AM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


What amazes me about this album is that it's hugely influential and yet there's still nothing else that sounds like it.
posted by TrialByMedia at 8:23 AM on July 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


rather like The Beatles' Revolver, it's the record that definitively announces to anyone who's listening that the change is in, the future is here ... whereas, it's the next one (Sgt Pepper's for the Beatles, Highway 61 for Dylan) that tends to get the official accolades, the future being more comfortable to reconcile when it's already behind you, or as Marshall McLuhan put it:

“We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”

And then there are the albums that preceded Revolver and Bringing it all Back Home -- Rubber Soul for the Beatles, Another Side of Bob Dylan for Mr. Zimmerman -- which, if you were paying attention, are the ones where the change was really first announced. But more tentatively, not so confidently. In both cases, you had artists who were clearly shedding the skins that had got them to levels of inconceivable attainment. But what now? As Sonic Youth would put it some years later, confusion is next ...

I maintain that
Chaos is the future
And beyond it is freedom
Confusion is next and next after that is the truth

posted by philip-random at 8:37 AM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I had lost touch with Dylan many years ago, after “Infidels”. Since the release of the Scorsese Rolling Thunder film, I’ve been using my Spotify account to catch up on what I’ve missed since then. In the process I’m learning that my knowledge of his early days are almost as unknown to me.
posted by hwestiii at 9:26 AM on July 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred
While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked
posted by octothorpe at 10:14 AM on July 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


There is a point in "Don't Look Back" where Dylan puts down Donovan. I don't think that was very kind of him. I have always respected Donovan and still listen to his '"SunShine Superman", "Mellow Yellow" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man" albums. His music is much more melodic and jazz influenced and his voice has always been superior. He is no light weight as many think. He doesn't have that scowl of a look that Dylan retains. Don't get me wrong I respect Dylan, but for nostalgic late night listening it's Donovan, but not always.
posted by DJZouke at 10:48 AM on July 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


FOR EXAMPLE. There is a clip on youtube of an interview in which Donovan mentions, offhand, that he showed some fingerpicking stuff to The Beatles when they were in India; the comments feature auto-slagging from ignorant poltroons , who have decided that he's a nobody, making this up to seem important. But it is entirely credible. What do you think they did in India when they weren't doing TM? Screwed around on acoustic guitars. And what's all over the next Beatles album? Fingerpicking.
posted by thelonius at 11:09 AM on July 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


I feel like I’ve read some quote from Lennon somewhere that credits Donovan with teaching him finger-picking.
posted by wabbittwax at 11:41 AM on July 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Dylan does seem to be kinda rude to Donovan in the film. Of course, Donovan did start out as a cheap Dylan imitator on his first album, before soon developing his own unique style, and then going on to be an influence on The Beatles and others. Donovan was also a big inspiration to English experimental folk scene, mostly by example of his commercial success made it possible for various record companies to invest in more different and interesting artists.
posted by ovvl at 12:24 PM on July 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm a big fan, but Dylan is kinda rude to nearly everyone he encounters in Dont Look Back.
posted by box at 12:39 PM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Watching the party scene with Dylan and Donovan (and I think Dylan has already made disparaging remarks about Donovan), Dylan says "... that's a good song, man." Which sounds OK, but who knows if he's serious or not?
Then he takes the guitar away from Donovan, who doesn't want to let it go. The look on Donovan's face as Dylan plays It's All Over Now, Baby Blue is interesting.
I've always seen that look as 'Wow, he's so much better than me', and I'm a Donovan fan. (But more a Dylan fan)
posted by MtDewd at 2:12 PM on July 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


My love, she's like some raven, at my window with a broken wing.
posted by Oyéah at 2:15 PM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


There's an interesting corollary to the party scene MtDewd mentions in Rolling Thunder Revue, where Dylan's kind of on the other side of that relationship.

He's strumming along with Joni Mitchell backstage as she gives him a sneak preview of Coyote, the new song she'd just written at the time. Dylan's expression suggests the dawning realisation that this is a truly stunning song, and one which he'd have no idea how to even begin writing himself.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:20 PM on July 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


Still the greatest show I've ever had the privilege of being present at.

Wow, that's astonishing. Also, wow you're so old! :P
posted by hippybear at 3:09 PM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Speaking of covers of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," I think Van Morrison's is the best. And the sample from that version shows up in Beck's "Jackass," which makes for a pretty good chain of custody for that song in whole and in part.

Van Morrison

Beck
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:18 PM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've always been fond of the very early version of Baby Blue that the Grateful Dead did in 1966.
posted by octothorpe at 3:27 PM on July 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


If you know that Hammer song, "If I Had a Hammer" that Pete Seeger and Lee Hays recorded in 1950? Whelp they got their wish, and it was Bob.

Truth told, I like the non-hammer songs best, and Tambourine Man will always startle me like it did the first time.

And to think he's still out there, fading into his own parade.
posted by Twang at 3:57 PM on July 6, 2019 [1 favorite]




Masters of War . . .his best.
posted by ahimsakid at 4:59 PM on July 6, 2019


As a child of the 80s it’s Blood on the Tracks and Infidels for me, and also John Wesley Harding, but this is close on those heels.

I remember when a bunch of lazy record reviewers suggested Beck was the next ‘new Dylan’ and it was basically because he sampled Baby Blue.

Them’s version (which is to say, Van Morrison’s) is good if you don’t know it.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:00 PM on July 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Jesus. That party scene with Dylan and Donovan is basically Michael Jordan (GOAT) trash-talking and beating up on a pretender.
posted by maupuia at 5:22 PM on July 6, 2019


the remasters of H61R and BIABH that came out a few years ago were a revelation; there were whole instruments missing off the initial cd releases. love the tack piano on H61R. for me, that was always his best, followed closely by BBIAB.
posted by entropicamericana at 5:55 PM on July 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm not really a music guy but I remember when and where I heard Bringing It All Back Home for the first time. It was my very first Dylan album, and was for me, ne plus ultra. It coloured my opinion of all the albums before and after. I'd always hope, when I'd see Bob live, that he'd play one of the songs from the album, waiting patiently with butterflies in my stomach. For a long time I wanted it to be the music played at my funeral.

I love that album without reservation.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:00 PM on July 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


the remasters of H61R and BIABH that came out a few years ago were a revelation; there were whole instruments missing off the initial cd releases.

Were these the mono rereleases? I bought that mono LP box set and those are the best copies I’ve heard.
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:08 PM on July 6, 2019


my cds are in a box in the garage, so i can't check, but i think mine were the stereo mixes. even so, they were huge improvements over the CDs from the 80s. i've since acquired the mono discs. like so many other artists (Beatles, Spector) the monos are the best versions, yes. :-)
posted by entropicamericana at 9:49 PM on July 6, 2019


"Forget the dead you've left, they will not follow you" is the best single line Dylan ever wrote, which means it might be the best line in any song in the English language. I agree that the Grateful Dead, fittingly enough, might have done the best version of "Baby Blue," as it really fits Jerry Garcia's limited but affecting voice.
posted by HunterFelt at 4:20 AM on July 7, 2019


I got BIABH, HW61 and BOB in stereo a number of years back and they are well worth it. Try eBay too.
https://store.acousticsounds.com/d/118103/Bob_Dylan-Highway_61_Revisited-Hybrid_Mono_SACD
https://store.acousticsounds.com/d/87799/Bob_Dylan-Highway_61_Revisited-Hybrid_Stereo_SACD
posted by DJZouke at 5:40 AM on July 7, 2019


You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handle.

An environmental group sprang up in Utah by that name V.A.N.D.A.L.S. Voices against needless destruction of air land and sea. Just a tidbit. I know they grabbed that name from there.
posted by Oyéah at 12:36 PM on July 7, 2019


The Weathermen/Weather Underground took their name from that song also.
posted by octothorpe at 1:07 PM on July 7, 2019


hippybear, I love your music posts so much! Thank you! I'm a queer person who has never gotten into Bob Dylan and has always associated him with "this is folk music for people who are straight as can be". I guess similar could be said for the Dead, even though I love them. I'm curious as to whether you have any thoughts about a queer-ish way into his music. No worries if not and thank you so much for doing what you do here!
posted by treepour at 5:30 PM on July 7, 2019


I'd say it's hard to queer your way into music that isn't written from a queer vantage point, but I'll point to the lyric octothrope posted upthread as in indication that Dylan was writing about the need to right a lot of wrongs many of which are intersectional with queer issues.
posted by hippybear at 5:38 PM on July 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Another moment I remember from"Don't Look Back" is when Dylan and Baez were in the back seat of a car. Dylan says to her "You have a see through blouse on that I just don't want to see through." or something roughly similar.
posted by DJZouke at 5:22 AM on July 8, 2019


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