Dylan in the 80s – worth more than a second glimpse… and his thoughts on music and film.

A little over a year ago I wrote an article about Bob Dylan’s “Saved” album which received a wide readership and was generally positively received:

https://twilightdawning.com/2016/02/15/bob-dylan-saved-reassessed/

My intention had been to write a similar article about the 1981 album “Shot of Love” and then to go on and write a series of articles or a book about the albums and tours since then looking particularly at Mr Dylan’s use of Old Testament and New Testament imagery but also other imagery he used commonly across many years which helps us to understand and appreciate his work.

Unfortunately, I got bogged down in the article on “Shot of Love” which is still not finished although I keep returning to it and tinkering with it. I hope it will be completed as I think I might have some important things to say but who knows when.

This week, as has become his habit when a new album is due. Dylan’s staff published on his website a new interview he has given to Bill Flanagan:

http://www.bobdylan.com/news/qa-with-bill-flanagan/

Mr Flanagan seems to be a writer that Bob particularly trusts and he has given him several important interviews over the past decade. This new one is intended to herald his latest album of standards, the 3-disc set “Triplicate”.

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Music: The principal of pleasure (1978-1980)

A guy that I’ve met wrote a list on Facebook which has been running ’round my head for the last few hours. Quite a simple idea really – the albums he was listening to in his teenage years. It sparked something within me and took me back to another time and so I’m up in the night writing a list of my own but also exploring things that in some ways I’d rather not think about it – a very different time – and some things I guess I’d rather forget.

But in the midst of it there was always music.

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Like A River That Don’t Know Where It’s Flowing

Who: Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band

What: The River Tour 2016

Where: Wembley Stadium, London

When: 5th June 2016

My track record with the music of Bruce Springsteen has been a little chequered. I discovered his music early in his career and love the first four albums – “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.”, “The Wild, The Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle”, “Born to Run” and “Darkness on the Edge of the Town”. “The River” was an interesting album. Bruce felt it needed to be a double record. Listening to it in Yorkshire in England, I always felt it would have been better as a single album. Loved “Point Blank” but couldn’t get excited about what Mr Springsteen refers to as his “bar-room songs” especially pieces of fluff like “Crush on You”. But there was some real meat in there and I remember listening to that album a lot.

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Bob Dylan – “Saved” reassessed.

I was in my mid-teens when “Saved” was released. I’d just begun to discover Bob Dylan’s music around then but, to be honest, I was far more interested in albums like “The Times They Are A-Changin'” than “Saved” or “Slow Train Coming”. I’d caught on to the singles from “Street Legal” via Annie Nightingale’s radio show but really nothing else of his contemporary work was even on my radar. From “…Changin'”, I made the predictable moves to “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Blonde on Blonde” and for me Dylan was an interesting master songwriter from the 1960s.

I could be seen around college with a copy of “Writings and Drawings” under my arm but even in that my interest faded after the “John Wesley Harding” album.

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Steely Dan – The Most Unforgettable Night of Whatever

About a lifetime ago, my friend, Andrew, and I went to Leeds for the day and in the course of our shopping I brought home every Steely Dan album that had been released to that point, that I didn’t already own. By the time I had worked through albums like Pretzel Logic I was a fan for life. Indeed, Katy Lied joined Van Morrison and Bob Dylan in seeing me almost single-handed through some very tortured teenage years.

Flash forward to 2015 and my wonderful opportunity as I was invited to fly out to the U.S. and cover their residency at the Beacon in New York. I’d seen them a number of times but to see them on home territory playing with imagination and verve — well, this is the stuff that dreams are made of. So let’s take a look at their final night:

Who: Steely Dan

What: rockabye gollie angel tour 2015: “The Most Unforgettable Night of Whatever – Featuring Spectacular Musical Guests, Glorious Tunes and Riffage, and Whatever the Party Calls for! “

When: October 17th, 2015

Where: Beacon Theatre, New York, New York, USA

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Oh! What a Night!!

Who: Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons

Where: Bournemouth International Centre (BIC)

When: July 3rd 2015

About 3 years ago, I was at the Royal Albert Hall reviewing the Frankie Valli and Four Seasons concert (https://twilightdawning.com/2012/06/27/seasonal-returns/).

It was a fine show but it had the air of being nothing more than nostalgia puffed up by the success of the “Jersey Boys” musical.

The next time Valli was in town my health was poor and I was prevented from attending.

In 2015, I was elsewhere when the band played their London show but I was commissioned to cover their show in Bournemouth. How would it be?

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Christmas in the Heart – Third Time Around

My friends just don’t get it – not even my Dylan-fan friends – but I remain fascinated by the 2009 release “Christmas in the Heart“.

It seems to me to be one of the consummate Christmas albums for several reasons which I will list below. I’ve written about this album on two occasions before –  most recently here:

https://twilightdawning.com/2012/12/03/dylan-in-advent-a-second-look-at-christmas-in-the-heart

But here’s my reasons that this is a classic of the seasonal kind:

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