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Sunday, May 11, 2014

One More Night: Unreleased Live Recordings, 1961 - 2014 (Volume Four)



One More Night: Volume Four
Unreleased Live Recordings
1961 - 2014 

All Along The Watchtower - June 9, 1998
She Belongs To Me - April 30, 2006
I Don't Believe You - October 31, 1975
Chimes Of Freedom - November 18, 2005
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight - November 12, 1981
I Dreamed I Saw Saint Augustine - November 4, 1975 (Evening)
Shelter From The Storm - March 23, 2010
Baby Please Don't Go - December 22, 1961
It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) - June 22, 2007
I'm Not Supposed to Care - May 13, 1998
When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky - June 29, 1986
Visions Of Johanna - May 16, 1966
Buckets Of Rain - November 18, 1990
Samson & Delilah - June 11, 2004
Every Grain Of Sand - June 28, 1989

Bonus Tracks

Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues - April 13, 1966
Like A Rolling Stone - April 22, 1976
Tangled Up In Blue - June 11, 1984
In The Garden - March 21, 1995
Man Of Constant Sorrow - April 16, 2002
Return To Me - April 18, 2009
The Weight - August 3, 2013

Link


The songs here represent one of the most cohesive of these five volumes documenting Bob Dylan’s “off the record” performance career.

“All Along The Watchtower” is an esteemed arrangement performed only in 1998. The drums create a cascading pattern that gets the record off to an uptempo start.

“She Belongs To Me,” accented heavily by Donnie Herron’s steel guitar, features a little-used but effective vocal technique popularly known as ‘downsinging.’ In short, the singer draws out the penultimate syllable of a line, then drops to a lower register for the final syllable. That dry definition aside, the song never fails to bring a smile to my face.

“I Don’t Believe You” is an appropriately breezy take on this tale of romantic disappointment. If you’ve heard the acoustic tracks on The Bootleg Series Five – The Rolling Thunder Revue, you’ll have an idea of how this sounds. The rhythm is steady, and gives the singer an opportunity to play around with phrasing. A harmonica solo closes the song.

“Chimes Of Freedom” is, as far as I’ve heard, the most perfect recording of this song. Though folks for whom the ‘upsinging’ of latter years may object, the tight relationship of singer and band here presents an almost flawless rendition of a classic. You can see bolts of lightning and feel the warmth of a summer night in each note.

“I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” is another track from 1981, one of many found on these five CDs. That was an excellent tour, and though much of it provided substance, this song represents the more playful elements of the Caribbean-influenced concerts.

“I Dreamed I Saw Saint Augustine,” from the Rolling Thunder Revue, is the second appearance of this song on the One More Night collection. Here it is presented as a duet between Dylan and Joan Baez, and is one of their more successful collaboration. The mandolin is a highlight here, as is the strange and appealing turn the vocals take on the line “alive with fiery breath.”

“Shelter From The Storm” is a bit of an oddity. The arrangement was only used briefly, and has been referred to as hip-hop influenced, though I’m not fully convinced. Either way, it reminds this listener of 2009’s “I Feel A Change Comin’ On,” and is a pleasant listen.

“Baby Please Don’t Go” is one of Dylan’s finest early blues recordings. He mixes around lyrics, including a verse referring to Parchment Farm. All acoustic, the song has a powerful drive delivered by the singer’s physical stomp.

“It’s Alright Ma” is a remarkably strong performance of this dense poem. Accompanied by his reliable rhythm section and blazing guitars and violin, the singer puts forth every word with the fire and brimstone necessary to convey the cruelty of a cynical culture.

“I’m Not Supposed To Care” is a Gordon Lightfoot cover. Much like “Early Morning Rain” and “Shadows,” the intersection of Lightfoot’s words and Dylan’s voice is hugely successful. The tale of a man so desperately in love with his ex-lover that he will be willing to drop everything and fulfill her every need should the day come, believing that she’d do the same, is deeply moving.

“When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky” is a song in transition from its steady arrangement on the Empire Burlesque record to the looser one played on the Temple In Flames Tour. The apocalyptic love story builds from a nigh-acapella introduction to a pulse-pounding rhythm reminiscent of the earlier “All Along The Watchtower.”

“Visions Of Johanna” is a classic recording of a classic song from Dylan’s noted 1966 World Tour. This performance comes from Sheffield, though it seems like each version of this tune is special for one reason or another. From 1966 to the present day, you just can’t go wrong with “Visions Of Johanna.”

“Buckets Of Rain” almost got pushed out of the set, as the recording runs a little hot, but it’s just so much fun. This is also, to date, the only live performance of the song. Note the humorous moment at which the band believes the song has ended, but the singer pushes them ahead to one whimsical final verse.

“Samson & Delilah” is a spirited version of the traditional song. Though I’ve not heard The Grateful Dead’s arrangement, I would not be shocked if it functions as the template for this one. I am not fully clear on the lyrics, but everyone’s clearly having such a great time. The earliest version of this song with which I’m familiar with is Blind Willie Johnson’s 1927 recording, presented on Dylan’s own Theme Time Radio Hour. You may hear buzzing at the end of the track; this was apparently related to a power cut that nearly derailed the band’s contribution to the 2004 Bonarroo Festival, but thankfully the show went on.

The final song, “Every Grain Of Sand,” is considered by many to be one of the best performances of this beautiful song. Deeply poetic, the singer conveys new angles in this acoustic rendition from 1989. The harmonica is especially moving.

Among the bonus tracks, several stand out as noteworthy. Though this recording of “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” is a little harsh on the ears (which precluded its inclusion of my 1965/1966 compilation, Shades of Blue), it includes the delightful discussion of Tom Thumb’s origins as an introduction to the song. “Like A Rolling Stone” is the only Rolling Thunder-era performance of the song, and was part of Dylan’s Hard Rain TV special, which remains unreleased. “Man Of Constant Sorrow” is not the typical arrangement, but is instead an electrified version based on the one that appeared in the Coen Brothers’ film Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. “Return To Me” is a rare live appearance of the Dean Martin classic, which Dylan also recorded in-studio for the Sopranos soundtrack, Pepper & Eggs. Finally, “The Weight” was recorded on 2013’s Americanarama tour, and features Jeff Twitty and Jim James sharing the stage and the microphone.

If you like the tracks, be sure to purchase the original studio recordings available from Columbia Records:


I hope you enjoy the songs, and find that they stand up to the quality of the preceding and following volumes.

Thanks for listening,
CS

6 comments:

  1. Visions Of Johanna 1966. Never fails to amaze. I just lose myself in that song. Every time. After all these years ! Thanks, as ever !

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    1. Thank you for put together these recordings, they are truly a treasure.
      Greetings from Spain

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    1. I'm so amused by my error and your creative response that I'm tempted to leave it in. And to think I was a Wilco fan before I ever heard Dylan's music. Shame on me, haha.

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