Bob Dylan has been mentioned all over the place on the site since we started waxing quasi poetic about what music means to us. And, Dylan’s phenomenal Blonde on Blonde made the group’s consensus Top 50.
But, I cannot remember a Dylan song actually being singled out in the same way all the other stuff works its way to the top of our collective creative urges.
Blonde on Blonde is my favorite Dylan album by a long shot, and that actually says a lot.
But, my love for it traces back to around April, 1967, when my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. For that year, in honor of the occasion, my father bought my mother–and I suppose the family–a big Magnavox stereo in a big piece of mahogany furniture.
That was ok, but what it really meant was that I could lay claim to the family’s portable Admiral phonograph, which I then stashed in my bedroom.
I had pretty much stopped buying singles by that time anyway, so every night, before free-form FM worked its way to the Sacramento airwaves to which I would be stuck for a few more years before I could return to my beloved bay area for good, I would drop a stack of albums on the spindle to lull me to sleep.
The Beach Boys All Summer Long and Surfin’ USA were staples in those days, along with early Beatles and Stones. But, since albums cost a lot–$4 in those days, which was a lot–I did not purchase too many, too often. Meaning like when I first was buying 45’s, five years earlier, I would listen to both sides of everything simply because the song was there and I could.
So, every night side two of disc one, which feature I Want You, Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat, Just Like a Woman, and the clip link linked below, of Blonde on Blonde hit the changer as well.
With Al Kooper on keys, and Robbie Robertson on guitar, along with Rick Danko and Joe South among others, Blonde on Blonde was recorded both in Nashville, then New York.
And, well, spending the past few days in New York, in anticipation of Tout Wars, I thought a number of times about early Dylan while enjoying walking up and the streets, cos New York is such a great walking city. But I also thought of the man, and just what a great artist, singer, songwriter, and generally pretty good guy he has been, and is.
Further, I would like to think that his deconstruction of his own catalogue over the years has been brilliant, keeping him and his songs fresh and valid in a way the audience might not appreciated, but that I hope I do.
In fact this version of Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again is quite different from the one I fell in love with as I went to sleep in the later 60’s, but it is just as great and fun.
Love ya Bob. Always will!