Bob Dylan and Donovan, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

Posted in Bob Dylan, Donovan, Youtube Favs on November 30th, 2011 by Willie

Who was “baby blue?”  Was it Joan Baez, Dylan’s folk loving audience, Bob Dylan himself?  No one knows, maybe not even Bob.  “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” is one of the greatest pieces of symbolist poetry ever, one of the greatest folk songs ever, and one of Bob’s best.  Released in 1965 0n the incredible album, Bringing it All Back Home, the song was some kind of farewell ode to love, society, success, or failure.  Maybe it was a portent of a coming apocalypse, or a grim nihilistic expression of desolation.  Whatever it was about, it was beautiful, and British folkie Donovan knew it.  The video clip below is from the 1967 documentary, “Don’t Look Back,” which focused on Dylan’s 64-65 tour of England.  In the clip, we see Donovan play a lovely little tune, which is really great, but then request Bob play one of his favorites, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”  I was always struck by what the lead singer of Franz Ferdinand Alex Kapranos had to say on the encounter.

“That guy was so self-assured. It’s breathtaking to watch him at the pinnacle of his cruel glory in this film. The most intense scene is when Donovan meets his mentor. The lovely wee guy plays an optimistic Dylanesque tune on his guitar. Dylan then plays “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and sniggers at Donovan’s amateurism through the acid of his delivery. Watch the muscles flinch in Donovan’s jaw.”

I’m not sure if Dylan was sniggering at Donovan’s song, and if Donovan’s jaw was flinching, it was out of awe and respect, not jealousy.  Still, Alex, captures the essence of the effect Dylan’s music must have been having on his rabid and possessive folk audience that Bob was now ditching. “Don’t Look Back,” captures the Dylan fan rebellion as they openly boo Bob when he plugs in electric guitars and starts to rock.  It’s one of the more stunning moments in rock and roll history, and an example of how different culture was back then; one that held hard onto icons, status qu0, and familiarity.  The clip, the song, and the moment is one of the greatest in rock history so buckle up your brain before you press play.

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John Lennon, India, India

Posted in John Lennon, The Beatles, Youtube Favs on September 27th, 2011 by Willie

Sorry for the disturbing lack of updates, but I was busy packing up my Brooklyn apartment and heading north for Maine.  I’ve got three weeks in beautiful Portland before I head across the world to South Korea and Australia.  I’m happy to be out of the city and hear crickets out my window, as four and a half years in New York really drains the nature out of you.  I couldn’t be more excited for my trip across the Pacific, and I’m reminded of four other guys who had to get away from it all, the fab four.  The rare song you are about to hear was NOT recorded by the Beatles, but rather its a solo John number from 1980 that he made reflecting on the journey he took just 12 years prior.  John was beginning to feel sentimental about his life, emotions reflected strongly in his last record Double Fantasy.  “India, India” didn’t survive the cutting room floor of that record, but luckily it survives the cutting room floor of history.  It’s a pretty psychedelic folk ballad with a wistful haunting melody.  Enjoy.

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Simon and Garfunkel, The Sounds of Silence

Posted in Paul Simon, Simon and Garfunkel, Youtube Favs on June 21st, 2011 by Willie

It’s part 96 of my youtube countdown, and we are getting so close to the end!  This time I have Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence,” from the album of the same name.  When I was crafting the title of this entry, I noticed that the original version of the song was not titled, “The Sound of Silence,” as I had thought, but was pluralized.  Both the plural and singular version of the song are correct however as later releases were known as the “The Sound of Silence.”  Paul Simon originally wrote this haunting folk ballad write after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, but the song was not an immediate hit.  When the song started to become a hit in the mid 60s, Simon and Garfunkel were no longer working together, but the success of the tune, reworked by producers to give it a more pop sound, reunited the boys and launched them into the mainstream of cultural significance.  The live performance I found here reflects the original version of the song with its minimalist beatnik production.  In it, the guys are so young and dorky, Garfunkel gives a real proto-hippie moralizing speech, and of course they flawlessly play the song, achieving that perfection they always shot for.  Check it out!

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Neko Case, Buckets of Rain

Posted in Bob Dylan, Neko Case, Youtube Favs on April 9th, 2011 by Willie

In part 32 of my youtube countdown, we find Neko Case covering Bob Dylan’s Buckets of Rain from Bob’s “Blood on the Tracks” album.  There are two things you need to understand.  First, Neko Case is my favorite female singer in the world.  Her voice is just a soaring laser beam of power and clarity.  Second, Buckets of Rain is among my favorite songs ever.  It’s just a gorgeous poem of love and devotion.  I was planning to record a video of me playing Buckets of Rain, but there’s some guy operating a power drill outside my window right now, so that will have to wait for another day. In lieu of such activities, you’ll just have to enjoy Neko’s golden voice giving life to Bob’s golden words for now.  I’m so sorry. ; )



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