Wednesday, December 9, 2015

just a little glass of water

------------------------------- [excerpt, Remnick article on Dylan, N. Yorker] -------------------- I've got to think that, soon enough, someone's gong to want to listen to everything Kanye West

did in the studio for "The College Dropout," "Late Registration," and "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy."

Wouldn't you have wanted someone to plant a hidden microphone in Bach's church as he rehearsed the performers for the next Sunday's cantata?

Sometimes, to know too much about something has its own rewards.  And what you hear in "The Cutting Edge" is a great artist figuring things out.  Day after day, Dylan brings to the studio, and to his producers Tom Wilson

and Bob Johnston,

a sheaf of handwritten lyrics, sometimes just a bunch of phrases, fragments, maybe a chord progression, and, often enough, just the vaguest notion of how things should go. 

You hear attempts at beauties like "I'll Keep It with Mine" and "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" -- and then, in his impatience, he shelves them.  You hear his frustration:  "The drums are driving me mad!" he says on a plodding take of "Mr. Tambourine Man." 

You hear Dylan, who wrote endlessly in the studio while his session musicians napped and played cards, hint at the colossal length of "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands," the eleven-minute ballad to his wife, when he tells them, finally, "It's two verses and a chorus -- five times."

He's inventing all the time in the studio, improvising lyrics, dropping lyrics, making up bogus titles.  "Medicine Sunday" becomes "Temporary Like Achilles."  "Freeze Out" becomes "Visions of Johanna." 

"Just a Little Glass of Water" becomes "She's Your Lover Now." 

You hear him discarding his Okie folk voice and working out the right timbre of his rock-and-roll voice.  You hear "Like a Rolling Stone," his bitter anthem and, possibly, his most important song (at least Greil Marcus thinks so (amazon - Like-Rolling-Stone-Dylan-Crossroads), shift from a piano waltz to a 4/4 six-minute, full-band breakthrough with Mike Bloomfield's

crafty figures on the guitar and Al Kooper's

swirly turn on the organ.  ---------------------------- [end, today's excerpt from "Bob Dylan and the 'Hot Hand'" - written by David Remnick, The New Yorker.  November 9, 2015] ---------------------- {(pictures added here, by Blue Collar Lit)}


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