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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 15:43 GMT 

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This tune must be in everybody's top 5 I'd imagine, from the greatest artist of all time. The MTV unplugged version is just great as is 66 of course. This song along with It's Alright Ma shows his genius more than anywhere else. Desolation Row is pure genius and a top 5 dylan tune period! What are your fav dates? Anything worthy from the NET as a nominee date? MEZ


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 16:00 GMT 
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Mez wrote:
This tune must be in everybody's top 5...

Dangerous thing to say in these parts.

I would nominate the New York City United Palace version from last November as a personal favorite.


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 16:08 GMT 
Nah, neither one of those songs would be in my Dylan top 10.PEZ


Proof of the pudding:

Simple Twist of Fate
Mississippi
Tangled Up In Blue
Idiot Wind
Positively 4th Street
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Visions of Johanna
Blind Willie McTell
Like A Rolling Stone


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 16:20 GMT 

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great song, and certainly in my top 5

my favorite version is the one from No Direction Home


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 16:48 GMT 
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Dylan the speed freak hipster sounds like he's over-reaching just slightly...not a top 10-er for me, until you consider the harmonica solos (both), which blow the brain out the back of the head and leave - ?maybe an altogether different person?


Studio cut is definitive. Best live version is Berlin 2003.


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 17:43 GMT 
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One of those songs that sets Dylan in a category of his own.


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 17:51 GMT 

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I like the way they did this in 2003 as a straight country tune.


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 17:55 GMT 
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It's from the peak of the period where Dylan was exploring explicitly surrealist poetic language in the context of folk and rock songs. I don't know that anyone had tried that before and being first was EVERYTHING. Hemmingway found a way of writing dialogue that was near-perfect AND if anyone else used it they were immediately tagged as "Hemmingwayesque." Hendrix found a way of using volume that meant that everyone who explored volume after him would be "like Hendrix." By 1966, anyone who tried to write songs that set Rimbaud and Verlaine to folk melodies were "Dylanesque."

Listen to the explosion of songwriters A.D. (After Dylan) as they all do their best to populate their songs with a similar parade of characters. Just off the top of my head, look at this cast of characters from “Blinded By the Night,” the opening track off Bruce Springsteen’s first album:

Madman drummers bummers and Indians in the summer (with a teenage diplomat), some all-hot half-shot, some fleshpot mascot, young Scott with a slingshot, some brimstone baritone anti-cyclone rolling stone preacher from the East, some new-mown chaperone, some fresh-sown moonstone, some silicone sister with her manager's mister, and Go-Cart Mozart, little Early-Pearly, some hazard from Harvard, and some kidnapped handicap. And, if there’s room, add Crazy Janey, her mission man, Wild Billy with his friend G-Man, Hazy Davy and Killer Joe (from the cast of “Spirits in the Night”).

In the end however, it is interesting that the 65-66 period represents for Dylan something like Picasso's "blue" period, a step in his evolution; one phase in his overall writing career.

I particularly like the evolution from "Gates of Eden" to "Desolation Row."

I am fascinated by the way the rather stern, foreboding – I always imagine them made of wrought iron – gates of Eden get transformed into the run-down funky neighborhood of “Desolation Row.” Creatively, it’s a move that suggests an Old Testament story rewritten as a John Steinbeck novel.

I like the early live version where the audience laughs at every line. I think the LP version is the best, but that live one is interesting because it demonstrates how people have to be taught how to listen to the song. It sounds incredibly strange now to hear outright laughter (it reminds me of seeing "The Shining" when it was first run in a crowded theater in WV and with an audience that began chuckling about 30 minutes in and then was laughing like it was a 3 Stooges festival by the end; which reminds me of a plot to get about 30 people to go to a screening of Mel Gibson's "The Passion" and start laughing and then laugh harder and harder as the movie progressed... but I digress....) as if every verse ends with punch line.


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 17:58 GMT 
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Brilliant, sprawling song.

Still don't have a clue what it's about, a lot of pointless namedropping too.

Woudln't make my top 5, probably get into my top 10 though.


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 18:45 GMT 
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absolutely transcending in every way. my number one. the solo guitar gives the studio version advantage.
live versions from 2003 generally are the classiest. some from 98 and 2005 are contenders too.
but as with the more melodic songs it's hit and miss live.


Last edited by Dead Eternity on Fri July 10th, 2009, 19:01 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 18:47 GMT 
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It doesn't get much better than this.


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 19:27 GMT 

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albionfagan wrote:
Brilliant, sprawling song.

Still don't have a clue what it's about, a lot of pointless namedropping too.

Woudln't make my top 5, probably get into my top 10 though.


I would say that he's using well established archetypes rather than name dropping. We hear them and immediately have an idea of the character he is trying to portray. Everything jells together in an incredibly vivid manner; a carnival of freaks and geeks!

It will most likely always be my favorite song if for no other reason than that it was the first song I ever heard that I knew MEANT something... I had no idea what it was but it was but I knew it was important.

AND THAT GUITAR! Sublime.


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 19:50 GMT 
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Fully risking ridicule and humiliation I am posting my own cover of "Desolation Row." It was recorded just to pass the time in a studio and I sing and play acoustic guitar, my friend Ron plays acoustic bass. Later, as a surprise, some friends added a mandolin, pedal steel and second guitar. I came across the tape when I was mixing something else and did a mix, dropping the pedal steel and some backing vocals in Esperanto. You can hear the mp3 here: http://www.sendspace.com/file/y13lqo


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 20:37 GMT 
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conal0102 wrote:
albionfagan wrote:
Brilliant, sprawling song.

Still don't have a clue what it's about, a lot of pointless namedropping too.

Woudln't make my top 5, probably get into my top 10 though.


I would say that he's using well established archetypes rather than name dropping. We hear them and immediately have an idea of the character he is trying to portray. Everything jells together in an incredibly vivid manner; a carnival of freaks and geeks!

It will most likely always be my favorite song if for no other reason than that it was the first song I ever heard that I knew MEANT something... I had no idea what it was but it was but I knew it was important.


AND THAT GUITAR! Sublime.


What?


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PostPosted: Fri July 10th, 2009, 20:44 GMT 

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One of Dylan's great epics whose humor has gotten lost over time. I saw the debut of this song, and the crowd was cracking up continually. Nothing tops the original studio version with Charlie McCoy's brilliant guitar work. While I've seen this song performed innumerable times since 1988, and heard tons of other live recordings, none of those versions have the impact of the ones from 1965 and 1966.


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PostPosted: Sat July 11th, 2009, 00:31 GMT 
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I'm not a frequent concert-goer or boot buyer, so I have to go by the officially released stuff. Of these, there are no bad versions. The mournful Unplugged version with those great drums, the 66 version with Dylan at his most stoned and intense, the NDH version that sounds like a Velvet Underground outtake, and the H61 version with the classical licks from "El Paso" darting around Dylan's deadpan apocalyptic yarn. That one's the best. But they're all good. Not "all good," but all really good. Dylan truly holds the cards that read "Have mercy on your soul."


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PostPosted: Sat July 11th, 2009, 01:27 GMT 
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Listen to how the audience reacted at the first ever live performance in 1965 ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-b_e3dAQyY


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PostPosted: Sat July 11th, 2009, 02:47 GMT 
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From the first time I heard it I thought it was incredible.
I once read an article in Isis reviewing a concert of Dylan's , this reviewer described as the comedy act of the show and by that he meant the lyrics. It made a lot of sense to me. However when I floated that idea on here it was roundly criticised and dismissed.
I have heard it live at Mel;bourne 2007 . It was fantastic.


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PostPosted: Sat July 11th, 2009, 05:13 GMT 

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Long Johnny wrote:

I like the early live version where the audience laughs at every line. I think the LP version is the best, but that live one is interesting because it demonstrates how people have to be taught how to listen to the song. It sounds incredibly strange now to hear outright laughter (it reminds me of seeing "The Shining" when it was first run in a crowded theater in WV and with an audience that began chuckling about 30 minutes in and then was laughing like it was a 3 Stooges festival by the end; which reminds me of a plot to get about 30 people to go to a screening of Mel Gibson's "The Passion" and start laughing and then laugh harder and harder as the movie progressed... but I digress....) as if every verse ends with punch line.


But the song is certainly funny the first time you hear it. I laughed my ass off until the last verse which hit me like a brick. Up until then, it's a hoot to hear the Ophelia verse, Einstein disguised as Robin Hood, and all of the other icons that litter the song. The anticipation for the next verse is enough to make you giggle the first time you hear it. Of course, it's gotten much more serious since then. It required at least 4-5 listens before i truly understood what actually is happening in the song. Actually, the song became deadly serious when I then heard Live 66. When I heard that, it sounded as if Bob was describing the world he was presently in, those that he was looking out at night after night. The song became quite terrifying then. It's always retained that sickly humor. When I hear that Forest Hills performance, I hear a lot of self-conscious people thinking they're in on the joke, but secretly wondering which verse or line represents me? Where do I fit in this carnival? Who am I???

Though i love the album cut, my desert island DR would certainly have to be Melbourne 1966. Starting off with a coughing fit while he strums the opening, it is certainly Bob at his most "drugged out".
The song is quite simply....desolate. It takes a hell of a performer to sing this song this way stoned or not...In fact, the more stoned, the better...
And the harp solo just doesn't get better....

So here she is,

4/20/1966

http://www.sendspace.com/file/niydxs

Long Johnny wrote:
Fully risking ridicule and humiliation I am posting my own cover of "Desolation Row." It was recorded just to pass the time in a studio and I sing and play acoustic guitar, my friend Ron plays acoustic bass. Later, as a surprise, some friends added a mandolin, pedal steel and second guitar. I came across the tape when I was mixing something else and did a mix, dropping the pedal steel and some backing vocals in Esperanto. You can hear the mp3 here: http://www.sendspace.com/file/y13lqo


A great rendition Long John! Even though i disagree with virtually everything you say, I must say that this is really quite a well performed version and your friends are great too.
It reminds me of these guys:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pth186qzsCI

Finally, an awesome mashup that utilizes the song perfectly:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pth186qzsCI


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PostPosted: Sat July 11th, 2009, 07:13 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 11th, 2007, 04:15 GMT
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Apologies for the redudancy. Here's the mashup using an incredible performance I am not sure of the origin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBC23mJl ... annel_page

Any ideas when that is from??

Perhaps my favorite cover:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD1VeE5hsik


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PostPosted: Sat July 11th, 2009, 07:21 GMT 

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I've always found the Blind Commissioner with his hand down his pants and Romeo getting the wrong room to be humorous.


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PostPosted: Sat July 11th, 2009, 07:36 GMT 
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As with nearly all Dylan songs it can be understood on many different levels , some times I just like to hear the song as woderful poetry , image upon image.


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PostPosted: Sat July 11th, 2009, 12:09 GMT 

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albionfagan wrote:
Still don't have a clue what it's about, a lot of pointless namedropping too.


Pay attention to the last verse. It explains the seemingly pointless name-dropping.


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PostPosted: Sat July 11th, 2009, 13:52 GMT 

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It's a timeless classic and for sure is in my top ten.


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PostPosted: Sat July 11th, 2009, 15:11 GMT 
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They had better drugs then.


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