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PostPosted: Thu July 27th, 2017, 17:27 GMT 

Joined: Tue October 13th, 2009, 20:44 GMT
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Hello,

So I started paying attention to Bob Dylan live recordings around 2008. By this point he was well into his "instrument of torture" (the organ) and barking mode. Don't get me wrong, I loved that period then, and now that I can place it in the greater context of the NET, I love it even more now.

But when I discovered what I consider the Golden Era with Larry Campbell and Charlie Sexton from roughly 97 to 2003 I was absolutely smitten.

My question is this, what do you consider the cut-off date for this era? Is it when Campbell left the band? I was listening to Newport 2002 last night, and while it's a great show, I feel there are times when Dylan just can't hold the high notes to harmonize with Campbell like he could in 2000 or 2001. Do you think Bob went into bark mode as a direct result of this? Or what other factors might have been responsible for that phase of evolution.

Also going to post this on r/bobdylan.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Thu July 27th, 2017, 17:37 GMT 
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I'm a fan of 1994-2005. I can put on just about any show from that time frame and enjoy at least some of it. Prior and after there are moments. I's say it's stellar from 1997-2000. But the Koella era is excellent too.


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PostPosted: Thu July 27th, 2017, 17:54 GMT 

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John B. Stetson wrote:
I'm a fan of 1994-2005. I can put on just about any show from that time frame and enjoy at least some of it. Prior and after there are moments. I's say it's stellar from 1997-2000. But the Koella era is excellent too.


'94-'95 was the NET peak. I think '96-97 were weaker, then it started picking up again in '98. '99-'01 is high quality, but more polished than the NET had been up to that point, which is not always a good thing. Fall '02 has some shining moments. Then enter Koella in '03 and the sound gets jaggedy and raw, the smoothness is gone and something of the earlier NET's ragged unpredictability returns. Fall '03 was really good. When Stu joins up, things start to get more staid, even mediocre, and then there's an overall decline (with some good stuff cropping up now and then) until the 2013 renaissance - which reaches its peak in Japan '14. After that, a consistently good level is maintained up to the present.


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PostPosted: Thu July 27th, 2017, 18:31 GMT 

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Most people single out 1995 but even that year had its negatives; pedestrian band, Bob's never ending electric solos, over reliance on sixties material, only 'new' song in the sets was Dignity. Plus Dylan's voice, while great on the acoustic sets, was quite weak on a number of electric performances. Also, the summer 1995 tour was no way near as strong as the Spring or the Fall ones. 1997 and 1998 Dylan's voice is very rough, particularly 1998. Then you have the stronger years of 1999-2000. By 2001 Dylan's voice was once again taking on that dry/parched sound and even Fall 2002 is very patchy in terms of performance due to the limitations of Dylan's vocal chords.


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PostPosted: Thu July 27th, 2017, 19:41 GMT 

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2004 was all great, as was most of 2005 and certainly fall 2006. Your premise is flawed..


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PostPosted: Thu July 27th, 2017, 21:18 GMT 

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I like 2006. But there's definitely a different sound between 2006 and 2002. My question was at what specific time period did the late 90s/early 2000s sound end. I characterize this sound as having more melodic vocals that still involved Dylan's higher register, where the mid-2000s involved less singing and more barking/shouting/reciting of lyrics. The late 90s early 2000s involved a lot of acoustic jams and country harmony, the late 2000s involved a lot of atonal, if interesting, organ plunking.


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PostPosted: Thu July 27th, 2017, 22:15 GMT 

Joined: Tue December 30th, 2008, 09:05 GMT
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Dylan's voice has always had certain mannerisms; 1989 for example if a hell of a lot rougher than 1988. I guess 2002 saw the 'upsinging' really take off but 2003-2004 was the beginning of the 'barking years'. The organ was introduced in 2006. I find recordings from 2008-2012 unlistenable.


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PostPosted: Thu July 27th, 2017, 22:28 GMT 
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1997 - Good stuff.

1998 - Good stuff.

1999 - The spring shows are fun, even though Bob has that whiney voice that I can't listen to for a longer period. The summer shows that I listened to bored me. The fall shows might be the best that Bob ever delivered during the NET, they are simply fantastic. There, his voice has a presence that leaves awe-stricken.

2000 - Another great year and again, I think the spring and fall shows rank among the best the NET has ever had to offer.

2001 - Probably more patchy than the previous years, but the fall shows had many highlights. Just think of Spokane, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids oder New York.

2002 - Awful. The summer shows are dreadful - Bob could please stop upsinging every damn line? Things get better in the fall and there are some great shows there - Red Bluff, Los Angeles, Fairfax. Bob's switch to piano, some new arrangements as well as a few new covers clearly invigorated him.

2003 - The same amount of upsinging as the previous year. Again, things improve during the fall tour, even though they don't reach the heights of previous fall tour.

2004 - A noticeable step in the right direcion. Bob's voice is ragged throughout the year, but he utilizes it to great effect!

2005 - Things go downhill again...


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PostPosted: Thu July 27th, 2017, 22:46 GMT 
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depp91 wrote:
1997 - Good stuff.

1998 - Good stuff.

1999 - The spring shows are fun, even though Bob has that whiney voice that I can't listen to for a longer period. The summer shows that I listened to bored me. The fall shows might be the best that Bob ever delivered during the NET, they are simply fantastic. There, his voice has a presence that leaves awe-stricken.

2000 - Another great year and again, I think the spring and fall shows rank among the best the NET has ever had to offer.

2001 - Probably more patchy than the previous years, but the fall shows had many highlights. Just think of Spokane, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids oder New York.

2002 - Awful. The summer shows are dreadful - Bob could please stop upsinging every damn line? Things get better in the fall and there are some great shows there - Red Bluff, Los Angeles, Fairfax. Bob's switch to piano, some new arrangements as well as a few new covers clearly invigorated him.

2003 - The same amount of upsinging as the previous year. Again, things improve during the fall tour, even though they don't reach the heights of previous fall tour.

2004 - A noticeable step in the right direcion. Bob's voice is ragged throughout the year, but he utilizes it to great effect!

2005 - Things go downhill again...



Keep going to present year/day.


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PostPosted: Fri July 28th, 2017, 00:42 GMT 
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Great thread.
People's opinions seem pretty spot-on, even when conflicting!

I guess I'd vote straight across the musician configuration as defining each Era.
Losing Larry was difficult and also the obvious (IMHO) end to the Era in question.

Freddy was OK, but got old after awhile. Perfect timing for his departure.

It was exciting during the Duke / Charlie / Colin shift-up...only to come back around to Charlie.
Still can't believe Buddy Miller turned down the chance. Good excuse though & got Colin a try-out.

I'm still trying to figure out what Stu does besides accept low pay & drive the bus.
Nice guy though.

Donny's just a good boy doing exactly as he's told.

George & Tony are rhythmic monsters, in a very good way.


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PostPosted: Fri July 28th, 2017, 00:53 GMT 
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Still Go Barefoot wrote:
I guess I'd vote straight across the musician configuration as defining each Era.
Losing Larry was difficult and also the obvious (IMHO) end to the Era in question.

Same here. The sound (and to some extent, instrumentation) definitely changes with each different lineup.


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PostPosted: Fri July 28th, 2017, 23:27 GMT 
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I've been listening to three Workingman's Blues that I have on my Fiio X1. One is from October 31st, 2006. This is probably my favorite performance of the song. The way he sings, "lead me off in a cheerful dance" was magnificent. I think there's a great Simple Twist from that show.

The next was a show from May 2008, I believe the 21st or 24th. The recording is spectacular and while Bob barks, he's a lot more clearer sounding than I remember. He actually sounds really young at some parts. When he forces his voice, it gets that gravel and bark, but if he relaxes he sounds relatively sweet. The organ doesn't annoy me much here, mostly because it's gone now.

Third is from November 12 2010 in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. The first show I saw with my friend Mike, who has since passed away. Bobs voice is rougher here, but I have a certain love for the way he sings it. I can still see him behind that organ.

I'll have to go back and relisten to the later versions, where he really changes up the lyrics on this one. If anyone has any recommendations please pm me.


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PostPosted: Sat July 29th, 2017, 01:59 GMT 
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2002 is terrific.

1999-2001 even better.

After that it gets progressively worse.


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PostPosted: Sat July 29th, 2017, 02:47 GMT 
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goodnitesteve wrote:
I've been listening to three Workingman's Blues that I have on my Fiio X1. One is from October 31st, 2006. This is probably my favorite performance of the song. The way he sings, "lead me off in a cheerful dance" was magnificent.


That Halloween show in Madison WI, for me, is easily the best of the year, and I'm not sure he's topped it since in terms of being "that" Bob Dylan. It's an easy reference but he really put his Bob Dylan mask on that evening. The era the show recalls, though, is long gone.

I felt his voice made an almost miraculous recovery in 1999 and 2000, at times his singing was as exciting, flexible and nuanced as at any time in his career, and with more variety in singing styles and repertoire to boot*. By the start of 2001, that surprising upwards arc took it's inevitable turn and he started sounding notably raspier again, though many great shows remained.

The end came in stages as the sound and style evolved, the biggest and most obvious being Dylan's switch to piano. By those first, glorious, May 2003 shows with Freddie Koella the "gold" was quite a bit different than it had been in Fall 1999.

So...it ended during the fall of 2002, with that tour as sort-of a bridge not belonging to, or excluded from, either camp.







*that's right.


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PostPosted: Sat July 29th, 2017, 11:28 GMT 
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Nightingale's Code wrote:
Still Go Barefoot wrote:
I guess I'd vote straight across the musician configuration as defining each Era.
Losing Larry was difficult and also the obvious (IMHO) end to the Era in question.

Same here. The sound (and to some extent, instrumentation) definitely changes with each different lineup.

Case in Point:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ83T4MoiXo
"Come in, she said I'll give ya..."


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PostPosted: Sat July 29th, 2017, 12:38 GMT 

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For me it is the departure of Larry Campbell. Since Campbell left the band has been pedestrian in many different ways but always pedestrian.

Concerning Stu Kimball - there are some shows in the summer of 2004 which I really enjoy. I think it's a shame the Campbell-Kimball line-up didn't last longer. Kimball was fine on lead with Campbell playing everything else.

Dylan's decision to replace Campbell with three people was ill-considered. The band has never really recovered. The rhythmic flexibility was lost and the sound became too muddy.

If I had to pick a best year it would be 2000.


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PostPosted: Sat July 29th, 2017, 13:05 GMT 
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^i assume you mean Freddie Koella?

I agree that the band has never as good since Campbell left. He was a real ace in the hole.


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PostPosted: Sat July 29th, 2017, 14:47 GMT 
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smoke wrote:
^i assume you mean Freddie Koella?

I agree that the band has never as good since Campbell left. He was a real ace in the hole.
Didn't Stu join when Freddie had left the band after the spring tour 2004? Campbell left after the fall tour 2004.

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PostPosted: Sat July 29th, 2017, 16:59 GMT 

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Yes, and there are some good shows with Stu Kimball on lead and Larry Campbell covering everything else. It was a viable band.


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PostPosted: Sat July 29th, 2017, 17:22 GMT 
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RichardW wrote:
Yes, and there are some good shows with Stu Kimball on lead and Larry Campbell covering everything else. It was a viable band.
I think so too. Rochester, West Lafayette and DeKalb come to my mind. I'm sure there are many great ones that I haven't heard.

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PostPosted: Sat July 29th, 2017, 19:56 GMT 
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Bad assumption on my part...I just never thought Stu was as distinctive a lead player.


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PostPosted: Sat July 29th, 2017, 20:07 GMT 

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2018 blows them all away. You can’t say a single bad thing about it, no other year can touch it


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PostPosted: Sat July 29th, 2017, 22:10 GMT 

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RichardW wrote:
Yes, and there are some good shows with Stu Kimball on lead and Larry Campbell covering everything else. It was a viable band.


If you don't mind standard-issue rock lead guitar playing. Bob showed good judgement in swiftly assigning rhythm guitar duties to Stu and looking for a more nuanced and imaginative player for the 'first guitar' role.


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PostPosted: Sat July 29th, 2017, 22:29 GMT 

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MY FAVOURIT PERIOD IS 1999-2001. THE GOLDEN ERA


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PostPosted: Sun July 30th, 2017, 13:05 GMT 

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I've heard that 10/20/03 marks the end of a certain NET era.


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