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 Post subject: 1971-1973
PostPosted: Thu September 19th, 2013, 22:07 GMT 
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Joined: Wed September 11th, 2013, 20:18 GMT
Posts: 327
What does everyone think of Dylan's studio material post New Morning, pre-Blood on the Tracks? I had always found it to be very scattered so I haven't ever paid much attention to it as a whole. That is, until Another Self Portrait gave us a superior version of "When I Paint My Masterpiece", another song from the Happy Traum session ("Only a Hobo") and a stripped, acoustic version of "Wallflower". That got me thinking about the period again, and I've found that I enjoy it immensely.

In 1971, he recorded "new" songs for Greatest Hits Vol. II in two sessions. The one in March produced "Watching the River Flow" and "When I Paint My Masterpiece", and September produced 4 songs with Happy Traum supporting him on banjo and backing vocals. In October, he played harmonica on Dave Bromberg's "Sammy's Song". In November, Dylan recorded "George Jackson" as a single, which became a rarity that never saw a release on CD until 2012 (The acoustic version can be found on Listen, Whitey: The Sounds of Black Power 1967-74); "Wallflower" was presumably recorded then, too. Later the same month he contributed backing vocals, guitar and organ/piano on several songs with Allen Ginsberg.

Then came 1972: The year where he only recorded rhythm guitar, keys, backing vocals and harmonica with other artists when he went in the studio. September saw the first backing session, with Dylan contributing keys and harmony vocals for Steve Goodman on a couple of tracks. The most notable performance is his backing/shared vocals and rhythm guitar on Doug Sahm's cover of "Wallflower" from the following October sessions (Released on Sahm's excellent Doug Sahm and Band in 1973). After that, he recorded in the studio once more with Roger McGuinn, though it was only harmonica. None of this is essential to a Bob Dylan collection if you're like me and don't consider backing roles important for Dylan compilations.

In Jan.-Feb. 1973, Dylan worked on the soundtrack for Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. The soundtrack is widely available, and a couple of the outtakes ("Rock Me Mama" and "Peco's Blues") are worth tracking down. He recorded a few demos for Ram's Horn Music in June (the demo of "Forever Young" can be found on disc 3 of Biograph) and began recording Planet Waves in November.

I'm not a huge fan of Planet Waves. It's often considered to be the bridge from his "country period" to his mid-70's greatness (Blood on the Tracks and Desire), but most of it is forgettable. The electric guitar is annoying as hell, and one of the best songs from the sessions, "Nobody 'Cept You", didn't make the final cut ("Wedding Song" took its place). "Forever Young" (slow) is good, but I prefer the Ram's Horn demo. "Dirge" is great.

With all of that in mind, I've finally settled on this for my '71-'73 playlist:

1 Watching the River Flow
2 When I Paint My Masterpiece (Demo)
3 Only a Hobo (With Happy Traum)
4 You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (With Happy Traum)
5 Down in the Flood (With Happy Traum)
6 I Shall Be Released (With Happy Traum)
7 George Jackson (Acoustic Version)
8 Wallflower (Acoustic Version)
9 Billy 4
10 Knockin' on Heaven's Door
11 River Theme
12 Peco's Blues (Outtake, Take 2)
13 Rock Me Mama (Outtake, Take 2)
14 Forever Young (Demo)
15 Nobody 'Cept You
16 Dirge

1-2: Greatest Hits Vol. II session 1 (Mar. 16-19, 1971)
3-6: Greatest Hits Vol. II session 2 (With Happy Traum) (Sept. 24, 1971)
7-8: George Jackson session (Nov. 4, 1971)
9-13: Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid sessions (Jan.-Feb. 1973)
14: Ram's Horn Music Demos (June 1973)
15-16: Planet Waves Sessions (Nov. 2-14, 1973)

It's so much more enjoyable for me like that.

Dylan wrote some very good songs then.

:)


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 Post subject: Re: 1971-1973
PostPosted: Thu September 19th, 2013, 22:52 GMT 
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Joined: Mon November 1st, 2010, 14:20 GMT
Posts: 3687
Location: UmeƄ
That's a great list you have there. Love it! The only thing I would add is the Going, Going, Gone when Bob sings it solo with an acoustic guitar. It's very soulful.


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 Post subject: Re: 1971-1973
PostPosted: Sat September 21st, 2013, 01:32 GMT 
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Joined: Sat February 5th, 2011, 18:49 GMT
Posts: 2843
The electric guitar is awful? I couldn't disagree more. Robbie Robertson always gets the job done. There are several Planet Wave tunes I would take over anything on your list. A lot of the Traum stuff is very poorly recorded.


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 Post subject: Re: 1971-1973
PostPosted: Sat September 21st, 2013, 03:46 GMT 
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Joined: Sun February 12th, 2006, 04:32 GMT
Posts: 2116
Nice post Rainwater, thanks. I don't agree with all of your assessments 100% necessarily, but definitely interesting to look at the period following BS10 and I dig that tracklist.

The only thing I'd add right now off the top of my head, in terms of material, would be the four songs he joined the Band for on New Year's Eve 1971/1972 (as released on the Rock Of Ages deluxe edition).

Nothing groundbreaking, and you can hardly hear him in places but the first live go at Down In The Flood, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Don't Ya Tell Henry (Levon on lead vocals), plus closing with Like A Rolling Stone.

I like the groove they get down on Down In The Flood, and his vocals are pretty fun. That'd probably be my first choice for inclusion on compilation, he seems to have it down pretty good and although the Band is a little shaky on it, it's mostly in the backing vocals and not in the music.

Masterpiece is solid, another strong Dylan vocal but a little stilted in the performance, competent but lacking some of the punch of the great versions of the song.

Don't Ya Tell Henry is fun, perfect song for Levon, no complaints for what it is. Dylan isn't inaudible by any means but Levon's voice dominates (no complaints), mixing very well with Dylan's at a few places.

LARS is always a trip, he botches the words here worse than Isle of Wight..actually it's fairly similar to that version to my ears, a lot more like the original than the country sound in 1969, but kind of similar in his approach. My favorite parts include mostly the instrumentation, Richard's piano on the intro..some of Levon's drumming/marches, some Robbie fills. Similar but calmer than the coked out versions from '74 and reminds me of an updated '66 performance in a few places, sans Mickey Jones...


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 Post subject: Re: 1971-1973
PostPosted: Sat September 21st, 2013, 05:22 GMT 
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Joined: Wed November 24th, 2010, 15:41 GMT
Posts: 999
Viktor123 wrote:
That's a great list you have there. Love it! The only thing I would add is the Going, Going, Gone when Bob sings it solo with an acoustic guitar. It's very soulful.

Isn't that just the album version the rest of the band turned down?


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