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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 02:39 GMT 
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Released December 27, 1967
Recorded October 17 – November 29, 1967
Genre Folk-Rock
Length 38:58
Label Columbia
Producer(s) Bob Johnston

Bob Dylan - Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
Pete Drake - Steel Guitar
Charlie McCoy - Bass
Kenneth A. Buttrey - Drums
Bob Johnston - Producer
Charlie Bragg - Engineer



Produced by Bob Johnston, the album marked Dylan's return to acoustic music and traditional roots, after three albums of experimental, electric rock music. John Wesley Harding was recorded around the same time as (and shares many stylistic threads with) a prolific series of home recording sessions with The Band, finally released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes.

John Wesley Harding was exceptionally well received by critics and enjoyed solid sales, reaching the #2 slot on U.S. charts and topping the British charts. The commercial performance was considered remarkable considering that Dylan had kept Columbia from releasing the album with much promotion or publicity. Less than three months after its release, John Wesley Harding was certified gold by the RIAA. Although Dylan also decided against releasing a single, "All Along the Watchtower" became one of his most popular songs after it was covered by Jimi Hendrix the following year.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 301 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Dylan went to work on John Wesley Harding in the fall of 1967. By then, 18 months had passed since the completion of Blonde on Blonde. After recovering from the worst of the results of his motorcycle accident, Dylan spent a substantial amount of time recording the informal basement sessions at Woodstock; little was heard from him throughout 1967. During that time, he stockpiled a large number of recordings, including many new compositions. He eventually submitted nearly all of them for copyright, but declined to include any of them in his next studio release. (Dylan would not release any of those recordings to the commercial market until 1975's The Basement Tapes; and by then, some of those recordings had been bootlegged, usually sourced from an easy-to-find set of publisher's demos.) Instead, Dylan used a different set of songs for John Wesley Harding.

It is not clear when these songs were actually written, but none of them has turned up in the dozens of basement recordings that have since surfaced. According to Robbie Robertson, "As I recall it was just on a kind of whim that Bob went down to Nashville. And there, with just a couple of guys, he put those songs down on tape."

Those sessions took place in the autumn of 1967, requiring less than twelve hours over three stints in the studio.

Dylan brought to Nashville a set of songs similar to the feverish yet pithy compositions that came out of the Basement Tapes sessions. They would be given an austere sound sympathetic to their content.

When Dylan arrived in Nashville, producer Bob Johnston recalls that "he was staying in the Ramada Inn down there, and he played me his songs and he suggested we just use bass and guitar and drums on the record. I said fine, but also suggested we add a steel guitar, which is how Pete Drake came to be on that record."

Dylan was once again recording with a band, but the instrumentation was very sparse. During most of the recording, the rhythm section of drummer Kenneth A. Buttrey and bassist Charlie McCoy were the only ones supporting Dylan, who handled harmonica and guitar duties in addition to the vocals. "I didn't intentionally come out with some kind of mellow sound," Dylan said in 1971. "I would have liked ... more steel guitar, more piano. More music ... I didn't sit down and plan that sound."

The first session, held on October 17th at Columbia's Studio A, lasted only three hours, with Dylan recording master takes of "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine", "Drifter's Escape", and "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest". Dylan returned to the studio on November 6th, recording master takes for "All Along the Watchtower", "John Wesley Harding", "As I Went Out One Morning", "I Pity the Poor Immigrant", and "I Am a Lonesome Hobo". Dylan returned for one last session on the 29th, completing all of the remaining work.

The final session did break from the status quo by employing Pete Drake on the final two recordings. Cut between 9pm and 12 midnight, "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" and "Down Along the Cove" would be the only two songs featuring Drake's light pedal steel guitar.

Sometime between the second and third session, Dylan approached Robbie Robertson and Garth Hudson of The Band to complete some overdub work on the basic tracks: "Then we did talk about doing some overdubbing on it, but I really liked it when I heard it and I couldn't really think right about overdubbing on it. So it ended up coming out the way he brought it back."

John Wesley Harding was released in stores less than four weeks after the final session, an unusually quick turnaround time, especially for a major label release.

Most of the songs on John Wesley Harding are noted for their pared-down lyrics. Though the style remains evocative, continuing Dylan's strong use of bold imagery, the wild, intoxicating surreality that seemed to flow in a stream-of-consciousness fashion has been tamed into something earthier and more crisp. "What I'm trying to do now is not use too many words," Dylan said in a 1968 interview. "There's no line that you can stick your finger through, there's no hole in any of the stanzas. There's no blank filler. Each line has something." According to Allen Ginsberg, Dylan had talked to him about his new approach, telling him "he was writing shorter lines, with every line meaning something. He wasn't just making up a line to go with a rhyme anymore; each line had to advance the story, bring the song forward. And from that time came...some of his strong laconic ballads like 'The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest.' There was no wasted language, no wasted breath. All the imagery was to be functional rather than ornamental." Even the song structures are rigid as most of them adhere to a similar three-verse model.

The dark, religious tones that appeared during the Basement Tape sessions also continues through these songs, manifesting in language from the King James Bible. In The Bible in the Lyrics of Bob Dylan, Bert Cartwright cites more than sixty biblical allusions over the course of the forty minute album, with as many as fifteen in "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest" alone. An Old Testament morality also colors most of the songs' characters.

In an interview with Toby Thompson[[1]] in 1968, Dylan's mother, Beatty Zimmerman, mentioned Dylan's growing interest in the Bible, stating that "in his house in Woodstock today, there's a huge Bible open on a stand in the middle of his study. Of all the books that crowd his house, overflow from his house, that Bible gets the most attention. He's continuously getting up and going over to refer to something."

The album opens with the title song, which references Texas outlaw John Wesley Hardin, although some commentators find religious significance in the character's initials. Dylan discussed "John Wesley Harding" when he spoke with Rolling Stone Magazine in 1969:

"I was gonna write a ballad on ... like maybe one of those old cowboy ... you know, a real long ballad. But in the middle of the second verse, I got tired. I had a tune, and I didn't want to waste the tune, it was a nice little melody, so I just wrote a quick third verse, and I recorded that ... I knew people were gonna listen to that song and say that they didn't understand what was going on, but they would've singled that song out later, if we hadn't called the album John Wesley Harding and placed so much importance on that, for people to start wondering about it ... if that hadn't been done, that song would've come up and people would have said it was a throw-away song."

NPR's Tim Riley writes that "'As I Went Out One Morning' has more to do with the temptations of a fair damsel who walks in chains than with America's first outlaw journalist, Tom Paine." In his album review in Rolling Stone, Greil Marcus wrote, "I sometimes hear the song as a brief journey into American history; the singer out for a walk in the park, finding himself next to a statue of Tom Paine, and stumbling across an allegory: Tom Paine, symbol of freedom and revolt, co-opted into the role of Patriot by textbooks and statue committees, and now playing, as befits his role as Patriot, enforcer to a girl who runs for freedom — in chains, to the South, the source of vitality in America, in America's music — away from Tom Paine. We have turned our history on its head; we have perverted our own myths..."

In "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine", the narrator is addressed in his dreams by St. Augustine of Hippo, the bishop-philosopher who held the episcopal seat in Hippo Regius, a Roman port in northern Africa; he died in 430 A.D. when the city was overrun by Vandals. Riley notes that in "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine", Dylan twists St. Augustine's "symbolic stature to signify anyone who has been put to death by a mob." Throughout the song, the narrator's vision of St. Augustine reveals to him "how it feels to be the target of mob psychology, and how confusing it is to identify with the throng's impulses to smother what it loves too much or destroy what it can't understand." The opening lyrics are based on the labor union song "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night". The last line continues the "Joe Hill" theme, echoing the last line of Woody Guthrie's "Ludlow Massacre": "I said God bless the Mineworkers' Union, and then I hung my head and cried".

The album's most overt Biblical reference comes in "All Along the Watchtower", inspired by a section in Isaiah dealing with the fall of Babylon. As Heylin writes, "the thief that cries 'the hour is getting late' is surely the thief in the night foretold in Revelation: Jesus Christ come again. It is He who says, in St. John the Divine's tract: 'I will come on thee as a thief, and Thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee' ... [Dylan would later] say of John Wesley Harding that he had been 'dealing with the devil in a fretful way'." "All Along the Watchtower" would soon gain great fame in a dramatic interpretation by Jimi Hendrix.

"All Along the Watchtower" is also notable for its vi-v-iv chord progression. Jimmy Page would use this cadence for the coda to "Stairway to Heaven," and it would later find popular use in heavy metal music. Dylan himself would return to this progression in Desire's "Hurricane".

"The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest" is perhaps the album's most enigmatic song, structured as a (possibly insincere) morality play. The song details Frankie Lee's temptation by a roll of ten dollar bills from Judas Priest. As Frankie thinks it over, he grows anxious from Judas's stare. Eventually, Judas leaves Frankie to mull over the money, telling him he can be found at "Eternity, though you might call it 'Paradise'." After Judas leaves, a stranger arrives. He asks Frankie if he's "the gambler, whose father is deceased?" The stranger brings a message from Judas, who's apparently stranded in a house. Frankie panics and runs to Judas, only to find him standing outside of a house. (Judas says, "It's not a house ... it's a home.") Frankie is overcome by his nerves as he sees a woman's face in each of the home's twenty-four windows. Bounding up the stairs, foaming at the mouth, he begins to "make his midnight creep." For sixteen days and nights, Frankie raves until he dies on the seventeenth, in Judas's arms, dead of "thirst." The final two verses are the most impenetrable. No one says a word as Frankie is brought out, no one except a boy who mutters "Nothing is revealed," as he conceals his own mysterious guilt. The last verse moralizes that "one should never be where one does not belong" and closes with the song's most quoted lines, "don't go mistaking Paradise for that home across the road."

The album's next three songs all feature one of society's rejects as the narrator or central figure. "Drifter's Escape" tells the story of a convicted drifter who escapes captivity when a bolt of lightning strikes a court of law. "Dear Landlord" is sung by a narrator pleading for respect and equal rights. "I Am a Lonesome Hobo" is a humble warning from a hobo to those who are better off.

Self-styled 'Dylanologist' Al Weberman claimed "Dear Landlord" was inspired by Dylan's own conflicts with manager Albert Grossman, but many critics have challenged this notion. ("[Dylan] may have written a song about Greenwich Village girlfriend Suze Rotolo, but he never devoted an entire one to Joan Baez," wrote Tim Riley.) Most interpretations rest on who the 'landlord' is supposed to be, with most explanations ranging from a literal representation to a metaphor for God.

"There's only two songs on the album which came at the same time as the music," Dylan recalled in 1978, referring to "Down Along the Cove" and "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight". "The rest of the songs were written out on paper, and I found the tunes for them later. I didn't do it before, and I haven't done it since. That might account for the specialness of that album."

Lyrically, those same two songs stand out from the rest of the album. They're warm, cheerful love songs, lacking any of the Bibilical references found throughout the album. "If John Wesley Harding was the album made the morning after a dark night of the soul," wrote Heylin, "these two songs suggested a newly cleansed singer returning from the edge." Accentuating the difference is the use of pedal steel guitarist Pete Drake on both tracks. The overall sound of these two tracks sounds closer to country, anticipating the country rock movement to follow as well as Dylan's next album, Nashville Skyline.

The cover photograph of John Wesley Harding shows Dylan flanked by two members of the Bengali Bauls, South Asian musicians brought to Woodstock by Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman. Behind Dylan is Charlie Joy, a local stonemason and carpenter. Dylan is wearing the same jacket he wore for the Blonde On Blonde cover photo. A long-recurring rumor is that images of various members of the Beatles are hidden on the front cover, in the knots of the tree. There is speculation that the faces were much more apparent but brushed over sometime before press time (hence, the unusually dark features on the most prominent tree trunk).

The album sleeve is also notable for its liner notes, written by Dylan himself. The liner notes tells the story of three kings and three characters (Terry Chute, Frank, and Frank's wife, Vera), incorporating details from the album's songs. Unlike the actual lyrics to the songs, the liner notes are written with the same colorful, verbose style that characterized Dylan's previous work.

"I asked Columbia to release it with no publicity and no hype, because this was the season of hype," Dylan said. Clive Davis urged Dylan to pull a single, but even then Dylan refused, preferring to maintain the album's low-key profile.

In a year when psychedelia dominated popular culture, the agrarian John Wesley Harding was seen as reactionary. Critic Jon Landau wrote in Crawdaddy Magazine, "For an album of this kind to be released amidst Sgt. Pepper, Their Satanic Majesties Request, After Bathing at Baxter's, somebody must have had a lot of confidence in what he was doing ... Dylan seems to feel no need to respond to the predominate trends in pop music at all. And he is the only major pop artist about whom this can be said."

The critical stature of John Wesley Harding has continued to grow. As late as 2000, Clinton Heylin wrote, "John Wesley Harding remains one of Dylan's most enduring albums. Never had Dylan constructed an album-as-an-album so self-consciously. Not tempted to incorporate even later basement visions like 'Going to Acapulco' and 'Clothesline Saga,' Dylan managed in less than six weeks to construct his most perfectly executed official collection."

The album was remastered and re-released in 2003 using a new technology, SACD. The newer edition removed many individually minor but cumulatively substantial track edits, so that the album is effectively available in two noticeably different forms. Additional variations of the album, in terms of sound quality and mixing, are found on vinyl LP.

While legend has it that Dylan recorded John Wesley Harding after finishing the "Basement Tape" sessions with members of The Band, several biographers and discographers have argued that the final reel of basement recordings actually postdates the first John Wesley Harding session.

Regardless of when this session actually occurred, The Band did accompany Dylan for at least one performance in the months following John Wesley Harding. After hearing of Woody Guthrie's passing (two weeks before John Wesley Harding's first session), Dylan contacted Harold Leventhal, Guthrie's longtime friend and manager, and extended an early acceptance to any invitation for any memorial show that might be planned. The memorial came on January 20th, 1968, with a pair of shows at New York's Carnegie Hall. Sharing the bill with his folk contemporaries like Tom Paxton, Judy Collins, and Guthrie's son, Arlo, Dylan gave his first public performances in twenty months, backed by The Band (billed then as The Crackers). They would play only three songs ("Grand Coulee Dam", "Dear Mrs. Roosevelt", and "I Ain't Got No Home"), and it would be another eighteen months before Dylan would again perform in concert.

As 1967 came to a close, Dylan's lifestyle would become more stable. His wife, Sara, had given birth to their daughter, Anna, earlier that summer. He had reconciled with his estranged parents. A long contract negotiation ended in a lucrative new deal, allowing Dylan to stay with Columbia Records. While the media would never lose interest, Dylan maintained a low enough profile that kept him out of the spotlight.

After his appearance at Woody Guthrie's memorial concert, 1968 would see little, if any, musical activity from Bob Dylan. His songs continued to be a major presence, appearing on landmark albums by Jimi Hendrix, The Byrds, and The Band, but Dylan himself would not release or perform any additional music. There was very little songwriting activity, as well.

"One day I was half-stepping, and the lights went out," Dylan would recall ten years later. "And since that point, I more or less had amnesia ... It took me a long time to get to do consciously what I used to be able to do unconsciously."

There were major changes in his private life: at age 26, Dylan's father would die from a heart attack, prompting Dylan to return to Hibbing to attend the funeral. Shortly afterwards, Sara gave birth to their third child.

John Wesley Harding would prove to be the end of a long, influential run of prolific, groundbreaking work. Though Harding already hinted of the country-pop sound of his next album, the seemingly sudden change in his songwriting would prove dramatic and baffling to the press and his fans.

In the late 1980s, the name John Wesley Harding was adopted by British singer Wesley Harding Stace, whose albums include "Here Comes the Groom" and whose style is similar to that of the Dylan album itself, as well as artists like Elvis Costello and folkster Billy Bragg.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wesle ... 28album%29


Favorite Song: Whole album is fantastic. But I Dreamed I Saw Saint Augustine takes the crown.

Least Favorite: None.

Album Rating: 10/10


Sorry, no outtakes for this album.... I'll post live versions of the songs though, soon.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 03:52 GMT 
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7/10

Favorites: Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest, Dear Landlord

With the exception of these songs and All Along the Watchtower, the rest of the album sounds too similar and just doesn't do it for me.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 03:53 GMT 
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This album is flawless. The mid-60s run is capped by a brilliant, unexpected, moody, sparse, and sometimes sinister album. It's like a photo negative of Blonde on Blonde.

I think of this album, however, as the spiritual sibling of Bringing It All Back Home, in that both albums point beyond themselves to what would lay ahead. BIABH launches to the Holy Trilogy run, while JWH foreshadows some seriously fantastic (and underappreciated?) country albums. As much as I love Thin Wild Mercury Bob, Country Bob holds a special place in my heart. Nashville Skyline was my first Dylan album.

I dunno if I would rate JWH above BOB: it really depends on what day you ask. Tough call. But these are my two favorite studio albums, and JWH is an easy 10/10 for me.

I fyord-ing love Kenny Buttrey and Charlie McCoy. They propel this album, they are the gasoline and the match.

Favorite Song: Drifter's Escape, closely followed by the rest of the album.
Least Favorite Song: There are no bad songs on this album, but it took me the longest to get I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 05:40 GMT 
This comment that Tambo has in his post above totally nails what is SO amazing about the record:

Quote:
In a year when psychedelia dominated popular culture, the agrarian John Wesley Harding was seen as reactionary. Critic Jon Landau wrote in Crawdaddy Magazine, "For an album of this kind to be released amidst Sgt. Pepper, Their Satanic Majesties Request, After Bathing at Baxter's, somebody must have had a lot of confidence in what he was doing ... Dylan seems to feel no need to respond to the predominate trends in pop music at all. And he is the only major pop artist about whom this can be said."


Pretty much every other major artist/band has followed suit in the wake of Sgt Pepper.

The Mothers of Invention released We're Only In It For The Money which was their anti-psychedelia Summer of Love masterpiece. But it still stands in reference to Pepper.

The Airplane's Bathing At Baxters.

The Animals Winds of Change.

The Bee Gees velvet covered Odessa.

The Stones 3-D cover Satanic Majesty.

The Rascals (no longer "Young") mini-masterwork Once Upon a Dream.

The Zombies Odyssey & Oracle.

Johnny Rivers Realization (originally The Realization of Mr. Bealzabub) with Bob's favorite Bob cover, "Positively Fourth Street."

Even The Four Seasons' Imitation Life Gazette, and Del Shannon's Further Adventures Of Charles Westover.

And another tidal wave of records from Europe, South America, Asia... these are really well documented on the comp LP/CD Pepperisms Round the World.

The bands on that include: Los Macs (Chile) / Rockadrome (Canada) / Hungaria (Hungary) / Los Walkers (Argentina) / Blossom Toes (Great Britain) / Prúdy (Czechoslovakia) / TheTwilights (Australia) / Los Shakers (Uruguay) / Jade (USA) / The October Cherries (Malaysia) / Paper Garden (USA) / Ellie Pop (USA) / Los Macs (Chile) / Teddy Robin And The Playboys (Hong Kong) / Quentin E. Klopjaeger (South Africa) / Los Brincos (Spain) / Los Shakers (Uruguay) / We All Together (Peru)

Image

Such was the impact of that colorful little phonograph record upon everyone except Bob.

And of all the LPs I've owned that I regret selling the ONE I would ask for back if I had a spare wish would be my copy of JWH that had the 4 faces of The Beatles in the tree as clear as anything. Not "sort of there" or "maybe that's Paul..." or anything like that. I mean AS clearly there as the faces of The Beatles on the Stones 3-D sleeve. :)


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 05:43 GMT 
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I love this album, I'm not sure if it would make a top 5 list of albums, if I had to make such a thing, but I will always hold it in high regard.

His voice really gets me on this album, something about the way he phrases some of the lines.
I didn't get a chance yet to read the whole description in the first post, but I know there was talks of how All Along The Watchtower and others were based out of biblical verses. I always get that vibe when I listen to it, kind of an ominous condition, but delivered with just a harmonica, acoustic guitar and some rhythm backing.

The harmonica on this is among by favorite of any Dylan album, up there with his first album.

Alot of people may disagree, but the last two songs, Down Along The Cove and I'll Be Your Baby Tonight, really work as a great closing piece to the album, and an appropriate lead into Nashville Skyline which would follow it.

This was the first Dylan I picked up on vinyl a couple months ago, and I really enjoyed sitting there at home over Christmas break listening to it on my dad's old turntable. I love playing some of the songs from it when we're all just sittin around playing random songs on the guitar, even though most of my buddies aren't too familiar with "As I Went Out One Morning" which is probably my favorite to play.

Talking about the album reminds me of an acquaintance of mine, whom I turned on to Dylan a few months back, who first bought a couple albums or listened to mine, then downloaded a torrent with pretty much every Dylan album.
He hasn't had the chance to listen to any of them in depth nor get anything out of them, but he was bragging to me how he got them all in one torrent, as if that's impressive.
When he was boasting of this, he said "oh yea I got all of them, even the obscure ones like the one Watchtower is on."
All I could say was "Obscure? That's one of my favorites." but he would have no idea if he just considers it the 'one that Watchtower is on'.

What really boggles my mind about this, hearing it now, was that this was recorded maybe 18-20 months after Blonde On Blonde.
If I had just heard the album without knowing when it was recorded, there's no way I would have placed it in that period.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 07:31 GMT 

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I think this is the Dylan album you come to after living for a bit. It has a wisdom which, personally, only recently really affected me. It's also the antithesis of all those 70s and 80s f*ck ups where he compiled the wrong album from the tapes available. Not only does this sound exactly like the album Dylan meant to make, but it has a leanness which makes it entirely appropriate that no one has heard any outtakes. No choruses, and then topped off by a song that rhymes 'moon' with 'spoon'.

And, with regard to the post Sgt Pepper evaluation, it just goes to show that you should never take fashion into consideration: just do what you think is good. After forty years, this and The Basement Tapes still haven't dated - because they never gave a shit about sounding contemporary in the first place. But hell, what do I know? When people say they love the music of the Eighties, all I can think of is Nebraska.


Last edited by mackthefinger on Thu March 8th, 2007, 15:55 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 07:39 GMT 

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I actually once wrote quite a nasty letter to Stuart Maconie because, on his half hour radio summary of Dylan's career, he referred to this album as "the one where you can see The Beatles on the cover." Even "the one with All Along The Watchtower on it it" would have done.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 07:49 GMT 
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Long John wrote:

Quote:
The Airplane's Bathing At Baxters.

The Animals Winds of Change.

The Bee Gees velvet covered Odessa.

The Stones 3-D cover Satanic Majesty.

The Rascals (no longer "Young") mini-masterwork Once Upon a Dream.

The Zombies Odyssey & Oracle.

Johnny Rivers Realization (originally The Realization of Mr. Bealzabub) with Bob's favorite Bob cover, "Positively Fourth Street."

Even The Four Seasons' Imitation Life Gazette, and Del Shannon's Further Adventures Of Charles Westover.


Which just go to show that you probably can tell an album by its cover- or could that year, at least.


Quote:
Teddy Robin And The Playboys (Hong Kong) / Quentin E. Klopjaeger (South Africa)


I would defifinitely have had my bluebell matinee jacket pressed and ready to see these two chaps battling it out on a double-bill.

Quote:
And of all the LPs I've owned that I regret selling the ONE I would ask for back if I had a spare wish would be my copy of JWH that had the 4 faces of The Beatles in the tree as clear as anything. Not "sort of there" or "maybe that's Paul..." or anything like that. I mean AS clearly there as the faces of The Beatles on the Stones 3-D sleeve. :)


From one who allegedly dismissed Sgt Pepper as being 'self-indulgent' it seems odd that Dylan should endorse what- for him- seems almost like a gimmicky flourish on the back to the roots (trees n' all) black and white, flat, subdued cover photo of JWH- despite the cryptic appearance alongside him of Chuck Handyman and the Ghouls of Bengal.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 11:09 GMT 
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http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q223 ... JoWeHa.jpg



fab four on the left, wood sprite whatsits on the right


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 13:57 GMT 
precinct14 wrote:
Long John wrote:

Quote:
The Airplane's Bathing At Baxters.

The Animals Winds of Change.

The Bee Gees velvet covered Odessa.

The Stones 3-D cover Satanic Majesty.

The Rascals (no longer "Young") mini-masterwork Once Upon a Dream.

The Zombies Odyssey & Oracle.

Johnny Rivers Realization (originally The Realization of Mr. Bealzabub) with Bob's favorite Bob cover, "Positively Fourth Street."

Even The Four Seasons' Imitation Life Gazette, and Del Shannon's Further Adventures Of Charles Westover.


Which just go to show that you probably can tell an album by its cover- or could that year, at least.


Quote:
Teddy Robin And The Playboys (Hong Kong) / Quentin E. Klopjaeger (South Africa)


I would defifinitely have had my bluebell matinee jacket pressed and ready to see these two chaps battling it out on a double-bill.

Quote:
And of all the LPs I've owned that I regret selling the ONE I would ask for back if I had a spare wish would be my copy of JWH that had the 4 faces of The Beatles in the tree as clear as anything. Not "sort of there" or "maybe that's Paul..." or anything like that. I mean AS clearly there as the faces of The Beatles on the Stones 3-D sleeve. :)


From one who allegedly dismissed Sgt Pepper as being 'self-indulgent' it seems odd that Dylan should endorse what- for him- seems almost like a gimmicky flourish on the back to the roots (trees n' all) black and white, flat, subdued cover photo of JWH- despite the cryptic appearance alongside him of Chuck Handyman and the Ghouls of Bengal.


Teddy Robin was a film star, pop star, an Elvis-like figure in Asia much like Dean Reed was in Eastern Europe. And his records are great. In fact, the Pepperisms album is a revelation.

As far as it seeming odd that Dylan would endorse Pepper.... I think the immediate removal of the faces suggest that they're insertion there wasn't Bob's idea in the first place, but added by some record company or printer employee with long hair and a sense of humor.

Or, perhaps they were stuck there by Dylan as the subtlest possible nod to the era, and then removed when he changed his mind.

Or, and I am utterly loathe to admit it, perhaps my memory is [gasp] faulty.

But I swear, as clear as day, right there, couldn't miss 'em.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 14:49 GMT 

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This is one of the two Dylan LPs in my dad's vinyl collection. The other is (gulp) the Dylan album. Anyway, a few years ago I started listening to JWH and at first all the songs sounded the same. Very simple, folksy, backwoodsy, cold, wildnerness-like. I don't know why but I kept returning to it over and over again, until one day I realized that I really dug it. It's a nice antidote to all the flowery psychedelic music being released at that time, as well as all that overproduced muck out there currently. There's a great atmosphere on this one. As soon as I hear those first chords on the guitar and the lines "John Wesley Harding was a friend to the poor..." it transports me instantly to a world of forests and fur traders and indians in canoes navigating foaming rivers.

Favourite: Either Watchtower or As I Went Out One Morning. Both amazingly great songs.

Least: I Pity The Poor Immigrant. Drags a bit too much.

Quote:
This was the first Dylan I picked up on vinyl a couple months ago, and I really enjoyed sitting there at home over Christmas break listening to it on my dad's old turntable. I love playing some of the songs from it when we're all just sittin around playing random songs on the guitar, even though most of my buddies aren't too familiar with "As I Went Out One Morning" which is probably my favorite to play.

If I ever learn to play guitar, I'll probably start with the songs on this album.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 15:46 GMT 
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One of the best.

I still rate "All Along the Watchtower" as one of his greatest songs. "Frankie Lee" is one of the most irresistable songs I've ever heard. "As I Went Out One Morning" is just plain catchy. Then, of course, there's "Dear Landlord," which always conjures images of Otis Redding in my mind. Imagine Otis Redding doing that song...


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 15:53 GMT 
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I was really surprised at how much I liked this album when I first heard it. I wasnt expecting much becuase of its proximity to Nashville Skyline and Self Portrait, but I was really blown away. Best song is of course Frankie Lee, but Dear Landlord is a close second. Everything on this record just gels together really well. Great sounding music, quickly becoming one of my favorites


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 17:23 GMT 
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This album is a complete enigma to me. The songs seem allegorical, but I have no idea what they might mean. I take total responsibility for being thick-headed about it, as critical and ER opinion deem it a classic. I have a similar feeling about "Love and Theft."

Most obscure: As I Went Out One Morning
Least obscure: I'll Be Your Baby Tonight

Album rating:?


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 17:30 GMT 

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"I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" is one of the great Dylan songs of all times. It's absolutely heartbreaking, even though you can't quite put your finger on WHY it's heartbreaking. The whole album has that rustic humility. I love it.

Favorite song: "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine"
Least favorite: "Down Along the Cove"

Overall- 9.5/10

Almost always in my Top 5 Favorite Dylan Albums.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 19:11 GMT 
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Md23Rewls wrote:
"I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" is one of the great Dylan songs of all times. It's absolutely heartbreaking, even though you can't quite put your finger on WHY it's heartbreaking. The whole album has that rustic humility. I love it.
.



I dreamed I saw St. Augustine,
Alive with fiery breath,
And I dreamed I was amongst the ones
That put him out to death.
Oh, I awoke in anger,
So alone and terrified,
I put my fingers against the glass
And bowed my head and cried.




Absolutely perfect.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 19:21 GMT 

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Mr. Tambourine Man wrote:

I dreamed I saw St. Augustine,
Alive with fiery breath,
And I dreamed I was amongst the ones
That put him out to death.
Oh, I awoke in anger,
So alone and terrified,
I put my fingers against the glass
And bowed my head and cried.




Absolutely perfect.


I agree. I love the version from Birmingham, 1987...

I'm not crazy about the rest of JWH though. Maybe I'll have an awakening some day...


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 22:17 GMT 
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One of the things I love about this site is that it reminds me to listen to some of the albums I've maybe ignored for a bit too long. With so many Dylan cds to listen to as well as all the other good stuff I enjoy, sometimes quite a while will go by before a great album like John Wesley Harding will get played. I have it a good hard listen last night and enjoyed each and every second of it. This was one of the first albums I bought way back in the 80s and I still love it. It has a certain sound and feel to it that's different than almost anything else he's done. I give it about an 8 out of 10. I'd love to rate it higher, but there are already so many Dylan albums that are a 10, and even though the songs are great, none of them are GREAT in my opinion.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 22:45 GMT 
This one has recently become one of my favorites. I like how much he stripped down the lyrics and sometimes like them better than BOB. As Dylan said "I'm not trying to use too many words."

Favorite: I Pity the Poor Immigrant (Especially the Hard Rain version w/ Joan)

Least favorite: As I Went Out One Morning ( But I still like it)


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 23:30 GMT 

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Take away Charlie McCoy and most of the songs would just sit there on the shelf. He's a big part of the reason the stripped down sound works.
This one's a keeper, though I've never seen how I'll Be Your Baby Tonight belongs on the album, especially coming on the heels of Down Along the Cove I Spied My True Love Comin My Way.

I also find Ballad of Frankie and Judas maddeningly repetitive in its album form, but I guess that's the point, Dylan was experimenting with eastern trance induce-ments filtered through weirdo westernisms?

We can thank Watchtower for giving us 40 years of variations on that once novel, now utterly cliched chord progression. Where would Spinal Tap like bands be without it? It makes you almost never want to hear an Am next to a G.

Drifter's Escape is one of the songs that converted me to the Dylan cult. I thought it was the best two chord song I had ever heard in my life.

Even more so than Blonde on Blonde, you can't even imagine this album without Buttrey n' McCoy. I really think they deserve a lot of the credit for this one.

Also, in Catholic school, we were taught the correct pronunciation of Augustine was Au-GUS-ten not AU-gus-teen.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 23:47 GMT 

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Location: Cornwall, England
Really loving your series, Mr.T., and finding myself in agreement with much of what you say. Although I'm not really into comparing and rating albums (my personal faves change all the time) I must say that this is a brilliant album.

Just a snippet to put JWH into historical context, I do remember the anticipation waiting for this album to be released. It wasn't all that long after BOB but with the skimpy news of the accident and no other news at the time, it seemed like an eternity between the two, an eternity that was well worth the wait.


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 23:49 GMT 

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oh and "BTW", that beatles on the cover thing is complete horse shite, yes?


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PostPosted: Thu March 8th, 2007, 23:59 GMT 
LittleFishes wrote:
oh and "BTW", that beatles on the cover thing is complete horse shite, yes?


No. It's not.

Look into my eyes.

Listen to the sound of my voice.

And trust me.

I've had a copy with those faces and I have friends who have as well. We weren't aware they were as uncommon as they were or I'd have kept it.

But they were right there.

And it makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

The one momentary nod to the whole Summer of Flowers in Your Hair?

Whether he did it or some joker did.... doesn't matter.


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PostPosted: Fri March 9th, 2007, 00:21 GMT 
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It's probably the greatest album of the second half of the 17th century.

It's Waiting For Godot meets the Salem Trials. It's Beckett with buckskin boots. There are trappers, forests, wildcats, deranged and dangerous women, lonesome plains, ne'ere do well's, and redcoats not far off. Instability, bordering on madness, abounds. Nothing is certain. It's a scary, frozen place- until, of course, we get to Down Along The Cove, where Harmonica Albert's vaginal delta begins to flow, and Country Rock's first settlers are able to drink from its copious well.


Last edited by precinct14 on Fri March 9th, 2007, 01:33 GMT, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri March 9th, 2007, 00:37 GMT 

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Long John, I'm sure you were completely sober when you had your original magical John Wesley record, yes? :o


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