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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 11:00 GMT 

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Desire is one of Bob's all time great records, and his voice probably sounds as good as any point in his career.

Fast forward two years, and we have the nasal whining of Street Legal. I know some people like this record, but I feel like the songs are buried beneath horrible late-70s production, and that God-awful nasal whine that pretty much ruins a lot of his work from this period.

So what happened? I've read before that it was too much coke, but every rock and roller of the period was hammering that stuff in the 70s. Very few, if any, had their voice completely transformed by it in the space of two years.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 11:19 GMT 

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If you are refusing to believe that coke had any impact because "every rock and roller" also abused it, your starting assumption is false.

Singers have to take care of your voice...easy on the cigarettes, booze and whatever else. Bob doesn't seem to be the type to take many things easy.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 11:28 GMT 
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Agreed with Finbar. I'm sure drugs were a factor, but I'll bet the intense shouting of his 1974-1976 tours combined with alcohol and whatever other lifestyle issues he may have been having over what we know was a challenging 1976-1978 likely took their toll.

It's interesting to hear him still using a somewhat warmer, deeper register on the 1978 Tour Rehearsal tapes before months of singing loudly harmed them again. I think that generally poor care for his voice is what did it in personally.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 11:46 GMT 

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belleseb32 wrote:
Agreed with Finbar. I'm sure drugs were a factor, but I'll bet the intense shouting of his 1974-1976 tours combined with alcohol and whatever other lifestyle issues he may have been having over what we know was a challenging 1976-1978 likely took their toll.

It's interesting to hear him still using a somewhat warmer, deeper register on the 1978 Tour Rehearsal tapes before months of singing loudly harmed them again. I think that generally poor care for his voice is what did it in personally.


Yeah, I do think that his shouty style of singing that he adopted on tours from 74 onwards probably took it's toll as much as the nose candy.

It's a real shame. The man had a great voice up to that point. From 78 it became a grotesque parody of his earlier vocal range, and never really recovered unfortunately.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 12:05 GMT 
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If my memory serves me well, Dylan’s singing on the Rundown Rehearsal tapes (‘77-‘78) is actually very good and reminiscent of his previous singing during ‘75-‘76. But then on Budokan it’s more nasal. It makes me think it’s more of a style change than anything.

I think Street-Legal was the beginning of his creative crisis (Dylan trying to write, and ‘sound’, like Dylan) that he wouldn’t climb out of until Oh Mercy.


Last edited by Mr. Tambourine Man on Mon June 24th, 2019, 12:28 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 12:06 GMT 
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Too much shouting. As great as the performances are in the new film/boxset, I do wince at some of the shouting as it must have been shooting his voice to bits on a nightly basis. Add the cocaine and booze to that, along with the presumably bad on-stage sound he was contending with the big arenas in 74 and 78.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 12:48 GMT 
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My personal theory is that it was the effects of snorting a heroin and cocaine combination which was common among music stars of the time (Clapton, George Harrison, the stones). George, Mick jagger and keith Richards' voices all changed because of this. It was mentioned publically that George tried many things to fix it as it affected his performances to the point where fans didn't want to see him anymore.

It has been reported that bob took heroin in the 60s.

That is my theory anyway.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 12:54 GMT 

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While I agree that the shouting style Dylan employed live from '74-76 may not have helped, they were not really long tours so that cannot be the only reason. Vocal cords, like any other muscle, lose elasticity with age but generally speaking most artists' voices have not changed to the extent Dylan's did from '76-78. I actually think he was singing superbly during the 1981 Euro tour, and you can't fault the commitment during the Gospel tours, but that was a radically different voice. From '84 onward it got ever more higher, I'm not sure about nasal, then seemed to settle down around '88-90, before going really high again from '91-93. Since then there's been variations on the theme, with the low point perhaps being the barking style employed form 2008-2012. What caused it? Probably a combination of smoking, and whatever else Dylan was ingesting at the time, but we'll probably never know one way or another.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 12:58 GMT 
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Pauley wrote:
My personal theory is that it was the effects of snorting a heroin and cocaine combination which was common among music stars of the time (Clapton, George Harrison, the stones). George, Mick jagger and keith Richards' voices all changed because of this. It was mentioned publically that George tried many things to fix it as it affected his performances to the point where fans didn't want to see him anymore.

It has been reported that bob took heroin in the 60s.

That is my theory anyway.


I'm not sure about the heroin theory, but George and Keith both suffered very similar deterioration to their voices as Bob did in this period. Listen to Harrison on his big arena tour in 1976(?) and Keith singing Before They Make Me Run live in the late 70s.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 14:01 GMT 
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bobfan wrote:
While I agree that the shouting style Dylan employed live from '74-76 may not have helped, they were not really long tours so that cannot be the only reason. Vocal cords, like any other muscle, lose elasticity with age but generally speaking most artists' voices have not changed to the extent Dylan's did from '76-78. I actually think he was singing superbly during the 1981 Euro tour, and you can't fault the commitment during the Gospel tours, but that was a radically different voice. From '84 onward it got ever more higher, I'm not sure about nasal, then seemed to settle down around '88-90, before going really high again from '91-93. Since then there's been variations on the theme, with the low point perhaps being the barking style employed form 2008-2012. What caused it? Probably a combination of smoking, and whatever else Dylan was ingesting at the time, but we'll probably never know one way or another.
I was told ages ago that Dylan's voice was like it was on Nashville skyline because he gave up smoking and I have always said that the miraculous improvement during the Sinatra years is linked to the fantastic invention that is e cigarettes.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 14:35 GMT 
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Pauley wrote:
My personal theory is that it was the effects of snorting a heroin and cocaine combination which was common among music stars of the time (Clapton, George Harrison, the stones). George, Mick jagger and keith Richards' voices all changed because of this. It was mentioned publically that George tried many things to fix it as it affected his performances to the point where fans didn't want to see him anymore.


Sure, but their voices all returned. George sounded different, but GREAT on his 1991 tour. Contrast with Dylan at that time.

Also: how about the further deterioration (although his phrasing improved, I think) in 1979.
It has been reported that bob took heroin in the 60s.

That is my theory anyway.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 15:15 GMT 
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ApocalypseKurtz wrote:
Pauley wrote:
My personal theory is that it was the effects of snorting a heroin and cocaine combination which was common among music stars of the time (Clapton, George Harrison, the stones). George, Mick jagger and keith Richards' voices all changed because of this. It was mentioned publically that George tried many things to fix it as it affected his performances to the point where fans didn't want to see him anymore.


Sure, but their voices all returned. George sounded different, but GREAT on his 1991 tour. Contrast with Dylan at that time.

Also: how about the further deterioration (although his phrasing improved, I think) in 1979.
It has been reported that bob took heroin in the 60s.

That is my theory anyway.
Weird what you have done with that quote there.

Guess everyone is different. Voices mend maybe. And George hasn't had remotely the same out put in terms of gigs and albums.

I remember in the documentary George was gargling a supposedly magic concoction containing amongst other things honey, lemon and vinegar before going on stage in the 70s.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 16:51 GMT 
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I think it's partly damage from things already listed, and a deliberate change in singing style.


If you listen to the earliest cuts from the Rundown rehearsals, from Dec 77, you can hear a lot of yelling like '74 and RTR. But not quite the same, it's a bit of a one-off voice that he never recorded with. Too bad his voice is low in the mix.
Then, you listen to more Rundown from Jan 78, it's turning into the Street Legal voice.

I imagine this-
After yelling during the rehearsals he got horse and went to the backup singers for help. They suggested he sing differently and he invented the new nasal voice. Singing like 74 and RTR was off the table so he drew from the mid-60's style and came up with the new voice which worked for a few years before degrading into the burnt french fry sound.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 16:59 GMT 
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Amidst all the various theories on his voice, one important point needs to be kept in mind - Bob Dylan sacrificed his voice singing for us. He is probably nearing some type of performing live all time record, or at least is near the top.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 17:03 GMT 

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Winter Lude wrote:
the burnt french fry sound.


Haha


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 20:01 GMT 
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chrome horse wrote:
Amidst all the various theories on his voice, one important point needs to be kept in mind - Bob Dylan sacrificed his voice singing for us. He is probably nearing some type of performing live all time record, or at least is near the top.


He would still have a way to go to top B.B. King in total number of gigs....B.B.'s voice was still good right up to the end, but his chops, not so much, they were much more hit & miss the last few years.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 20:09 GMT 

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In 75 and 76 he took it beyond its natural threshold and it never recovered. He then took it to further extremes during the 81 Europe tour which is when I think the real permanent damage was done.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 20:43 GMT 
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Mary32 wrote:
In 75 and 76 he took it beyond its natural threshold and it never recovered. He then took it to further extremes during the 81 Europe tour which is when I think the real permanent damage was done.


That certainly makes sense. We know 75-76 is peak Dylan. Of his many persona's and images he has evoked over his long career, I would call this his "Raptor" era, an almost human morphing into a high energy, alien animal. Emotionally, he was full tilt performance and full of energy. Then there's the drugs.

The most common speculation is cocaine. Makes sense, and seems the most obvious culprit. People mentioning McGuinn looking paranoid fits too. That's why I never liked coke - made me paranoid. The general consensus is that Bob Dylan has always been basically a pot smoker, and may still be. I can't tell from appearances what he was on. Opiates are also a stimulant - a lot of people use them to work.
I would guess one or the other, or both. I'm of the belief that mild opiates, like percocets, are not only safer than alcohol, but as we saw then - far more productive.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 20:46 GMT 
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Mary32 wrote:
In 75 and 76 he took it beyond its natural threshold and it never recovered. He then took it to further extremes during the 81 Europe tour which is when I think the real permanent damage was done.


That sounds about right. He damaged it in 75 & 76, that tour in 81 was really long, he has never really recovered.
He needed to start using the "soft" voice, he is using now, back then, to save his voice for these later years.
Those wolfman years were the worst.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 20:52 GMT 

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chrome horse wrote:
Mary32 wrote:
In 75 and 76 he took it beyond its natural threshold and it never recovered. He then took it to further extremes during the 81 Europe tour which is when I think the real permanent damage was done.


That certainly makes sense. We know 75-76 is peak Dylan. Of his many persona's and images he has evoked over his long career, I would call this his "Raptor" era, an almost human morphing into a high energy, alien animal. Emotionally, he was full tilt performance and full of energy. Then there's the drugs.

The most common speculation is cocaine. Makes sense, and seems the most obvious culprit. People mentioning McGuinn looking paranoid fits too. That's why I never liked coke - made me paranoid. The general consensus is that Bob Dylan has always been basically a pot smoker, and may still be. I can't tell from appearances what he was on. Opiates are also a stimulant - a lot of people use them to work.
I would guess one or the other, or both. I'm of the belief that mild opiates, like percocets, are not only safer than alcohol, but as we saw then - far more productive.


Where does the consensus about Bob being a pot smoker come from, out of interest?


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 21:19 GMT 
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Pauley wrote:
My personal theory is that it was the effects of snorting a heroin and cocaine combination which was common among music stars of the time (Clapton, George Harrison, the stones). George, Mick jagger and keith Richards' voices all changed because of this. It was mentioned publically that George tried many things to fix it as it affected his performances to the point where fans didn't want to see him anymore.

Weird what you have done with that quote there.

Guess everyone is different. Voices mend maybe. And George hasn't had remotely the same out put in terms of gigs and albums.

I remember in the documentary George was gargling a supposedly magic concoction containing amongst other things honey, lemon and vinegar before going on stage in the 70s.




Oops. I am bad at internetting sometimes. The above quote is NOT all Pauley!!! Look below for what should be attributed to ME not Pauley:

"Sure, but their voices all returned. George sounded different, but GREAT on his 1991 tour. Contrast with Dylan at that time.

Also: how about the further deterioration (although his phrasing improved, I think) in 1979. "

- APOCALYPSEKURTZ NOT PAULEY


And I will add that his 1979 brought much more passion and emotion than 1978 even with a certain raggedness.

Another poster noted that damage was done in 1981. True. 1984 onwards he didn't sound the same. But you could say the same about 1986. Then he emerges STRONG in 1988 but his voice falls apart in 1989, and has never recovered, although 1997-2001 was much better sounding than 1990-1993 in my opinion.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 21:26 GMT 
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Saint Just wrote:
Where does the consensus about Bob being a pot smoker come from, out of interest?


A lot of people who have played with him, etc., have mentioned it. One time in Providence, RI, the crooked mayor, Buddy Cianci, tried to get backstage to meet Bob. He was told no. He threatened to have the buses searched. He met Bob. There's a lot of stories over the years. I would guess most musicians smoke pot, or did at one time. It shouldn't be a big deal - it only is to the ignorant. We are seeing now that pot is in many ways a miracle drug - from some of its derivatives, etc. Pot is life enhancing.


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 21:29 GMT 

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chrome horse wrote:
Saint Just wrote:
Where does the consensus about Bob being a pot smoker come from, out of interest?


A lot of people who have played with him, etc., have mentioned it. One time in Providence, RI, the crooked mayor, Buddy Cianci, tried to get backstage to meet Bob. He was told no. He threatened to have the buses searched. He met Bob. There's a lot of stories over the years. I would guess most musicians smoke pot, or did at one time. It shouldn't be a big deal - it only is to the ignorant. We are seeing now that pot is in many ways a miracle drug - from some of its derivatives, etc. Pot is life enhancing.


Ok. I don’t see him as a pot smoker anymore tbh. ModBob is, for all his continuing genius, a pretty up tight guy. He’s hardly Willy Nelson is he?


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 21:49 GMT 
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It’s 2019, aren’t we all smoking pot after all?


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PostPosted: Mon June 24th, 2019, 21:52 GMT 
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Saint Just wrote:
Ok. I don’t see him as a pot smoker anymore tbh. ModBob is, for all his continuing genius, a pretty up tight guy. He’s hardly Willy Nelson is he?


Who knows? Who cares? He just started selling whiskey, a far more dangerous drug, though a lot of people don't even know that. I doubt he's a big drinker. With his work ethic, he has to be in pretty great shape and health, which he appears to be.
Bob has always been uptight and private, has nothing to do with the new era, or anything else. It's the way he is. Again, who cares? His output of great work, in numerous mediums, is unreal. I would only say, whatever he was or is on - where can I get some?


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