6 September 1997
1. Love Sick
Karl Erik Andersen
From: Dirk1479@aol.com Date: Fri, 5 Sep 1997 21:17:08 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Time out of mind - A personal 'review' by the Mierow Brothers Nothing to be gained by any explanation? A review reviewed and some personal thoughts on Time out of mind Some general notes in advance: I actually never planned to write such a 'review', but, of course, after having read Michael Gray's 'Searching for a gem' in the latest issue of 'Isis' some remarks have to be made in order to even Mr Gray's negative impression out for all those of you who haven't got a copy of 'Toom' yet. After all, at this stage we're only referring to a pre-release tape. The final CD-release might sound completely different! Keep that in mind... Finally there it is. A new Dylan record. THE new Dylan record. The one we all have waited for for so long. The first new original Dylan material since 1991. We already have heard a lot about it by now. Great stories from the recording sessions. Short but promising reviews by Edna Gunderson and Greil Marcus. Great expectations. I wonder if any album could do them justice. It's a hard job to do. What will the lyrics be like? What do we expect them to be? When was the last time we got real new lyrics from Bob? And, after all, what are real new lyrics? 'Under the red sky'? An album which, to me, rather is a 'little light'. A party album, funny lyrics ('Handy Dandy'), and a lot of nursery rhymes. In a way, these were real new Dylan lyrics. 'Oh mercy'? The 'stream of conciousness' album. Great lyrics (ok, let's not talk about 'Broken' and 'T eardrops'), both personal and cryptic, perfectly underlined by the production sound, but were these lyrics 'the mature work of a major artist in middle-age, dealing with the serious questions in life'? This is what Mr Gray, in his own words, was hoping to hear on 'Toom'. Dylan - The spokesman of the middle-age generation? I don't know. I always felt Dylan was singing about the same old things, love, loss, loneliness and so on. But the way he was - and still is - doing that is without comparison (You know, noone else could play that tune...). I never was particularly interested in 'real new lyrics' just for the sake of new lyrics. Moreover, Dylan's performance is what makes even songs like 'You belong to me' great songs. (And by the way, I never thought of the '78 rehearsal version of 'Big girl now' as a parody...) So, what do we expect from 'Toom'? Do we expect another so-called 'self-reinvention' like Mr Gray obviously does? Are we hoping for Dylan saying all the things we're not able to express? Hopefully not, because 'Toom' isn't anything like that. Or maybe it is. But what would it matter anyway... To me, in short, it's a very personal album, done by a singer who is feeling lost in this world. Most of the lyrics remind me of the mood of 'What was it you wanted', 'What good am I' or 'Most of the time'. Dylan isn't singing his heart out the way we might have expected, he's got some kind of distance to the songs which makes them all the more tragic. When I say distance I mean distance, not indifference! The kind of distance you feel towards things that have happened a long time ago, and you can't recall exactly what has actually happened. Like memory falling through a sieve in your head, like feelings dripping into your conscience. Me, I'm deeply touched by hearing these lyrics sung. Other people, like Mr Gray, think that they are 'infantile', 'contemptible phoney', 'preoccupied with lost loves and old romances', that 'T oom' is 'dragged along by tired self-imitation and lazily inaccurate cliche'. Well, I can't think for you, but if I wanted to I probably could say this about any Dylan album after 'Blood on the tracks'! Luckily, I'm far from doing so. There is, however, one correct and important statement in Mr Grays article: The production of 'Toom' is, let's say, a bit strange. It is widely known that Daniel Lanois has friends and enemies among the Dylan crowd. If you are an enemy, you won't like 'Toom' anyway. If you're a friend, you will be surprised to hear that 'Toom' is neither 'Oh mercy 2' nor something completely new to the music world's ears. But it definitely contains sounds and music we never have heard from Bob Dylan before. And, yes, that much is true, it has got different sounds (mainly two, with minor variations) on it, one closer to 'Oh mercy', the other one some kind of 'metallic', raw, and with lots of echo and reverb in Dylan's vocals. I had to get used to this, too, and it took me some time. But I think that every single song is produced in an absolute appropriate way. These songs simply had to be produced differently. That's why 'Dirt road blues' sounds like an old blues classic and 'Not dark yet' doesn't. To me, the whole problem is the running order. It probably would have been a wise decision to have seperated these different sounds from each other, similar to what people used to do with two different LP sides. Well, it wasn't done that way, but luckily everyone of us will be able to record 'Toom' on a tape and rearrange the track list. Only two or three more interesting things before we get to the songs: There is not a single 'real' chorus on the whole album, nothing to sing along with in the first place. Nevertheless, the lyrics are so long, I wonder if Sony will be able to get them legibly printed into this small CD booklet (if there are plans to do so, that is). And there scarcely is a musical solo in the sense of a lead guitar or whatever. This record really is a live jam session, but it doesn't sound like that! Augie Myers seems to be doing the 'background' keyboards, Jim Dickinson the simply brilliant 'lead' keyboards, mostly with some kind of Rhodes sound. There are lot of guitars, you can't really say how many, but Bob, Robillard, and Lanois can be clearly identified (well, I guess that's a bold statement without the official credits in hand...). The pedal-steel guitars add perfectly to the dark and bittersweet sound. So does Keltner's drum work: very subtle and understated. And the bass parts (can this really be Garnier!?) are just great, sometimes a bit too much in the front, but as I said above, let's wait for the CD. So, on to the songs. I won't spend too much space on that. This 'article' is long enough already. However, I will include some quotes from the songs. Love sick Wonderful opener, rolling its way into the album. Dark atmosphere right from the start. Brilliant keyboards. Kind of mixture of 'What was it you wanted', 'Man in the long black coat' and 'Most of the time'. Mysterious and real at the same time, bitterness contrasted by desire, with an overall feel of loneliness. I'm walking through streets that are dead/ Walking with you in my head My feet are so tired/ my brain is so wired ... Sometimes the silence could be like thunder/ sometimes I wanna take to the road and plunder ... I spoke like a child/ you destroyed me with a smile/ while I was sleeping ... I'm sick of love/ I wish I'd never met you/ I'm sick of love/ I'm tryin' to forget you Just don't know what to do/ I'd give anything to be with you Dirt Road Blues Rambling, swinging country-blues tune. Lot of echo in the vocals. Sir Douglas Band organ by Augie Myers, very funny! Rhythm and guitar licks sound exactly like 'Ragged and dirty' from the Supper Club shows. Good, but totally misplaced as song # 2. Destroys the mood of 'Love sick' completely. Goona walk down that dirt road/ until my eyes begin to bleed 'til there's nothing left to see/ 'til the chains have been shattered and I've been freed... Rolling through the rain and hail/ lookin' for the sunny side of love Standin' in the doorway Back to the 'Love sick' mood, although the perfect # 2 would have been 'Tryin' to get to heaven'. The guitar(s) are working their way into a very memorable guitar lick. Beautiful 'ballad', with a bit of country feel to it. The light in this place is so bad/ making me sick in the head [Remember Bob playing with his back to the audience? Ha ha!] There are things I could say, but I don't ... I know the mercy of God must be near ... I see nothing to be gained by any explanation/ there's no words to need (?) to be said ... You left me standin' in the doorway cryin'/ Blues wrapped around my head Million miles Jazzy blues tune. Never heard anything like that from Bob before. And funny, too! Very cool vocals and organ! Great drum work. A lot of jamming, very laid back. Simply cool. You told yourself a lie, that's alright, Mama, I told myself one, too I try to get closer, but I'm still a million miles from you ... Feel like talkin' to somebody, but I just don't know who ... There are voices in the night, tryin' to get heard/ I'm sittin' here listenin' to every mind-pollutin' word Trying to get to heaven Beautiful song! Only song with harmonica on it, low key, concert style. Some fantastic phrasings by Bob: '...loooooose a little more...' :That's what it's all about! Everyday your memory grows dimmer/ It don't hunt me like it did before I've been walking through the middle of nowhere/ Trying to get to heaven before they close the door ... When you think that you've lost everything/ you find out you could always lose a little more ... I close my eyes and wonder/ if everything is as hollow as it seems I've been to sugartown/ I shook the sugar down/ Now I'm trying to get to heaven before they close the door (!!) 'Til I fell in love with you Slow heavy swinging Blues. Lanois said the album would contain 'landscapes of underlying humour', and he was right! Echo again. Well, my nerves are exploding/ and my body's tense ... I know God is my shield and He won't lead me astray ... Boys in the street beginning to play/ Girls like birds flyin' away ... My eyes feel like they're fallin off of my face ... Well, I'm tired of talking/ I'm tired of trying to explain/ My attempts to please you, they were all in vain ... Yet I don't know what I'm gonna do/ I was alright 'til I fell in love with you Not dark yet Probably the most beautiful song on the album. Close to 'What good am I' and 'Shooting star'. Very intense, with Bob's vocals creeping out of the speakers. Perfect. Feel like my soul has turned into steel ... I've been down on the bottom of a whirlpool of lies/ I ain't lookin' for nothin' in anybody's eyes/ Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear/ It's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there ... I was born here and I'll die here/ Against my will/ I know it looks like I'm moving, but I'm standing still Cold irons bound Musically a bit similar to 'I can't wait'. Raw. The drums really sound like Keltner's 'pounding on tin'. (Have they really moved Dylan's refrigerator to the studio??) To be honest, I don't get too much of the lyrics. I'm not a native speaker, anyway! I'm beginning to hear voices and there's noone around ... I went to church on sunday as she passed by/ Well, my love for her is takin' such a long time to die ... One look at you and I'm outta control ... I'm twenty miles out of town/ Cold irons bound To make you feel my love Basically, this is similar to Billy Joel's version, without drums, though. But it lacks all the hope. The way Dylan sings it makes clear that there is no way of letting the loved one feel his love. She's definitely out of reach. Melancholic and sad. However, I have to admit that it rather sounds like a demo version and that the song somehow doesn't go together well with the rest of the album... No quotes needed here. I can't wait Raw and rolling tune, haunting and mysterious. Monotonous, you say? Well, listen close! Vocals remind me of the video of 'Most of the time'. Well, it's way past midnight/ and there's some people all around The air burns and I'm tryin' to think straight And I don't know how much longer I can wait ... If I ever saw you comin' I don't know what I might do/ I'd like to think I could control myself, but it isn't true/ That's how it is when things disintegrate ... It's mighty funny/ the end of time has just begun ... Well, I'm strolling through the lonely graveyard of my mind Highlands Definitely not 'Sad eyed lady', 'Desolation row', or 'Brownsville Girl' revisited! Slow standard blues, E major, 17 minutes long. No variation. No improvisation. Strictly lyrics, nearly spoken. Boring, you say? Man, these lyrics! They really get down to the bone. The 'landscapes of underlying humor' are making their way to the surface. The 'restaurant episode'! I was on the floor! But it's not funny in the actual sense... mysterious, again. I'm really looking forward to seeing that video! Sounds very authobiographical, but then again...!? ('Will Bob be moving to Scotland' I hear you think...) I'll let some quotes speak for the song... (with greetings to Rod, I suppose he knows why!) Well, my heart's in the Highlands ... Where the Aberdeen waters flow... I'm gonna go there when I feel good enough to go ... I don't want nothin' from anyone/ ain't that much to take wouldn't know the difference/ between a real blond and a fake Feel like a prisoner/ in a world of mystery/ I wish someone comin'/ push back the clock for me Well, my heart's in the Highlands/ Wherever I roam That's where I'll be when I get called home ... I'm listenin' to Neil Young/ I gotta turn up the sound Someone's always yellin'/ 'turn it down!' ... Insanity is smashin' up against my soul ... I'm in Boston town/ in some restaurant I got no idea what I want/ Or maybe I do/ but I'm just really not sure Waitress comes over/ nobody in the place but me and her ... She's got a pretty face and long white shiny legs I say Tell me what I want/ She says You probably want hard boiled eggs ... Then she says I know you're an artist/ draw a picture of me I say I would if I could/ but I don't do sketches from memory ... And she says You don't read women authors, do you? At least that's what I think I heard her say ... I say you're way wrong/ She says which ones have you read then? I say I've read Erica Jong (?) ... Everyday is the same thing/ out the door (?) I feel further away than ever before Some things in life/ it just gets too late to learn Well' I'm lost somewhere/ I must have made a few bad turns All the young men with the young women lookin' so good Well, I'd trade places with any of them in a minute if I could ... [Isn't this 'middle-age'??!!] I think what I need might be a full length leather coat Somebody just asked if I'd register to vote My heart's in the Highlands/ Over the hills and far away There's a way to get there/ And I figure it out somehow I'm already there in my mind/ And that's good enough for now Again, a classic finishing line for a Dylan album, don't you think??!! That's it! I hope I was able to express my views as good as I could. Any comments or corrections are welcome. Let me know what you think! All the best & keep on keepin' on! Dirk Mierow, Hamburg, Germany e-mail: Dirk1479@aol.com
Newsweek Sept 8, 1997:
Bob Dylan is pulling a move no one could have expected. On his exquisite new album, "Time Out Of Mind," (Sept. 30), the '60s' most ornery survivor embraces his past. These bluesy, folk-spattered tunes erupt with organ sounds right out of "Like a Rolling Stone" and electricity-charged guitar as fierce as anything since "Highway 61 Revisited." His mood is mordant in some songs, heartbroken in others; whatever the reason, he hasn't sounded so fresh and almighty in years. It's enough to give us some faith in the future.
Subject: reflections on TOOM
From: John Howells (email@example.com)
Date: 4 Sep 1997 08:06:12 -0700
I've noticed a connecting thread running through the album. It starts out with the words "I'm walking through streets that are dead" and the album ends with the famous stream of conscious old man's stroll through more dead streets. The second song starts out "I'll walk down that dirt road 'til someone lets me ride", and the third song again starts with the "I've been walking" motif. In the first song, "Love Sick", he sings "sometimes I want to take to the road and plunder". "Million Miles" again echoes the theme of travelling to get close to his love (but still a million miles away). "Trying to Get to Heaven" has the singer talk about "going down that road feeling bad". There are probably many more examples throughout this collection of songs.
It seems to me that he might be trying to draw a connection between time and distance and between memory and movement. "Time out of mind" means "for as long as I can remember", and his constant travels throughout the album (and in real life) lead him to ponder the way things are and how they could have been. He alternately swings between wishing he could reunite with his lost love and wishing he had never met her. He has regrets and at the same time longings that cannot be fulfilled. There is not one song on this album that strays from that theme, and therefore it becomes his most focused album in a long time, certainly more so than the last two original albums ("Oh Mercy" and "Under the Red Sky"). It seems he waited so long to come out with a new set of originals because he needed to be sure he had something to say. Maybe it doesn't speak to everyone, as we've seen from some of the offhand dismissals in this newsgroup, but it most certainly speaks to the author himself.
Forget "Blood on the Tracks". THIS is the album Blood was trying to be, and in my mind "Time out of Mind" is the better of the two.
John Howells firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.punkhart.com
Subject: "TOOM" Personnel
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 1997 01:13:20 +0900
Has anybody already said something about the personnel? According to the press release from SONY Japan, the personnel of each song is as follows:
1 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 Bob Dylan x x x x x x x x x x x Daniel Lanois g x x x x x x x x x x x Tony Garnier b x x x x x x x x x x x Auggie Meyers k x x x x x x x x x x x Bucky Baxter steel x x x x Duke Robillard g x x x Robert Britt g x x x x Cindy Cashdollar slide x x x Jim Dickenson k x x x x x x x x Jim Keltner d x x x x x x x David Kemper d x Winston Watson d x Brian Blade d x x x x x x Tony Mangurian perc x x x x1. Love Sick
2. Dirt Road Blues
3. Standing In The Door Way
4. Million Miles
5. Tryin; To Get To Heaven
6. Till I Fall In Love With You
7. Not Dark Yet
8. Cold Iron Bound
9. Make You Feel My Love
10. Can't Wait
Masato Kato (LOVE-0NL@wellmet.or.jp) Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Subject: TOOM Sampler - Have it, cool
From: Dylan63 (email@example.com)
Date: 29 Aug 1997 21:46:54 GMT
It comes in a brown paper wrapper... the first 4 tracks of TIME OUT OF MIND, produced by Lanois in association w/Jack Frost Productions.
1. LOVE SICK
2. DIRT ROAD BLUES
3. STANDING IN THE DOORWAY
4. MILLION MILES
LABOR DAY WEEKEND will be remembered as my time out of mind.
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 22:35:14 -0500
Subject: "Time Out of Mind" politically correct analysis
I had the pleasure and the honor of listening to "Time out of Mind" in its entirety this evening with a set of headphones. I am not sure what generation of tape this was that I listened to. All I can say is I will be camping outside of the local Best Buy on the evening September 29th.
Time has a very spontaneous, improvisational style of performance on most of the tracks by all of the musicians involved. This album has a stripped down sound to it, a very "live" sound. There are 2 guitarists playing at all times on 7 out of 11 tracks, each plucking and strumming short chords continuosly, constantly improvising bluesy, jazzy style guitar work. Sounds great with headphones, each guitarist have his doing his own thing, one in the left channel and the otherin the right channel of my headset. Excellent layering of guitar work, organ and powerful bass riffs.
Dylan has reinvented himself once again. This is the album that will establish himself in the 90's as a musical genius. Those who have written him off will be very surprised with this effort. I consider it to be his finest album since "Blood on the Tracks". Bobs voice is excellent throughout. Very little indication of any straining on his vocals. His voice belongs on this record.
"Love Sick" Has a smokey bar room mood about it telling the story about some sort of heartbreak. Similar to the slow, spooky sound of "Man in a Long Black Coat". Monologue style of singing and very effective. Dylan has now adapted his song writing and singing around his vocal abilities. This song has a "bayou" style sound to it similar to some of CCR and John Fogherty songs.
"Dirt Road Blues" struck me at first as sounding like "Maggies Farm" in a way. This is also sort of a jazzy, bluesy type of a "Rock-a-Billy", very up-tempo, "Rockin-at-Midnight tune. If someone had popped this tune in and told me it was a boot from 1963, I would have believed him except for the vocals.
"Standing in the Doorway" This is the first slow, mellow song on the album. Nice rhythm. A swaying style song, struck me as being similar to "Can't Help Falling in Love With You" by Elvis. Excellent vocals, Clear voice. Nice rhythm guitar.
"Million Miles" is another very jazzy, bluesy, smokey bar room mood type of song. Excellent layering of guitar licks in each channel of my headset, each guitar doing its own thing. Very nice jazzy drum work, similar to the style in Brubecks "Take Five". Excellent organ work. Very up-beat, driving bass guitar. Really starting to get into this album, one excellent track after another, not a dull tune in the bunch yet.
"Tryin' to Get to Heaven" is the 2nd slow piece on the album. Very simple chords, strumming on the electric guitar, light organ. Live sound. Excellent vocals, voice sounds very good. A short and sweet harmonica solo closes this track. This is the only use of harmonica I noticed on the entire album.
"Till I Fell in Love With You" Another jazzy, very bluesy track. Very funky guitars in each channel, nicely layered. Excellent use of organ and electric piano (at least it sounded like electric piano). Reminded me of the funky electric jazz piano sound and riffs of Deodato's "Also Sprach Zarathustra" from 1973. Also has some more of that "Bayou" sounding, layered guitar work. A very beautiful combination (very cool)combination and layering of instruments. Left me with the feeling I had after listening to the B.O.B. version of "Visions of Johanna" for the first time.
"Not Dark Yet" Floating-like feelings from this track. Really nice electric guitar chord strumming and plucking. Very layered guitar work, very bluesy and jazzy sound.
"Cold Irons Bound" One of the high points of this tape. Lead by heavy, up-beat bass and what sounds like spoons throughout. Struck me as having "reggae"(?) style percussion at first. Another incredible, incredible piece, and not even through the whole album yet. Absolutely amazing track. The Dylan/Lanois team really packed a punch with this piece. This track produces so much imagery with the lyrics, vocals and instrumentation. Very psychologically powerful track. Remove the lyrics and you could use this as the backdrop instrumental for Freddie Kruger sharpening his fingertip blades in "Friday the 13th part Twelve" Incredible layering of short guitar licks in each channel constantly building and rebuilding, inter-woven and inter-twined over, under and around each chord. Excellent driving music for the desert or mountains in Utah or Arizona on a bright, summer day. This song is unlike anything I have ever heard before. Spooky, almost scary track. Very well written song. Only a carefully calculated, thoroughly planned studio session by a genius could produce such material. This track is going to turn some heads.
"To Make you feel my Love" Quite a ballad. I can understand why Billy Joel would want to record this piece. "Pretty".
"Can't Wait" is another funky, layered, bluesy tune. Excellent guitar and organ work. The guitar work is so incredible in stereo on this track as is throughout the album. A touch of that "bayou" style guitar again. Excellent vocals, monologue style delivery.
"Highlands" has a live studio feeling to it. A drifting along sort of flowing feeling. Some more of that "bayou" style guitar playing again. Vocals are delivered in another monologue style. Excellent use of percussion with what sounds like a stick and a block of wood. Great layering of guitar work with the plucking and strumming of chords. The timing strikes me as being similar to that of "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest". Sounds very similar to "Clothes Line Saga", but unique. I closed my eyes and felt like I was floating along on a raft in the southern part of the Mississippi in a backwoods bayou area. Another excellent, perfectly chosen combination of lyrics, instruments and vocals. For those who enjoy "The Basement Tapes" sessions, you will love this track. The 16 plus minutes af this track seemed more like 6 or 7 minutes to me. Time flies when you have fun.
To close, I would like to say that Bob Dylan has created another masterpiece with "Time out of Mind". He has reinvented himself once again with an album packed full of surprises with every track. An album full of songs and instrumental combinations unlike anything I have ever heard before. This is a very deep, psychologically stimulating, thought provoking collection of compositions.
The only words that come into my mind at this moment are "thank you Bob Dylan" and "welcome back"
Subject: Bob's New Stuff - My Thoughts
From: Linda Shaw (LINSHAW@prodigy.net)
Date: 29 Aug 1997 00:26:29 GMT
I sat out in the semi-rain & listened to TIME OUT OF MIND today. This is the album that should be titled "Self-Portrait." I had to listen to it a couple of times before the initial shock wore off ~ it's not what I expected, even though I didn't know what to expect. Basically, it's a very personal, intimate, soul-bearing self-portrait; there's a slow, rhythmic heartbeat running through each song, connecting them to each other.
There are some very sad lines...."I'm strolling through the lonely graveyard of my mind.....my memory gets dimmer every day but it doesn't bother me as much now....I feel like my soul has turned into steel...I was born here and I'll die here against my will...sometimes my burden is more than I can bear, it's not dark yet but it's gettin there...I feel like a prisoner in a world of mystery, I wish someone would come and push back the clock for me....insanity is smashing up against my soul...."
There's also some humor: "Listening to Neil Young, gotta turn up the sound, someone's always yellin to turn it down."
And there are some lyrics expressing love: "I could offer you
a warm embrace to make you feel my love." And I think that's what Bob has
done with this collection of songs...offered his heart and soul to those of
us who've always loved him and his music.
Subject: Dirt Road Blues
From: barclayr (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 1997 05:31:55 -0400
I heard "Dirt Road Blues" earlier this evening on WXPN out of Phila.. This is the first song i've caught off the four song teaser that has been floating around the radio waves.From the posting by oracle on 8/23 he mostly pans "Million Miles", but as Sadie accurately points out without some type of frame work to understand his likes and dislikes it is difficult at best to evaluate the validity of his review.
All i know at this point is that i liked "Dirt Road Blues" alot.It is a basic blues driven rocker, with a great guitar break in the middle. Bob sounds good, as does the band. It creates a very live feel and does not seem as produced as much of his other recent offerings of his own compositions do to my ear( Red Sky and Oh Mercy).Oracle posted the words on 8/23, but as is often true in blues based rock simply reading the lyrics can leave you cold.I feel there is a wonderful looseness to this songs' presentation - harking back to the Blonde on Blonde days or more precisely his recent live shows.(of which i've seen many.) Only repeated listening will tell for sure,but this song sounds like a winner on first inspection.From some of the feedback i've been hearing and reading i may be the only person around willing to say i like any of Bob's new stuff,but i'm no rookie - indeed i'm a rock and roll veteran of more years than i'd like to admit.I've never posted , thou often read others; yet this song moved me to write all of this....
so happy trails campers and let's start hounding our local radio stations to at least give this song some air play and a fair chance .... remember every song can't be, indeed shouldn't be a "Masters of War" (or what ever your particular interpretation of Bob's greatest song may be)... let's roll with him and just be glad there's another Dylan offering to enjoy and debate.
Subject: I *like* the new songs
From: JOKERMAN (JOKERMAN@Prodigy.Net)
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 16:13:37 -0700
KMTT (in Seattle) has been playing 3 of the 4 songs from the sampler (not "Standing in a Doorway"), and I think they're great! It seems as though the early posts here haven't been too favorable, so I thought I'd speak up. The lyrics may not have been what some have hoped for, but they SOUND fantastic. Lanois did a super job! Love Sick has a very "phased" Dylan vocal that leaves it sounding very otherworldly. Processed. Ethereal. Sounds like he's singing from the grave, to me. Dirt Road has a nice pseudo-rockabilly charm (not unlike "Boogie Woogie Country Girl"), with some wonderfully cheesy organ playing. And Million Miles has a truly great Dylan vocal, mixing sadness with humor in nearly equal parts. The arrangement on the latter number is superb; it sounds like you're in a dive bar, afterhours, and Bob and the band are playing some old blues number.
So the lyrics aren't "Blood" level--who cares? They sound great!
first impressions of TOOM songs
From: "oracle@delphi" (email@example.com)
Having only heard 3 of the four songs on the TOOM promo release off the radio (_Million Miles_, _Sick of Love_, _Dirt Road Blues_) my overriding emotion can only be described as underwhelment.
Sitting in my car 3 or 4 years ago hearing the first plucky notes of _World Gone Wrong_ with that rusty intimate voice croaking "Strange things have happened, like never before...," I knew immediately it was a high-wire solo masterpiece.
But, on TOOM, judging by the heavily-layered background instrumentals, we've got a collaborative concoction rather than a sustained exploration into the unknown recesses of one man's creativity.
Perhaps the other 9 songs will provide a more helpful context, but it appears that Dylan has progressed to a state of artistic befuddlement.
The lyrics are paradoxically both self-involved yet generically bathetic:
Gonna walk down that dirt road 'Til someone will let me ride (2x) If I can't find my baby I'm gonna run away and hide
From reports about the sessions, apparently Dylan got great studio musicians and then let them obscure each others' phrasings to attempt some kind of spontaneous synergy; but the result comes off as muddy, over-layered, and distracting -- kind of a garage recording by virtuosos crunching potato chips in the background.
Unlike even minor albums like UTRS, or OH MERCY, there is no attempt at biting lyric irony or cryptic symbolism -- which is no sin in itself -- yet even the simple phrases here don't sound like anything more than something composed on a bus trip.
I'm walking, through streets that are dead walking, walking with you in my head My feet are so tired, my brain is so wired and the clouds are weeping.
Since the golden age of Dylan's obscure-surrealistic period, if the listener wasn't exactly invited to understand the poet's dreams, he was stimulated to supplement colorful associations with his own suppositions and fragments from universal experience -- piecing together a cubist mosaic of suggestivity which somehow never goes stale.
Compare the verse from _Mr. Tambourine Man_:
If you hear vague traces of skipping reels of rhyme, to your tambourine in time, it's just a ragged clown behind, I wouldn't pay it any mind, it's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing.
Here, the songwriter both unfolds his desultory creative process, while warning the viewer that any direct relationship with the artist is ultimately unsatisfying.
Over the years, Dylan's metaphoric powers began to decline -- yet as late as UTRS, even his most ridiculous phrases had some suggestive bite, e.g., "Wiggle like a big fat snake."
Compare with the rhetorically flaccid _Million Miles_:
You took the silver, you took the gold You left me standing out in the cold. People asked about you I didn't tell em everything I knew. Well, I try to get closer
This cardboard verse reminds me of that story told by film director Sydney Pollack on the Willie Nelson Big 6-0 broadcast.
They were on a plane while shooting a film and Willie came over and said, "Hey Sydney, I wrote a new song; I think it'll be great in the movie." Pollack read, in horror, the lyrics, which were something like:
On the road again, It sure is good to be On the road again, I can't wait to be On the road again, With friends that I love, Doing what I crave It sure is great to be on the road again.
Pollack rolled his eyes and answered politely something like "Interesting, yeah. Really classic, Willie," and was later shocked when the music was added and the song became one of Willie's biggest hits.
After a while, living legends with long careers reach a level of international celebrity where merely their names, their signatures, or their off-the-cuff remarks are rewarded (as Freud put it) by fame, money, and beautiful lovers.
It's not so simple to determine when an artist has lost touch with his gift for originality, and Dylan especially, has always capitalized on the serendipities of throwaway genius -- but here, though the songs have the earmarks of personal, passionate longing, their effect on the long-term listener is strangely momentary, sedentary, and without shading -- except maybe for individual comparisons in an historical overview.
But for now, as Gertrude Stein put it: "There is no there there."
Later, I found myself back in the car, listening to _Blood on the Tracks_ outtakes of _Idiot Wind_ and _If you See Her, Say Hello_, feeling that sadness of familiarity; or was it the familiarity of sadness?
August 22 Duke Robillard talks about the album:
Subject: Duke on Time
From Rhythms magazine, Aug 97 issue, comes an interview by Brian Wise, with Duke Robillard, including some comments on the sessions for Time Out Of Mind. Rhythms used to have a web address, but I can't seem to find it. So, I'll just excerpt the bits of interest:
"After talking about his fine new album, Dangerous Place,the tape was turned off and we were casually scoffing the snacks when Duke casually said, "Oh, did I tell you that I just worked on the new Dylan album?" A frantic dive for the tape recorder and microphone ensued as I quizzed the guitarist about the Daniel Lanois-produced project. It might be surprising to some people that Dylan has enlisted the help of a renowned blues guitarist, although a cursory glance at the previous axe wielders Bob has used shows a wide variety of styles and a fair degree of blues influence. Duke joins Mike Bloomsfield, Robbie Robertson, Elvin Bishop, Eric Clapton, Mick Ronson, Mick Taylor and Mark Knopfler, to name but a few of the guitarists used by Dylan over the decades. Robillard is unsure if any of the tracks he recorded will appear on the album, but he revelled in the chance to work with one of his heroes. In the Miami studio at any one time were two drummers, two steel guitarists, four or five other guitars and two keyboards.
"It was great," he recalls "Everything was very spontaneous and everybody played very minimally and really reacted to Bob, which is the way he wanted it to be. He sang live, everything was totally live." This will be the first live album of new Dylan songs for seven years and Robillard says that being in the same studio was an education in itself. "I sat about four feet from him for about nine days, twelve hours a day, and watched him work and it was an amazing thing really. He went through two or three versions, sometimes four versions, completely changing them. I was really in awe of him."
The Dylan connection goes back to Duke's days with the Fabulous Thunderbirds when they played on the same bill. "He was impressed with my guitar player [sic? playing?] and Tony Garnier his bass player and musical director, had turned him on to some of my albums. It was a very amazing experience to have Bob Dylan ask me about some of my albums, like "How did you record this one?" or "What did you do on this?" I'm just sitting there thinking God, Bob Dylan at some point was sitting on his couch at home listening to my records. It was a full circle turnaround from when I started playing in the sixties and listened to his records when I was sixteen and copped all of Mike Bloomfield's licks and was just comp- letely taken with the imagery and the sound of his music."
Producer Daniel Lanois' instructions to Robillard were simple and the guitarist has a chuckle when he recalls them. "He basically asked me not to play like me - not play anything familiar, not play anything related to blues, which was kind of interesting because Bob Dylan obviously wanted me there to be who I am and add that to his music. It was an interesting job because I really wasn't sure what to do to please either one of them because of what the requests were. Just the fact that Dylan asked me to be there means he liked what I played but I think Daniel wants things to be a combination of elements that haven't been heard before. We did one blues where I just played blues guitar and was very turned on by it but I think it was nt what he wanted because it sounded like blues guitar. I just happen to be a blues guitar-player - I can't help myself!" I suggest that Lanois' instruction sounded like the sort of thing that Miles Davis might have told one of his band members. "Yeah," responds Robillard. "It is kind of like 'think about the colour orange'. You just have to forget what you are and what you do and open up to something different."
And if that was not revelation enough for a Dylan fanatic, Robillard further teased me with his assessment of Bob's new material. "I was just completely blown away by the material," he enthused. "Just beautiful, incredible songs - in my opinion as good as anything I've ever heard by him. I think he's done an awful good job of blending his new ideas and his old self in these songs. I found myself wanting to hear them over and over after I left the sessions and remembering certain words and melodies. I'm dying to hear it." Those who have seen Duke play in recent years will probably tell you that he is one of the most fluid and graceful players around. One suspects that Dylan is attracted by the lean, loping and elegant guitar lines." (Australian readers will find the August issue on the shelves of all good newsagents)
August 17 Dan Levy says:
Yesterday Columbia shipped to radio stations a four-song sampler CD from "Time Out of Mind."
It's the first four songs on the album: Love Sick, Dirt Road Blues, Standing in the Doorway, and Million Miles.
I wonder whether a collective r.m.d onslaught could persuade radio stations to play this uncompromising music. Anyway, it's worth phoning and demanding your fix of brand-new Bob.
July 29: ICE Newsletter reports:
... that the release date is September 30, which may possibly slip to October.
Greil Marcus in Interview Magazine:
...it should be the first Dylan album in well over twenty years likely to get whoever might hear it wondering what in the world it is.
The record is not like any other Dylan has released, though the music isn't unlike some he's made: It has a dirt-floor feeling, with loose ends and fraying edges in the songs, songs that sound both unfinished and final. The music seems more found than made, the prosaic driving out the artful. It all comes to a head with "Highlands," a flat, unorchestrated, undramatized monologue, wistful and broken, bitter and amused, that describes both a day and a life. The song, as I heard it one afternoon this spring in a Sony records office in L.A., is about an older man who lives in one of Ed Kienholz's awful furnished rooms in the rotting downtown of some fading city - Cincinnati, Hollywood, the timeless, all-American Nowheresville you see in David lynch's Blue Velvet - getting up and going for a walk, maybe for the first time in weeks. In the course of the song he recounts his adventures, recalls the people he met and those he avoided. In a certain sense nothing happens, nothing at all; from another perspective, a life is resolved. The song is someone else's dream, but as Dylan sings, you are dreaming it. And you can't wake up.
"How long was that?" I asked the man who left me the tape. "Seven minutes?
Eight?" "Seventeen," he said. This is from the Dylan so many were ready to bury: a singer who, at the age of fifty-six, no longer a factor in the pop equation, can beat the clock.
NEW YORK--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--July 10, 1997--Columbia Recording artist Bob Dylan will release his 41st album later this year.
Titled Time Out Of Mind, the album will contain from 10 to 12 original compositions.
The songs were recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami and were produced by Daniel Lanois and Bob Dylan. Lanois, who also plays a variety of instruments on the record, previously worked with the artist on 1989's acclaimed Oh Mercy, and is also known for his production work with U2 and Peter Gabriel.
According to Lanois, "The record has the kind of depth of field that hasn't been heard in a long time; foreground information and background information. It's a most serious work, but not without its landscapes of underlying humor."
According to Dylan, "Working with Daniel has always been a pleasure. It seems like we've always had some kind of understanding. We talked about these songs and how they should sound long before we recorded them. As for listeners, some people, when it comes to me, extrapolate only the lyrics from the music. But in this case, the music itself has just as far reaching effect, and it was meant to be that way. It's definitely a performance record instead of a poetic literary type of thing. You can feel it rather than think about it."
At this time, the track list includes "Love Sick," "Dirt Road Blues," "Standing In The Doorway," "Million Miles," "Tryin' To Get To Heaven," "'Til I Fell In Love With You," "Not Dark Yet," "Cold Irons Bound," "Make You Feel My Love," "Can't Wait," and "Highlands."
Joining Bob Dylan on the album are several legendary musicians, including Memphis pianist Jim Dickinson, whose credits include sessions with Ry Cooder, Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones. Dickinson, whom Dylan calls "a kindred spirit," recently told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that while numerous songs were recorded during the sessions, it's unclear which of them will appear on the album. "Some of it was so good, I can't imagine he won't use it," Dickinson said.
Playing Farfisa organ and accordion on the record is Augie Myers, who's best known for his work with Texas rocker Doug Sahm in the Sir Douglas Quintet and continues with Sahm in the Texas Tornadoes. Dylan has known Myers since 1965, when "Like A Rolling Stone" and the Sir Douglas Quintet's "She's About A Mover" were bastions of American music on the Top Forty charts during the British Invasion. Cindy Cashdollar, who has played with Asleep At The Wheel and the John Herald Band, plays steel guitar on the album. Duke Robillard, known for his work with Roomful of Blues and The Fabulous Thunderbirds, plays electric guitar.
Subject: Daily Dish - 10/01
From: Bill Parr