Monday, September 01, 2008

Episode Nine: Final Podcast (Dylan Night '91)

OK, it takes me a while, but I do eventually get the things done that I say I will. Here is the promised second podcast of Bob Dylan material. This one is all taken from our show in 1991, and I'd honestly forgotten how fine that gig was. The sound is pretty good, too. Thanks again to Mike Rae for documenting the evening's activities. It's a beefy helping of Dylanesque goodness, so stand back, hit that "download" button and crank it up. It's almost 50 minutes long, so be patient... Here's the list, followed by the link:

From a Buick Six
Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie
Queen Jane, Approximately
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (with Rick Petrie)
Golden Loom (with Bernie and Carol Heveron)
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (with Michael Hurley)
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (with Brian Horton)
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (with Geoff Wilson)
Knockin' On Heaven's Door (with Stan "The Man" Merrill and Chas Lockwood)
Please Crawl Out Your Window

There are several things to comment on, but I'll try to keep it brief. Many standout performances happened that night, of which I'm only posting a fraction. I had some serious damage on one of the tapes (Florida's humidity wreaked havoc on a lot of my stuff, including this cassette) and so some sizzling material was rendered unfit for broadcast. Despite that, the band members (abetted by their guests) were in great form on this night. A few songs merit some explication:

Yes, I know I put "From a Buick Six" on the last podcast, and in a nearly identical arrangement, but this version was too good to cut. Phil's solos are fantastic, and it was nice to hear it again with Joe's trombone.

I did have to edit a sharp and unsubtle fadeout on "Golden Loom," at the point where the havoc-wreaked tape trouble started, but I couldn't bring myself to omit it. I'm unaccountably proud of Joe's and my little duet at the end, and it's a lovely song...

Rick Petrie's radical funk re-interpretation of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" was a standout that night, and I wish that more of our guests had gone for broke the way Rick did here. And had the security to veer sharply away from the standard "authentic" interpretation. I'll personally never be able to listen to the original again...

"Rainy Day Women" is a deliriously loose version, with Michael Hurley adding hilarious new lyrical twists to the end of the refrain each time it comes back. That glorious, manic sloppiness you hear is due in part to the fact that Michael often didn't change chords at the expected moments. He also had a somewhat different take on the rhythm and inflection of the lyrics than we had. I seem to recall all of us watching his hands on his electric piano (which is very low in the mix) for clues as to when he would move to the next chord. By the third verse we were a bit more together. Also, for this performance we had no rehearsal with the guest (as if you couldn't tell...)

Brian Horton was a fine guitarist and songwriter from Rochester who helmed a fantastic band called Buffalo Road for a few years in the early 90s. I went to hear them often. Brian died in 1995. The band released a truly great cd after Brian's death, entitled 'Through the Sun,' which remains one of my favorite discs of all time.

I really like this version of You Ain't Goin' Nowhere. I wish I could remember who the background singers were but I can't. I am pretty sure that Peggy Fournier and Carol Heveron might be they; maybe Phil remembers.

As indicated in the title, this will be my last podcast. Maybe not forever, but certainly for the present. And I think that I've gathered what I feel is the finest material in my personal archives. Other stuff may surface, but this is what I've got for now. I've enjoyed doing these, and hope that they've had some resonance with listeners. My intent has been to offer some perspective on the band's work that I felt was insufficiently represented on our commercial recordings, and show a side of us that wasn't readily apparent to our European fans. CbJE was primarily a live band, and so I've emphasized live recordings. Most long-time fans thought we sounded 'way better live than on recordings. I'd agree with that sentiment, at least for the most part. If I didn't include your own favorite songs here, I am sorry, but there's a whole lot of 'em, and I have did my best. I also have been careful to only present material where I was present in its making. Lots of great things happened before I joined the group and continued to happen long after I left, but I felt it important to only deal with the stuff that I was witness to. It's a rather narrow slice of CbJE history, but a rich one. Thanks for listening.