I had been looking forward to the documentary on PBS about Bob Dylan for over a month; I even had it marked on my calendar. I watched and taped it last night and tonight there will be second part! I'm so excited!
Some great lines from the first half:
Dylan was taking about a certain old timer singer/songwriter in one of the cafes getting really drunk one night and saying to him, "Remember, stay away from fear, envy, and don't be mean." Dylan said he thought that was good advice.
Joan Biaz was talking about reading one of his songs and how she never understood what they were about, so she sat down with it and tried to write out what she though all the lines were saying. When she gave it to him he laughed and said, "It doesn't mean anything! Years from now all these ass****s are going to try to figure this shit out and make stuff up about what this means and think they know but they don't F***ing know!"
Dylan stole about twenty records from someone back in Minnesota where he was enrolled in university (never went to classes though). When the guy found him he talked his way out of getting beat up. (These were records by the great folk artists of our time which Dylan said were as hard to come by as hen's teeth.) He explained the theft by saying he was at that time on a "musical expedition."
About his early song writing, Dylan says he wrote the songs because he needed to sing them. In other words he needed to sing a certain kind of song, and since these songs didn't exist yet he had to write them.
My opinion: I've often though about him as a great song writer first, since so many of his songs went on to become hits by other artists. But I see now that he was a performer of the highest rate. The clips from his performances proved that to me. Here is my favorite comment by Dylan about the days of singing in coffee houses, "There were plenty of good singers there, many of them were talented and could sing, but I could see that they didn't know how to get inside the people's head, they didn't reach them. You have to be able to reach at least one person while you are up there."
i heard the last album he made is only on sale at Starbucks...did they mention that at all? how very contradictory that is to all i think of when i think of him.
WHAT WOULD XENA DO?
are you sitting on the soap?
sometimes, you just have to say 'what the f...'
Yes that is true. It was timed to coincide with the airing of the documentary. See below from abcnews.com :
SEATTLE Jun 28, 2005 — Bob Dylan made his mark playing in one cafe. Soon, he'll be in thousands. Starbucks Coffee Co. has reached a deal to produce and exclusively release a CD of 10 Dylan recordings from New York's Gaslight Cafe in 1962, when he was just finding himself as a songwriter. The Gaslight, in Greenwich Village, was a focal point of the folk revival in the early '60s.
"Bob Dylan: Live at the Gaslight 1962" will be available at Starbucks stores in the United States and Canada on Aug. 30. It includes the earliest known recordings of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," as well as folk standards "Barbara Allen" and "The Cuckoo."
Fans have circulated bootlegs of Dylan's Gaslight performances over the years, but these are the first to be professionally produced and remastered, Starbucks said Tuesday.
The CD's release will coincide with the release of director Martin Scorsese's feature-length film about Dylan, "No Direction Home." Starbucks will also sell the two-CD soundtrack for the movie, though the soundtrack will be available through other stores.
This story form telegraph.co.uk adds:
The finances of the contract are being kept secret, but with the success last year of his television commercial for Victoria's Secret, in which he appeared with the half-clad model Adriana Lima, Starbucks is reportedly paying him several million dollars.
Die-hard Dylanologists remain puzzled as to why their hero, already fabulously wealthy, still needs to cut commercial deals.
But the singer, who played Maggie's Farm on electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival to cries of "heresy", obviously relishes the idea of upsetting purists.
He remains one of rock's most astute businessmen, and once charged critics £100 to watch his 25th anniversary gig at Madison Square Garden in New York.
While the Canadian singer Neil Young famously recorded: "Ain't singing for Pepsi, ain't singing for Coke, I don't sing for nobody, makes me look a joke", Dylan was allowing The Times They Are A-Changin' to be used in an advertisement for the Bank of Montreal.
Now, in an encroachment on the turf of traditional music retailers, he is allowing Starbucks to sell, along with the lattes and frappuccinos, Bob Dylan: Live at the Gaslight 1962.
The 10 tracks are taken from three Dylan performances at the Gaslight Club. They include the earliest surviving recordings of A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall and Don't Think Twice It's Alright, along with a third original song, John Brown, together with his versions of traditional ditties such as The Cuckoo and Barbara Allen.
A limited number of bootlegs circulated.
Now, Sony BMG has re-mastered the recordings.
Ken Lombard, an executive of Starbucks, which has the rights to sell the CD for 18 months, said: "We're focusing on providing our customers with unique opportunities.
"We want the music customer to think of Starbucks as a destination.
"This album offers a unique perspective on Dylan when he was an emerging artist.
"It also captures an important moment in the history of the coffee house culture."
IMO-In the current climate of the recording industry I think this sale was a good move for Dylan as an artist and as a performer. I can't really see any down side here. Bootleg recordings are now available to buy. If you go to starbucks or walmart, what does it really matter?
Dylan's been pushin' his back catalogue a lot in the last decade. While before that it was recording old blues & folkie tunes. i dunno, Dylan being big on the corporation party circuit gives me the creeps, same as his Victoria's Secret commercial.
Supposedly, he's had writers block since the late 80s-early 90s. Gee, i woulda thought Dubya, Iraq, ever growing corporate greed (ie wal-mart), 9/11, etc would help boost his songwriting. Seems the time's ripe for that kinda folkie protest think-about-it music again. Though Steve Earle's doing a pretty good job at out-Dylan Dylan these days.
wal-mart continues to dictate what's on the cover of cd's it sells as well as lyrical content of the songs therein. So much for artistic freedom. Oh wait a minute, isn't wal-mart's biggest supplier mainland China?
The current climate of the mainstream, big corporation recording industry is a disgrace. But thankies for the independendent labels who keep the good new music comin' and most likely not sold in Starbucks or wal-mart.
XC- I'd be interested to hear more on your take of the music industry and how they are going to survive the current climate. Are the smaller labels the best way to go for new artists and will they get enough exposure to survive? The whole artist-producer-customer train seems to have derailed if all we are getting is CD's that look good on the outside so walmart can sell them.
On the Dylan question, I don't have a problem with great artists winding down in later years. I think it's only natural. But even when they loose some of their original punch they still can come up with work that tops what's out there. It's a question of taste with people like Dylan or Neil Young. They have always evolved and needed to say new things in different ways. If your a fan you get it, if your not you don't, I guess.
OOooooh i have to think for a change! The mainstream, major label record companies are gonna do what they always do- be greedy. I don't know how much of a loss of profit from one year to the next it would take before they lowered the price of cd's. Universal was supposed to lower their prices but never did. It's the greed and nothing but the greed. The majors deny it. They blame downloaders, they blame ppl who buy & sell used records, they blame cheaper internet record sites- but they never blame themselves for overcharging for the cd's after they nailed the coffin lid on vinyl albums.
i don't know how well dual-discs are selling, but i see more & more of them in stores. There's always talk of new formats to market music. Whether a new format (ie mini-disc) works or fails, the majors can still ship out a whole bunch return-free to poor distributors who seem to have little chance anymore of fighting back.
Indie labels rule. Good labels who are also great distributors rule better (ie Bomp, Not Lame). Sites like cdbaby.com are also a marketing world & communciation center for new bands. The guy who runs JAM records told me a major label was inquiring about purchasing the contract on his stable of artists & their back catalogue. But he declined, he told me the deal looked good on paper but he felt that the label's intentions for the artists wouldn't be in their best interests in the long run. This label is a better liked major label (Sire). Sire is who the legendary fabulous brillant Uncle Tupelo signed with and after just one record on Sire, the label's pressures on the band led to their breakup, but not before they recorded a song about Sire- "We've Been Had". Indeed they were had!
i'd also forget about wal-mart, k-mart, Target et al for buying good indie music. They won't carry it, maybe special order it (maybe not), but i'd look online or in local non-chain cd shoppes (unless the bands offer downloads, which i believe ppl should pay for, musicians gotta eat, especially indie musicians). Besides denying some artists their artistic freedom, wal-mart lives to drive local record shoppes out of business. So if they do that, who's gonna sell the great indie music in various towns?
i am a fan of Dylan. His "Blood on the Tracks" is still my favorite album of all time. I can see where, if he's having a difficult time coming up with new material, that he'd push the back catalogue & write his memoirs. i don't expect him to release a full length cd that matches anything he did in the '60s. That's not to say that one great song about these times that are & have been a-changing wouldn't be most welcome. That is, if he's still on the same political wavelength he used to be on.
Dylan seems more about cashing in these days which i find sad. Performing concert parties for big corporations, i mean really, that sucks. That and the commercials & only-at-Starbucks cd thing. Oh well, he's served his time and i guess if money is what matters nowadays to him, then thanks for the memories, Bob, but that's only going to get him mentioned in the same breath as that old timey moneybags, Sir Paul McCartney.
Price! Price! You know, after I wrote that question to you, that was what came into my head, if only the prices of cd's wasn't so high we could all buy them, like we used to do with vinyl. When I bought my cd player I expected that I would build a great collection of cd's like I did with albums. But that never happened, the $15-25 price tag pushed me away from buying music and I really never came back. I guess someone who was making a bit more money than I was would have absorbed these costs, but my income at the time just couldn't. And I guess kids that have never known anything else will pay these prices for the music they want. So this is probably never going to change. Only the option of $1 per song is available, and that doesn't lend itself to b-side music, which is sometimes the heart and soul of great artists.
Inde Labels- So you're saying these guys might just save the industry by making non-mainstream music available, if they survive themselves. We haven't yet seen what the experiment of walmartizing whole segments of the economy is going to do. The internet is so important in mitigating the walmart effect, since it can conceivably bring consumers and producers together. I saved your suggested web site to my list. Is there anything else you can suggest? I would love to find web based music that I can try out and also buy.
On Dylan- I really was saddened by the second half of that movie. He was so far ahead of his time; the people, the equipment, and even the theatres couldn't handle what he was offering. I had to laugh at myself because I know if I had been there I wouldn't have gottin it either.
I think what the whole story was saying is that we (as individuals or as groups) try to put labels on things so we can understand them, and that's fine, but it doesn't really make sense to label the person bringing the insights to us in the same way. The folk music people were only the first group to feel betrayed by what he was doing; rock followed when he began to sing about spirituality, and with his latest move to sing for ladies lingerie, and sell music in starbucks, music fans of all kinds are crying foul.
But what is he really doing here? He is taking our feelings of self-importance and turning them upside-down. He took the "folks" out of folk music and said, look inside yourself, you are also a hypocrite, you are also capable of great harm, beware of feeling too important. When he wrote spiritual songs the rock world reeled because they are about pointing out the problems, not finding answers. Now, many are calling this latest move purely motivated by money, but do they know if he actually cares about the money? Maybe he just cares about the exposure, maybe he just wants to reach us where we live because honestly, who in the world doesn't like lingerie and a good cup of coffee!!!
What I see in him is an artist first. And an artist lives to touch people. But an artist has to have people to touch. What I saw in his eyes, as I watched the interviews with him, was an artist who was just looking for ways to do that all his life.
i think the majors will stay the majors as they always find ways to retain the status quo. These guys aren't going to give up. Indie labels & communities are nice, but there's no one leader tying it altogather. I've heard artists & music journalists come up with great music industry reform ideas, but what brave soul is going to launch the war against Universal, Sony and the rest? The cdbaby attitude may change some things years from now (like artist contracts) but by then who knows if the cd will still be around or even downloading.
CD Street at http://www.backstagecommerce.com is another indie artist site, i'm not sure if they have much of an artist community there, like cdbaby does. I finally talked the guy from JAM records into selling at cdbaby, and he's making a profit. I've sent a few surf instrumental bands there and have noticed that they have brought bands they tour with into the cdbaby fold. Yay me!
I would suggest finding what you like through cdbaby, checking out that artist's website (they almost always promote the artist's sites) and check the links page on the artist's site. This can lead you everywhere.
Bomp Records- more of my heroes/heroines. It's run now by Suzy Shaw, whose late great husband, Greg, was a saviour of the garage/punk scene & whose influence runs wide- there might not have been any White Stripes among many other garage/punk bands without his influence. Bomp may not sell what you like but their links page can lead to a variety of great stuff. This is more the fringe of rock than mainstream or indie, but it's so good that i can't pass praising Bomp and all they do. http://www.bomp.com/bompsite/Links.html
Hope you find some good stuff online. I always do!
This I love. When you go the web pages you can find great stuff. Thanks for the links.
Sounds like you doing a good thing where you can. Good going.
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