|06-03-2009, 09:14 AM||#101 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2008
The Human Beinz - Nobody But Me
1 Nobody But Me
2 Foxey Lady
3 The Shamen
4 Flower Grave
5 Dance on Through
6 Turn on Your Light
7 It's Fun to Be Clean
8 Black Is the True Colour of My True Love's Hair
9 This Lonely Town
11 Serenade to Sarah
Hailing from Youngstown, The Human Beingz (formerly known as The Premiers) were an Ohio four piece established in 1964. After releasing a couple of singles on minor labels in the area throughout 1966, they quickly earned a reputation locally for some excellent onstage performances, so much so that they caught the attentions of major label Capitol, who indeed signed them up in 1967. In September of 1967, the band due to a contract error dropped the “G” from their name, and released their national debut 45; The Isley Brothers’ song Nobody But Me by The Human Beinz even now remains a significant release, arguably bigger than the band itself, reaching number 8 in the US.
Following the success of this release, an album of the same name was sanctioned and recorded. Despite being on cloud nine after the success of the single, Nobody But Me the LP by The Human Beinz has to this day remained overshadowed by the title track, but in my opinion the album has a few more gems lurking beneath the surface which makes the album as a whole certainly well worth a look.
Let us start at the beginning, the title track has become somewhat of a monster, a smash hit back in 1968, revived on the Nuggets reissue of 98, and in modern times making celebrated appearances in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. To be fair it is as close to Garage perfection that you can get, from the opening dose of controlled feedback, right through to the catchiness and the foot tappiness of the whole thing, all things considered this is probably the one song from Nuggets which has reached the furthest with the general public.
With the mightiness of the opener, it is understandably difficult to match this opening achievement, but there are other moments of goodness on offer with this LP. Track 4 is a very understated but brilliant song; Flower Grave goes in a different direction from the opening track, it is closer placed to Psychedelia than it is to Garage. That said the fifth song on this LP, Dance on Through, is a lovely and thoughtful song, sounding a lot closer to Garage counterparts The Standells or The Seeds, but with a touch more sensitivity, certainly one for doting couples.
More Garage doses occur with track six; Turn On Your Light was actually The Human Beinz second single with Capitol. It is safe to say that this release was a slight disappointment, not quite reaching the heights of the previous release. It was however a surprising hit in Japan, a country who remain rather fond of this group. The album ends with a bit of Baroque n Roll with the gorgeous Serenade to Sarah, which borders on Scott Walker meets Sopwith Camel, not too bad a mix in all honesty.
What The Human Beinz were looking for with this release was a variety of sounds, not completely breaking away from the formula that gave them their mega hit record, but at the same time making the effort to try and create a marvellous and diverse collection of songs, something which I reckon they have indeed achieved here. Rightfully a must for collectors, I think this album should be looked at again with a clearer mind now the dust has nearly settled from their debut 45 from 1967, a quite surprising record.
Last edited by TheCellarTapes; 06-04-2009 at 04:32 AM.
|06-10-2009, 04:20 AM||#102 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2008
Pencil this into your musical diaries gang
Thursday 2nd July
Retro Bar, Manchester
Yes Dear Friends,
For one night only, Doktor Mandrake will be reforming for an evening of marvellous musical endeavour.
On The Bill
The DN5 on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads
Mr International & The Getaway Gang
Mr International and The Getaway Gang on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads
And of course Doktor Mandrake
Doktor Mandrake on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads
There will also be DJ sets from yours truly, playing belting sixties Garage Punk, Psyche and R&B goodness, as well as Amigo Phil, co-organiser of the wonderful homage punk festival, Strummercamp.
Host for the Evening will be Marv (of Ben and Marv fame)
This quite possibly could be a good evening.
|06-11-2009, 08:42 AM||#103 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2008
The Idle Race - The Birthday Party
1 Skeleton and the Roundabout 2:16
2 Happy Birthday 3:16
3 Birthday 2:09
4 I Like My Toys 1:45
5 Morning Sunshine 2:45
6 Follow Me, Follow 2:45
7 Sitting in My Tree 2:50
8 On With the Show 2:20
9 Lucky Man Lynne 2:35
10 Mrs. Ward 2:10
11 Pie in the Sky 2:23
12 The Lady Who Said She Could Fly 2:17
13 End of the Road 2:05
It has often been said on The Cellar Tapes radio show that when it came to the music scenes of the 1960ís, the talent coming from the Birmingham area of Great Britain was something quite remarkable, easily competing with the scenes of Liverpool and London if not more so. One such band who added to this wonderful Birmingham scene were The Idle Race; formed from the ashes of The Nightriders, as with most Birmingham bands, the personnel of the group altered a number of times in the mid sixties until they settled with a line-up headed by Jeff Lynne.
Signed to Liberty in 1967, The Idle Race released their first single in the UK in the October of that year; The Impostors of Lifeís Magazine/ Sitting In My Tree was rightfully very well received by musical critics but unfortunately suffered from low record sales. Despite this initial setback, Liberty stayed strong and yet more singles by The Idle Race emerged throughout 1968, right up to the debut LP release, and what a marvellous debut it was.
The Birthday Party by The Idle Race was released in October 1968 on Liberty; this is yet another fine example of the standard of Psychedelia being produced from Britain during the 67/68 wonder years, quite easily up there with the some of the best albums of the period as well, yet like with so many other masterpieces, it remains to this day overlooked. It was recorded at the Advision Studios in London, 13 tracks in all including the initial singles as well as some brilliant new stuff, at just over 30 minutes it is most definitely a must have.
The album begins with the bands second UK single; The Skeleton & The Roundabout, not totally what this album is about but certainly a good place to start, it is such a fabulously jolly and upbeat piece of Psychedelia, you as the listener will instantly fall in love with The Idle Race after one listen of this opening track, I have no doubt.
In contrast, the third track on this LP is a lot more moody but yet remains an absolute corker; The Birthday starts with a bit of brass and is followed with some sorrowful vocals from Lynne in a classic 1920ís gramophone style. The mood of this song from there on in remains downbeat, but throughout remains gorgeous. Another pretty and moody song is Morning Sunshine, a song which I am very fond of at the moment, and the gramophone style continues on the brilliant anti war song, the cracking Mrs Ward.
Normal service resumes with I Like My Toys, with The Idle Race serving up some marvellous Toy Town Pyschedelia, this song is about a 30 year old man who is obsessed with toys and certainly has a hint of The Teenage Opera about it. More Pop efforts arrive with Sitting In My Tree and not forgetting the best upbeat song on the album, Lucky Man; the tale of a man who has many negative things occur to him in one day, an ambitious and amusing song, its written and produced wonderfully resulting in a very addictive gem.
So all in all a fine debut, stunningly creative and quirky, this is one of the best examples of Psychedelic Pop you could ever want to own, as well as having some beautiful numbers rolled in, combining brilliantly inventive song writing with excellent production, its an album that you cannot go wrong with. As for The Idle Race, well two more strong albums would follow this excellent debut and of course you already know about Jeff Lynne.....
Reviewing aside, seriously, buy this!
|06-15-2009, 10:04 AM||#104 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2008
The Kinks - The Kink Kontroversy
1 Milk Cow Blues 3:44
2 Ring the Bells 2:21
3 Gotta Get the First Plane Home 1:49
4 When I See That Girl of Mine 2:12
5 I Am Free 2:32
6 Till the End of the Day 2:21
7 The World Keeps Going Round 2:36
8 I'm on an Island 2:19
9 Where Have All the Good Times Gone 2:53
10 It's Too Late 2:37
11 What's in Store for Me 2:06
12 You Can't Win 2:42
In late October 1965, The Kinks went back into the studio on the back of ever increasing infamy due to continuing onstage feuding between siblings, riots in auditoriums at Kink shows and of course the well documented issues with the border authorities of the United States, so to call their latest release The Kink Kontroversy was amusing but also putting the band’s issues mildly. Produced by the ever present and approaching godlike genius, Shel Talmy, the album was the beginning of a six year golden period for The Kinks but at the same time marked the end of an era.
The Kink Kontroversy was released in November 1965 on Reprise/Pye, it was really the last of the hard edged R&B albums that The Kinks produced, ultimately marking the end of Dave Davies’ influence over the group, tipping the balance over in favour of Brother Ray. But here with this LP the razor sharp guitar style of Dave is still in place, nowhere more so than on the opening track, a thumping version of Sleepy John Estes’ Milk Cow Blues, marvellously gritty and brutal, this is a fine opener with the brothers Davies sharing vocal duties.
But by track two, the more retrospective side of The Kinks begins to emerge from the savagery of the opener, Ring The Bells is a gorgeous little song, the same can be said of track five also, I Am Free is a beautiful song with both brothers using lovely Kink styled harmonies to give a wonderful depth and feeling to this number.
Track six is one of the singles recorded during 1965, Till The End of The Day has one of those Dave Davies thunder chords which littered all the hits for The Kinks during their early years, a marvellous song which delivers what you would expect it to effortlessly. The B-Side to this single can also be found on this LP, Where Have All The Good Times Gone is just fabulous, seriously. Not a single but certainly sharing similar values to these two songs is What’s In Store For Me with Dave on vocal duties, adding to the wealth of quality to be had on this LP.
My favourite song on this album has to be track number ten, Its Too Late is a relatively simple song, but has all the elements that made The Kinks the band they were, bitchy and resentful lyrics, a glorious progressive guitar, a reserved rhythm section and a cheeky piano bit, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, man I love this band!
Like with all the great Kink albums, this has been reissued in recent years to include other memorable moments from the year of its initial release, and 1965 was a good year for The Kinks, especially with the creation of cracking songs like Sittin’ On My Sofa and of course the tremendous Dedicated Follower of Fashion.
True to form, with all Kink albums from 1965 to 1971, this release is a little Bobby Dazzler, a stunning creation with limited if any flaws. With The Kink Kontroversy we have the backdrop of a band struggling with itself and with the authorities, going into the studio and coming out the other side with an album which shows a band on the up and freeing up room for itself so it can prosper and develop further in later years.
This moment was where it all began.
Last edited by TheCellarTapes; 06-17-2009 at 07:58 AM.
|06-16-2009, 08:40 AM||#105 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2008
Following a rather lengthy quiet spell on this journal, I figured I would give you something to chew over.
The Beatles - Sgt. Pepperís Lonely Heartís Club Band
1 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 2:02
2 With a Little Help from My Friends 2:44
3 Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds 3:28
4 Getting Better 2:47
5 Fixing a Hole 2:36
6 She's Leaving Home 3:35
7 Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! 2:37
8 Within You Without You 5:05
9 When I'm Sixty-Four 2:37
10 Lovely Rita 2:42
11 Good Morning Good Morning 2:41
12 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) 1:18
13 A Day in the Life 5:33
After writing these Cellar Tape reviews for a while now, I figured it was about time I confronted and addressed thee album, thee album which to many stands out as the greatest album ever produced, ever recorded, ever listened to, ever held in both hands, ever looked at, ever glanced at or even quite possibly ever to have been heard whispered by an elderly relative, I am of course referring to Sgt Pepper. Judging by my opening gambit, itís obvious that I am trying my damnedest to dislike this album, itís not cool to like Sgt Pepper, youíre Grandmother likes Sgt Pepper, hell everyone does, but it truly is impossible to knock this album, after all it has its Godlike status for a reason.
Sgt. Pepperís Lonely Heartís Club Band by The Beatles, was the eighth studio album for the band and was released on June 1st 1967 on Parlophone, just in time for that Summer of Love thing. Now retired from touring and basking in the glory of the previous master class Revolver, The Beatles really took a huge stride forward here, using the vast amount of free time to become an exclusively studio band down at Abbey Road with Producer George Martin helping to create something quite special, an album that in a sense would sell the band without the need for touring.
A lot has been said by academics and the like, that Sgt Pepper was perhaps the first ever concept album. It is true that the album was meant to be about the alter egos of the band themselves, thus the change of appearance for the band from the old mop tops to the uniformed moustache look, so yes from its beginnings by definition there was a concept behind this album, but on closer listen, other then the start and the reprise, there is not really a story to be told here using music. That said it does all help; due to its attempts to have a concept behind it, there is no doubting the iconicity of the front cover, perhaps the most recognised piece of musical artwork ever created.
Side One of this remarkable album begins with the title track, the now definition on how to begin an album, the mutterings of an audience, the fine tuning of an orchestra and pow! Weíre off and running with the best introduction to an alter egoíd band you could ever ask for. This then leads into the song sung by Billy Shears or Ringo as he was once known. A Lennon/McCartney composition, this song for a long time passed me by on this album, heavily over shadowed by the other feasts to be had on this record, in retrospect, it is a belting little number, rather desparate in vibe, a song that could only be performed by Mr Starkey.
Now for the controversy, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds is not about a drug endused dream that Lennon had once, he had categorically denied that right up to his death in 1980, listening to the man I have concluded that this song is nothing more than a fabulous piece of Psychedelia. Getting Better follows, a song which stands out on this album and breaks away from the overall feel of the record, not that that is a criticism, it often goes into my list for the top ten Beatle songs of all time.
An unsual song for The Beatles occurs on track six; Sheís Leaving Home follows on from Eleanor Rigby from Revolver, in that it is a purely orchestral piece with vocals included. There is some gorgeous harmonies going on here with Lennon, quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs ever conceived, truly lovely. Side One ends with Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite! What can you say? I think Iíll just stop at stunning!
Side two begins with the only Harrison composition on the album, I feel Within Without You is not an exceptional song but was certainly an important one, clearly this song is not about producing an accessible song for the wider public, but was instead an exercise in seeing what was possible with all instruments available, still one of the only songs from the album that has a hint of exploration about it.
Following this is When Iím Sixty Four, a harmless song which does give me mixed emotions, I am not overly keen on the song but feel that the album would not be the album it was without its inclusion. In contrast Lovely Rita I personally think is a cracking song, no danger of this song ever slipping out of my favourite songs from the 67/68 period of British music. The album ends with the Reprise of the opening closely followed by the ultimate and landmark Beatles song, call it an accident or even just a mere merging of two songs lying around, but for me A day In The Life is just the ultimate closing song, eerie and brilliant.
The music for me is exceptional, and this was just as much to do with George Martin and his team at EMI as it was to do with The Beatles. With time to burn, it really was a match made in heaven, the classical background and resourcefulness of Martin and his team at Abbey Road, combined with the old art school brain of The Beatles, meant that any idea could be explored and implemented to the full. Gone were the old Beat blueprints for music, gone was the 12 bar, and certainly gone was the rule book; Please Please Me was about following Little Richard and Elvisí Lead, Rubber Soul was about following Dylanís lead, with Sgt Pepper The Beatles had Become the trailblazers.
One more thing that was truly revolutionary about this album was the recording techniques involved, for my sins I am not an engineer or for that matter have the faintest idea about recording methods, but I know one thing, in 1967 there were restrictions in the studio, particularly in a British studio still using the old 4-Track ways, restrictions that only the resourceful and talented could overcome to produce something as wonderful as this album. It really is to EMI and The Beatles credit that this album sounds so remarkably fresh and crisp, in no way shape or form showing any signs of dating in the slightest in our digital world.
So in closing this long read, I want to loath this album for it popularity, but how can anyone dislike anything on this record, itís as close to perfection that anyone can hope for. Unlike so many others, I am going to stop short at labelling this as the greatest album ever released, but itís up there, Iíll grant it that, but there is certainly no doubt about this records importance in the world, a must.
|06-17-2009, 09:56 AM||#107 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2008
The Kinks - Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
1 Victoria 3:40
2 Yes Sir, No Sir 3:46
3 Some Mother's Son 3:25
4 Drivin' 3:21
5 Brainwashed 2:34
6 Australia 6:46
7 Shangri-La 5:20
8 Mr. Churchill Says 4:42
9 She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina 3:07
10 Young and Innocent Days 3:21
11 Nothing to Say 3:08
12 Arthur 5:27
By 1969 there were not many lives left for The Kinks, despite piles of critical acclaim for their previous release; The Village Green Preservation Society was sadly a commercial disaster in 1968, similary the life boat single of Plastic Man also fell far short of record label expectations and to make matters worse, the peace envoy for the two feuding brothers, childhood friend and founder band member, bassist Peter Quaife, had decided to call it a day with the band. As backdrops go, the preparation for The Kinksí 1969 outing were not ideal, but instead of playing it say and trying to consolidate the bandís position, some could say fighting for the bands very existence infact, Ray Davies typically came up with an outlandish and ambitious project for the release instead, the stakes could not have been greater.
Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) released in October 1969 on Reprise/Pye, was not your typical album, it was actually destined to be so much more than that. On its own, this album is a full on concept, telling the story of Arthur and his struggles in Post Empire Britain. But this album was not just that, this album actually was set to be the perfect accompaniment to a film or TV feature, in fact so close was this to happening that a production team had already been assembled to make the film happen. For whatever reason this plan never came off, ultimately ensuring the album never scaled the heights of Tommy by The Who from the same year.
As with their masterpiece from 1968, Arthur was written and produced by Ray Davies, and like with the release from the previous year, it was warmly received by critics and heralded as a masterpiece in its own right, thanks in no way shape or form to the unbelievable amount of quality material recorded by The Kinks in Pye Studios in 1969.
The album begins with Mark E Smith favourite, Victoria, a song which marked a return to form for The Kinks, not that their form had really gone away; a single from the album it still failed to set the world alight, but all the same it is marvellously upbeat and Kinkish, this is perhaps the only time during this LP that Davies is in any mood for playing it safe. In contrast the follow up is much more in line with values of Arthur, Yes Sir, No Sir is split into three parts, maybe even four, a marked departure from anything that The Kinks had produced before, even taking into account The Village Green Preservation Society.
Track 3 is the anti war song Some Motherís Son, I think itís a given that Ray Daviesí take on any issue is not your typical one, anyone else would write of peace like it was some kind of buzz word going out of fashion and thus is rather tiresome, here Davies tackles the subject of war through the eyes of mothers waiting for their children to come home from school, a truly Ray Davies twist on a tricky, and easily overblown subject. This quaint way of writing is also apparent for Driviní, track number four, a song basically about ignoring all the issues of the Cold War and astronomical income tax rates by simply driving a loved one away for a picnic in the country, what a beautiful idea. The song itself is actually rather good, with an excellent role for a demented sounding piano.
In the middle of the album are two exceptionally long songs, nearly as long as The Kinksí new love for long album titles. Joking aside, the ambition of The Kinks for this concept album can be found in all its glory with Australia and Shangri-La. Starting with Australia, at nearly seven minutes I think this could be the longest song that The Kinks did during the 1960ís, but it honestly doesnít feel that long, it goes from a jolly homage vibe to all things Australia right through to a splendid instrumental at the end, Rolf Harris style saw playing included.
There is however no doubting the crowning moment on this album; in Shangri-La we have the best Kinks song of any album let alone this one, even perhaps one of the best songs ever written. I could never do this song justice with words but weíll give it a go, it basically goes from a beautiful ballad type affair with horns to a much heavier number, building and building to a dazzling crescendo. Thatís just the music however, the lyrics of this song are just sheer brilliance, cutting and bittersweet, but you really should not take my word for the gloriousness of it, just give this song in particular a listen, my word, what a song!
Other brilliant songs include the fabulous Sheís Bought a Hat like Princess Marina and the closing rouser, Arthur. As always, this album has been reissued to include some of the other crowning moments from The Kinks from 1969, including the single meant to save The Kinks, Plastic Man and the tremendous B-Side to that single, King Kong.
Born under the darkest and heaviest cloud possible, Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) probably did not hit the mark expected by the record label. Like the 68 release, it was however met with the warmth and joy from the critics, most noticeably in this case from America. Sure in 1969 the band had lost a vital member, sure there was no hit single in sight, and certainly the film idea for the album fell through at the last minute, but 1969 ended with that illusive tour of America and lets not forget, the band had just produced the grandest of all musical projects and came out the other side in tact and in glory. They would live to fight another day after this releases, a definite equal to The Village Green Preservation Society.
|07-12-2009, 09:41 AM||#109 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2008
Various Artists - Joe Meek Freak Beat: You're Holding Me Down
1. You're Holding Me Down - The Buzz
2. Come On Back - Paul & Ritchie/ The Cryin' Shames
3. Baby I Go For You - The Blue Rondos
4. Crawdaddy Simone - The Syndicats
5. She Comforts My Sorrow - The Bystanders
6. Love Gone Again - Birds Of Prey
7. Little Baby - The Blue Rondos
8. I Love To See You Strut - David John & The Mood
9. What'cha Gonna Do Baby - Jason Eddie & The Centremen
10. It Ain't Right - The Saxons
11. Let Me In - The Cryin' Shames
12. I Take It That We're Through - The Riot Squad
13. Diggin' For Gold - David John & The Mood
14. Summer Without Sun - Charles Kingsley Creation
15. Walking On Ice - The Riot Squad
16. Big Fat Spider - Heinz & The Wild Boys
17. Come On Baby - Jason Eddie & The Centremen
18. What's News Pussycat - The Crying Shames
19. What Can I Do - The Blue Rondos
20. City Lights - Birds Of Prey
21. No More You And Me - The Tornados
22. Too Far Out - Impac
23. Shake With Me - The Puppets
24. Leave My Kitten Alone - The Syndicats
25. Bluebirds Over The Mountain - Shade Joey & The Night Owls
26. Bring It To Jerome - David John & The Mood
27. I Gotta Buzz - The Buzz
28. I Don't Love Her No More - The Hotrods
29. I'm Not A Bad Guy - Heinz & The Wild Boys
30. Singing The Blues - Jason Eddie & The Centremen
Joe Meek was the quiet yet brilliant Englishman whose attempts to innovate music led to the creation of a whole new genre known as "Freakbeat", this in the same year in which fellow innovators, The Beatles, were merely releasing A Hard Days Night. The term ďFreakbeatĒ was christened on the music in later year after Meekís death, so there was no movement as such, but there was a driving force behind this form of rock n roll, that force was Joe Meek, who produced music seemingly merging Beat and R&B whilst at the same pre-empting elements of Psychedelia by a good few years.
Meek learnt his craft at IBC, and was instantly swimming against the tide and creating his own current, working with the likes of Lonnie Donegan and Petula Clark, he was developing techniques and methods that moved away from the post 1945 BBC script of what an Engineer/Producer can attempt, let alone accomplish, in the studio. His first major impact on music was with The Tornadoes and their big hit, Telstar, incidentally the first British group to go number one in the US. The song now you can probably take for granted but imagine hearing that in 1962 when all you have are The Shadows for company. But this was only the beginning for Meek; between 1964 and 1966, he took a genre being played to death by all British groups at the time and put his own unique mark on it.
With You're Holding Me Down, released in 2008 on Sanctuary, you can hear in all its glory what a trailblazer and maverick Joe Meek was between 64 and 66. Britain's first ever prominent independent producer, Meek took bands who had embraced Beat and early forms of R&B and encouraged them to experiment and explore, and if they weren't able to do that, he would do it for them, later the sound produced from his shed come studio on Holloway Road, London, would be labelled as "Freakbeat".
The album begins with Youíre Holding Me Down by Edinburgh group The Buzz from 1966; itís a fine garage like start, certainly not groundbreaking internationally for 1966 but still rather punky coming from a British band for this period. The real gems for me though are the ones from 1964 and early 1965 on this release, take for example the three songs by a 17 year old band from North London, The Blue Rondos, these songs by this band just sound so fresh, invigorating and interesting even now, and with the song Little Baby, they almost sound like the sound of tomorrow.
And The Blue Rondos are by no means alone; letís take Preston Band, David John & The Mood with their stomper from 1965 as an example, I Love To See You Strut, from the opening wolf whistle this song just rolls and rolls, just another fabulous example of the Freakbeat genre, with elements being taking from all kinds of places to create something quite wonderful. The same feelings come from the material provided from Merseyside band The Cryiní Shames, especially with Let Me In, perhaps the best song on this compilation, yet never actually released until now.
The incredible thing about the songs on this compilation is that despite their age, none of these songs have dated in the slightest, quite an achievement when you compare them to the rest of the Beat era. To be fair the whole album is just staggering.
This album was a complete revelation for me, if these songs were recorded in 66 - 67 I would mark this down as an excellent underground sixties compilation, but it is much more than that. This compilation is a voyage of discovery, not one song is a dud, not one song can be labelled as plain, everything on this compilation is a rewriting of what popular culture tells us, The Beatles were innovative yes, but they weren't the only trailblazers, they were the popular face of British music, under the surface there was Joe Meek in his shed rewriting the rule book for what could be done with music, something he more than did.
|07-19-2009, 11:26 AM||#110 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2008
Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited
1 Like a Rolling Stone 6:13
2 Tombstone Blues 6:00
3 It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry 4:09
4 From a Buick 6 3:19
5 Ballad of a Thin Man 5:58
6 Queen Jane Approximately 5:31
7 Highway 61 Revisited 3:30
8 Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues 5:32
9 Desolation Row 11:22
Bob Dylan rolled into 1965 with a boot filled with amps, wires and a new sense of vigour and purpose. In March of 1965 he released the first of his ďplugged inĒ albums, called Bringing It All Back Home, bold in its approach the reception to this album was mixed with Dylan obviously making the decision to expand his musical repertoire, but with songs like Mr Tambourine Man and Its All Over Baby Blue, this venture into the electrical world was still a toe in the water when compared to the follow up.
Released on Columbia in August 1965 and produced on the whole by Bob Johnston, Highway 61 Revisited was the sixth album from Bob Dylan and firmly established Dylanís credentials as a song writing genius. Contained within are just a mere nine tracks, it must be said that that is pretty sparse for a 1965 album granted, but the listener is far from being short changed here with this album, quite the reverse in fact. Barring a couple of three minute songs, the tracks on this release are quite truly epic in their outlook and delivery.
The album begins with what is now one of Dylanís greatest moments from this period; Like a Rolling Stone is the ultimate tale of a fall from grace, with Dylan snarling his way through the song directing his resentment towards some poor unfortunate woman or other. Seriously Iím not aware of what this woman did in her time, but Iím sure she never deserved a six minute rant being aimed at her by one of mankindís greatest ever lyricists, that aside this song is tremendous, but you already knew that.
There are of course other wonderful numbers to be found here, letís start with Tombstone Blues, like the opener it is a true epic and does seem to go on forever, but this is not a problem because there is definitely something being said in this song. Dylan on this album in general just appears to be able to write and write and write, streaming off verse after verse of content which is of interest and something to behold. But also on this song he is joined by a filthy bluesy lead guitar, wonderful stuff.
Probably the most ambitious and fixating marathon song on this album is the much celebrated Ballad of a Thin Man. This song goes in and out of being my favourite Dylan song of all time; it is just so dark and ominous in its feel that you cannot help but be perplexed by it, and I am not alone; Many scholars have tried to establish who the desperate character of Mr Jones is that Dylan sings about in this ďballadĒ, demonstrating the power and imagery being portrayed by Dylan in this song, so intensely that it has created its own mythology and wonder.
Bucking the trend for long numbers is From a Buick 6 and the title track, the better of these two is of course Highway 61 Revisited. Lyrically it is brilliant and musically it is probably his most upbeat number from 1965. But this album is really about the lengthy song, and they donít get any longer than the closing track; Desolation Row at over eleven minutes it is so long you can actually feel yourself getting older as you listen, but of course with the aging process comes wisdom, and this song is such a beautiful and worthwhile experience its well worth a full on listen every once in a while.
From this album, Dylan went into 1966 and released Blonde on Blonde, another step forward, but Highway 61 Revisited certainly serves up its own progression in Dylanís career. Here Dylan is certainly at his literacy best, streaming off verse after verse of unrivalled imagination and depiction, yes the songs on the whole are long, but they really need to be, this is not a typical album, itís more an experience. Easily a Must.