Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:23 pm

Revelator wrote:
Frankie Teardrop wrote:I'm not too big a fan of Yell-Bob, so Flood isn't a real big favourite for me. I agree with Bob that the '74 tour was not much more than energy. Nice versions of Most Likely..., Watchtower and Rolling Stone, though.


In general Dylan fans are divided over Before the Flood---many decry Dylan's "yelling," many others love the album. I'm the latter camp. Dylan may have a low opinion of the 74 tour, but it's not as if he's the most reliable judge of his own work, judging by all those masterpieces of his once accessible only through bootlegs.

Dylan might not be at his subtlest in Before the Flood, but no one could accuse him of giving an indifferent or slurred performance. What comes through is not simply energy but a righteous anger at his audience, a refusal to give them anything resembling nostalgia that is manifested by his consistently angry enunciation (a vocal approach miles away from the nasal, garbled singing that people adopt when they parody Dylan). It also helps that the Band's playing is absolutely ferocious---this is a group whose members are strong and comfortable enough to hammer at each other and Dylan. Elvis's Memphis album by contrast is a decent show, but definitely (could have) use(d) some of that energy. I've often fantasized what Elvis would have sounded like if backed by the Band---like Dylan, they might have kicked his ass into next gear.

Marvelous, informative and totally right-on post. Thank you.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:32 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:Marvelous, informative and totally right-on post. Thank you.


And I thank you Doctor, for the excellent post that kicked off this thread.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:35 pm

Revelator wrote: Dylan might not be at his subtlest in Before the Flood, but no one could accuse him of giving an indifferent or slurred performance. What comes through is not simply energy but a righteous anger at his audience, a refusal to give them anything resembling nostalgia, that is shown by his consistently angry enunciation (a vocal approach miles away from the nasal, garbled singing that people adopt when they parody Dylan). It also helps that the Band's playing is absolutely ferocious---this is a group whose members are strong and comfortable enough to hammer at each other and Dylan. Elvis's Memphis album by contrast is a decent show, but definitely use some of that energy. I've often fantasized what Elvis would have sounded like if backed by the Band---like Dylan, they might have kicked his ass into next gear.


I find The Band's musical performance fine, but their own material sounds tired, and Danko and Manuel's voices in particular are very road-shot. The reasons for Dylan's anger at the audience are interesting, and that works with most of the electric material, but I don't enjoy hearing all the subtlety pounded out of the acoustic material. I find those performances very dismaying and nearly unlistenable. And if one compares the '74 Ballad Of A Thin Man with the '66 version, one can easily see which of the two is anger expressed in a petulant fashion, and which is anger expressed in a deep, soulful, existential fashion.
In '66 he hated the audience because of their overwhelming closedmindedness. He gave intense, loud, stoned recitals in response. In '74 he hated them because of their blind acceptance of anything he was prepared to deliver. So he ran roughshod over his own material.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:38 pm

Frankie Teardrop wrote:In '74 he hated them because of their blind acceptance of anything he was prepared to deliver. So he ran roughshod over his own material.

Ironically, this seems to fit more with the Presley performance!

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:44 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Frankie Teardrop wrote:In '74 he hated them because of their blind acceptance of anything he was prepared to deliver. So he ran roughshod over his own material.

Ironically, this seems to fit more with the Presley performance!


There are definite similarities. Side 1 of Before The Flood could be seen as a "rock medley" in and of itself.
I know that many learned and respected Dylan fans and critics love Flood, and that is fine, but there are also many of the same who dislike it a whole lot more than me, such as Barney Hoskyns, Clinton Heylin, etc. Definitely the most controversial of his official releases.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:01 pm

Frankie Teardrop wrote:Definitely the most controversial of his official releases.

You forget Slow Train Coming (1979).

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:19 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Frankie Teardrop wrote:Definitely the most controversial of his official releases.

You forget Slow Train Coming (1979).


Well, yeah! Besides the Christian period, of course.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:19 pm

Actually Dylan made afterwords an interesting comment about his 1974 tour: "When [Elvis] did 'That's All Right, Mama' in 1955, it was sensitivity and power. In 1969, it was just full-out power. There was nothing other than just force behind that. I've fallen into that trap, too. Take 1974 tour. It's a very fine line you have to walk to stay in touch with something once you created it... Either it holds up for you or it doesn't."

I hope you forgive me my off-topice remark: I love Slow Train Coming, Before The Flood is average from BOB.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:22 pm

Albert Goldman wrote:Actually Dylan made afterwords an interesting comment about his 1974 tour: "When [Elvis] did 'That's All Right, Mama' in 1955, it was sensitivity and power. In 1969, it was just full-out power. There was nothing other than just force behind that. I've fallen into that trap, too. Take 1974 tour. It's a very fine line you have to walk to stay in touch with something once you created it... Either it holds up for you or it doesn't."

When and where did Bob make this statement?

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:38 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Albert Goldman wrote:Actually Dylan made afterwords an interesting comment about his 1974 tour: "When [Elvis] did 'That's All Right, Mama' in 1955, it was sensitivity and power. In 1969, it was just full-out power. There was nothing other than just force behind that. I've fallen into that trap, too. Take 1974 tour. It's a very fine line you have to walk to stay in touch with something once you created it... Either it holds up for you or it doesn't."

When and where did Bob make this statement?


A similar one shows up in the Biograph booklet interview:

"I think I was just playing a role on that tour. I was playing Bob Dylan and The Band was playing The Band. It was all sort of mindless. The people that came out to see us came mostly to see what they missed the first time around. It was just more of a "legendary" kind of thing. They've heard about it, they'd bought the records, whatever, but that level wasn't what they saw. What they saw you could compare to early Elvis and later Elvis, really. Because it wasn't quite the same, when we needed that acceptance, it wasn't there. By this time it didn't matter. Time had proven them all wrong. We were cleaning up but it was an emotionless trip...The greatest praise we got on that tour was "incredible energy, man", it would make me want to puke".

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:44 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Albert Goldman wrote:Actually Dylan made afterwords an interesting comment about his 1974 tour: "When [Elvis] did 'That's All Right, Mama' in 1955, it was sensitivity and power. In 1969, it was just full-out power. There was nothing other than just force behind that. I've fallen into that trap, too. Take 1974 tour. It's a very fine line you have to walk to stay in touch with something once you created it... Either it holds up for you or it doesn't."

When and where did Bob make this statement?


The Los Angeles Times, November 23, 1980. Actually, Bob is talking about 68 comeback special, not 69 Vegas performances. As most of Dylan's interviews from that period, it is pretty fascinating stuff. Enjoy, Doc!

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:45 pm

I remember reading both of those statements. As said earlier, Dylan isn't always the best judge of his own work (the "emotionless trip" remark is contradicted by what's actually on record) and not of Elvis's either. Great artists are rarely also great critics.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:48 pm

Frankie Teardrop wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Albert Goldman wrote:Actually Dylan made afterwords an interesting comment about his 1974 tour: "When [Elvis] did 'That's All Right, Mama' in 1955, it was sensitivity and power. In 1969, it was just full-out power. There was nothing other than just force behind that. I've fallen into that trap, too. Take 1974 tour. It's a very fine line you have to walk to stay in touch with something once you created it... Either it holds up for you or it doesn't."

When and where did Bob make this statement?


A similar one shows up in the Biograph booklet interview:

"I think I was just playing a role on that tour. I was playing Bob Dylan and The Band was playing The Band. It was all sort of mindless. The people that came out to see us came mostly to see what they missed the first time around. It was just more of a "legendary" kind of thing. They've heard about it, they'd bought the records, whatever, but that level wasn't what they saw. What they saw you could compare to early Elvis and later Elvis, really. Because it wasn't quite the same, when we needed that acceptance, it wasn't there. By this time it didn't matter. Time had proven them all wrong. We were cleaning up but it was an emotionless trip...The greatest praise we got on that tour was "incredible energy, man", it would make me want to puke".


Yeah, Dylan has always given pretty poor reviews for himself about that tour.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:02 am

Revelator wrote:I remember reading both of those statements. As said earlier, Dylan isn't always the best judge of his own work (the "emotionless trip" remark is contradicted by what's actually on record) and not of Elvis's either. Great artists are rarely also great critics.


Yeah, but that doesn't invalidate Bob's every view of his own career. Me and Bob aren't the only ones dissatisfied with that tour either, as noted before. If he explicitly states that his performances were phony, and he alone would know, who is being fooled?

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:14 am

Frankie Teardrop wrote:Yeah, but that doesn't invalidate Bob's every view of his own career. Me and Bob aren't the only ones dissatisfied with that tour either, as noted before. If he explicitly states that his performances were phony, and he alone would know, who is being fooled?

The thousands of people who listened to the record and thought it was a passionate, even angry performance, hardly an "emotionless" one.
I don't think an artist should be allowed the last say over his work--that's treading into intentional fallacy territory. As D. H. Lawrence once suggested, "trust the tale, not the teller."
Since we're quoting Bob's exaggerated pan, I quote a great rock critic's exaggerated rave.

From Robert Christgau:
Bob Dylan/The Band: Before the Flood [Asylum, 1974]
At its best, this is the craziest and strongest rock and roll ever recorded. All analogous live albums fall flat. The Rolling Stones are mechanical dolls by comparison, the Faces merely sloppy, the Dead positively quiet. The MC5 achieved something similar by ignoring musicianship altogether, but while the Band sounds undisciplined, threatening to destroy their headlong momentum by throwing out one foot or elbow too many, they never abandon their enormous technical ability. In this they follow the boss. When he sounded thin on Planet Waves, so did they. Now his voice settles in at a rich bellow, running over his old songs like a truck. I agree that a few of them will never walk again, but I treasure the sacrilege; Uncle Bob purveying to the sports arena masses. We may never even know whether this is a masterpiece. A

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:16 am

Revelator wrote:I remember reading both of those statements. As said earlier, Dylan isn't always the best judge of his own work (the "emotionless trip" remark is contradicted by what's actually on record) and not of Elvis's either. Great artists are rarely also great critics.

I generally agree -- Elvis was highly critical of some of his greatest work.


Frankie Teardrop wrote:Yeah, but that doesn't invalidate Bob's every view of his own career. Me and Bob aren't the only ones dissatisfied with that tour either, as noted before. If he explicitly states that his performances were phony, and he alone would know, who is being fooled?

It's not that Dylan believes their performances are not genuine -- he's really stating that the audience's expectations to see the magic of 1966 redux rendered the gritty detail of the 1974 tour null and void.

It's not far from John Lennon's 1980 Playboy interview, when asked why couldn't the Beatles reunite, even for a charity gig.

It seems as if you're trying to say to the world, "We were just a good band making some good music," while a lot of the rest of the world is saying, "It wasn't just some good music, it was the best."

Well, if it was the best, so what?

So----

It can never be again! Everyone always talks about a good thing coming to an end, as if life was over. But I'll be 40 when this interview comes out. Paul is 38. Elton John, Bob Dylan -- we're all relatively young people. The game isn't over yet. Everyone talks in terms of the last record or the last Beatle concert -- but, God willing, there are another 40 years of productivity to go. I'm not judging whether "I am the Walrus" is better or worse than "Imagine." It is for others to judge. I am doing it. I do. I don't stand back and judge -- I do.

You keep saying you don't want to go back ten years, that too much has changed. Don't you ever feel it would be interesting -- never mind cosmic, just interesting -- to get together, with all your new experiences, and cross your talents?

Wouldn't it be interesting to take Elvis back to his Sun Records period? I don't know. But I'm content to listen to his Sun Records. I don't want to dig him up out of the grave. The Beatles don't exist and can never exist again. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Richard Starkey could put on a concert -- but it can never be the Beatles singing "Strawberry Fields" or "I am the Walrus" again, because we are not in our 20s. We cannot be that again, nor can the people who are listening.

But aren't you the one who is making it too important? What if it were just nostalgic fun? A high school reunion?

I never went to high school reunions. My thing is, Out of sight, out of mind. That's my attitude toward life. So I don't have any romanticism about any part of my past. I think of it only inasmuch as it gave me pleasure or helped me grow psychologically. That is the only thing that interests me about yesterday. I don't believe in yesterday, by the way. You know I don't believe in yesterday. I am only interested in what I am doing now.

What about the people of your generation, the ones who feel a certain kind of music -- and spirit -- died when the Beatles broke up?

If they didn't understand the Beatles and the Sixties then, what the f*ck could we do for them now? Do we have to divide the fish and the loaves for the multitudes again? Do we have to get crucified again? Do we have to do the walking on water again because a whole pile of dummies didn't see it the first time, or didn't believe it when they saw it? You know, that's what they're asking: "Get off the cross. I didn't understand the first bit yet. Can you do that again?" No way. You can never go home. It doesn't exist.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:33 am

At least we can all agree that Before the Flood is better than Live At Budokan.

EDIT: Never mind, we can't. Dylan scholar Mike Gray prefers the latter.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:39 am

Revelator wrote:
Frankie Teardrop wrote:Yeah, but that doesn't invalidate Bob's every view of his own career. Me and Bob aren't the only ones dissatisfied with that tour either, as noted before. If he explicitly states that his performances were phony, and he alone would know, who is being fooled?

The thousands of people who listened to the record and thought it was a passionate, even angry performance, hardly an "emotionless" one.


And millions of people think Celine Dion's My Heart WIll Go On is one of the most emotional pieces of music ever recorded. I don't put too much stock in numbers. As I said, other very respected critics, writers and Bob fans also don't like the tour and record. It isn't just about Bob, or me. The Bob message boards I have visited, I have seen mostly negative reactions on the subject.
Bob isn't always right about his own work, no artist is.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:43 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Revelator wrote:I remember reading both of those statements. As said earlier, Dylan isn't always the best judge of his own work (the "emotionless trip" remark is contradicted by what's actually on record) and not of Elvis's either. Great artists are rarely also great critics.

I generally agree -- Elvis was highly critical of some of his greatest work.


Frankie Teardrop wrote:Yeah, but that doesn't invalidate Bob's every view of his own career. Me and Bob aren't the only ones dissatisfied with that tour either, as noted before. If he explicitly states that his performances were phony, and he alone would know, who is being fooled?

It's not that Dylan believes their performances are not genuine -- he's really stating that the audience's expectations to see the magic of 1966 redux rendered the gritty detail of the 1974 tour null and void.

It's not far from John Lennon's 1980 Playboy interview, when asked why couldn't the Beatles reunite, even for a charity gig.

It seems as if you're trying to say to the world, "We were just a good band making some good music," while a lot of the rest of the world is saying, "It wasn't just some good music, it was the best."

Well, if it was the best, so what?

So----

It can never be again! Everyone always talks about a good thing coming to an end, as if life was over. But I'll be 40 when this interview comes out. Paul is 38. Elton John, Bob Dylan -- we're all relatively young people. The game isn't over yet. Everyone talks in terms of the last record or the last Beatle concert -- but, God willing, there are another 40 years of productivity to go. I'm not judging whether "I am the Walrus" is better or worse than "Imagine." It is for others to judge. I am doing it. I do. I don't stand back and judge -- I do.

You keep saying you don't want to go back ten years, that too much has changed. Don't you ever feel it would be interesting -- never mind cosmic, just interesting -- to get together, with all your new experiences, and cross your talents?

Wouldn't it be interesting to take Elvis back to his Sun Records period? I don't know. But I'm content to listen to his Sun Records. I don't want to dig him up out of the grave. The Beatles don't exist and can never exist again. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Richard Starkey could put on a concert -- but it can never be the Beatles singing "Strawberry Fields" or "I am the Walrus" again, because we are not in our 20s. We cannot be that again, nor can the people who are listening.

But aren't you the one who is making it too important? What if it were just nostalgic fun? A high school reunion?

I never went to high school reunions. My thing is, Out of sight, out of mind. That's my attitude toward life. So I don't have any romanticism about any part of my past. I think of it only inasmuch as it gave me pleasure or helped me grow psychologically. That is the only thing that interests me about yesterday. I don't believe in yesterday, by the way. You know I don't believe in yesterday. I am only interested in what I am doing now.

What about the people of your generation, the ones who feel a certain kind of music -- and spirit -- died when the Beatles broke up?

If they didn't understand the Beatles and the Sixties then, what the f*ck could we do for them now? Do we have to divide the fish and the loaves for the multitudes again? Do we have to get crucified again? Do we have to do the walking on water again because a whole pile of dummies didn't see it the first time, or didn't believe it when they saw it? You know, that's what they're asking: "Get off the cross. I didn't understand the first bit yet. Can you do that again?" No way. You can never go home. It doesn't exist.



And John was right on the money. The Bob thing, some folks hear gritty detail, others hear loud lack of subtlety. But anyway, I like Sides 1 and 4.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:03 am

Frankie Teardrop wrote: I don't put too much stock in numbers. As I said, other very respected critics, writers and Bob fans also don't like the tour and record. It isn't just about Bob, or me.


So, in other words, you do put stock in numbers.
Especially, if they consist of very respected critics, writers and Bob fans. But the same types of people have also written in support of the album, and while it's always interesting to hear Dylan discuss his work, I think there's greater perspective in hearing critics like Christgau and Marcus (both of whom incidentally have written cogent raves of BtF).

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:17 am

Revelator wrote:
Frankie Teardrop wrote: I don't put too much stock in numbers. As I said, other very respected critics, writers and Bob fans also don't like the tour and record. It isn't just about Bob, or me.


So, in other words, you do put stock in numbers.
Especially, if they consist of very respected critics, writers and Bob fans. But the same types of people have also written in support of the album, and while it's always interesting to hear Dylan discuss his work, I think there's greater perspective in hearing critics like Christgau and Marcus (both of whom incidentally have written cogent raves of BtF).


Yes, I take greater stock in certain numbers, that is true.
I said before that there was a sharp, near 50/50 split divide among critics on the record, so yes, I know some very fine, trustworthy critics love it. I think there is merit in both viewpoints.
But, man, seriously..."DON'T THINK TWIIII-EEEEEEECEEEEEE, IT'S ALL RIIIII-EEEEEEEEEEET"? I can't handle that at all. But, yeah, even that is better than the Rasta-flute on All Along The Watchtower from Budokan or the somnambulent Dylan & The Dead.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:51 am

Frankie Teardrop wrote:But, man, seriously..."DON'T THINK TWIIII-EEEEEEECEEEEEE, IT'S ALL RIIIII-EEEEEEEEEEET"? I can't handle that at all.

I love it!

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:54 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Frankie Teardrop wrote:But, man, seriously..."DON'T THINK TWIIII-EEEEEEECEEEEEE, IT'S ALL RIIIII-EEEEEEEEEEET"? I can't handle that at all.

I love it!

Agreed. I'm one of those crazy fans that love the 1974 tour with The Band. Time for Bob to unleash more performances from the LA Forum shows.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:03 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Frankie Teardrop wrote:Yeah, but that doesn't invalidate Bob's every view of his own career. Me and Bob aren't the only ones dissatisfied with that tour either, as noted before. If he explicitly states that his performances were phony, and he alone would know, who is being fooled?

It's not that Dylan believes their performances are not genuine -- he's really stating that the audience's expectations to see the magic of 1966 redux rendered the gritty detail of the 1974 tour null and void.

[/quote]

Well, it seems that Dylan was disappointed with the tour for different reasons but he wasn't satisfied with the music either. Also Levon Helm from The Band noted that even though they all made lots of money " it just wasn't a very passionate trip for any of us". Before The Flood is a bit dull greatest hits record, I personally prefer Hard Rain and The Rolling Thunder Revue - that's Dylan on the top of his game, again.

Re: Bob and Elvis: Hot Fun In The Summertime!

Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:04 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Two live album releases in the summer of 1974 received glowing previews in the industry bible, Billboard:

Do we know what the record sales were for these albums?

I contributed my part to the Memphis LP.