Blonde On Blonde
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B. S.9: Witmark Demos: 1962-64
B. Series Vol. 6: 10/31/64
B. Series Vol. 4: 5/17/1966
B. S.11: Basement Tapes
B. Series Vol. 5: Live 1975
B. S. 7: No Direction Home
B. S.8: Tell Tale Signs
Bringing It All Back Home
Highway 61 Revisited
Blonde On Blonde
John Wesley Harding
Nashville Skyline
B. S.10: Another Self Portrait
Self Portait
New Morning
Planet Waves
Before the Flood
Blood On The Tracks
Desire
Infidels
Love and Theft
Modern Times
Bootleg Series Vol. 1 - 3

 

Track List Musicians Notes
The Bootleg Series Volume 6 - Bob Dylan

Blonde On Blonde

1966

SACD re-mastered 

 

 

 

 

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Review -Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde review

Blonde on Blonde follows Highway 61 Revisited delivering another  stunning release. This release has a host of sensational back-up session players primarily from Nashville.

After recording Highway 61 Revisited Dylan went on first tour with an electric band, which can be heard on his Bootleg Series 4 release. Back from the tour with more songs in hand, Dylan began his next musical endeavor, the recording of Blonde on Blonde. Going to Nashville, Dylan recruited seasoned Nashville session players, along with guitarist Robbie Robertson from his touring band and keyboardist Al Kooper, who performed and recorded with Dylan in the past.

One of the things that’s striking about the Blonde on Blonde is the diversity of material. Much of it is blues oriented, but even that is diverse, hitting on New Orleans themes with the opening track “Rainy Day Women #12 and #3,” to Chicago blues with “Pledging My Time,” with a psychedelic blues on “Temporary Like Achilles,” to European blues, in the style of the Yardbirds and John Mayall, with “Obviously 5 Believers.” Plus the hardest rocking of the blues material, ”Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,” with its gutsy twangy guitar solo.

Tracks like “Just Like A Woman” and “I Want You” offer that Nashville charm that really define this album as well as point to the future. Add to that “Vision of Johanna” with its sensational beat, mood, and groove that is perfectly delivered with Dylan’s well-placed vocal innovations and harmonica. But, the back-up bands haunting organ, and electric guitar fills add just as much to the song. Another classic, “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again,” has excellent musicianship from the bass and drums to the guitar and organ; just as Dylan is telling a story with the lyrics, the guitar riffs have their own message to tell. A less known track, "One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)" features session musician Paul Griffin delivering a sensational piano theme accompanied by Al Kooper, on organ and Rick Danko and Robbie Robertson's of The Band laying down the framework. 

The album concludes with a fairly lengthy track, “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” that points to the direction he would take with his next album, John Wesley Harding, a thin sounding complementary band over story-telling songs.

Really, there are no bad songs on this classic Bob Dylan album yielding my favorite studio Dylan studio recording.

by Barry Small ©
Grade A +

Musicians - Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan
Track List

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1. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (Dylan) - 4:33
2. Pledging My Time (Dylan) - 3:42
3. Visions of Johanna (Dylan) - 7:27
4. One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) (Dylan) - 4:53
5. I Want You (Dylan) - 3:06
6. Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis... (Dylan) - 7:04
7. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Dylan) - 3:50
8. Just Like a Woman (Dylan) - 4:39
9. Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go... (Dylan) - 3:22
10. Temporary Like Achilles (Dylan) - 5:03
11. Absolutely Sweet Marie (Dylan) - 4:46
12. 4th Time Around (Dylan) - 4:26
13. Obviously 5 Believers (Dylan) - 3:30
14. Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands (Dylan) - 11:19

Musicians - Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan
Musicians

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Bob Dylan - Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals

Robbie Robertson - Guitar, Vocals
Wayne Moss - Guitar, Vocals
Charlie McCoy - Bass, Guitar, Harmonica ("Obviously 5 Believers), Trumpet
Kenneth A. Buttrey - Drums
Paul Griffin – piano
Hargus Robbins - Piano, Keyboards
Jerry Kennedy - Guitar
Joe South - Guitar, bass
Al Kooper - Organ, Guitar, Horn, Keyboards
Bill Atkins - Keyboards
Henry Strzelecki - Bass
Rick Danko – bass, violin, Vocals
Al Kooper – organ, guitar, horn, keyboards
Sanford Konikoff – drums

Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan
Notes

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Label - Sony  - 1966
Recorded Jan. - March 1966, released in May.

Much of Bob Dylan's catalogue was reissued with SACD with significant sonic upgrades. Be sure to get that version of the CD.

The Bootleg Series Vol. 7 has an essay by Al Kooper. A few notes from that relating to Blonde on Blonde read "Just a few credits to pass out that have been hidden over the years. Joe South is playing the soul guitar on "Stuck Inside..." He is also playing the great bass line on "Visions of Johanna." We, of course, all learned to treasure his talents on "Down in the Boondocks," "I knew You When," and "The Games People Play." Wayne Moss plays the amazing 16th note guitar lick that recurs each chorus in "I Want You." The first time he came up with that my jaw dropped--not only for that lick, but for the effortlessness he played it with..." 

There is more to read in the essay including Charlie McCoy's simultaneous trumpet and bass contributions on "
Most Likely You Go Your Way...."

A good blog on Paul Griffin

REMEMBERING PAUL GRIFFIN
As many of you know Paul Griffin played Keyboards on Range War's Lovers Rodeo.
But so many don't know anything about Paul and his contributions to so many great artists.
I know some in the press (mainly European) wink wink, scoffed at my calling Paul the greatest rock n roll keyboardist ever. Of course there are many greats, but Paul was truly special. Even though we only recorded with Paul one album, we truly felt as if he was part of our band. I and many others I'm sure would argue that Paul belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Drive By Truckers have Spooner Oldham, Range War had Paul Griffin,
if only briefly. You can hear Paul on Range War's " Little Sister " and " One More "

Below is an excerpt from a letter written by Jonathan Singer, a New York writer to David Hinckley of the New York Daily News in 1999 that is a quick byline of Pauls musical history.
Paul passed away June 14th 2000.

As you probably know, Paul began his career in the late 50s playing piano and organ with King Curtis' band. He quickly became a Zelig-like figure, playing keyboards on some of pop music's most historic and memorable moments: Bob Dylan's first "electric" records, all of Bacharach/David's classic Dionne Warwick sides and a slew of hits by the Shirelles, Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan and many more. 

Think of the organ intro to Chuck Jackson's "Any Day Now"...the gospel piano behind Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone"and Don McLean's "Miss American Pie"...the tack piano on B.J.Thomas' "Raindrops Keep Fallin'on My Head" and Bob Dylan's "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"...Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By"...Paul Simon's "Tenderness" (There Goes Rhymin' Simon ) -- these all feature Paul Griffin at the keyboard.

One on-line discography lists over two hundred albums Griffin has played keyboards on: Sixties New York pop like the Shirelles' "Tonight's the Night," "Mama Said," and "Soldier Boy." Neil Diamond and Van Morrison's first hits for Bert Berns. Folk rock albums by Eric Andersen, Tom Rush, Peter, Paul & Mary's Album 1700 and Late Again ; Judy Collins' Judith . Debut albums by John Denver and Carly Simon. Bonnie Raitt's Streetlights . Jazz records by George Benson, Quincy Jones, and Nina Simone. Albums by John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Stephen Bishop and Blues Traveler.
Dylan's first rock' n roll records; Bringing It All Back Home , Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde . 

"He was always in a positive, humorus mood," says Hugh McCracken, another legendary New York musician who played guitar alongside Paul on hundreds of sessions. "He never had an attitude with anybody. A lot of musicians had an attitude with those who didn't play as good as they did. Paul would always acknowledge or flatter a player on something that was worthy. And he always was very insightful about other musicians; very sensitive...always a gentleman."

If Paul Griffin's jazz/blues and gospel chops are not as easily recalled on the productions of Bacharach, Ragovoy, Wexler and Berns, his contribution to Bob Dylan's seminal mid-sixties records is already writ large in pop music history. Griffin was present at Dylan's first rock' n roll session in 1965 for the album, Bringing It All Back Home . No fluke, Dylan requested him three more times; for his next album, Highway 61 Revisited which included Paul's tasty work on "Like a Rolling Stone," and the sessions that included "Positively Fourth Street," "Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence" and "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?" Dylan also tapped him years later to overdub organ on Blood on the Tracks .
But Paul Griffin's most extraordinary -- and often uncredited -- work with Bob Dylan occurred on January 25, 1966. There has always been some confusion about the players on this first New York session for Dylan's Blonde on Blonde . Because the album was finished a few months later in Nashville, the album lists only the Nashville musicians. The two New York sessions, the first of which produced "One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)," are frequently credited to members of the Band . Rick Danko and Robbie Robertson might have played bass and guitar on one of the New York sessions. But just a single listening erases any doubt about who played piano. Al Kooper, who played organ at the session, remembers Paul well. 

"The piano playing on "One of Us Must Know" is quite magnificent," Kooper told writer Andy Gill. "It influenced me enormously as a pianist. It's probably Paul Griffin's finest moment." 

Griffin's playing on "One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)" is reminiscent of what he would play five years later on Don McLean's "American Pie" -- but even more brilliant in its intensity and improvisation. The song is an emotional confession of misconnects and apologies from the singer to some woman who has tragically slipped out of his life. Griffin gives the song its tragic depth -- and height. He picks his way sensitively through the verses; but at other times, he prowls beneath the words with Judgment and an ominous gospel lick that he stokes until he has climbed to the verse's peak. At the chorus, Griffin unleashes a symphony; hammering his way up and down the keyboard, half Gershwin, half gospel, all heart. The follow-up, a killer left hand figure that links the chorus to the verse, releases none of the song's tension. Then, on the last chorus, not content to repeat the same brilliant part, Griffin's playing is so breathtaking, so completely embodies the lyric, that he enters into some other dimension. For several seconds, on one of Dylan's best songs, Griffin makes Dylan seem almost earthbound.

"It's great, two-fisted, gospel piano playing," Kooper says, "played with the utmost of taste." 
Adios for now...
And keep your ear to the rail.
RW