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I just got back from a wonderful vacation, except for my father dying at the end of it. The low point of my trip, Papa's passing, I won't much get into. But before the phone call from the nursing home at midnight we had 9 days in paradise, and after it we had a 9-hour drive to Buffalo, and my big brother Todd let me pick the music.

In Maine I stayed with Todd, his wife Judy and daughter Oa, and my other brother Clay. Todd & Co. have been renting a cabin on Salmon Lake in Maine for the first three weeks of August, every year since the seventies now. Todd went to M.I.T., met Judy on a cruise in Boston harbor, and they bought a house in Brookline. Since I lived in Boston for 8 years when I went to college, I got to know Todd, Judy and Oa pretty well. But I live in L.A. now, and haven't been to Maine with the family in years.

Here's how Maine was. In the mornings we cooked omelettes, French toast and blueberry pancakes, which we ate on the screened porch looking over the lake. After breakfast Oa would insist that we read the latest Harry Potter, so we would each read a few pages, then pass the book around. At 11 we'd go down along the cove and lie on the dock in the sun, reading Douglas Adams and Mark Twain (saving Harry Potter for together on the porch) and soaking up rays. Once we were cooked on both sides, we'd flop into the cool lake and swim out to the raft, where the whole gang played tag or keep-away (frisbee), sumo wrestling or king-of-the-raft. We had a canoe and a bicycle paddle-boat. There were also croquet and many indoor games: Jenga, Malarkey, Boggle and Heck. At night a dozen of us would play flashlight tag in the woods. If you were `it', you'd count to 50 while everyone else hid. Then you'd follow them into the woods, silently in darkness. The instant you heard anything - a twig snapping, a rock splashing in the lake - you'd turn on your flashlight and run for the perpetrator, trying to see their face. If you called out their name, then they became `it'. Also at night we told ghost stories and drank cocoa, then swam out to lie on the raft under a thousand stars.

But paradise, as Adam and Eve discovered, just wasn't meant to last. At midnight on Saturday night Judy's cell phone rang. The nurse said Papa had died peacefully in his sleep. 20 minutes later the funeral home called, needing details so they could file a death certificate.

In the morning we said goodbye to Judy and Oa, and left them at the lake. Todd drove, Clay sat in the back, and I navigated and deejayed. From Salmon Lake in Maine, down to Boston and across to Buffalo, is a 9 hour drive (at 70 miles an hour, with an EZPass, packed turkey sandwiches, and just one 15 minute gas and toilet stop. Yes, Todd is efficient like that in every aspect of his life.) Personally, I love music and have thousands of albums. Todd only has a couple of hundred. But he does have every album Bob Dylan ever released. So that's what I deejayed. Here are my favorite 9 hours of Dylan albums (except `Blood on the Tracks' which I skipped on our trip because we all know it too well, but which is my second-favorite  after Blonde on Blonde, and so pleasant I even play it for people who don't like Dylan):

May 63       The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan         50:08
Mar 65        Bringing It All Back Home           46:54
Aug 65        Highway 61 Revisited                48:49
May 66        Blonde on Blonde                    71:40
July 67        The Basement Tapes               76:41
Dec 67        John Wesley Harding                37:55
Apr 69        Nashville Skyline                     26:48
Oct 70        New Morning                           35:17
Jan 76        Desire                                    56:13
Jun 78        Street Legal                             49:26
Nov 83       Infidels                                    41:39

What favorite Dylan album of yours did I forget to play on our trip?

Originally posted to Brecht on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 09:44 AM PDT.

Poll

What is Bob Dylan's 13th best album?

21%10 votes
10%5 votes
4%2 votes
17%8 votes
0%0 votes
2%1 votes
4%2 votes
6%3 votes
26%12 votes
6%3 votes

| 46 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  You beat me to it. (4.00)
      Idiot Wind could have been written for George Bush. It blows every time he moves his teeth.

      "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended." George W. Bush, May 1, 2003

      by Jim Riggs on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:00:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good morning Maryscott (4.00)
      Yep, there is just something enchanting and inevitable about 'Blood On the Tracks', the album where Dylan said he learned to write songs on purpose, to recapture consciously what had unconsciously poured through him in the mid-sixties. And he says all a man can know of love and loss and the dignity of sadness.

      But Highway 61 and especially Blonde on Blonde (which he said came closest to the 'wild mercury sound' in Dylan's own head) have the power and purpose of Dylan when he was a generation's prophet, engraving on the mountaintop the primal tablets of rock'n'roll.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:00:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dammit, Mary Scott . . . (4.00)

      . . . just when I think I've gotten over this crush on you, you pull me back in!

       BenEveryOneOfThoseWordsRangTrueGoshi
      ___________________

      . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

      by BenGoshi on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:17:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another Side... If only for I Shall Be Free No. 10 (none)
  •  Live, 1966: Royal Albert Hall (none)
    Belongs near the top. Not released until 1998. One CD acoustic, the other electric with the Band.

    I used to think Idiot Wind was angriest song ever recorded, then I heard I Don't Believe You on this.

    I've got blisters on my fingers!

    by Elwood Dowd on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 09:55:34 AM PDT

  •  Top five (4.00)
    my top five

    Blonde on Blonde

    Highway 61 Revisited

    Blood on the Tracks

    Nashville Skyline

    Time out of Mind

    Other than that, it's hard to line them up & number them.

    My house was once called Dylan Central.  :-)

    World Gone Wrong & Good as I Been to You, well I can't get enough of them.  & he didn't write those songs!  But that 12 string work is astounding! Not to mention the arrangements & singing.

    The concept of war is outdated. Dalai Lama

    by x on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:01:07 AM PDT

    •  Dylan's voice (4.00)
      When he wishes to, Dylan can sing sweetly, e.g. 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door, 'Lay Lady Lay'. He quit smoking for several months before recording 'Nashville Skyline' so that his voice would be smoother.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:07:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  His singing (none)
        is a miracle.  He can squeeze utter despair out of a note, and utter joy, too.  Don't laugh, but I put him in the same league as Billie Holliday for that quality.  Neither have much range, but their phrasing is just amazing.

        And Dylan has written some of the best love songs ever.  Down Along the Cove, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, Tonight I'll be Staying Here with You, etc.  

        The concept of war is outdated. Dalai Lama

        by x on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:30:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dylan's the 11th greatest singer ever (none)
          according to a poll Mojo magazine gave 175 rock singers.

          I'll excerpt from the article:

          "Don't matter if you think his voice is like sand and glue, everything he sung was 100 per cent convincing." Edwyn Collins (lead singer of Orange Juice)

          For the first time in popular music, here was a voice that didn't meet the listener halfway, that didn't beg for approval, or try to disguise the sometimes harsh sentiments of his songs...

          With hindsight, Dylan can be acclaimed as one of the great blues singers of the century...

          Capable of great pity, sly humor and vicious cruelty within the same song, Dylan was forced to develop a vocal method which would enable him to navigate those emotional twists and turns accurately; the result was that, by the time of 'Blonde on Blonde' he had effectively brought a whole new vocabulary of dramatic inflection to the form, the better to animate his increasingly complex, multi-layered songs...

          The article also mentions "the smooth nasal croon he discovered for 'Nashville Skyline'."

          "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

          by Brecht on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 11:04:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Another Side of x, Dylan. (none)

       Didn't know we had this in common.  As if we should be surprised.

       Blood On the Tracks

       Highway 61

       Blonde on Blonde

       Time Out of Mind

       Freewheelin'

       Infidels

       Planet Waves

       "Mississippi" on Love & Theft is one of the greatest ever, ever, written.  So's "Tight Connection to My Heart."

       BenGoshi
      _________________

       

      . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

      by BenGoshi on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:23:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What !? No votes for... (none)
    ...Self Portrait?

    Right in between Nashville Skyline and New Morning, IIRC. Where else can you hear Dylan singing a duet with himself, covering Paul Simon's The Boxer?

    Rolling Stone just about dedicated an issue to it, wondering whether it was just plain bad or somehow made a statement.

    I've got blisters on my fingers!

    by Elwood Dowd on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:07:02 AM PDT

    •  What's great about that song... (none)
      ...is that not only did he do a duet, I believed he used both of his singing voices on it.  He used the normal Dylan voice, plus the sweet singing voice he developed for Nashville Skyline (as heard on Lay Lady Lay).

      Dylan has had many voices over his career, and sadly sounds quite grizzled these days, but that Lay Lady Lay voice was one of the best.

      •  And yet... (none)
        IIRC, Jann Wenner or one of the Rolling Stone writers discussing the album speculated that the recording might be Dylan savaging the song to get revenge for Simon's A Simple Desultory Phillipic, where the singer mumbles 'So sorry Albert, I've lost my harmonica.'

        I've got blisters on my fingers!

        by Elwood Dowd on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:24:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  'All the Tired Horses... (none)
           ...in the sun,
      how'm I gone get any ridin' done?'

      is one of my favorite Dylan songs (oddly, as he doesn't sing on it) and I like 'Copper Kettle' and some others too.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 11:21:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm on the edge of seat here (none)
    waiting for No Direction Home, the Scorcese film about Dylan for the PBS American Masters series.

    September 26 and 27.

    Had to go with "Another Side of Bob Dylan". Timeless, mythic, indispensable.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:14:05 AM PDT

    •  While waiting... (none)
      ...we can watch Pennebaker's 1966 documentary Don't Look Back, with supporting cast including Donovan, Joan Baez, Alan Ginsberg, and someone who sure sounds like  Mr Jones, the reporter from Ballad of a Thin Man ("Because something is happening here, and you don't know what it is, do you, Mister Jones?")

      I've got blisters on my fingers!

      by Elwood Dowd on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:30:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  World Gone Wrong (4.00)
    World Gone Wrong is a GREAT album.  Yes, it is an album of covers, old folk and blues songs, but it has to be one of Bob's most beautiful albums.  It was recorded around 1993, and is a perfect match with Bob's current gravelly voice.

    If you haven't taken time to listen to it, give it a shot. I think it is the Dylan album I've listened to the most.

    My favorite Dylan songs:

    Jokerman
    Brownsville Girl
    Visions of Johanna (Biograph version)
    She's Your Lover Now
    Dark Eyes
    Series of Dreams
    Tweeter & the Monkey Man (from Traveling Wilburys album)

    •  Brownsville Girl (none)

       I didn't list "Knocked Out Loaded" in my faves, above, but, come to think of it, Brownsville Girl were the only song on it, with a blank Side B (let alone if "Maybe Someday" were the B Side), then that would qualify it for a place in the pantheon of "The Greats."  Brownsville Girl makes me weep.

       BenLongBeforetheStarsWereTornDownGoshi
      ___________________
       

      . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

      by BenGoshi on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:27:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  'Brownsville Girl' (4.00)
      What a sweet and powerful song. Redeems its album.

      'Visions of Johanna', great in any version, poetry without peer. Perhaps Dylan's best.

      'Jokerman', top song, top album. Oh, I do enjoy 'Infidels': Dylan on fire, killer songs, 2 memebers of Dire Straits, an ex-Stones guitarist, and Sly and Robbie on rhythm.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:28:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Visions. . . (none)

         With Jerry Garcia singing it, The Grateful Dead do a live version (captured on a Phil Lesh-made compilation and by thousands of tapers) of Visions of Johanna that is just incredible, every note, every inflection and creak and crack of Jerry's voice . . .  Just incredible.

         BenMonaLisaMust'veHadThemHighwayBluesGoshi
        __________________

        . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

        by BenGoshi on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:35:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lord Forgive Me (4.00)

     Brecht, yes, I'm a jerk, I should have said at first, am so sorry about your loss.  Bob is such a good way, the best perhaps, of easing in and out of the worlds of grief, hope, nostalgia, pain, desire, anger. . .  Good medicine.  

     Take care and thanks for this diary . . .

     BenGoshi
    __________________

     

    . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

    by BenGoshi on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:32:08 AM PDT

  •  A few years ago... (none)
    ...I saw a brief story in the Pittsbugh Post-Gazette. It reported the arrest of a Maryland man -- it was for a safety violation in an apartment building he owned, IIRC. Not the sort of story to show up hundreds of miles away. Except the reporter recognized the man's name, and filed a national story.

    William Zanzinger got 'a six month sentence' for killing poor Hattie Carroll, but Bob Dylan made sure that people knew who he was.

    I've got blisters on my fingers!

    by Elwood Dowd on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 10:38:22 AM PDT

  •  Oh, Mercy. (4.00)
    No, really. Listen to it again.

    The UCC: to believe is to care, to care is to do. Also, they have cookies.

    by pastordan on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 11:03:00 AM PDT

  •  Peace be (4.00)
    with you and your family, Brecht.

    In the nonpareil body of work by Mr. Zimmerman, these are my top five:

    Bringing it All Back Home
    Bob Dylan
    Highway 61 Revisited
    Blonde on Blonde
    The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

    •  Bringing it all Back Home (none)
      How could I forget that gem...

      Peace backatcha!

      The concept of war is outdated. Dalai Lama

      by x on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 11:15:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Terrance McNally play. (4.00)

         One Act.  "Bringing it All Back Home."  A group I was with in college staged it (this was spring 84, if I recall correctly).  I played the KIA Vietnam vet, Johnny, who, a couple of times during the play, climbed out of the casket as the lights go to blue and all other stage action (in the family living room) froze and gave soliloquies on the preciousness of life, and the damnable way everybody wastes theirs, and others' lives, through ignorance (generally) and wars like Vietnam (in particular).  

         I haven't thought of that in years.  It choked me up doing that monologue to the audience.  Choked up a few audience members, too, as I recall.  And, while Lebanon had recently happened, and our proxy war in Central America was ongoing, there was nothing that "timely" going on then, like now in Iraq.  

         If any of you have High School or college or community theater connections, you may want to consider reading this play and staging it where you are.

         BenGoshi
        __________________

         

        . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

        by BenGoshi on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 11:24:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If only for this one (none)
        song and its magnificent lyrics:

        "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)"

        "...While preachers preach of evil fates
        Teachers teach that knowledge waits
        Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
        Goodness hides behind its gates
        But even the president of the United States
        Sometimes must have to stand naked...."

        And I agree with you that he could certainly turn a phrase in his love songs:

        Sara

        "...How did I meet you? I don't know.
        A messenger sent me in a tropical storm.
        You were there in the winter, moonlight on the snow;
        and on Lily Pond Lane when the weather was warm...."

        •  Purple clover, (4.00)
          Queen Anne's Lace
          Crimson hair
          across your face

          You can make me cry
          if you don't know

          Can't remember  what I was thinkin' of
          ya might be spoilin' me too much love

          You're gonna make me lonesome
          when ya go.

          The concept of war is outdated. Dalai Lama

          by x on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 11:50:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  OOPS! (none)
      That Peace was for Brecht's loss.

      Peace on us all, anyways.  

      There's a DJ on KPFA who is a foremost Dylanologist.  He does some awesome Dylan shows, & he feels every note.  I forget his name or the day & time of his shows, but check out KPFA.org sometime & look him up.  & be prepared to tape it.

      The concept of war is outdated. Dalai Lama

      by x on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 11:26:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Peace for everyone (4.00)
        and cats and dogs too.

        But not mice.

        They're foul, dirty creatures.

        Just cats and dogs. And us.

        "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

        by Brecht on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 11:32:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good As I Been to You (none)
    Folk standards.

    My favorites: Canadee-i-o, Froggy Went A-Courtin'.

    Alex
    Choose Our President 2008

  •  Brecht (none)
    Sorry about your dad.  I read somewhere that no man fully becomes a man until after the death of his father.  I don't know what I really think about that, but I've pondered that quote several times since the death of my father a few years ago.  

    What I really want to say, though, is that your vacation sounded great, and combined with this question reminds me of some great vacations I've had with close friends who, like you and me, view music as an essential part of life.  The daily rhythm of those vacations in northern Michigan were quite similar to yours in Maine, but in the evenings involved lots of discussions like the one you started with this diary.  Favorite Beatles album.  Favorite song you were pretty sure everyone else around the fire hated.  Most passionately loved artist whose work you were introduced to by someone around that campfire.  Favorite traditional folk song.  The song that can make you tear up almost everytime you hear it (which for me is A Change is Gonna Come by the Soul Stirrers with Sam Cooke).  Those discussions are part of the glue that bonds me so tightly to those friends.  And your diary made me think of those friends, and those bonds, so thank you.

    BTW, what a great title.  Made me think of one of my favorite album titles, the Minutemen's "Three-Way Tie (For Last)."  

    Great diary, and it spawned a great discussion.

    The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

    by Dana Houle on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 12:49:38 PM PDT

    •  I'm okay, all things considered (none)
      Oh dear. I hope I won't "fully become a man" all of a sudden, as that would interfere with my plan to remain a boy-child forever.

      But when I am no longer am a boy-child, and they finally come to take me to eternity I hope that they'll be playing 'A Change is Gonna Come', or 'Blind Willie McTell', or 'My Ride's Here' or even, despite its having been in 'The Big Chill', 'You Can't Always Get What You Want.'

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 01:23:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i'm not well enough versed in bob dylan (none)
    but i really like blood on the tracks so i took your advice and bought blonde on blonde off itunes (cuz it's not as if you could find something so obscure used ;p).  i quite like it.  should get the other 11 used.  some good ol fashioned petroleum-based cds.

    "Private property means you get nothing"
    -Jeff Ott

    by mediaprisoner on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 08:13:53 PM PDT

    •  Starting collecting Dylan (none)
      I hope you like 'Blonde on Blonde'. The drunken parade songs ('Rainy Day Women' and 'Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat') took me awhile to get used too, since they can mess up the soft, pretty moods of the rest of the first half of the album. And I sometimes find 'Sad-eyed Lady' goes on too long. But 'Visions of Johanna', 'Memphis Blues Again' and 'I Want You' are classics and, along with the country and rock'n'roll and even a parody of 'Norwegian Wood', the whole thing ends up being Dylan's White Album.

      If you don't want to shell out all at once for 11 albums, you might try 'The Essential Bob Dylan' 2-CD collection. Here's what allmusic.com says about it:

      "A double-disc set released for the holiday season of 2000, The Essential Bob Dylan is a fine choice for the casual listener that just wants all the songs they know on one collection -- it's Dylan's equivalent of Beatles One. Outside of the remastering and the previously non-LP (and very good) "Things Have Changed," there's nothing here for collectors, but, then again, that's not who this was designed for. This collection is for the listener that wants "Blowin' in the Wind," "Like a Rolling Stone," "All Along the Watchtower," "Quinn the Eskimo," "Lay Lady Lay," and "Tangled Up in Blue" in one tidy place. Yes, it's easy to find great songs missing, but for those casual fans, and for those looking for a fairly comprehensive yet concise entry point, The Essential Bob Dylan comes close to living up to its title."

      Then again I have several friends and brothers who think a decent rock collection needs at least 30 Dylan albums.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Mon Aug 22, 2005 at 09:07:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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