Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Emmylou Harris, Dolores Keane, & Mary Black: Sonny

From the Bringing It All Back Home sessions in 1990 in Nashville. An early celebration of the connections between American country music and the music of Ireland, this project brought several Irish musicians, including Mary Black and Dolores Keane, to Music City for collaborations with the likes of Harris and John Prine. This is a really grim song, not one of my favorites at all in the history of grim Irish family dreams gone wrong songs, but it's worth the listening to hear the three sing togther. The back up band has some well known players, too: see if you can name them. And though the song itself sounds very traditional, it was actually written by Canadian songwriter Ron Hynes.

Harris, by the way, has new box set due out in a couple of weeks. A career retrospective for which she was involved in selecting the tracks, it is called Songbird,

Friday, August 24, 2007

Shine A Light trailer

Shine A Light - Trailer

Posted Aug 20, 2007

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese and the world's greatest rock 'n roll band, The Rolling Stones, unite to bring audiences the musical film event, "Shine A Light," a look at The Rolling Stones, the band that defined the very idea of what a rock & roll band is, live through the eyes of Scorsese.

The trailer doesn't look bad - which doesn't mean all that much, of course, since you know you're in deep trouble when even the trailer looks bad. But, Scorsese is going to have to pull out all stops to make this more memorable than the definitive Stones documentary, Gimme Shelter.

Thoughts that occurred while watching: You think Jagger has aged really well until you see that clip of a fey, elfin Mick from the `60s, a proof point of why even characters from Hair wanted to sleep with him; I laughed out loud when I heard the line about him bursting into flames if exposed to strong light for more than a few moments... I thought that would have been Keef.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cathie Ryan: Hard Times

The Cathie Ryan Band:Hard Times

Cathie Ryan sings Stephen Foster. The quality of the video isn't all that great, but still worth a look-- and listen. "I used to think I had to be either an Irish singer or an American singer," Ryan says."It's taken me quite some time to realize I can be both, I can bring both sides of my experience as an Irish American to my music." Taking on one the great American poet/songwriters and illuminating that connection, without saying a word about any of that, is what comes through here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm Not There Official Trailer

It just looks better and better.

“I may be jumping the gun,” Mr. Weinstein said, “but if Cate Blanchett doesn’t get nominated, I’ll shoot myself.”

Link to NY Times article on I'm Not There.

Allen Ginsberg - King of May

Allen Ginsberg is always welcome at the Series of Tubes, singing or not. Here he does a reading of Kral Majales or King of May, based on a real incident during a trip to Czechoslovakia.

On May 1, 1965, after being deported from Cuba (triggered by his calling Che Guevara "cute," according to Ginsberg) Ginsberg visited Czechoslovakia, and was supposedly spontaneously elected King of May by Prague's citizens during an outdoor parade. Celebrating Czech nationalism, the "King of May" election had long been banned by the communist régime and was the first of its kind in 20 years. The ceremony Ginsberg participated in - and may have helped plan - was in fact a carefully planned demonstration by a group of Czech students who would later stage the student uprising of 1968. Ginsberg was reportedly expelled by the authorities from Czechoslovakia several days later. The story was dutifully noted in the international press, but the source - a Czech student newspaper - is suspect, and Ginsberg noted in a later interview that he had planned to leave on that date, so it's problematic as to whether he was officially shown the door.

Sitting next to Ginsberg during the reading is an unfortunately silent Neal Cassady, "Dean Moriarty," in Jack Kerouac's On the Road, and probably by this time one of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters. Footage of Cassady is rare and unusual to see, most of it is out-of-focus, low-quality film shot by the Pranksters during one of their various road trips. It's too bad that he has nothing more than a supporting role in this clip.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Joan Baez and Phil Spector - You've Lost that Loving Feeling

This one ranks right up there with Patti Smith doing You Light Up My Life for weird, unexpected pleasure. The night, as the promo poster has it, "when the in crowd turned out to see the in crowd." Filmed at The Moulin Rouge Club in Los Angeles, sometime in 1966, and released in October of that year. A very nervous - or stoned, he appears to be holding a joint - Donovan introduces Joanie who does maybe not the best version of The Righteous Brothers classic, but certainly pulls off a journeyman's job, and it's nice to see her attempting to work out of her comfort area.

It made me wonder whether the idea for the cover came out of her recording sessions with brother-in-law Richard Farina, who was producing a so-called "rock-'n-roll" album for her at the time of his death, the same year as The Big T.N.T Show was filmed. Baez ultimately decided not to release the sessions, citing that the material was too different in style for her, and not very good. But it's more likely simply to have been that Phil Spector, who is backing Joan on piano, co-wrote the song, and produced The Big T.N.T. Show.

As well as Baez, Spector, and Donovan, the Byrds, Ray Charles, Petula Clark, Bo Diddley, The Lovin' Spoonful, David McCallum - who was a teen heart throb at the time thanks to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and conducted a big band version of Satisfaction - Roger Miller, The Modern Folk Quartet, the Ronettes, and Ike and Tina Turner all appeared in the 93-minute concert film. Notables in the audience included Frank Zappa and Series of Tubes favorite, Sky Saxon of the Seeds. The Big T.N.T. Show occasionally shows up on one of the cable channels, usually when TMC or the like is having a rock-and-roll theme night. If you get the chance to catch it, go for it.

Bob Dylan and Suze Rotolo

A nicely-done fan created slideshow from a series of photographs taken of a very young Dylan and his then girlfriend, Suze Rotolo. It's obvious that Dylan was on a full James Dean kick at the time, especially in the scholarly poses with glasses, looking just like a studious Dean. According to Joan Baez, Dylan's eyesight was so poor he could barely see anything without glasses, but seldom wore them, even when driving.

Rotolo is now an artist who teaches at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. After decades of relative silence about her relationship with Dylan, Rotolo has given several interviews in recent years discussing their time together in Greenwich Village. She and her husband also were involved in putting on a memorial event for Dave Van Ronk after the singer's death in 2002.

Rotolo has a memoir coming out in 2008 - A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties - described as a "wonderfully romantic story of their sweet but sometimes wrenching love affair and its eventual collapse under the pressure of Dylan’s growing fame."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem: Farewell Angelina

Farewell Angelina is one of those songs -- and Dylan certainly wrote more than one of them-- where an early challenge any singer has to face is, who the heck is this person singing the song? What point of view is this, and how does it all work together? Then there's the music to underpin it, to help the words make sense-- or words to help the music make sense, if you will. Here's Rani Arbo coming up with her unqiue approach to those tasks backed by an arrangement by Anand Nayak, the guitar player you see here. Other members of daisy mayhem are Scott Kessel on percussion and Andrew Kinsey on bass. The band has recorded the song on their latest CD, which is a really excellent bit of acoustic music, songwritng, harmony, and other fine stuff. It is called Big Old Life.

Patti Smith - You Light Up My Life

Not a typo, no. and not from some alternate universe. Patti Smith doing an irony-free cover of the Debby Boone chestnut.

I love Patti, and the interview she gives on Kids Are People Too before she sings is a primo example of why. Smith is someone who is so in love with the idea of rock-and-roll that when she embraced it, it in turn it embraced her.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

James Van Streeter And His Wig Poppers

Not Illinois Jacquet as the YouTube title claims, who in style and looks he does somewhat resemble, but James E. Streeter, who billed himself Germanically as both "Van" and "Von" Streeter with several members of his wonderfully-named band, The Wig Poppers, who for the purposes of the movie are going under the group alias "The Fisherman."

This is a scene from the classic 1950 noir film, D.O.A., and might have been Streeter's breakout opportunity, but his cuts were unusable for the soundtrack and were overdubbed by another saxophonist. Streeter, a heroin addict, would die in 1960.

Karen Dalton - God Bless the Child

Good news for fans of the lady - Karen Dalton - who Dylan called one of his favorites when he was performing at the Cafe Wha?. There's a new 2-CD set coming out chronicling Dalton's 1962 performances at a Boulder, Colorado club.

According to the latest news Cotton Eyed Joe will be released - at least in Europe - on August 27, 2007. No word from the U.S. distributors, Delmore Recordings, on their release, but hopefully around the same time frame. The U.S. package reportedly will include a DVD with "live footage of Karen Dalton circa 1969-70." This appears to be the material from a French documentary that was included on the 2006 European re-release of Dalton's album, In My Own Time, but was not part of the U.S. package. The clip above of Dalton doing God Bless the Child is from that documentary, as is the earlier clip we posted of Dalton doing It Hurts Me Too.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Eddi Reader: My Love Is Like a Red Red Rose

Really, this needs no words from me (though I'll have more to say about Eddi Reader later on). Just listen.

Merv Griffin - I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts

With The Freddy Martin Band. Griffin's hit of 1950, composed in 1944 by Fred Heatherton, an English songwriter, celebrating the traditional coconut shy of funfairs. For non-British readers, a "funfair" is the English equivalent of a traveling carnival and "coconut shy" is a game of throwing wooden balls at a row of coconuts balanced on posts.

The song was originally sung and a hit for Danny Kaye during the same year.

I spent many an afternoon after school watching The Merv Griffin Show and Griffin regulars such as Arthur Treacher, Jack Sheldon, and perennial audience member, Mrs. Miller. Although usually considered an also-ran against the Carson Tonight Show juggernaut, I'm pretty sure my first exposure to such powerhouse comedians as Dick Gregory, Richard Pryor, and George Carlin was through The Merv Griffin Show. Apropos of nothing except that every one of her appearances stuck in my memory, I also first saw "Moms" Mabley on the Griffin show, pretty much at the nadir of her career by that time, later learning that she at one time had been one of the most successful entertainers of the black vaudeville circuit, earning $10,000 a week at Harlem's Apollo Theater at the height of her career.

I also remember the infamous Abbie Hoffman appearance in April 1970, where censors blacked/blurred out Hoffman's torso, so viewers couldn't see the American Flag shirt Hoffman wore. Interestingly, a thread here indicates that the original tape of that appearance was either, lost, stolen, or purposedly destroyed.

Griffin died this Sunday at age 82.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fairport Convention - Si Tu Dois Partir/Bob Dylan - If You Gotta Go, Go Now

Here's an obscure nugget, Fairport Convention doing a French/Cajun version of Dylan's "If You Gotta Go..." written in 1965, but never officially released until 1991's The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3. It was covered by Manfred Mann, and appeared as a track on the first rock-and-roll bootleg, Great White Wonder. As to the story behind Si Tu Dois Partir, according to the (Mostly) English Folk Music site:

The story goes that Fairport Convention was playing a gig at the Middle Earth and thought it would be amusing to do Dylan's song in French cajun style, so the band called for volunteers from the audience to help with the translation. Richard Thompson: “About three people turned up, so it was really written by committee, and consequently ended up not very cajun, French or Dylan.”
And here's Mr. D. doing the original...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Timi Yuro - Hurt

While I don't agree with the anonymous commenter's assessment of Janis Joplin in the earlier video, I appreciate his/her opinion - we appreciate anyone taking the time and care to comment, btw, whether we agree with you or not- and for his/her reminding me of the great, underappreciated Timi Yuro (born Rosemary Timotea Yuro).

Here's a clip of Yuro performing her classic Hurt, accompanied by a slide show of photos and album covers. There's also a video of an older Yuro performing Hurt available on YouTube, but I think I prefer hearing her at the height of her powers.

was originally recorded in 1961 when Yuro was only 21 years old, and charted to #4 in the U.S. In `62 she'd have another hit, What's A Matter Baby (Is It Hurting You?) which went to #12 on the Billboard charts, and was mixed by Phil Spector, although Yuro and Spector reportedly battled throughout the song's creation. Her obituary in the Guardian Unlimited noted that,

A subsequent single, The Love Of A Boy, was arranged and co-written by Burt Bacharach, but she refused to sing a follow-up, What The World Needs Now, in the way he wanted. The song became a hit for both Dionne Warwick and Jackie DeShannon.
In 1963, Yuro released Make the World Go Away, an album of country and blues standards, that includes the title song by Hank Cochran, and songs by Willie Nelson.

Yuro would leave the music business after her marriage in 1969. She'd stage a comeback in the `80s, but would be diagnosed with cancer and eventually succumb to the disease in 2004.

The Makem Brothers

Remembering Tommy Makem, as we have been recently, here is a video from some years back, although it is undated on YouTube. Tommy Makem introduces his sons, Shane, Conor, and Rory, and friend Brian Sullivan to sing sea songs. These days, the Makem Brothers perform with the Spain Brothers at festivals and on record, still carrying on the music.

altan and mary black: green grow the rushes

Mary Black, Altan, and Paul Brady at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow...that'd be a dream gig, you'd think and it was. This was in January 2006 and I had the good fortune to be there. Mairead, lead singer and ace fiddler with Altan, was losing her voice though, which had Mary stepping in for more singing than she'd planned -- and that's why she's got the lyrics written out on a page here. Burns song in the heart of Burns country as a last minute fill in with someone else's band and arrangement -- it was actually delightfully informal to see her glancing at the lyrics now and then in the midst of this big deal concert and never missing a beat.
A gig not to be forgotten, and this excerpt from the BBC coverage brings bit of it home.

Tom Jones and Janis Joplin - Raise Your Hand

Tom Jones and Janis doing a powerhouse version of Raise Your Hand that feels like it may have moved the studio by a few inches. Erroneously dated "1970" in the roll, it was taped on September 21, 1969 and broadcast December 6th of that year. She'd be gone less than a year later at age 27.

They're backed by the band that Janis formed after leaving Big Brother that never had an "official" name, but came to be known as the Kozmic Blues Band, after the title of the only album they'd record with Joplin. Reports had it that Janis had wanted the full Stax/Motown/Aretha Franklin sort of sound for her new band, but - an untrained vocalist - she had a tendency to try to shout over the horns, and was blowing her voice out in live performances. She'd retire the Kozmic Blues Band and form her final group, Full Tilt Boogie, in May of 1970.

Janis Joplin died on October 6, 1970 in Hollywood, CA of a heroin overdose while cutting her final album Pearl with Full Tilt Boogie. It's useless to speculate what might have become of Joplin had she lived. 37 years from 1970 she'd be 64, maybe a happy retired grandmother, maybe - like some of her peers - still singing the blues to an older, appreciative crowd. But instead we have her frozen on film and tape and disc and vinyl, eternally 25, 26, 27, heading full tilt towards October 6, 1970.

I miss her awful.

Moonshiner - Bob Forrest/ The Bottle Song - The Clancy Brothers

I’ve been a moonshiner
For seventeen long years.
I’ve spent all my money
On whisky and beer.
I go to some hollow
And set up my still,
An’ if whisky don’t kill me
Then I don’t know what will.

I go to some bar room,
And drink with my friends,
Where the women can’t follow
And see what I spend.
God bless them pretty women
I wish they was mine,
Their breath is as sweet as
The dew on the vine.

Let me eat when I’m hungry
Let me drink when I’m dry,
Dollars when I’m hard up
Religion when I die.
The whole world’s a bottle
And life’s but a dram,
When the bottle gets empty
It sure ain’t worth a damn.

I'm not familiar with Bob Forrest, but found his performance of Moonshiner after learning that his version will be included on the soundtrack of the upcoming Dylan biopic I'm Not There.

Sometimes mistakenly attributed to Dylan, Moonshiner is a traditional song known under various titles, including Moonshiner Blues and The Bottle Song. Dylan recorded his bleak, disillusioned arrangement - faithfully replicated by Forrest - in 1962, but the song was not officially released until 1991's Bootleg Series Volume 1. The song also appears on various bootlegs, most originating with the so-called Gaslight Tape of 1962.

Here's a different, upbeat take on Moonshiner, performed by the Clancy Brothers and Robbie O'Connell. It's possible Dylan first heard the song from the Clancys, and decided to come up a 180 degree different arrangement.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Singing in Scots: Julie Fowlis

Julie Fowlis, from North Uist in the Outer Hebrides, has proved one of the fastest rising young stars of Gaelic music in the last three years. This is a sort of home video version, certainly, of a gig in Dingwall, Scotland. The ending sounds like the tape was out of timing, but that's a minor flaw. Along with the video of Cathie Ryan singing in Irish, below, it does give you an idea of what singing in the Celtic languages is like when done by two of the best at it. Even if you've no clue what they are talking about, they hold your attention and they communicate. Whether or not that helps you think about the Dylan project, that's up to you.

More good stuff on Scots music at

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Singing in Irish: Cathie Ryan

Fred (and other readers),
I'm going to have to think about that a bit to come up with a comment about Bob Dylan in Scots Gaelic.Many Irish and Scots artists have covered Dylan -- but they usually sing in English. Really fine versions of Dylan songs by Mary Black, Altan, Danu, Dervish, many others.

While I am thinking about this, I would not want you to be without a video. The people in your post are talking of Scots Gaelic, and she's singing in Irish, of which Scots Gaelic is an offshoot, but anyway, here is a link to a quicktime video of Cathie Ryan singing PeataBeagDoMhathar.

Gaelic is the Loving Tongue

I'm breaking my self-imposed rule, as there is no music video connected with this one - yet - but I found the story so fascinating that I decided to post it anyway. And it looks like it would be perfect for my colleague, Kerry's, plate.

via Northings - the Highlands and Islands Art Journal - comes this fascinating, if occasionally dense, article by Rody Gorman, a Skye-based Gaelic translator and poet. Unfortunately, the main body of the article is in PDF format, which requires you to use Acrobat Reader to open. I hope Rody or someone eventually puts this into HTML. I volunteer to do it gratis if you're reading this, Rody.

Inspired by Roddy Woomble's Ballads Of The Book project melding the talents of the contemporary Scottish writing and music communities, Woomble and Gorman are working on a spin-off to produce a CD of Bob Dylan songs translated and sung in Gaelic. Here's an excerpt of Gorman's translation of Dylan's Buckets of Rain.

Sileadh (Buckets of Rain)

Sileadh gun euradh, sileadh nan deur,
Cur thairis le sileadh, mo thruaighe gheur,
Sileadh on ghealaich na mo chròg.
Bheir mi dhut gaol gu sìorraidh, mo rùn geal òg.

- Translation © Rody Gorman, 2007

Even though I know more Yiddish than Gaelic, I can hear those words singing in my head.

Well worth the hassle of loading the PDF file and dealing with the article's occasional academic rat-hole digression, Gorman explores and translates Dylan songs including Knockin' On Heaven's Door, and It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, and a few older songs where Dylan's music has its roots, such as Corrina, Corrina.

It's hard to tell from the article how close Gorman is to making the CD reality. Have any takers, Kerry?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Bob Dylan - Positively 4th Street Unreleased Video Promo

I haven't researched this one thoroughly, but the original poster claims it to be an unreleased video originally created to promote Dylan's single release of Positively 4th Street. Since that single was released in 1965, the first thought to occur to me was, "a promo for where?" What venue would Columbia possibly have used this for in 1965? Certainly not television. For a sales meeting? It looks more like a promo for either Don't Look Back, or even No Direction Home, as most of the visuals appear to be from the 1965 tour, and it appears way too modern to have been released in `65. The opening few seconds are Dylan doing a sound check of Tell Me, Mama in an empty hall, which looks like it's direct from the Manchester Free Trade concert.

In any case, it's a somewhat weird, even creepy, video, with near-hysterical Beatlesque-type fans, people noting their distaste for Dylan, people claiming to be friends of Dylan, one person claiming to be Dylan. A pretty accurate reflection of that insane time, I would guess, but understandable why it was shelved if it's real.

More on this as I come across it

Michael Boston - Steel Bars

Because we love - and listen to - our readers here at Series of Tubes, here's an excerpt of Mr. Bolton performing Steel Bars in Dublin - the somg he co-wrote with Mr. D. :-)

And you can find the full lyrics at Dylan's site.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Old Crow Medicine Show - Wagon Wheel

Bob Dylan has done a number of songwriting collaborations over the years with partners as varied as Jacques Levy to Michael Bolton. There's even been some imaginary Dylan collaborations, such as his mythical team-up with ex-Monkee Mike Nesmith to supposedly create Nesmith's song Rio.

Here's a real Dylan collaboration with an unusual twist. Dylan originally developed Rock Me, Mama, a.k.a Wagon Wheel, during the 1973 studio sessions for his under-appreciated movie soundtrack album - Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. As with many of the songs recorded during the Mexico City and L.A. sessions that produced the movie's soundtrack, Wagon Wheel never was completed much past a basic melody and the refrain,

"Rock me, mama, in the wind and the rain,
Rock me, mama, like a southbound train.
Rock me, mama, anyway you feel.
Rock me mamma, like a wagon wheel."

As noted in a Wikipedia article, the inspiration for Rock Me, Mama probably derives from Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's original song of the same name, although I couldn't find any evidence of the writer's assertion that any version of Crudup's original ever contained the line, "roll me like a wagon wheel."

In any case, Dylan's take on Rock Me, Mama was left off the final release of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, but surfaced in the bootleg Peco's Blues [sic], which can also be found under the alternate title Lucky Luke. As an aside, if you can lay your hand on the bootleg under either name, the completist Dylan fan will probably find it rewarding, as it contains several nice instrumentals that never made it to the finished album, plus lots of studio chatter from the recording sessions.

Ketch Secor, a member of one my favorite Americana/Roots groups Old Crow Medicine Show, must have come across Rock Me, Mama at some point and revised/finished the song under the title Wagon Wheel. The adaptation was obviously done with Dylan's blessing, as the copyright reads: Wagon Wheel by Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor (Bug Music, BMI).

The band apparently was performing a version of the song as early as 2001; one of its first uses was to commemorate Dylan's 60th birthday during an OCMS live performance in Nashville. Wagon Wheel was officially released on Old Crow Medicine Show's 2004 album, O.C.M.S. The song was one of the hit singles of that hit album (and a major hit among Americana fans, selling well over 100,000 copies), and numbers among its fans Garrison Keillor, who regularly requests Wagon Wheel during Old Crow Medicine Show's frequent appearances on A Prairie Home Companion.

The above is the "official" video of Wagon Wheel, with a slightly ribald 1800 hootchie-cootchi flavored carnival theme. As a special bonus, look for a cameo by OCMS friends and sometimes collaborators, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

455 Rocket: Kathy Mattea

Several posts back, Fred told us of his respect for singer and songwriter Gillian Welch.. Country Grammy winner Kathy Mattea also likes Welch’s writing. Mattea, who’s been known to sing deeply serious, thoughtful material, also thinks songs which make make you laugh are just as important, and she’s recorded a few of those, including this video of Welch’s 455 Rocket. Embedding has been turned off but you may view that here.
Welch and David Rawlings join Mattea for the video.

On the more serious side, Mattea’s current project, due out in early 2008, is a CD of coal mining songs, which bring together the West Virginia native's love of music, family history, and concern for the environment. More on this project, called simply Coal, at her website.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Anita O'Day - Let Me Off Uptown

There's a new documentary out on Ms. O'Day: Anita O'Day - The Life of a Jazz Singer - that is getting good reviews and probably well worth hunting down if you're lucky enough to live somewhere slightly less rural than New Hampshire. The last documentary that played in my home town was Our Friend, the Beaver at the Grange Hall. I also recommend Anita O'Day's gritty, noirish biography, High Times, Hard Times.

Bryant Gumbel: "Your personal experiences include rape, abortion, jail, heroin addiction..."

Anita O'Day: "That's just the way it went down, Bryant."

Here's the trailer for Anita O'Day - The Life of a Jazz Singer

Tommy Makem - Four Green Fields

In August 1969, Makem went to sing at the Free Derry Fleadh, a festival meant to give some hope to the people of a town he loved so well, a town that bore the brunt of the bloodshed and battered heads of the Troubles. I've talked to maybe 20 people from Derry over the years who say that hearing Makem's version of "Four Green Fields" was their last great memory, before the north of Ireland descended into complete madness.
Kevin Cullen - The Boston Globe, August 2, 2007

Full article

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bob Dylan - Spirit on the Water, Bethel Woods, NY

Neither "over the hill" nor "past his prime," as the crowd-pleasing lyrics have it, Dylan in 2007, in full Vincent Price mode. Very Happy

The fan-shot video is one of the better I've seen, not shaky, complete, and with some great close-ups. Note the (wedding?) band Dylan is wearing on his ring finger, which you can spot when he pulls out his harmonica towards the end of the song. Lots of speculation about that ring, which appeared on Dylan's hand sometime around the 2006 baseball stadium tour.

The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem - When The Ship Comes In

via Bloomberg News:

Aug. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Tommy Makem, the musician, singer and master storyteller who teamed with the Clancy Brothers to popularize traditional Irish folk music around the world, has died. He was 74.

Makem died in New Hampshire yesterday from lung cancer, according to a posting on his Web site.

Playing banjo, tin whistle and singing in a deep baritone, Makem was known as the ``Godfather of Irish music'' for bringing Irish culture to mass audiences. His original songs, such as ``Four Green Fields'' and ``Gentle Annie,'' have become Irish folk music standards.

``He was a great entertainer,'' his lifelong collaborator Liam Clancy told RTE state radio, ``He had a knack of making an audience laugh and cry, holding them in the palm of his hand.''

Working with the Clancy Brothers -- Liam, Tom and Paddy -- Makem shot to fame in the late 1950s and early 1960s, playing to sold-out audiences at New York's Carnegie Hall and London's Royal Albert Hall. They appeared on the ``Ed Sullivan Show,'' ``The Tonight Show'' and every U.S. television network, making them at one time ``the four most famous Irishmen in the world,'' according to Makem's Web site.

A Post From Your Host

We received an email from our ad serving company - Revlayer - yesterday, noting that they've suspended their Beta, pulling the product in for "additional development," and in fact they have even taken their site off-line. So for the immediate future videos on Series of Tubes will be ad-free, although we'll still be showing ads on the right column.
Personally, out of many ad solutions I've tried and tested, I liked revlayer, which I thought fairly inoffensive. From a technical side, they seemed to have some problems displaying the ads - you'd sometimes see naked code, links wouldn't work properly, and so on. And they definitely need more work on the customer support side. I still have no idea whether I earned any money or not (I suspect not) over the Beta.

But, as the saying goes, it was a Beta. I hope that this isn't dissembling and that they will be back.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Saltwater Music: Del Suggs

Del Suggs was born on the Florida Gulf Coast, and that saltwater connection has influenced his music all his life. Jimmy Buffet meets James Taylor, with maybe a dash of Steve Martin thrown in for laughs, is what you may think if you chance on a Del Suggs show. In this clip, he tells of a character from a bit further west along coastal waters. Bayou Josie is her name.

WFSU outloud: Del Suggs & Friends - Bayou Josie

Chuck Parker, Pete Winter, and Danica Winter are among the friends who sit in on this gig, from the studios of WFSU -TV.

Bob Dylan - I Threw It All Away; Living the Blues; Girl from the North Country

Note that the first few seconds of this 9-minute clip - Johnny Cash's introduction of Dylan - has no audio. Mislabeled on Google Video as simply the duet of Girl from the North Country with Johnny Cash, this is actually Dylan's full May 1969 performance at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville for The Johnny Cash Show.

As with the One Too Many Mornings clip below, this shows Dylan in full "new" country-western voice that he'd use for Nashville Skyline and for many of the songs on 1970's Self Portrait where the very Hank Snow-like Living the Blues would appear.

Dylan seems very nervous throughout, licking his lips between songs, looking everywhere except at the the audience. Probably not all that surprising as it was only Dylan's second public performance after his 1966 motorcycle crash (in 1968 Dylan had performed at a tribute for Woody Guthrie in New York City, and later in 1969 he would take the stage again for the Isle of Wight Festival). Added to that was the pressure of his performing in front of a Nashville audience that might react poorly and the risk Dylan was taking of alienating his core audience with this radically changed approach to his music.

After the show, a visibly relieved Dylan returned to Johnny Cash's house with a group that included Earl Scruggs, Graham Nash, Nash's then-girlfriend Joni Mitchell, and Kris Kristofferson. Nash recalls Sara Dylan sitting there crying at the drama of the moment.