Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by DeeThomaz, Sep 24, 2015.
Wonder what this is?
The mystery thickens!
I'm guessing this has nothing to do with BS13. Maybe some sort of video retrospective? Or the Rolling Thunder tour doc that Scorsese's been rumored to be involved with? Obviously the photos they used of Dylan in his logo are from different eras, but that doesn't mean anything necessarily.
Personally, I'd love for them to start a new video Bootleg series of sorts. A new DVD/Blu-ray every year or two years? Why not!?
Maybe they are producing the video content for the Gospel Years?
Multiple packages available?
1 - big (8 disc?) studio audio, live audio, live video
2 - 2 disc studio only
3 - cd/dvd live only
It's probably one of those dopey cobbled together unofficial documentaries.
Eagle Rock is generally more legit than that.
Fair enough, but wouldn't anything "big" be released through Columbia/Legacy?
Maybe not? Video could be put out by Eagle Rock, while audio on Columbia. Ask a savvy Rolling Stones fan, they would know the nitty gritty on this stuff.
Makes some sense, I guess.
A big step down from Shot Of Love and a waste of so many superb songs.
In 2014, I listened to all of Dylan's albums, along with plenty of bootlegs, much of the material being my first listen. When it came to the 80's, aside from Infidels, everything was new for me. Oh Mercy was a very welcome respite and a marked improvement over, well, frankly, most of what came between it and Infidels. Plenty of gems in that stretch, and some lightweight fun (the Hearts On Fire stuff for instance, very 80's, but in a good way!) but never a set as consistent and powerful as Oh Mercy. Right after playing through Oh Mercy, my playlist moved onto the bootleg version, mainly early mixes of the master takes. While that was playing, I was inspired to write a song, specifically inspired by What Good Am I? I wrote a song called Life Is Too Short, and wound up doing a home recording that same day after work.
As interesting as both versions are, I don't know that either would fit in with the album. Personally, they aren't even my favorite versions. Aside from the excellent Dream Syndicate cover (one of my all-time fave Dylan covers), I really dig how he played the song live a few years back. When I saw him in 2013, the way he sang it, it could have come off of Modern Times or Love And Theft. It was so natural, that it didn't seem so much a reimagining, as many of his older songs take on a novel quality, but that he had only, all these years later, figured out how the song was supposed to go.
From what you've said I'm guessing you probably prefer Infidels to Oh Mercy? It's interesting (to me) because when Oh Mercy originally came out I read the rave reviews and I'd been listening to a pre-release cassette given to me by an "insider" in the Dylan camp. I was pretty blown away by Oh Mercy to be honest BUT at the time I kept thinking that records like Infidels and Empire Burlesque (which got a much better press reception overall than Infidels) had been mistakenly passed over by the wider music press. I was convinced by the argument that Dylan had purposefully set out to make 'bad records' after the failure of Empire Burlesque, an album he had obviously slaved over for a while and was quite desperate to see win major popular acceptance with its cutting edge sound and trendy production re-mix guru at the helm. When that album tanked Dylan must have wondered why he even bothered to make albums any more. This explains the slipshod quality of its immediate successors.....until Oh Mercy.
The latter album represents to me the PERFECT 1980's DYLAN ALBUM. All through the decade he had been struggling to sound relevant at a time of the emergence of MTV, the rise of the mega pop stars like Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson, not to mention Bruce Springsteen. He had never sounded particularly convincing and his vocals had become more nasally and whiney which didn't help his cause much either. He lost the art of being Bob Dylan. Truth be told, no one had a clue how to make a great Dylan album at that time until Daniel Lanois met him and agreed to produce him. Lanois was most definitely the 'in' producer at the time and somehow helped to reshape Dylan into a powerful contemporary force once again. Note how a song like Man In The Long Black Coat actually uses his shattered vocal chords to great effect? Gone are the pinched nasally vocals and attempts to sing in a higher register. His words and delivery sound laconic but purposeful, nothing's wasted here, he's a preacher delivering his sermon on the mount. He has something interesting to say and we want to hear it.
I heard a discussion on BBC Radio 4 at the time about Oh Mercy and much like a lot of the pop press of the day, the conclusion was that Oh Mercy was Dylan's best and most welcome album since Blood On The Tracks. A correspondent on the air said that the lyrics were so poetic and concise that they'd look as great on paper as they sound sung by Dylan with his withered crumpled voice. I think the reputation of Oh Mercy might have subsided a little over the ensuing decades and that might be in part due to the decade it was made, a decade a lot of artists of Dylan's age found it a struggle to sound contemporary and relevant. But taken within the context of its time, Oh Mercy still sounds like one of the great Lanois productions and in that sense it is part of a smallish canon of great albums associated with its producer as well as being an important and distinctive album in Dylan's own body of work: the quintessential 80's Dylan album in my opinion. It only took him a decade of attempts to get there.
P.S. - a question I've had since 1989 and I don't know if anyone else has ever asked this or indeed if anyone has an answer but right at the end of Man In The Long Black Coat someone screams out "Whooaawwww!!" Was it Lanois? The first time I heard the song I exclaimed something similar! I'd like to think it was someone in the studio being blown away by Dylan, the song and the performance. It's a great moment; I'd love to know who it was and why they did that!
Out of interest, what other Lanois-produced albums would you include in that canon?
Brian Eno - Apollo Atmospheres & soundtracks
Peter Gabriel - So
U2 - The Joshua Tree
Neville Brothers - Yellow Moon
Robbie Robertson - Robbie Robertson
U2 - Achtung Baby
Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball
Bob Dylan - Time Out Of Mind
I'm confused on why we think this could be related to Gospel Years (BS13) or Rolling Thunder (Scorsese) based on the pictures.
Willie Nelson - Teatro
Something from the 30th anniversary concert???
I would also add his own album, ACADIE.
I'm also enjoying Lanois' own 'Goodbye To Languague'.
I hope that if he do see another Dylan/Lanois record it has the 'live production' Lanois sound rather than the 'post production' sound.
I think that in recent years Lanois has learned how to put the spooky trademark sound into a live situation maybe a little more than he might've in the 1980s or 1990s. I'm imagining a Dylan/Lanois album that sounds something like this:
Yes, I also like this and Neil Young's Le Noise but I'm not sure I think either is 'great'.
Willie Nelson -Triejo
Neil Young Le Noise
(Two of my favorites)
You can make a tasty mix of Lanois-produced tracks from that era.
I love Oh Mercy - still think it is under-rated. Replacing 'Teardrops' with 'Dreams' really puts it right up there with his very best.
I've never cared for Series Of Dreams or Dignity all that much. I prefer God Knows and Born In Time. My "perfect" Oh Mercy would add those two and knock out Disease Of Conceit, whilst extending Political World to its original length.
I can't imagine losing that sax solo in Where Teardrops Fall either!
One if my favorite (somewhat) recent Dylan quotes: "Soloing is not a big part of my records anyway. Nobody buys them to hear solos."
Bob Dylan Breaks Out "Billy" in Sweden, Talks New Album in Website Interview
I wouldn't say I prefer Infidels to Oh Mercy, or vice versa. I think they're both strong albums. Taking the individual tracks, I probably do get more out of the songs from Infidels. But I'd call them more accessible. There's a darker tone to the entire affair, and it requires a certain mood, or a willingness and engagement to let it change your mood. I think his writing style too, not just in theme and content, but structure, changed too. A lot of his eighties songs have a sort of "obvious" quality to them, that you almost know how a verse will end when you're only halfway through. That, in of itself, is not a criticism, just an observation. However, when the content starts to dip, that kind of style only highlights it even more.
I also happen to rate Series Of Dreams and Dignity quite high. They are probably better left off the album, though. They are far more pop-sounding. Definitely a different mood than Oh Mercy, but, in their own way, they are of the same high quality. Series Of Dreams might be the best song U2 never recorded.
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