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Bob Dylan - "Band of the Hand (It's Hell Time, Man!)"

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by RayS, Feb 20, 2015.

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  1. jpmosu

    jpmosu a.k.a. Mr. Jones

    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    For me, "Band" isn't in the same league as "Groom's Still Waiting," but I do like a good Dylan rant. And since it dates from an era when Bob didn't always seem to be trying that hard, "Band" was a welcome jolt of energy. I remember getting a promo copy of the soundtrack when I was working for my college paper, but I don't think I ever made it past Side 1, Track 1.

    According to Wikipedia, Stevie Nicks contributes backing vocals on "Band." Who knew? :)
     
  2. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower Thread Starter

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    I don't know the answer as to why Dylan took on the project, but surely there must have been some special reason (the content of the film, a personal connection with a director or producer) because one would assume most any "B" quality straight-to-video (or close to it) film like this would love to have Bob Dylan write and sing its title song.

    As much as Dylan wrote some songs with great subtlety, he also wrote many that might be classified as "very heavy-handed and simpleminded", going all the way back to "The Death of Emmitt Till" and "The Ballad of Donald White", and certainly peaking in the "Gospel period". As you implied quite a ways back, "Band of the Hand" is a cousin to "Slow Train".

    "It's always the same, the name of the game, is who do you know higher up?" could have come from "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll". "Witchcraft scum, exploiting the dumb, turning children into punks and slaves" clearly comes from the same pen as the man who observed "old men turning young daughters into whores" and nuns being killed in the fighting on the border.
     
  3. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower Thread Starter

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    I didn't know that, but I do recall Stevie guesting at one of the Dylan/Heartbreakers shows during the Australian leg of the '86 tour when "Band of the Hand" was recorded. With that, and her history with Petty, it sure makes sense. I'll be damned if I can hear her.
     
  4. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower Thread Starter

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    I can say with all honesty that it's not the worst film Dylan's ever been associated with ... but that's nothing saying much, eh? :)
     
  5. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower Thread Starter

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    I don't have any ax to grind against "Clean Cut Kid", but "He went to church on Sunday, he was a boy scout, for his friends he would turn his pockets inside out" is pretty clumsy and forced (though he gets crediting for amending the line when he re-recorded the song).
     
  6. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower Thread Starter

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    Look who I've got on my side. :)

     
  7. Brian_Svoboda

    Brian_Svoboda Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    People focus all the time on Dylan's lyrics, and not enough on his music. And what struck me most about BOTH when I first heard it was how strongly the music reinforced the song's apocalyptic message: the gospel vocals, the ascending and descending guitar pattern, the tightness and deliberateness of the band, and the lack of self-parody in Dylan's voice. It's an exciting song to listen to. In that, BOTH reminds me of his performance of "License to Kill" on Letterman in 1984. On "Infidels," "License" is almost a throwaway, seemingly built around a man-smart-woman-smarter cliche that the music does little to advance. But on Letterman, backed with the Plugz, the song becomes a full-on anti-Enlightenment rant: "with GUI-TAHH," as the Clash might have said. The performance draws out what the song is really trying to say, and makes it umpteen times better. Maybe that's why the '79-80 gospel performances, like the one Ray posted, are held in such high esteem: Dylan had a killer band and the performances were completely committed. And maybe that's why BOTH is a hidden treasure buried in a field.

     
  8. lschwart

    lschwart Senior Member

    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    I agree that the prime value of the single is the shallop of the music and the intensity of the vocal performance. It's not on the lyrical side a masterpiece, nor is the music itself powerfully original or clever, etc. It's just forcefully performed and, yes, for better or worse, it reinforces the sentiment of the lyric.

    As far as political subtlety is concerned, that's just not something I'd ever go to Dylan for. He's really good with indignation and anger, but he's primarily concerned, when he's concerned with politics at all, with the feelings that political situations create. Subtle analysis or even just representation of political realities is not his thing.

    L.
     
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  9. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sheboygan, WI
    He fine tuned that joke when we saw him to "Next time someone asks what time it is, tell 'em it's Hell Time, man" (slight pause, lifting up arm as if to glance at a watch) Then see what they say."

    Maybe you had to be there.
     
  10. lschwart

    lschwart Senior Member

    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    How did my "w" become an "s?"

    L.
     
  11. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower Thread Starter

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    My father used to tell me that you shouldn't do a job with a sledgehammer when it really calls for a pair of tweezers. This theme, and this set of lyrics, though, called for a musical "sledgehammer" to go with them. Subtle it is not, and that's fine with me.
     
  12. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower Thread Starter

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    I was happy to see him supporting the record by playing the song most nights in 1986. "Knocked Out Loaded" and "Down in the Groove" ("Silvio" excepted) would never see any such support.
     
  13. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged

    Location:
    Boise, ID.
    I got to see him do Sally Sue Brown once!
    :wiggle:
     
  14. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower Thread Starter

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    You're one up on me there! I have gotten "When Did You Leave Heaven?", "Rank Strangers to Me", "Had a Dream About You Baby" and "Driftin' Too Far From Shore". But that took a lot of shows and a lot of miles!
     
  15. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged

    Location:
    Boise, ID.
    Actually I'm pretty sure I got Rank Strangers, too...
     
  16. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower Thread Starter

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    It's all good. You helped expand my vocabulary. Now I know what a shallop is. :)

    [​IMG]

    A shallop
     
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  17. Jack

    Jack Swollen Member

    I got 10,000 Men.
     
  18. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower Thread Starter

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    Don't tell me your problems. :) Cool that you got a rarity ... just not one of my faves (although someone, somewhere probably loves it, and would happily start a thread dedicated to it). I've never been present when Bob has spilled his buttermilk!
     
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  19. jpmosu

    jpmosu a.k.a. Mr. Jones

    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Louis, you are so erudite that I never questioned your use of "shallop." :)
     
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  20. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged

    Location:
    Boise, ID.
    Anyone ever done a thread on really weird songs you've heard Bob do in concert? Might be fun...
     
  21. jpmosu

    jpmosu a.k.a. Mr. Jones

    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    I once heard "Song to Woody" and "Wiggle Wiggle" in the same show (Oct. 1990).
     
  22. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower Thread Starter

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    "Wiggle Wiggle" was in heavy rotation there for a while.
     
  23. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    At the time, I presumed it was simply a case of Dylan's management getting him onto a soundtrack in order to shore up his flagging career and try to make him seem more appealing and hip to younger record buyers. It was a common strategy at the time, one that worked well for some (Glenn Frey and Paul McCartney). I remember Pete Townshend showing up on the soundtrack of the equally-obscure film Playing for Keeps. At the time it was being made, no one knew Band of the Hand would not be a hit... it was executive produced by Michael Mann of Miami Vice fame, and it's about the same level of intelligence and quality as many films of the era that did become big hits.
     
  24. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower Thread Starter

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    Wikipedia states that the film was a failed TV pilot that was turned into a theatrical release - something I certainly didn't know (assuming it is correct).

    Your theory is quite plausible - that Mann and/or Dylan's people thought they could recreate the success of "Smuggler's Blues" and perhaps get a Dylan song on TV every week. Assuming they'd pick 60 seconds to use that didn't feature Pussymen or Witchcraft scum. :)
     
  25. LandHorses

    LandHorses Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Joisey
    The oddest one I got was
    You were lucky........I just looked again. $64 used, $171 new at Amazon. Discogs has none listed.
     
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