Dylan / Blonde on Blonde: 'That Thin Wild Mercury Sound' (Daryl Sanders book, Oct. 2018)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by HominyRhodes, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    Regarding the alleged incident with the Leprechauns prior to recording "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35," the most compelling evidence I uncovered supporting the contention that happened later is I couldn't find anyone who frequented restaurants and nightclubs serving alcohol illegally in those days who remembered Ireland's, the restaurant that originated the drink, as being a place booze could be purchased illegally. Regarding whether some of the players imbibed in marijuana, I think that happened, but strictly on the down low because as Chris Gantry noted, during those days people were going to prison for simple possession. Three different Nashville cats told me they smoked some pot that night so it seems unlikely all three would misremember. And a few puffs off a joint wouldn't impair them the way the Leprechauns would, and as has been noted earlier in this thread, they recorded three more master takes after "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35."
     
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  2. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    "I Am a Rock" and "Homeward Bound" were both recorded in Nashville during two days of sessions on December 13-14, 1965. In my interview with Bob Johnston, he told me he took S&G to Nashville in December of 1965 two months before Dylan went there. Charlie McCoy, Bill Aikins, and Mac Gayden all confirmed they were on those sessions, and also confirmed Kenneth Buttrey was the drummer. I have never seen or been told anything to suggest S&G recorded in Nashville in March of 1966.
     
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  3. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    FYI, I passed your message along to Mac, and he said to thank you. I could tell he was genuinely appreciative.
     
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  4. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago
    You're forcing to me to rip up and throw away a lot of my Blonde on Blonde notes with each of your replies, but thank you for all this great info, and keep it coming.

    I've relied on *Praguefrank's Country Music Discography* for a lot of my C&W/rock/rockabilly music research, and the site includes the following session listings for Simon & Garfunkel (these are excerpts from the longer sessiongraphy):

    Praguefrank's Country Discography 2: Simon and Garfunkel / Tom and Jerry

    14 December 1965 Columbia Recording Studio A, 799 7th Ave., New York City - Simon and Garfunkel (Paul Simon [vcl/gt], Art Garfunkel [vcl] + unknown musicians. Producer: Bob Johnston)
    018 CO 88634 I AM A ROCK 4-43617/CS-9269 C5K-63815 CK 65998
    019 CO 88635? RICHARD CORY CS-9269 C5K-63815 CK 65998
    020 CO 88636 HOMEWARD BOUND 4-43511/ CS-9363 C5K-63815 CK 65998

    28 March 1966 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – Simon and Garfunkel (Paul Simon [vcl/gt], Art Garfunkel [vcl] + unknown musicians. Producer: Bob Johnston)
    026 NCO 83362 FLOWERS NEVER BEND WITH THE RAINFALL 4-43617/ CS-9363 C5K-63815 CK 66001

    I am certainly willing to believe that the Dec. '65 tracks were done in Nashville, judging by the certainty of what you were told by the people involved, as well as the great performances of the backing musicians. I'm going to go back and listen to those tracks again with newfound appreciation.

    But that March '66 Nashville session seems to me as being very plausible. Again, according to the Praguefrank site, Bob Johnston was also producing a session for Darrell Glenn (a performer and songwriter who was one of Johnston's good buddies, it seems) on March 28th in Nashville, and the "NCO" numbers for the S&G and the DG tracks appear to be sequential. The sound of "Flowers Never Bend" also strikes me as quite different from the other tracks that were included on the Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme album, with a spare acoustic sound and tambourine for percussion. That sound was quite similar to that of the Pozo-Seco Singers, another act produced by Johnston at Columbia in Nashville during the early months of 1966. So I guess I'm leaving that one in the Unsolved Mysteries file until I can do some more research.

    Now back to Blonde on Blonde...and That Thin, Wild Mercury Sound

    That's just so wonderful, really.

    Robert Knight - Everlasting Love
     
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  5. Percy Song

    Percy Song Tom's Tambourine Man

    A minor, but I think interesting, aside here:

    In the four page interview piece with Bob Johnston in On The Tracks (Issue 20), dated March 2001, which Daryl quotes from, there is also this:

    "...I was marvelling at everything that was happening: I was on the cutting edge..."
     
  6. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    I want to make sure I understand you: Are you saying "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window" was on the A side and "Positively Fourth Street" was on the B side, or are you saying "Positively Fourth Street" was left off altogether? Also, can you provide your sourcing on that? I can correct that I think on the second edition.
     
  7. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago
    Sorry if I was unclear, but yes, "Crawl Out" was mistakenly substituted for "4th Street" as the "A" side on some of the early pressings. Here is an article about the mistake, and an image of an original copy that I recently added to my own collection.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
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  8. Craig's Story

    Craig's Story Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Thanks for your work, very much looking forwards to reading your book
     
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  9. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    Thanks, man. I'd like to correct this in the next edition possible. Thanks for the Billboard clipping. Do you have any similar source that actually names the track that was accidentally subbed for "Positively Fourth Street" as being "Can You Please Crawl out Your Window"?
     
  10. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    Hominy, I'm going to skip over this matter for now. It comes up again later in the thread, and I'll address it at that point.
     
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  11. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago
    Somewhere in all the Cutting Edge box set material, there was a letter from a CBS executive that explained the situation to radio programmers. I can't locate the document itself at the moment, but I did make a transcript of it (I know, obsessive tendencies, but that's the kind of thing some of us do around here).

    HAL BAKKE

    September 14, 1965

    Gentlemen:

    A new Bob Dylan record titled "Positively 4th Street," Columbia 4-44389, has been mailed (to) several radio stations. If you received this record, do not program it.

    The wrong song was inadvertently pressed on this record and it is not licensed for broadcast. Please destroy this record.

    In the near future we shall send you the correct record of "Positively 4th Street," by Bob Dylan.

    Sincerely,
    COLUMBIA RECORD DISTRIBUTORS
    (signed) Hal Bakke

    Hal Bakke
    Promotion Manager

    P.S: The record we ask you to destory begins with these lyrics:

    "He sits in his room -- he's tuned with a fist-full of tacks."

    The second record you will receive will have the same title and number and is licensed for broadcast. It begins with these lyrics:

    "You gotta' a lot of nerve to say you are my friend."

    HB/ns
    COLUMBIA RECORD DISTRIBUTORS - 8808 EMPRESS ROW - DALLAS 47, TEXAS


    He doesn't mention "Crawl Out Your Window," but he does quote the first line of the song.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
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  12. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    Percy, I think the question about how I "gave names to the voices" was answered indirectly in one of my earlier responses. I have the 18-CD edition of The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12, and songwriter/guitarist Mac Gayden helped me identify the Nashville cats who are speaking. Of course I know Charlie McCoy's and Wayne Moss's voices well enough to identify them on my own. And Dylan and Bob Johnston were easily recognizable. Plus in some instances I could tell because they had been addressed by their name. Mac and I spent 10-15 hours identifying who was speaking on the outtakes and which guitarists were on which tracks. His help was absolutely invaluable. The other person who helped me so much was Charlie. He took every one of my phone calls and answered every one of my questions. We talked between 20 and 30 times, maybe more, for the book.
     
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  13. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    Initially, Mr. Krogsgaard agreed to be interviewed for my book, but then after giving an initial thumbs up, he stopped responding to my emails. Not sure if he didn't want the scrutiny or if he was simply being territorial with the information. So my approach was to cross reference three primary sources, Krogsgaard's compilation, the liners for The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12, and interviews with the musicians who were still living, plus any other reliable sourcing, such as the piece published under Charlie McCoy's byline in Hit Parader magazine in October of 1966. In that interview published only half a year after the sessions were completed, Charlie reveals there were two sets of sessions not one, that Robbie Robertson came down for the second set of sessions, and that Mac Gayden played on the album.
     
  14. Trainspotting

    Trainspotting Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Hey guys, pardon me if this question has been addressed in the book - but do we have evidence that Blonde on Blonde was in fact released before Zappa's Freak Out?
     
  15. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    I got this info from BobDylan.com. Do you know of a reason to doubt the tour information on the official site?
     
  16. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    Percy, the writer is not a Dylan fan. He's a Beatles baby, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But I disagree with that statement on several levels.
     
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  17. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    Interesting story: Mac wrote "Everlasting Love" while living in a duplex in West Nashville where the occupant on the other side of the duplex was Kris Kristofferson. Kris wrote "Help Me Make It Through The Night" and "Me and Bobby McGee" while living there.
     
  18. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago
    I just want to quickly say that I learned a great deal from your book about the Nashville Cats who played on Blonde on Blonde, and we're fortunate that you were able to spend time with so many of them.

    Man, they look so young in the photos from that period.
    [​IMG]

    Note: Wayne Butler played the trombone on "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, but saxophonist Jerry Tuttle didn't play on Blonde on Blonde
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
  19. JohnS

    JohnS Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    Oh boy... my sentiments exactly, also. Why did I ever think I wouldn't order a copy??!
    I'm enthralled by this thread - it's like a summit meeting of the world's top Blonde on Blonde experts.
    Thanks to all for taking the time to chip in!
     
  20. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    I am still spending time with them and communicating with them. I was on a Dylan panel moderated by legendary rock critic/author Dave Marsh at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville last weekend, and Charlie McCoy and Daniel Wolff were also on the panel. Interestingly, before the panel the four of us were discussing Charlie's acoustic guitar work on "Desolation Row," and Charlie said it was just him and Dylan and a bass player. As I understood it, Russ Savakus was the bassist that day. Charlie previously had told me he met a guy who played acoustic bass that day, and that's what Savakus plays, so I said, "Russ Savakus, right?" To which Charlie replied, "I don't remember his name, a black guy." So it had to be Bill Lee, father of filmmaker Spike Lee, who worked with Dylan on Bringing It All Back Home. I've also seen Wayne Moss recently, and I talk regularly with Mac Gayden by phone. Amazingly, Charlie's 42nd album is going to drop soon and as many of his albums have been, it was recorded at Wayne's Cinderella Sound Studio.

    In case anyone is interested, here's a link to a piece I wrote about Cinderella studio:

    The East Nashvillian | Articles
     
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  21. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    FYI, I'm not sure where you got the impression Nashville studios had an open-door policy then, or ever really, but that is simply not true. The budgets didn't allow for that kind of freedom. Maybe there was some of that later, but that's not how it works in Nashville. That's not to say it didn't happen with bands who came to town to record, such as the Steve Miller Band, bands who wanted people like Charlie to sit in and were happy to pay them.
     
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  22. Daryl Sanders

    Daryl Sanders Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    FYI, I think Dave Marsh is going to be talking about my book and about Charlie McCoy on his Sirius radio show, Kick Out the Jams, that airs from 10 a.m. to noon Eastern time (U.S.) on The Spectrum Channel (Sirius channel 28).
     
  23. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago
    "Open-door policy" was a poor choice of words on my part -- what I meant to get across was that the Nashville session guys were very flexible, and amenable to bringing in a different player if they thought that person would be right for a particular track (like during the final Blonde session, when they summoned Wayne Butler after midnight to play trombone on "Rainy Day Women"). I also did get the impression that Jerry Kennedy's late-night appearance on Feb. 14th was a case of "Hey, come and play on this Bob Dylan session," or did Bob Johnston and/or session leader Charlie McCoy specifically book him? I'll have to go back and re-read that chapter.

    In any case, as you make clear in the book, they were all union guys used to doing three-hour sessions, and they were clearly experiencing new territory with Dylan's open-ended, all-night marathons, all "on the clock."

    EDIT: I wanted to include this quote, part of which you include in your book, from Dylan's radio interview with Stan Rofe in Melbourne, Australia in April '66 -- he clearly liked the general atmosphere of Nashville after his frustrating Jan. '66 sessions in NYC:

    Dylan: You’ve more space in Nashville than you do in New York City. New York City is... well, you’ve never been to New York City but New York City is just a bunch of tenement buildings going sky high, you know. And there’s very little space or air or room to breathe there, and it rubs off on recordings too you know. But Nashville is different from that. Nobody... In Nashville people sit around if they want to. If they want to make good records they just sit around and wait all night ‘til you’re ready. But they won’t do that in New York, they get bored and talk and bring you down some kind of way. That’s not a put-down of New York or anything like that, but it’s true, you know. They get tired fast. It’s true, you know...
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
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  24. Roger Ford

    Roger Ford Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, England
    Here’s a question for Daryl that I think no-one’s asked yet:

    On p.103 of the book you give a fairly detailed description of the view from the control room window at the first night’s recording session, indicating how the musicians and their instruments were arranged, and the isolating baffles around Dylan. Did this very interesting information come from a previously unknown photograph, or (more likely, I’m guessing) from the recollection of one or more of the people you interviewed? And did anyone know of any photographs at all taken at the sessions? I imagine that if they did, you’d have tried to use them in the book...
     
  25. Dylancat

    Dylancat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    Interesting to learn it was Bill Lee on the upright bass.
     

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