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Cafe Wha?

24 Jan

On January 24,1961, Bob Dylan performed in New York for the first time at Cafe Wha?. He played  a short set of Woody Guthrie songs. He then proceeded to ask audience for a place to spend the night.

Over the ensuing months, Zimmerman would become a staple of Café Wha? And Robert’s status as a folk legend would begin to build as the man originally known as Robert Zimmerman would be transformed into Bob Dylan (named after his idol, poet Dylan Thomas). Others would later follow in Dylan’s footsteps at Café Wha? as this small club began to be recognized as one of the top havens for musical talent during the 1960s.

Ramblin’ Round (Rare Minnesota Hotel Tape 1961) – Bob Dylan

A discussion on Dylan’s arival in NYC.


The Book of Revelation looms large on John Wesley Harding

27 Dec

The Book of Revelation looms large on John Wesley Harding. The album’s best-know track, “All along the Watchtower” (of Jimi Hendrix fame) begins with the ominous rationalization, “There must be someway out of here,” but there is no way out of here.

John Wesley Harding is the eighth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan,[1] released in December 1967 by Columbia Records. Produced by Bob Johnston, the album marked Dylan’s return to acoustic music and traditional roots, after three albums of electric rock musicJohn Wesley Harding shares many stylistic threads with, and was recorded around the same time as, the prolific series of home recording sessions with The Band, finally released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes.

The track durations cited here are those of the remastered version released September 16, 2003, and re-released June 1, 2004. Previous versions differ.

All songs written by Bob Dylan.

Side one
  1. John Wesley Harding” – 2:58
  2. As I Went Out One Morning” – 2:49
  3. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine” – 3:53
  4. All Along the Watchtower” – 2:31
  5. The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest” – 5:35
  6. Drifter’s Escape” – 2:52
Side two
  1. “Dear Landlord” – 3:16
  2. I Am a Lonesome Hobo” – 3:19
  3. “I Pity the Poor Immigrant” – 4:12
  4. The Wicked Messenger” – 2:02
  5. Down Along the Cove” – 2:23
  6. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” – 2:34

Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1968 Billboard 200 2
1968 UK Top 75 1


Additional musicians
Technical personnel

Bob Dylan by Bob Dylan

20 Nov

A close-up of Bob Dylan wearing a coat and hat, holding a guitar

On November 20, 1961 at the Columbia 30th Street Studio in New York City, Bob Dylan began recording his self-titled debut album. All the tracks were completed by November 22.

The performances on his first Columbia album, Bob Dylan (1962), consisted of familiar folk, blues and gospel material combined with two original compositions. The album made little impact, selling only 5,000 copies in its first year, just enough to break even.



“The Times They Are a-Changin'”

24 Oct

On October 24,1963,”The Times They Are a-Changin’” was recorded at Columbia studio.  This  song written by Bob Dylan and released as the title track of his 1964 album, The Times They Are a-Changin’. The song was ranked #59 on Rolling Stone‘s 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1]

Three Years after the Motorcycle Accident…”He changed everything”

31 Aug

Thanks to rumours that one or all of The Beatles would be joining him on stage,[11] Dylan’s comeback show had now been, in the words of music journalist John Harris, “inflated into the gig of the decade”.[4] On 31 August, a nervous Bob Dylan arrived on stage in a cream suit recalling Hank Williams, with a haircut and a short beard.[12] Backed by The Band, he performed recent pieces from his Nashville Skyline and John Wesley Harding albums as well as countryfied versions of earlier songs such as “Maggie’s Farm“, “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Like a Rolling Stone[13] − much to the surprise and consternation of the audience and the throng of journalists. Levon Helm later commented: “Bob had an extra list of songs with about eight or ten different titles … that we would’ve gone ahead and done had it seemed like the right thing to do. But it seemed like everyone was a bit tired … the festival was three days old by then.”

Eric Clapton was mesmerized, however, having already been inspired back to blues and country post-Cream by Dylan’s change of musical direction and by The Band’s album Music From Big Pink. “Dylan was fantastic,” Clapton later said. “He changed everything … [The audience] couldn’t understand it. You had to be a musician to understand it.”

Dylan’s setlist was as follows:

  1. She Belongs to Me*
  2. I Threw It All Away
  3. Maggie’s Farm
  4. Wild Mountain Thyme
  5. It Ain’t Me Babe
  6. To Ramona
  7. Mr. Tambourine Man
  8. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
  9. Lay Lady Lay
  10. Highway 61 Revisited
  11. One Too Many Mornings
  12. I Pity the Poor Immigrant
  13. Like a Rolling Stone*
  14. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
  15. The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)*
  16. Minstrel Boy*
  17. Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35

A pretty good video of  most  Dylan’s concert with the band can be found here.  There are other snippets of things!

Highway 61

30 Aug

Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
God says, “Out on Highway 61”

The iconic album, Highway 61 Revisited, with the iconic song “Like a Rolling Stone” was released on August 30th,1965.

Highway 61 Revisited is the sixth studio album by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It was released  by Columbia Records. On his previous album, Bringing It All Back Home, Dylan devoted Side One of the album to songs accompanied by an electric rock band, and Side Two to solo acoustic numbers. For Highway 61 Revisited, Dylan used rock backing on every track, except for the closing 11-minute acoustic song, “Desolation Row“. Critics have written that Dylan’s ability to combine driving, complex, blues-based rock music with the power of poetry made Highway 61 Revisited one of the most influential albums ever recorded.

Highway 61 Revisited peaked at number three in the United States charts and number four in the United Kingdom. The album has received multiple accolades and was ranked number four on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The single “Like a Rolling Stone” reached number two in the US charts and number four in the UK. It has been described by critics as Dylan’s magnum opus and was number one on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.

Duquesne Whistle

27 Aug

“Duquesne Whistle,” begins in the middle of a scene, like the fade-in in a classic Western. It’s the first song we get to hear from Bob Dylan‘s Tempest, the album he will release on September 11, 50 years and six months after the commencement of his recoding career.