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 « Une énigme Dylanienne »

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MessageSujet: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 16:29

Voilà depuis quelques semaines je suis dans une période Dylanienne, je n’écoute quasiment que lui, Mon écoute se focalise essentiellement sur la période que couvre le volume 8 des Bootleg Series – Tell Tales Sign. Alors à l’écoute de la production discographique de ces 20 dernières années je me pose quelques questions et j’aimerais bien avoir votre point de vue sur celles-ci:

1/ Les Chansons de Dylan :

Tout d’abord sur sa façon d’appréhender un nouvel album. Il semble que Dylan arrive toujours avec un petit paquet de chanson guitare/voix ou piano/voix. Il les présente au groupe recruté pour l’enregistrement de l’album et là chaque musicien apporte sa touche. Dylan ne semble pas avoir une arrêtée de l’ambiance qu’aura cet album, l’important reste l’unité finale du disque. Ce qui me fait penser cela ?les différentes versions par exemple de Mississippi présentent sur le volume 8 des Bootleg Series. Les deux versions de Marchin’ To The City ou Red River Shore. Théorie également étayée par le Bootleg des sessions de Tell Ol’Bill, dans lequel on peut entendre l’évolution d’un même titre passant par plusieurs styles différents (blues, folk, rock, valse …..) avant de trouver sa version définitive. Cela me fait dire qu’il doit exister une quantité non négligeable de prises alternatives, démos et inédits dormant bien au chaud dans les cartons de Columbia l’intégralité des titres de Dylan en version démo et que ça me plairait d’entre ces titres, qu’en pensez-vous ?

2/ La particularité de Tell Tale Signs

C’est indiqué sur la pochette Tell Tale Signs – Rares And Unreleased 1989 / 2006. Pourtant dans ce volume 8 des Bootleg Series aucuns inédits, aucunes prises alternatives issues de l’album Love And Theft je trouve cela étrange. Comme le choix d’inclure certains morceaux live qui n’ont pour moi pas grand intérêt alors que bon nombre de chose magnifique existe, au hasard les versions des titres « I Want You » et « Hazel » du MTV Unplugged, les reprises live de « Old Man » (Neil Young) ou « Something » (The Beatles)

3/ Sur les Bootleg Series en particulié

Franchement cette série est pour moi exemplaire venant d’un artiste et surtout d’une maison de disque. La qualité des objets et surtout de ce que l’on y trouve à l’intérieur. Columbia aurait très bien pu nous obliger à racheter les albums de Bob Dylan en sortant des Editions Deluxe des albums. Imaginez Oh Mercy, The Freewheelin’, Blonde On Blonde ou Modern Time en version 2 cd, sur le premier l’album remasterisé, sur le second les outtakes ou prises alternatives (comme par exemple la dernière ré-édition de Disintegration de Cure ou franchement le deuxième cd n’a que peu d’intérêt) Elle pourrait également éparpiller certains morceaux au compte goutte sur des pseudos compiles sans intérêt. Mais non rien de tout cela ? à chaque fois l’intérêt est plus qu’immense pour comprendre l’œuvre Dylanienne.
La question que je me pose sur ces Bootleg Series est la suivante : Dylan donne t-il son avale avant chaque nouvelle sortie ? Ou Columbia disposant des bandes fait ce qu’elle veut ? Il ne me semble pas que Dylan se soit penché sur le sujet dans une de ses très rares interviews ?

4/ La Production Vidéographique de Dylan :

Si quasiment chaque année un nouveau disque de Dylan sort, on ne peut pas dire que le côté visuel Dylanien soit exploité par Columbia, si je ne dis pas de bêtise depuis que le support DVD existe il n’est sorti de nouveau sur Dylan que le DVD « The Other Side Of The Mirror » qui revient sur les prestations de Dylan au Festival de Newport. Le MTV Unpplugged à bien été ré-édité en DVD, Don’t Loock Back également, No Direction Home est un peu à part et revient sur les éternelles années 60. Idem pour I’m Not There encore plus à part.
Columbia pourrait peut être créer un Bootleg Series version vidéo ! La question est : « quoi ? » Y-a-t-il quelque chose d’intéressant sur Dylan pouvant faire l’objet d’un DVD sur par exemple la période 1990/2010.

5/ Le Live

Je ne parle pas ici du Never Ending Tour qui pour moi reste une énigme (j’y reviendrais plus tard) mais d’un album live à part entière. Rien depuis une nouvelle fois le MTV Unplugged. Pourtant beaucoup de chose sont enregistrées et magnifiques, écoutez les lives des ep Love Sick et Not Dark Yet, qui sont superbes. Une énigme pour moi,…… et pour vous ?

Voilà certaines des questions que je me pose, j’aimerais avoir votre avis, vos infos, votre façon de voir les choses, votre sentiment. Merci à vous peuple Dylanien.




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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 16:40

CORTEZ a écrit:
Comme le choix d’inclure certains morceaux live qui n’ont pour moi pas grand intérêt alors que bon nombre de chose magnifique existe, au hasard les versions des titres « I Want You » et « Hazel » du MTV Unplugged, les reprises live de « Old Man » (Neil Young) ou « Something » (The Beatles)
Tu penses à quels lives ?
Parce que moi je les adore.
"Le Ring Them Bells" du Supper Club, ce "High Water" tellurique...
On peut éventuellement regretter qu'elle casse l'unité de la collection, mais je sais pas trop si on peut parler d'unité à propos d'une compilation...

Citation :
La question que je me pose sur ces Bootleg Series est la suivante : Dylan donne t-il son avale avant chaque nouvelle sortie ? Ou Columbia disposant des bandes fait ce qu’elle veut ? Il ne me semble pas que Dylan se soit penché sur le sujet dans une de ses très rares interviews ?
Evidemment Dylan a son mot à dire.
Rien ne peut se faire sans son accord.
Je crois qu'il veille d'abord et avant tout à ce que ces compilations de "vieilleries" n'éclipsent pas l'une de ses actualités brûlantes.

A part ça, ouais, un petit DVD avec l'intégralité des bandes de 66 (autour de la sortie de "Eat the Document' par exemple) ou un Bootleg Series consacré au Never Ending Tour, ça fait rêver.

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Mais c'est la faute à Dylan
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 17:08

Il a les pleins pouvoirs; Columbia est à mon avis d'accord pour sortir tout ce qu'il veut. A l'instar d'un Neil Young, il est assez incohérent dans ses sortis, donc relativement imprévisible. Les bbotlegs sortent, de ce que j'ai pu lire, entre deux projets, mais ne doivent pas en éclipser un, même en qualité. Je pense qu'il y a des milliers d'heures de bande qui ne seront jamais exploitées par manque de temps et d'intérêt pour un public plus large, l'enjeu étant tout de même de vendre. D'ailleurs, quel est le public qui achète du Dylan? Seulement des fondus dans notre genre ou le tout venant également?

Concernant les bootlegs, il serait grand temps de s'intéresser à la période studio du début des années 70. Quant aux Live, n'étant pas un dingue des Live, ça ne me manque pas plus que ça. Des bootlegs comme le dernier en date, par contre, il peut en sortir autant qu'il le souhaite, je suis client.

Ce qui est à craindre, c'est l'après Dylan. Comment fera-t-on survivre l'oeuvre du bonhomme... Effectivement, il n'y a pas d'exagération quant à l'exploitation du catalogue. Pas de coffret excentrique, pas de rééditions à outrance, mais pour combien de temps?
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 17:58

Baptiste a écrit:
Tu penses à quels lives ?
Parce que moi je les adore.
"Le Ring Them Bells" du Supper Club, ce "High Water" tellurique..
.
je pense à "High Water" et "Tryin' To Get To Heaven" qui n'apportent rien de nouveau et cassent l'ambiance générale du disque.
Mais "Ring Them Bells" je garde biensûr
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 18:04

u


Dernière édition par CORTEZ le Jeu 3 Juin - 18:07, édité 1 fois
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 18:06

Il a les pleins pouvoirs; Columbia est à mon avis d'accord pour sortir tout ce qu'il veut. A l'instar d'un Neil Young, il est assez incohérent dans ses sortis, donc relativement imprévisible. Les bbotlegs sortent, de ce que j'ai pu lire, entre deux projets, mais ne doivent pas en éclipser un, même en qualité. Je pense qu'il y a des milliers d'heures de bande qui ne seront jamais exploitées par manque de temps et d'intérêt pour un public plus large, l'enjeu étant tout de même de vendre. D'ailleurs, quel est le public qui achète du Dylan? Seulement des fondus dans notre genre ou le tout venant également?

Concernant les bootlegs, il serait grand temps de s'intéresser à la période studio du début des années 70. Quant aux Live, n'étant pas un dingue des Live, ça ne me manque pas plus que ça. Des bootlegs comme le dernier en date, par contre, il peut en sortir autant qu'il le souhaite, je suis client.


j'en rêve d'un bootleg series rien que pour ce qui l'y a en stock chez columbia de cette fameuse période des 70
et puis un BS de toutes les Witmark Demos et Broadside
et tout ces trucs qui existent mais dont on même pas idée
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 18:29

CORTEZ a écrit:
Baptiste a écrit:
Tu penses à quels lives ?
Parce que moi je les adore.
"Le Ring Them Bells" du Supper Club, ce "High Water" tellurique..
.
je pense à "High Water" et "Tryin' To Get To Heaven" qui n'apportent rien de nouveau et cassent l'ambiance générale du disque.
Mais "Ring Them Bells" je garde biensûr
Je le trouve énorme ce "High Water" (et dans la même veine, le Cold Irons Bound) et je préfère ne pas m'en passer au risque de - peut-être - casser une certaine unité qui - encore une fois - me paraît pas être un critère fondamental pour ce qui reste une compilation de divers album couvrant différentes périodes...

Par contre, à la rigueur, c'est vrai qu'il auraient pu faire un CD uniquement composé de live.

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Mais c'est la faute à Dylan
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 20:00

Petite question : c'est quoi les Lives ep love sick et not dark yet dont parle Cortez?
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 20:05

vox populi a écrit:
Petite question : c'est quoi les Lives ep love sick et not dark yet dont parle Cortez?
Des maxi singles avec une poignée de versions lives.
Longtemps que je ne les ai pas écoutés, mais là, comme ça, j'ai le souvenir brûlant d'un "Blind Willie Mc Tell" pas dégueulasse.

Et sur le Maxi de "Things Have Changed", il y a un "Song To Woody" remarquable.

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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 20:16

CORTEZ a écrit:
u

T'es sûr de ce que tu affirmes?
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 21:01

Baptiste a écrit:
vox populi a écrit:
Petite question : c'est quoi les Lives ep love sick et not dark yet dont parle Cortez?
Des maxi singles avec une poignée de versions lives.
Longtemps que je ne les ai pas écoutés, mais là, comme ça, j'ai le souvenir brûlant d'un "Blind Willie Mc Tell" pas dégueulasse.

Et sur le Maxi de "Things Have Changed", il y a un "Song To Woody" remarquable.

Ok merci Wink

il y a tellement de maxis, ep, disques à moitié officiels sorties uniquement au tibet oriental qu'à la fin je m'en sors plus.
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 23:17

Je m'essaye à une réponse synthétique aux questions pertinentes de Cotez :

1/ Le meilleur exemple est peut-être Like a Rolling Stone (cas d'école) : à l'origine, le texte (écrit en premier) comporte une cinquantaine de strophes. Au studio, la coupe est sévère : on en connaît les conséquences - une chanson d'une intensité folle. Son enregistrement ne fut pas de tout repos, puisqu'il cherchait en live ce qu'il voulait vraiment dire. Il n'y est pas parvenu, ce qui constitue encore maintenant un véritable miracle, une vraie bene-diction.

2/ Rien ne prouve que Love & Theft ait laissé des outtakes (il est tellement compact que j'imagine assez mal ce qui pourrait en sortir, un peu comme un trou noir d'où la lumière ne peut s'échapper) - remarque, rien ne prouve du contraire. J'en serais heureux, vu que c'est peut-être l'album qui me semble avoir le plus de force, parmi ses plus récents.

3/ Dylan a la main sur les bootlegs series - une main peut-être un peu tremblante, mais une main quand même : Dylan et le piratage est une histoire vieille comme le monde. Il sait depuis le début des Temps que ses moindres apparitions scéniques sont consignées. Un subtil plaisir se cache derrière la parution des BS : celui de rendre hommage aux bootlegers. C'est mon hypothèse.

4/Dylan et l'Image, ça fait deux. Mais comme Dylan a ce don kafkaïen de couper les cheveux en quatre, le résultat ne peut qu'être étrange, parce que sans concessions et... sans bords. On le voit parfois au milieu de dessous féminins, mais c'est presque comme un lapsus.

5/Patience : la parution des trésors du NET est à venir. Je n'ose même pas imaginer le package...

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Dernière édition par odradek le Ven 4 Juin - 0:19, édité 1 fois
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Jeu 3 Juin - 23:58

Pour appuyer le 3/ d'Odradek et citer encore et toujours Love & theft : "some of these bootleggers, they make pretty good stuff" - Dylan le dit lui même !
Sinon, j'ai lu dans le bouquin de Paul Williams, que Dylan lui même enregistrait tous ses concerts depuis 1974. Ce qui explique probablement la qualité sonore des Bootleg series...
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Ven 4 Juin - 12:46

Oui ces lives des ep Love Sick et Not Dark Yet sont vraiment bons, et cette version de Hard Rain au Great Music Music Expérience de Tokyo avec un orchestre philharmonic derrière du ep Dignity (MTV Unpluggeg).

Ce qui est le plus étrange c'est que ces enregistrement sont livrés en qualité audience recording mais pas tirés d'un soundboard, mais le son et nickel adelle

je viens de ré-écouter la version de Born In Time et c'est une tuerie
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Ven 4 Juin - 23:25

Patience, Cortez, patience.

Nos vieux jours sont assurés.

Voire au-delà Wink

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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Mar 8 Juin - 18:09

Toujours plongé dans l'oeuvre dylanienne des 20 dernières années je me suis farçi en anglais les articles du mensuel rock Uncut.
Des interviews réalisées pour la sortie de Tell Tale Signs, interrogés certains acteurs des albums couvrant cette période, Daniel Lanois (OM, TOOM) Don Was (UTRS) Malcom Burn et Mark Howard ingénieurs du son sur TOOM et OM.

On y apprend (enfin moi en tout cas) des choses fabuleuses

si j'ai bien tout compris because in english

Toutes les chansons d'Oh Mercy aurait été enregistré un premère fois avec Ron Wood, où, quand, comment ?????????????

Pour l'enregistrement de TOOM et particulièrement pour le son Dylan voulait le son des disques de Al Jolson et du dernier Beck ??

Series Of Dream à été ecartée de Oh Mercy simplement parce que Dylan considéré que les paroles n'étaient pas terminées, c'est d'ailleurs une constante qui ressort de ces interviews le plus important pour Dylan : les paroles, beaucoup moins la musique ou les accords ou les arrangements. Sur Time Out OF Mind la guitare du Zim était continuellement désaccordée et Lanois devait la ré- accorder à chaque nouvelle prise, Dylan lui n'en ayant rien a foutre.

Instructive ce qu'on apprend sur la façon qu'a Dylan de présenter les chansons, il les joue seul à la guitare ou au piano une première fois, puis une deuxième fois mais dand un style et une tonalité différente. Il ne joue jamais deux fois la même chanson de la même manière, au musicien de suivre, de donner le meilleur de leur art à chaque prise car cela pourrait bien être la version qui finira sur le disque. En cela les anecdotes sur Most Of The Time, ou Can't Wait apportent un éclairage nouveau sur les versions que l'on peut trouver dans les Bootleg Series 8.

Cortez

si ça vous dit ci-dessous les trois première parties de ce document:

MARK HOWARD
An engineer and producer for everyone from Tom Waits to Harold Budd. The other engineer on 1989’s Oh Mercy, along with Malcolm Burn, Howard returned for 1997’s Time Out Of Mind



OH MERCY

When we started on Oh Mercy, because Dylan and [producer, Daniel] Lanois hadn’t met before, and didn’t have a working relationship. It was slightly uncomfortable for the first two weeks. Dylan was being a bit snotty, and Dan has this ability to be over-excited about things. That’s how Dan likes to work sometimes: he hypes people on their performances, and that makes them excited too, and then usually it brings out even better performances. Well, that didn’t work with Dylan. So it took a little smoothing out. If you’ve read what Dylan says in Chronicles about it, that’s pretty close to what happened.

For the first two weeks, Bob was just strumming, not making chords, just kind of sloppily playing, and Dan was politely putting up with it: “Yes, yes, that’s okay.” Dan would try to get things out him. He’d say, “Oh, we did this mix earlier this afternoon - ” And Dylan would cut in, “I don’t even wanna hear it. I only wanna hear stuff done at night.” He had this night rule. I later noticed, on Time Out Of Mind, that kind of night rule became a theme on that record, too. You’d roll in about four or five o’clock, and then do the whole evening thing. And we’d get a lot done during those periods.

But for that first two weeks on Oh Mercy, everything we did, he wouldn’t accept it, and it was very difficult. During those first weeks, he didn’t even acknowledge that I was in the room with him, or say my name. I’d be sitting on the floor in front of him, to put the microphone in front of his mouth –and he would turn the other way. So, I’d have to move the microphone stand put it over there now – and as soon as I put it there, he’d turn back the other way. So I’m sitting there on the floor, having to move this stand to wherever he would turn, and it was like he was almost doing it on purpose, it was really bizarre.

But there came this one point when Dan finally really lost it with him, and had a bit of a freak out. He just wanted Dylan to smarten up, and it became – not a yelling match, but it became uncomfortable in the studio. So Malcolm [Burn] and me, we walked out and let them sort it out. And then, when we got back, from then on, Dylan was just really pleasant to work with. He started calling me by my name, and I kind of hit it off with him.

We were doing the record in this Victorian mansion in the garden district of New Orleans, and I had a bunch of Harleys in the courtyard, I was a collector, and he would come up. He said, “Y’know, ya think you could get me one of those?” So I got him this 1966 first year Shovelhead Harley Davidson, and he’d go out riding it every day, so on that level we kind of hit it off.

Dylan would go out for a ride on his motorcycle every day, and I’d help get him up and running, and he’d take off. But one day, I heard him stall just around the corner. So I ran around the corner to see, and he’s sitting there, on the bike, staring straight ahead. And there are already three people gathered around the front of the motorcycle, saying, “Bob, can we have your autograph?” And he just sat there like they weren’t even there. I ran up and said, “Hey, c’mon guys, leave the guy alone.” He just continued to sit there and stare straight ahead like they weren’t even there. So we got the bike fired up and – bang – he took off. He was living in California in those days, and there was no helmet law in California, but there were in New Orleans. He’d come back from these rides and he’d say, “The police are really friendly around here, they’re all waving at me.” I’m like, “They’re waving at you because you don’t have a helmet on, and they’re telling you to stop!”

After that first, kind of uncomfortable few weeks, I think the bike actually helped him on that record. He’d go for a ride and think about what was going on, and I think he could see the point of view of where Dan was trying to go with the record. Dylan was fighting it, but he kind of let it go, and that’s where Oh Mercy ended up going.

Dylan wasn’t sure what direction Dan was trying to take these tracks in, and it was later on that he discovered that he was liking the vibe of what the songs were becoming. And by the end, I think he was really enjoying it. The way Bob works is, he kind of writes on a typewriter, so he has no idea where these songs lie, in what key they live in, what tempo – anything of that. Musically, there’s no chords written. So it’s like, he’ll say, “I got this song, and maybe this is how it goes,” and you try a couple of different versions of it in different keys, and he just finds where it sounds best, where it sounds best for his voice, where it’s comfortable. And that’s usually the open you end up going with.

So, on Oh Mercy, I’m not sure if he had an actual sound in his head to begin with. But he had actually recorded this whole record before it came to us. With Ron Wood. There’s a whole version of Oh Mercy that was recorded with Ron Wood already. But I think Dylan had maybe decided he didn’t like what had happened.

On Oh Mercy, Dan, Malcolm and I had just come out of making a record with the Neville Brothers [Yellow Moon], so, when we were putting a band together for Bob, we used a couple of member from the Neville brothers as rhythm section. And we invited Mason Ruffner in, he was kind of a rockabilly, guitar slinger, and Bob had really liked his records, as he told him, so that worked out pretty good. And then, because we had been going to this club, The Maple Leaf Club, we had been checking out this band called Rocking Dopsie, who was kind of a scrubboard player, and we thought that band would work great on a couple of tracks, so we got them in. They had this really amazing saxophone player, Johnny Hart, who was blind, and he’d play the saxophone against the wall, he’d get this beautiful tone. So we got them in, and they’re playing – and Dylan, right in front of them, he just goes, “Where’d you *get* these guys from?” A lot of the tracks were built around a smaller group, though, just Bob, Dan and Malcolm, built off a loop or an 808 drum machine pattern, tracks like “Most Of The Time” were built off those guys and machine loops.

The one song that really sticks out for me was “Man In The Long Black Coat”. Malcolm Burn had originally been hired to be the engineer on those sessions, but he was also a musician, and he ended up playing more than he was engineering on a lot of Oh Mercy, and I was the one who was left actually recording, and I was pretty green in those days. I’d just come from Canada, and the Neville Brothers record had been the first big record I’d really worked on. I was 21-years-old, and I hadn’t done much recording, I was an assistant, and so ended up wearing a lot of hats as the guy who kind of did all the other stuff, from finding location, building the studio to doing the banking. And now, with Malcolm playing a lot, I was suddenly recording it, too. Thrown into the hot seat.

I really remember recording “Man In The Long Black Coat”. Malcolm was playing a Yamaha DX7 that Brian Eno had mastered – he had all these sounds built in. Brian had come in on the Neville Brothers record and given us a bunch of sounds for the DX7, and one of the sounds was this crickets sound. Actually, on the Neville Brothers’ Yellow Moon record, I’d found this six-storey apartment building on St Charles Avenue where we lived and recorded, and they have these bugs in New Orleans, cicadas, that make this high-pitched sound. When Brian came in with his cricket sounds, he would play this melody, and then these cicada bugs would repeat it back. It became really creepy. He would do it again, and they’d do it again, and he’d make the melody a little harder, and they would follow it, and so we were like, “Brian Eno is communicating with the insects, oh my God.”

So, anyway, for “Man In The Long Black Coat”, Malcolm just jumped on the keyboards and started playing these crickets, and it made it really haunting, and, y’know, we did a couple of takes and, bang, that was that masterpiece done. That was the first time ever that hairs went up on my arm while I was recording music, it was magical.

On the Oh Mercy sessions, it was kind of roll up your sleeves, go to work, we’ve got a band in, and bang, bang, bang. Later, on Time Out of Mind, there would be times when he would tell a lot of big stories, hours of talking, but on Oh Mercy, we were just getting to know him, and he was there to get his work done. Out of everybody I’ve worked with, Dylan is the most dedicated and focused writer. He would *always* be working o his lyrics. He’d have a piece of paper with thousands of words on it, all different ways, you couldn’t *read* it, it was impossible, because there’d be words going upside-down, sideways, just words all over this page. You couldn’t make heads nor tails of it. And he would look at it, and he’d pull from it. I never saw him eat. He only drank coffee and smoked cigarettes, and he’d sit chipping away at the words, pulling words from other songs, putting them in there. I really appreciated his focus on the song itself, how dedicated, and how hard he worked on it.

I always like to have a drawing pad with me, next to the console or whatever, I’m always drawing. And one day, Bob saw it, and he said, “Hey, mind if I use your pad?” Then he goes, “Daniel, you mind if I draw a picture of you?” So Bob scratches out this drawing of Dan, just his head and shoulders, and Dan had a lot of long hair in those days, so he drew this picture that was like this kind of wild Indian, with hair all over him. So he drew it, and it was really pretty cool. But he didn’t sign it.

So, this picture was in my art book, and we had finished the record, and two weeks had passed. And I’m sitting in one day, and there’s somebody at the door. So I go out, and it’s New Orleans, pouring with rain, and I open the gate – and there’s Bob standing there in his hoodie. I say, “Hey, Bob.” And he says, “I’ve decided to sign the drawing.” And he came in, he signed the drawing, and he left.


TIME OUT OF MIND

Dylan was a little more laid back when he came back ten years later. I think he was a little more comfortable with us by that point. Before Time Out of Mind came into play, we had been asked to mix this live show that Dylan had did. It was recorded for the Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, he played The House of Blues, and they wanted to mix the recording for a Japanese release. And that was where a little bit of the sound of Time Out Of Mind began to become apparent.

On those recordings, I’d mixed the whole live show for them, and on the last song I was mixing, Dylan plays harmonica, and he says, “Hey, Mark, d’ya think you can make my harmonica sound electric on this one?” So I said, yeah, sure, and I took the harmonica off the tape and ran it through this little distortion box, and I played it, and he said, “Wow, that’s great.” So we’re mixing away, and, after he stops playing harmonica, he starts singing into the same mic, and Dylan hears his voice going through this little vocal amp, and he gets really excited about it. “Wow! This is great!” And so I had to remix the whole record, putting this little vocal amp on all of his vocals for the whole show. And that sound became the sound of Time Out Of Mind.

I had a place in Oxnard, California, about an hour north of Los Angeles, a place I’d rented that was kind of a workshop for me and Daniel, we shared it half and half, I’d produce my records, he’d produce his records. Dylan was living in Point Dune, and he’d drive up every day, and he’d tune into this radio station that he could only get between Point Dune and Oxnard. It would just pop up at one point, and it was all these old blues recordings, Little Walter, guys like that. And he’d ask us, “Why do those records sound so great? Why can’t anybody have a record sound like that anymore? Can I have that?” And so, I say, “Yeah, you can get those sound still.” “Well,” he says, “ that’s the sound I’m thinking of for this record.”

That’s how it started, with that sound. But at the same time, Dylan was very interested in Beck. He’d say, “These Beck records are sounding pretty cool. How does he make those records?” So we’d talk about them being loop-based, and playing on top of them, and he’s like, “Yeah, yeah.”

So we originally started off with the idea of making this record sound something like a Beck record. We brought in Tony Mangurian, who’s kind of a hip-hop drummer from New York, his whole thing is computer-based, he loops stuff and builds on top of it. The original idea was he was going to be there at the computer and fit out all these things, and we’d do all this collaging and cut-and-paste.

But when Dylan first came in, we’re already to do this, and he’d say, “Yeah, I’ve got this song,” and he’d go over to the piano, and he’d play just a little bit, then he’d say, “Daniel, whaddaya think of that song?” And Dan goes, “Well, it sounds really great, but I need to hear some lyrics.” But Bob wouldn’t sing any lyrics. Next day, he’d show up, “I got *another* song for you.” He’d play a little bit of piano. “Whaddaya think of *that* one?” Dan would go, “Well – I really need to hear a song.” And it was like he was just *playing* us, you know, really stringing us along.

But then, finally, the next day, he comes in and he plays this song on the piano called “Can’t Wait”.

And this is a *gospel* version of the song. Tony, he hears it, and he just went over to the drumkit and he started playing this groove with him, this kind of hip-hop beat, a real sexy groove, and Bob is hammering out this gospel kind of piano and really singing, and, again, the hair on my arms went up, it was stunning. Luckily, I was recording, and I caught it. He played one verse, and a chorus, and that was it.

We were thinking, Wow. If this is going to be anything like this, this record is going to be unbelievable. And that’s how it all started to drift away from the idea of the computer-based thing.

Then, just as we’re all set to make the record in Oxnard – and we were getting amazing sounds in this old theatre, had all the gear set up, this really incredible atmosphere with 16mm projectors and mirrorballs - Bob says, “Y’know – I can’t work this close to home. I got my family there, I can’t work here. I wanna do it in Miami.” The *furthest* point away, right? So I took most of the gear, all the microphones I was using, these old ribbons from the 1950, a lot of tube microphones, and I threw them in the truck with a bunch of motorcycles, and I drove from LA to Miami over the Christmas break to set up at the Criteria studio.

Criteria is a big, huge, soundstage room, completely white, no vibe, and the room sounds really spitty, it just didn’t sound good at all. So I’d gone from having it made and getting all these great sounds, to really struggling to get a sound. And, you know, there would come a point where there were like 15 people playing in that room at the same time, and the way Bob works is, because he hasn’t figured out the song, each take is in a different key. So, he’s just been doing it in D, and now he’s going to do it in E, and for the musicians, it’s suddenly you have to change the whole map of the chords, and a lot of people can’t just do that straight off. But Dylan kind of expects you to just know it – he knows every chord, and he’s really great at that kind of stuff. So a lot of them just weren’t making the changes.

We’d come back and listen in the control room, and it was all over the place – people are hitting the wrong note, it just sounded so chunky, it was just awful. So Dan said to the musicians, “If you’re not going to make the changes, if you can’t figure it out – just don’t play. That’s the law. Just don’t make the mistake, because we’re only going to get a couple of chances, and you never know if this is going to be the take.”

We’d listen to these takes coming in, and Dan is just standing there saying, “Man, this is so chunky.” And Jim Keltner goes: “Is that West Coast chunky, or East Coast chunky?” And [organ player] Augie Meyers, you know, has polio in one leg, and he’s a really big dude, like six feet tall, and a big guy. He’d be standing right behind me in the control room, and suddenly you’d hear - bang! –I’d feel the floor shaking, and Augie would just have collapsed and fell on the floor. So there was a bit of a theme going on, things were sort of crazy.

I mean, by that point, Jim Keltner is there playing drums, Brian Blade is there playing drums, and Tony Mangurian is there playing drums – three drummers going on at the same time, five guitar players, pedal steel, organ, piano, all these people. Dan had put together a band, and then Dylan had put out the call for these guys like Jim Dickinson, Augie Meyers, Duke Robillard, Cindy Cashdollar. Dylan brought in all these Nashvile people, and I think that made Dan a little mental having all these Nashville strummers strumming, it was a bit too much. As I’m sure Jim Dickinson has said, there were a lot of ingredients in there that you don’t actually hear on the record, because things were filtered down so we could take a cleaner path on some of them.

In terms of the conflict that people have mentioned between Dan and Dylan, what those guys were witnessing was – earlier we were talking about that first version of “Can’t Wait” that was so haunting – well, Dan wanted to get back to that version.

We had recorded three other versions of “Can’t Wait”, which you might hear on this new record that’s coming out. And what we did was, we named the takes, one would be called “Ragdoll”, another one would named “The psychedelic version,” and so on. And those were all us trying to get back to that original version. But Dylan wouldn’t go back to the piano, because we had Dickinson there and Bob wanted his vibe on it.

So we’d done it, recorded it, and Dan would be saying, “You know, those are good takes, but I just gotta get that version, *I gotta get that version*. I gotta get back to that.” But Dylan wasn’t interested, he thought it was a bit throwaway, that it was done, over. And so, Dan, for a few days, he had this technique where, before Dylan would come in, he would work up the song himself, he’d get the song worked up himself – and Dan would sing it, “Can’t Wait”, and he’d kind of be mocking Dylan a little bit, doing the Dylan voice, y’know. And then Dylan would walk in to this, and he’d be like, “What’s going on here? It’s done. Why are you going there?” And then Dylan would just shut down. “Nah, I’m not recording nothing till you figure this out, I don’t even wanna record this record anymore.”

One of the arguments during Time Out Of Mind was this thing about never doing a song the same way twice. Bob actually pulled Tony Garnier, his regular bass player, into the room with Dan at one point. He says, “Tony. Have I *ever* played any song twice exactly the same?” Tony says, “No, Bob, no.” Bob says, “*See*? I don’t *do* that.” And Dan’s like, “Yeah, but that song ‘Can’t Wait…’” Bob’s like, “I did it that way, and I’m never doing it that way ever again. I don’t do anything the same twice.”

So there was a bit of a conflict, where there was a tension between Dan and Bob that got quite uncomfortable. There was a situation where Bob wouldn’t actually talk to Dan for a little while. So Dylan would only talk to me, and then Dan would come to me to tell me what to tell Dylan, and I was like there go-between.

We’d be sitting at the console, and Bob would say, “What’s on that track?” I’d say, “That’s your guitar.” “Great, great, turn it up. What’s on that track?” “Oh, that’s Dan.” He’d whisper, “Take it out, take it out.” The Dan would walk in and he’d say, “Wow, this is sounding great!” And Bob would turn to me, with Dan standing right there, and he’d say, “Did you hear something?” And I’m sitting there, like “Oh, no…” He was kind of playing, but it was intense.

I was working quite hands on with Dylan for a while, doing the vocals. Say on something like “Not Dark Yet” he’d say, “I wanna change this one line,” and I’d say, “Bob, I really love that line, that’s my favourite line, please don’t change it – but if you are, I’ll put it on another track and kind of save it, because you might want to put it back.” And he said, “Really? Well, okay, don’t worry about it.” You know, I’d just try and be really honest with him, about what I thought about lyrics and things, and he kind of appreciated that. But if it was *Dan* who said something like that, Bob was like, “Let’s change it, right away.”

I think Bob’s chosen to produce himself since then maybe because Time Out Of Mind was a co-production with Dan, and he might have though that he’d taken the reins away from Dan a little, that he was producing it more himself, and he might have thought, “Well, why do I need to have somebody else? I know my direction, and I don’t want to have these conflicts with anybody.”

I talked with Don Was, actually, who had also produced a record for Bob [1990’s Under The Red Sky], and he had this funny story. He had finished recording the whole record, and then, on like that last day, Bon announces that he wants to put accordion on. On every song. So sometimes, you have to ask, is the producer going to put up with it and let you do it? Or is he going to say, “Hey, that’s not a good idea.” And, of course, Don lets him do. But at the end of the day, Bob’s got the call, and that’s maybe why he’s chosen his own producing path.

As the end of the Time Out Of Mind session rolled around, though, it was a month or two later, after recording, when Bob reappeared and we ended up finishing the record back in Oxnard in California, and by that point, Dan and Dylan were talking again. That’s where all Bob’s storytelling was done, during the mixing.

Bob would just go off and talk for literally two hours at a stretch. He told these stories about when he was living in New York and how he couldn’t go home because there was a crowd of people in front of his house, he’d have to put out a phone call to spread the word that he was over in the Village so the crowd would go over there and he could get into his house. He had all these stories, and it was amazing to hear it from him. I’d ask him about The Band, how he found those people. “Well, this girl was telling me about these guys from Canada, and I went and checked them out, and they seemed right…” When he wrote Chronicles, some of the same stories were in there, and I had the idea that a lot of these stories he’d had in his mind over the years. It’s amazing the amount of detail, little tiny details, that he remembers. It’s a long voyage he’s been on.



Don Was

Along with fellow Was (Not Was) mainstay, David, the man born Don Fagenson was invited by Dylan to produce 1990’s routinely underrated Under The Red Sky. “The precursor to Modern Times,” he says today…

Was (Not Was) was on this godawful Club MTV tour, playing to arenas full of 14 year olds and opening for Milli Vanilli, Paula Abdul and Tone Loc. Being twenty years older than everyone else on the tour AND the only act performing live, we were dying on stage every night. Out of nowhere, we got an offer to score and appear in a movie called The Freshman which starred Marlon Brando, Matthew Broderick and a wonderful actor named Bruno Kirby. We hired two curly haired ringers to cover for us onstage and jumped ship for Toronto where the movie was being filmed. The first order of business was to cut a version of "Maggie's Farm" that was to be performed in the film by a classic American TV presenter named Burt Parks - possibly the least likely person ever to cover a Bob Dylan song. We made the record on a Tuesday and then spent the next five days lip-synching to the track in front of the cameras - David and I performing as Burt's band while Brando acted out the film's climactic scene in front of the bandstand. Well, we found out that Bob was gonna be performing live in Toronto that week so I called a mutual friend and scored some tickets. David, Bruno, Matthew, Matthew's then-girlfriend, Helen Hunt, and I piled in a car and ran over to what's now called the Molson Amphitheater. After the show, David and I were ushered into a room to meet our hero. We brought him the cassette copy of Burt Parks singing "Maggie's Farm" and a small token of our esteem to keep him entertained on the bus: a VHS copy of Garden Of The Fitzi Contini's that we'd 'permanently rented' from a local video shop and some microwave popcorn. We had a good laugh together and the vibe was nice. A few months later, Bob called and asked if I’d be interested in producing a new version of a song called "God Knows". David and I pulled out of our gig scoring The Freshman - which was a blessing for everyone because we were definitely in way over our heads - and booked a day at the Record Plant recording studio for our first session with Bob Dylan.

I had no particular reservations about working with Dylan. Well, it's not hyperbolic for me to say that, since 1966, my highest aspiration in life was to play bass and record with Bob Dylan, so no, there was absolutely no trepidation about accepting his invitation. That said, once in the studio, I wasn't totally able to toss iconography and myth to the wind. Bob wasn't the problem - he made a real effort to put us at ease which is something I've always appreciated and admired about him. He was humble and very funny. In addition to being one of the most creative folks ever to come down the pike, he's a good man, y'know? I'm sure that there were times when we offered suggestions that were based more on preconceptions about the legend than what was right for the moment, but that doesn't mean that Bob actually listened to those suggestions. With a little more experience, I probably could have been a better producer for Bob but who knows? Maybe every album, like every blade of grass, is already numbered by the master's hand. Know what I'm saying? Under The Red Sky was probably gonna turn out the way it did whether it was produced by The Was Brothers or a couple of astronauts!

Under The Red Sky didn’t get the greatest reviews, but it's one of the very few records I’ve been involved with that I also listen to for personal enjoyment. That's all I can go by. You should bear in mind that I also listen to Archie Shepp, the Stooges and Andre Williams for enjoyment but that doesn't alter the fact that Under The Red Sky is a very cool album - much better than anyone thought at the time. Actually, I find it very similar - the precursor - to Modern Times. I can't believe that nobody's noticed the connection.

One of Bob's great virtues as a songwriter is that he creates these impressionistic pieces that provide a rich tapestry of images while leaving plenty of space for you to drape your own meaning. In many ways, you could attribute Bob's enduring popularity to his ability to allow each listener to become kind of a co-writer. Maybe that's why he bristles at that whole "spokesman for a generation" thing. In truth, he's created a body of work that enables everyone to be their own spokesman. He can do this with a complex song like "Visions Of Johanna" or incredibly simple ones like "Under The Red Sky". In fact, while we were recording that particular song, there was a moment when I thought that some of the lyrics were addressed to me personally ! It sounds ridiculous now but, when we got to that second bridge, I thought it related to some big cosmic stuff that I was going through at that particular stage of my life. How did he know?? Meanwhile, I'm sure that literally a million other folks have attached their own, completely different significance to that little fable. That's how great a writer Bob Dylan is. I never did discuss my interpretation of the second bridge with him - it seemed like a really stupid thing to bring up. However, towards the end of the day, I decided to broach the subject matter of the song by asking about the last verse - the one about the river running dry. “Is this song about ecology?” I asked him. “No, but it won't pollute the environment”, he answered without missing a beat.

We never discussed anything about ideas or themes. There was just an unspoken understanding between us. Bob never played us any of the songs in advance and David and I never told him who the musicians were gonna be. "God Knows" was our audition. You should've seen the room that day. Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan on electric guitars, David Lindley on a weissenborn slide, Kenny Aronoff - who was still in Mellencamp's band - on drums, young Jamie Muhoberac on B3, Bob played acoustic piano and sang. I played bass. Nobody knew the song. Bob played it on the piano for us once through and then we cut it. The modus operandi for all subsequent sessions was immediately established: listen to Bob and respond sympathetically. I suspect that's how he's made most of his records. The first take was a mess - too many musicians. For take two, we began with just Bob and Stevie Ray and built up the arrangement very, very slowly. His singing was great. It was a keeper take. The rough mix from that moment is the mix that appears on the album. David and I were jazzed. I can't speak for Bob but he had the option of splitting after that. Instead of going home, he went on to cut "Handy Dandy", "Cat's In the Well" and "Ten Thousand Men" with us that same afternoon. So I guess he dug what was happening.

My job as a producer is to create an “inspiration-friendly environment”. How did I apply that to Bob? With a very light touch, man, very light. Trying to manufacture too much of a scene would have been a bad plan. I don't think that coloured lights and Indian tapestries would've unleashed a torrent of creativity from a savvy cat like Bob. But, in the end, he's a musician and it seemed that surrounding him with some new and different cats might inspire him. On day one, he walked through the door and surprise: there were the Vaughan brothers and Lindley! On day two, he walked in to discover that NRBQ was his backing band. The tracks from that day didn't make it to onto the record but that was just because he never finished writing those particular songs. The blend was very cool and Bob seemed to enjoy the session. Day three was “all Jews day”: sounds like summer camp, doesn't it? Al Kooper, Kenny, Waddy Wachtel, Bob and myself with David and Ed Cherney in the control room. We didn't order any gefilte fish from canter's deli but we did have fun. It was a prolific day that yielded "Under The Red Sky" and "Unbelievable". We also cut a song called "Heartland" that didn't make the album but turned up as a duet on Willie Nelson's "Across The Borderline" record that I produced a few years later and which, by the way, is another very deep and under-appreciated album. Day 4 was the riskiest: Robben Ford, Bruce Hornsby, Kenny and Randy Jackson on bass. W cut 'Born In Time", "TV Talking Song" and a very cool Grateful Dead-style extended instrumental that featured Bob on harp. Speaking of " TV Talking Song ", if you'd have suggested that, 20 years later, Randy Jackson would be the biggest TV star in America, we'd have had you hauled off in a straitjacket! Life is funny, isn't it?

I read that Dylan was disillusioned with the record business at the time, and have no reason to doubt his word. I wasn't there for Blonde On Blonde or Blood On The Tracks so I can't really compare his level of involvement to anything else. I've got no frame of reference. Over the years I've come to adopt this point of view as the party line but, looking back on it 20 years later, my first thought would not be to characterize him as terribly disillusioned or distracted. There certainly wasn't a perfunctory or lethargic vibe in the studio. Y'know, it IS possible that, even in his less-inspired moments, he shines brightly. I remember, just before we recorded “Handy Dandy”, Bob remarked about how, years earlier, he'd been to a Miles Davis session. The band improvised for an hour and then Teo Macero, the producer, took a razorblade to tape and cut it into a coherent five-minute piece. It allowed the musicians to stretch out without worrying about whether they were adhering to a set arrangement. We decided to try something similar with "Handy Dandy". It was originally 34 minutes long and had some amazing solos by Jimmy and Stevie. We picked the most appropriate four minutes and cut that together. Columbia Records could release a bootleg series box set of just the unexpurgated "Handy Dandy" and "Cat's In The Well" just like they did with "In A Silent Way".

At the time, I didn't even know that "Born In Time" was left over from Oh Mercy. I’d never even heard that version ‘til someone played me a bootleg copy a few years ago. At the session, he just sat down at the piano and played it for everyone. Once the groove was established, Bob yielded the piano bench to [Bruce] Hornsby and picked up an acoustic guitar for the take. There was so much going on at that moment that I didn't really focus properly on the lyrics as they were going by. It took years for me to realize how deep that song is. I mean, really fucking deep. For a while, I felt that we didn't do it justice in the studio. I've listened to it recently though and it's right on the money. There is a world-weariness in Bob's vocal that is integral to the song, you know..."You can have what's left of me". Getting that point across is more important than any little 'production' gimmicks that may have been overlooked. It 's a mood that foreshadows the sensibility of Time Out Of Mind. It's certainly the crown jewel of Under The Red Sky.

There were an unusual amount of cameos on Under The Red Sky. But believe me, there was no earthly master plan governing any aspect of this album. It just kinda unfolded as we went along. We wanted to overdub some funky wurlitzer on a song. I'd just finished producing Elton John and was talking to him every day about mastering his record. He's a superb R&B piano player, one of the most overlooked in the world. It was a no-brainer to call him. I'd also been hanging out with David Crosby too, going through songs for an album we made later that same year. He said, “If you're doing background vocals with Bob, you'd better call me!” He's the best harmony singer I've ever met and he goes way back with Bob. George Harrison was making a Wilburys album with Bob. If these guys were part of your everyday life, you'd call em too. They're awesome musicians. I'd put ‘em on every record if I could! There was obviously a deep and long-standing friendship between the two of them and the mood in the studio was quite jocular. Before George had even gotten a sound on his guitar or heard the song, Bob sat down behind the board in the engineer's seat, hit the record button and said, "Play!" Apparently, it was not the first time Bob had done this to George. All things considered, it was a respectable solo but the guitar was way out of tune and, well, George didn't even know what key the song was in! Bob indicated that the solo was perfect and that we were done. George rolled his eyes, turned to me and asked, “What do YOU think, Don?” Suddenly, all the oxygen was sucked out of the room. It was one of those instances we discussed earlier where the iconography of the room was overpowering. The Concert For Bangladesh was sitting two feet away from me awaiting some words of wisdom! How am I gonna tell George Harrison that his solo wasn't up to snuff? What if Bob really DID think it was a good solo? Was I missing something? Finally, I decided that I wasn't hired to be their adoring fan. I had to step up to the plate as their producer. "It was really good but let's see if you can do an even better one," I said. "THANK YOU," answered George. Bob laughed, rewound the tape and let Ed Cherney, the engineer, have his chair back. It was a life-changing lesson in record producing: gentle, respectful truth shall set you free. George nailed the solo on the next pass.

I remember when we were doing “Shirley Temple Don’t Live Here Anymore”, David [Weiss], Bob and I were sitting around the studio lounge waiting for ed to finish a mix. We were killing time, watching a rerun of Bewitched on the TV. It was absurd: we had the undivided attention of one the century's great men and the best we could offer was the mind-numbing allure of this sitcom! David and I were supposed to write a song for Paula Abdul's next album and we asked Bob if he'd be willing to join us in the enterprise. We turned the TV off and wrote a little song called "Shirley Temple Doesn't Live Here Anymore". It struck me as a companion piece to The Last Picture Show, conjuring up images of a dying town and a disappearing way of life. We made a wistful sounding demo that, in all probability, was better suited to a singer like Richard Manuel than poor little Paula. She subsequently passed on the song. A couple years later, we thought we'd funk it up and try it as a Was (Not Was) song. Bob was cool with the idea but wanted to change a few lyrics. We downed a few shots of bourbon, Bob scribbled some new words on the page and "Mr Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" was ready for the world. We put it on our very next album, Boo!, which was released 16 years later.

How does producing Dylan compare to, say, Roy Orbison or Brian Wilson? The main thing that those three artists have in common is that they are each one-of-a-kind. When Roy Orbison left this world, nobody took his place. Comparing them is like comparing the Grand Canyon to Kilimanjaro, y'know? They're breathtaking in completely different ways. After we made Under The Red Sky, I was producing one of the most popular country artists in the world. I wanted him to cover one of Bob's songs. He said "I don't get Bob Dylan... he sings through his nose." I took him aside and recited the lyrics to "The Times They Are A-Changing". I told him "You're a songwriter so I know you can appreciate this. This isn't a ‘Sixties protest song. Bob adapted the form of an old sea shanty and, in four little verses, explained the timeless, cyclical nature of generational change - the never ending battle between young and old". “Okay, I get it. That IS an amazing song," admitted the country singer. "Yes it is," I replied. "But the really amazing thing is that he's written 600 other songs that are just as amazing as that one." Checkmate, baby ! Needless to say, he recorded Bob's song that night and sang the shit out of it too. It held the #1 position on the country charts for two months. Go figure.





MALCOLM BURN
Multi-instrumentalist and recording engineer and mix on 1989’s Oh Mercy, Burn has produced a variety of albums including Emmylou Harris’ Red Dirt Girl and Iggy Pop’s American Caesar
.

In the weeks prior to recording, when we were waiting for Bob to arrive and getting ready to make the record, I kept asking Dan [Lanois, producer], “Have you heard from Bob? Have you heard any of the songs we might be doing?” And Dan had heard like little snippets. Bob didn’t want to demo them or anything like that. He’d play like a few lines from songs, or one line. Y’know: “Most of the time, I’m clear focused all around… – what d'ya think? That’s a good one? Okay, great.”

So Dan was a little unclear as to what the material was going to be like. But, the two things I recall, was that Dylan had talked quite a bit about trying to get a piano-bass. And none of us really knew what a piano-bass was. I guess it’s kinda like what The Doors used to use, sort of a keyboard bass. He’d talked a lot about that. And he’d also talked about trying to do something with Fats Domino. So, we didn’t know anything about the material, but we did know he wanted a piano-bass, and that he was hoping to maybe do something with Fats, because we were doing the record in New Orleans.

So, other than that, we were just trying to get ready in the normal way, and then, I a week before we were due to start recording, we received a cassette from Bob. And I thought, Oh, great, we’re going hear some songs. We got this cassette, and it had this little note from Bob: “Listen to this, this’ll give you a good idea of what’s going on.” And so Dan and I and Mark Howard, the other engineer, we sat down to listen to this cassette, and we put it in the machine – and this Al Jolson music started playing.
And we were like, "What the Fuck? Al Jolson?” So, we fast-forwarded it, and it was just a whole tape of Al Jolson. And we looked back at the note, and it said. “Listen to this. You can learn a lot.” So Dan and I sort of looked at each other and – you know, Al Jolson’s great –but we sort of thought it was a bit odd.

But, y’know, anyway, when Bob arrived and we started making the record, I’d sort of forgotten about this. And then, one evening in the middle of recording, we were taking a little break, and somehow, something came up about favourite singers, and who were great influences, especially when it comes to phrasing. Bob had said a number of times that phrasing was sort of everything. You can have really great lyrics, but if you don’t deliver them properly, they’re not gonna mean a thing. And it’s quite true. And in this conversation, Bob said, “My two favourite singers are Frank Sinatra and Al Jolson.” And I thought, wow, now I get it. And it’s interesting, because when you have that in your head and you go back and listen to Al Jolson, you can sort of make the correlation with Bob Dylan, that concatenation, that kind of rapid-fire thing. That was kind of an interesting learning experience. Al Jolson. Bob Dylan. We had a couple of nice conversations. I remember at one point I’d asked him who his favourite sonwriters were, and without hesitation he said, “Gordon Lightfoot and Kris Kristofferson. Those are the guys.”

When it came to presenting songs, Bob would show up every day – well, I should say, every night. Our recording schedule was pretty nocturnal, he wouldn’t normally show up until about eight or nine at night, and we would usually work into the early hours, four or five, sometimes six or seven in the morning. That was just his schedule. Every night he would come in with a rolled-up bundle of paper, wrapped up with a rubber band, his lyrics that he was in the process of working on. And, say when we were working on something like “Most Of The Time”, he’d be sort of finishing the lyrics. He’d go over to where we had the coffee machine and put the lyrics out on the table and start scribbling and fixing up a few lines, and then he’d say, “Okay, let’s go.”

I really got the strong impression that, for him, the song really wasn’t ready to be a song until the lyrics were in place. By that I mean, it wasn’t necessarily about the melody or the chords. I remember, one night, we were going to do “Most Of The Time” and he sat down with his guitar, and I actually recorded this, I still have it somewhere, and he said, “Well, we could do it like this” - and he played the entire song, just him on acoustic guitar and harmonica, the archetypal Bob Dylan thing. He actually referred to himself in the third person, “That would be like a typical Bob Dylan way of doin’ it.” And then he did it another way, and he played it like a blues, really slow, and I recorded that, too. And then there was the version that we ended up doing on the record, which is quite spacious and has that real Dan Lanois imprint all over it.

So, it occurred to me that the treatment of the song was secondary. If the lyrics were in place, then it was just sort of, “Well what’s appropriate? What kind of record are we making? What kind of song do we need to stick in there? If it needs to be up-tempo, I’ll do the song up-tempo.” He wasn’t really precious about that aspect of it. The only thing that made any real difference to him was whether what he was saying was in place. Quite often, he would rewrite even one-line. Even when we were mixing the record, I’d be in the middle of the mix and he’d suddenly say, “Y’know what, I’ve just rewritten that line, can I re-sing it?” And I’d be like, Jeez, I’ve just finished the mix. So I’d be cutting out one line of a mix and editing in the new one to accommodate the re-write. And at that time, I was still editing on tape, so you’d physically cut it out and stick it up on the wall with a piece of sticky-tape. And then the next day, he’d come in and say, “Actually, let’s go back to the line I had, the way it was before.” And so I’d take the piece of tape off the wall and splice it back into the mix.
The one song that didn’t end up on that record that Dan and I were really pushing for, was “Series Of Dreams”. That was actually my favourite track on the record. I just thought, man, this is great. The feel of it, the lyrics, the whole vibe, it was just like from another world. And when we got to the stage where we were deciding which songs to put on the record, we kept advocating for this song. I remember we were standing in the courtyard of this house in New Orleans where we recorded, and Bob said, “Y’know what, I only put ten songs on my records.” And I said, “But, Bob, that song is so great.” And he goes. “Nah, nah. I’m only putting ten songs on there.”

I guess he was maybe only getting paid mechanical royalties in his contract, and so his attitude was basically, ‘Look, I’m gonna be making another record, I’ll put that song on the next one. They can get their next ten songs next year.’ Which made perfect economic sense to me. But I really liked the song. And finally he said, “Look, I don’t think the lyrics are finished, I’m not happy with them. The song’s too long. But I don’t wanna cut out any of the lyrics.” And so the song didn’t end up on the record, which was pretty disappointing for us, but, luckily, the recording did come out eventually. And, actually, he did cut out one of the verses.
He’s probably the hardest-working person I’ve ever been in the studio with. He’s really focused. Most people spend a lot of time yapping and gabbing and bullshitting around, but, even though we maybe only worked seven or eight hours a day, those seven or eight hours were full-on. There wasn’t any time for wasting time or talking about sports or bullshit. It was completely: we’re doing music now. A lot of other artists could learn something from that really strong work ethic. I remember thinking, “Yeah. This is why certain people achieve what they do. Because they don’t waste time.”

He’s kind of old-school, y’know. His attitude is, you don’t spend a lot of time making records. You don’t do millions of takes. You don’t overdub until the cows come home. You just get the song ready, you go in there, you play it, there it is. If someone makes a mistake, fuck it. I would constantly get grief from the instrumentalists on the record when we were working on the record, they’d say, “But, but, I gotta fix my part!” No, we’re not. We’re not doing another take, we’re not fixing your drum fills. Unless it’s like a real clunker, when someone is actually playing the wrong notes, we’re leaving it. I remember Bob would never tune his guitar, Dan was always having to tune it for him. He doesn’t want to fuck around with bullshit, he doesn’t care if the bass player sounds great, he’s only interested in the songs. And he has this touring schedule, and so you only have a set amount of time. It’s not like making, say, a U2 record, where it can go on for 18 months or whatever. Really, the day we finished the record, he got on the tour bus, and he was gone. Back on the endless tour.

One thing, early on during the recording, that he really pushed us to try and do, was he said, “Y’know, I really love the way my vocals sound when you record them on like, a boom-box, that little microphone. Why can’t I get my vocals to sound like that on a record?” So we actually tried recording with a boom-box. That didn’t quite work out. But it was one of the things he really pushed us on, and I was surprised, but he really pushed us so hard to get this really great vocal sound. He was one who kept pushing us to do that, “I want it more like this, more like that.” And I was really surprised because on the next record he did [Under the Red Sky], he didn’t get that vocal sound.

I remember when we were doing “Man In The Long Black Coat”, when he first started doing it, he was singing it maybe an octave higher. And it didn’t sound very good. It sounded pretty awful, in fact. And it might have been Bob or it might have been Dan, but someone recognised it wasn’t really working, and suggested singing it an octave lower, and that’s when he got that “Crickets - a-chirpin - water is high” and suddenly the phrasing came and I was like, “Fuck, this is really good.” It was a different song. But that was done very quickly.

Nothing on the record took a lot of takes really. The only thing we took a lot of time getting – and this is another interesting thing about is approach – is like, if he was fixing a vocal part. Y’know if he wanted to punch in just a part of a song again. It was never about whether it was in tune or out of tune or anything like that. It would be – let’s say he’s singing a replacement line – he’d sing it and you’d try to mix it into the original track, he’d listen to it and he’s say, “Ah, nah, nah, nah. That’s not the guy.” And I’d say, “The guy?” And he’d say, “Yeah. It’s not the same guy.”

And I really understood. It’s like acting, you’re trying to find the character or a motivation. So many singers I’ve worked with are so self-conscious about being in tune, they’re so worried about how they sound, and they’ll sing a line, and it’ll maybe sound better and it’ll be in tune – but it’s not the same personality. And I’ll say to them, “I don’t care if the first take is a little out of tune – it’s not the same personality.” And that was something I learned from Bob. I learned a lot from him on that about that kind of thing. So when he came to fixing up a vocal, I’d say to him: “Yeah that’s the guy.” And it would be the guy. The guy, the character he had invented for that particular thing. I mean an extreme example is, if you listen to “Lay, Lady, Lay.” Who’s that guy?

Bob, while were working, he never really spoke to the other musicans we had assembled. He’d speak to the people he knew or knew about, but he wasn’t really interested in making buddies with anyone. And he always wore this hoodie, y’know, and he’d just kind of play and sing. For the first two or days while we were recording, we had the Neville Brothers’ rhythm section there. And the Nevilles’ drummer, Willie Green, he came up to me after the second or third night, he comes in, and he came right up to me, I was sitting at the mixing board, and Bob was like, four feet away. And Willie says, “Man, I’ve been here for two or three days man. When the fuck’s Bob Dylan showing up? I thought we were making a record with Bob Dylan, man, where the fuck is he?” And I said, “Willie, he’s sitting right next to you.” “Oh. Is that Bob Dylan? Is that Bob Dylan right there?” “Yes, that’s Bob Dylan.”

And then, seriously, the bass player, Tony, he comes in and he comes up, and it turns out he didn’t know this was Bob sitting here either. And he says, “Man, that Bob Dylan is some weird motherfucker, man.” And Bob just sort of looked up and raised his eyebrow. And then he went back to working on his lyrics.
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Mar 8 Juin - 18:37

J'ai ce numéro de Uncut, effectivement très intéressant.

Citation :

Bob, while were working, he never really spoke to the other musicans
we had assembled. He’d speak to the people he knew or knew about, but
he wasn’t really interested in making buddies with anyone. And he always
wore this hoodie, y’know, and he’d just kind of play and sing. For the
first two or days while we were recording, we had the Neville Brothers’
rhythm section there. And the Nevilles’ drummer, Willie Green, he came
up to me after the second or third night, he comes in, and he came right
up to me, I was sitting at the mixing board, and Bob was like, four
feet away. And Willie says, “Man, I’ve been here for two or three days
man. When the fuck’s Bob Dylan showing up? I thought we were making a
record with Bob Dylan, man, where the fuck is he?” And I said, “Willie,
he’s sitting right next to you.” “Oh. Is that Bob Dylan? Is that Bob
Dylan right there?” “Yes, that’s Bob Dylan.”

And then, seriously, the bass player, Tony, he comes in and he comes up, and it turns out he
didn’t know this was Bob sitting here either. And he says, “Man, that
Bob Dylan is some weird motherfucker, man.” And Bob just sort of looked
up and raised his eyebrow. And then he went back to working on his
lyrics
.
J'adore
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Mar 8 Juin - 19:59

Ouais, il est excellent ce numéro.

CORTEZ a écrit:

Pour l'enregistrement de TOOM et particulièrement pour le son Dylan voulait le son des disques de Al Jolson et du dernier Beck ??
Pour Time Out of Mind, j'ai lu un paquet d'interview, Bob a pas mal causé à l'époque.
Et - au final - difficile de se faire une idée, il dit tout et son contraire.
Vraiment.
Tu cites Beck...J'ai souvent lu Buddy Holly...
Un coup il aime comme le disque sonne, un coup il aime plus.
Un coup il le trouve trop morbide, un coup il le trouve trop moderne...
Difficile de se faire une religion sur la question.

_________________
Sing along Bob
Sing, sing along Zimmerman
J'suis cow-boy à Paname
Mais c'est la faute à Dylan


Dernière édition par Baptiste le Mar 8 Juin - 20:48, édité 1 fois
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Mar 8 Juin - 20:15

Baptiste a écrit:
Ouais, il est excellent ce numéro.

CORTEZ a écrit:

Pour l'enregistrement de TOOM et particulièrement pour le son Dylan voulait le son des disques de Al Jolson et du dernier Beck ??
Pour Time Out of Mind, j'ai lu un paquet d'interview, Bob a pas mal causé à l'époque.
Et - au final - difficile de se faire une idée, il dit tout et son contraire.
Vraiment.
Un coup il aime comme le disque sonne, un coup il aime plus.
Un coup il le trouve trop morbide, un coup il le trouve trop moderne...
Difficile de se faire une religion sur la question.

On s'en fout de ce que pense le créateur, et ce qui compte, c'est l'auditeur. Et moi, j'adore!
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Mar 8 Juin - 20:44

Jacques Frosties a écrit:
Baptiste a écrit:
Ouais, il est excellent ce numéro.

CORTEZ a écrit:

Pour l'enregistrement de TOOM et particulièrement pour le son Dylan voulait le son des disques de Al Jolson et du dernier Beck ??
Pour Time Out of Mind, j'ai lu un paquet d'interview, Bob a pas mal causé à l'époque.
Et - au final - difficile de se faire une idée, il dit tout et son contraire.
Vraiment.
Un coup il aime comme le disque sonne, un coup il aime plus.
Un coup il le trouve trop morbide, un coup il le trouve trop moderne...
Difficile de se faire une religion sur la question.

On s'en fout de ce que pense le créateur, et ce qui compte, c'est l'auditeur. Et moi, j'adore!
Bah moi je m'en fous pas.
C'est intéressant de connaître les intentions de l'artiste au moment d'enregistrer un disque, de savoir ce qu'il recherchait comme climat sonore, de savoir s'il est satisfait ou non du résultat.
Ca veut pas dire que l'on doit être d'accord avec lui, que l'on doit écouter le disque avec les mêmes oreilles mais ça donne un angle d'attaque.

Ce qui est certains, c'est que les sessions de TOOM ont été assez laborieuses et pas vraiment épanouissantes, que ce soit pour Dylan ou pour Lanois.
Et c'est sans doute pour ça qu'il produit depuis ses disques tout seul.

_________________
Sing along Bob
Sing, sing along Zimmerman
J'suis cow-boy à Paname
Mais c'est la faute à Dylan
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Mar 8 Juin - 22:59

Baptiste a écrit:
Jacques Frosties a écrit:
Baptiste a écrit:
Ouais, il est excellent ce numéro.

CORTEZ a écrit:

Pour l'enregistrement de TOOM et particulièrement pour le son Dylan voulait le son des disques de Al Jolson et du dernier Beck ??
Pour Time Out of Mind, j'ai lu un paquet d'interview, Bob a pas mal causé à l'époque.
Et - au final - difficile de se faire une idée, il dit tout et son contraire.
Vraiment.
Un coup il aime comme le disque sonne, un coup il aime plus.
Un coup il le trouve trop morbide, un coup il le trouve trop moderne...
Difficile de se faire une religion sur la question.

On s'en fout de ce que pense le créateur, et ce qui compte, c'est l'auditeur. Et moi, j'adore!
Bah moi je m'en fous pas.
C'est intéressant de connaître les intentions de l'artiste au moment d'enregistrer un disque, de savoir ce qu'il recherchait comme climat sonore, de savoir s'il est satisfait ou non du résultat.
Ca veut pas dire que l'on doit être d'accord avec lui, que l'on doit écouter le disque avec les mêmes oreilles mais ça donne un angle d'attaque.

Ce qui est certains, c'est que les sessions de TOOM ont été assez laborieuses et pas vraiment épanouissantes, que ce soit pour Dylan ou pour Lanois.
Et c'est sans doute pour ça qu'il produit depuis ses disques tout seul.

Bon, je devrais penser à mettre des smileys... J'ironisais gentiment, j'aime aussi connaître ce genre de détails.
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Mar 8 Juin - 23:17

Baptiste a écrit:


Ce qui est certains, c'est que les sessions de TOOM ont été assez laborieuses et pas vraiment épanouissantes, que ce soit pour Dylan ou pour Lanois.
Et c'est sans doute pour ça qu'il produit depuis ses disques tout seul.

J'ai jamais vraiment cerné ce que signifiait concrètement "produire". C'est un peu obscur. Embarassed
De même que la raison de le faire sous un deuxième pseudonyme.
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Mar 8 Juin - 23:30

Noulé a écrit:
Baptiste a écrit:


Ce qui est certains, c'est que les sessions de TOOM ont été assez laborieuses et pas vraiment épanouissantes, que ce soit pour Dylan ou pour Lanois.
Et c'est sans doute pour ça qu'il produit depuis ses disques tout seul.

J'ai jamais vraiment cerné ce que signifiait concrètement "produire". C'est un peu obscur. Embarassed
En gros, je dirai choisir les musiciens, les arrangements, le son global du disque, essayer de maximiser le potentiel de chaque chanson, travailler les prises de son une à une, superviser le mixage et le mastering...

Tout ça se fait en collaboration avec l'artiste, évidemment.
Ou l'artiste fait ça tout seul.
Ou le producteur décide de tout, tout seul.

_________________
Sing along Bob
Sing, sing along Zimmerman
J'suis cow-boy à Paname
Mais c'est la faute à Dylan


Dernière édition par Baptiste le Mar 8 Juin - 23:43, édité 1 fois
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Mar 8 Juin - 23:35

Baptiste a écrit:
Noulé a écrit:
Baptiste a écrit:


Ce qui est certains, c'est que les sessions de TOOM ont été assez laborieuses et pas vraiment épanouissantes, que ce soit pour Dylan ou pour Lanois.
Et c'est sans doute pour ça qu'il produit depuis ses disques tout seul.

J'ai jamais vraiment cerné ce que signifiait concrètement "produire". C'est un peu obscur. Embarassed
En gros, je dirai choisir les musiciens, les arrangements, le son global du disque, essayer de maximiser le potentiel de chaque chanson, travailler les prises de son une à une, superviser le mixage et la mastering...

Tout ça se fait en collaboration avec l'artiste, évidemment.
Ou l'artiste fait ça tout seul.
Ou le producteur décide de tout, tout seul.

Ce que je comprends pas c'est comment un artiste peut se plaindre de la production ?
Après tout c'est son disque, si le résultat ne lui plait pas il change de producteur et ils réarrangent les pistes enregistrées.
Alors un petit artiste d'accord car il aura moins de choix, mais Dylan quand même...
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Mar 8 Juin - 23:38

Aleyster a écrit:

Ce que je comprends pas c'est pourquoi un artiste peut se plaindre de la production ?
Après tout c'est son disque, si le résultat ne lui plait pas il change de producteur et ils réarrangent les pistes enregistrées.
Par paresse, j'imagine.
Tu fixes un cap au producteur et tu lui laisses les clés.
Et puis au fur et à mesure que le projet avance, tu sens que ça va pas tout à fait dans la direction que tu souhaites, t'essaies de rectifier le tir mollement et puis finalement tu abandonnes et tu laisses le bateau voguer...
Dylan ne s'est jamais passionné pour le travail de studio de toute façon.
Je pense que l'exercice l'ennui profondément et - pire - le frustre.

_________________
Sing along Bob
Sing, sing along Zimmerman
J'suis cow-boy à Paname
Mais c'est la faute à Dylan
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Aleyster
This Land Is Your Land
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Date d'inscription : 13/04/2009

MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   Mar 8 Juin - 23:42

Baptiste a écrit:
Aleyster a écrit:

Ce que je comprends pas c'est pourquoi un artiste peut se plaindre de la production ?
Après tout c'est son disque, si le résultat ne lui plait pas il change de producteur et ils réarrangent les pistes enregistrées.
Par paresse, j'imagine.
Tu fixes un cap au producteur et tu lui laisses les clés.
Et puis au fur et à mesure que le projet avance, tu sens que ça va pas tout à fait dans la direction que tu souhaites, t'essaies de rectifier le tir mollement et puis finalement tu abandonnes et tu laisses le bateau voguer...
Dylan ne s'est jamais passionné pour le travail de studio de toute façon.
Je pense que l'exercice l'ennui profondément et - pire - le frustre.

Oui, quitte à ne pas obtenir le résultat voulu en studio, autant sortir quelque chose de différent et améliorer la chanson dans notre sens soir après soir.
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MessageSujet: Re: « Une énigme Dylanienne »   

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