Saturday, June 14, 2008

Some Bob Dylan for My Brother-in-Law Adam

A long, long time ago, I was supposed to make some Bob Dylan mixes for my brother-in-law Adam (my sister Becky's husband, father to nieces Katie and Nola--shoutouts for the whole family!!!), for his birthday. I am just now finally getting to it...but I defend myself by saying I've been thinking of it constantly!

What I've done is make two mixes, entitled Biograph 4: Addendum and Biograph 5: Modern Times. Biograph is itself a 3-disc compilation of Bob Dylan material that came out in 1985. It is a retrospective, but not your typical Greatest Hits package (although Dylan already had 3 volumes of Greatest Hits by 1985)--it has many, many of the essential tracks, but Biograph also includes many, many live, rare, and unreleased recordings, such as a beautiful demo of the song "I'll Keep It With Mine," which Dylan wrote but never recorded, instead passing it along to Nico (of Velvet Underground collaboration). It was what got me started on Dylan in the first place.

With Biograph's greatness in mind then, I humbly submit these two additional discs. Biograph 5: Modern Times is pretty self-explanatory; I've defined modern times here as 1978 and after (conveniently also known as Steve Goerger's lifetime). Biograph 4: Addendum, is older stuff that I feel is just as essential as the tracks on the first three discs. With Bob Dylan's illustrious recording career starting so early, lasting so long, and being just so damned prolific, there's a lot to go through.

The album each song originally comes from is given parenthetically. I've also decided, for these two discs, not to post the song files to the net. So you can't download these...but if you'd like to you can request a copy in the comments :)

Biograph 4: Addendum
1. Country Pie (Nashville Skyline)
2. Went to See the Gypsy (New Morning)
3. The Man in Me (NM)
4. Corrina, Corrina (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
5. One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) (Blonde on Blonde)
6. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (Highway 61 Revisited)
7. Love Minus Zero / No Limit (Bringing It All Back Home)
8. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright (TFBD)
9. Simple Twist of Fate (Blood On The Tracks)
10. Shelter from the Storm (BOTT)
11. Girl from the North Country (TFBD)
12. Tomorrow Is a Long Time (Greatest Hits Vol. II)
13. Bob Dylan's Dream (TFBD)
14. Maggie's Farm (BIABH)
15. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (H61R)
16. Idiot WInd (BOOT)
17. Oh Sister (Desire)
18. I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know (Self Portrait)
19. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We've Never Met) (Another Side of Bob Dylan)

Biograph 5: Modern Times
1. Summer Days (Love & Theft)
2. Political World (Oh, Mercy!)
3. Everything Is Broke (OM!)
4. Most of the Time (Time Out Of Mind)
5. Po' Boy (L&T)
6. Jokerman (Infidels)
7. Someday Baby (Modern Times)
8. Things Have Changed (Wonderboys Soundtrack)
9. Trying To Get To Heaven (TOOM)
10. Man In the Long Black Coat (OM!)
11. Changing of the Guards (Street Legal)
12. New Pony (SL)
13. Spirit On The Water (MT)
14. Make You Feel My Love (TOOM)
15. Not Dark Yet (TOOM)


Biograph 4: Addendum
"Country Pie" is typical of the seemingly excellent, fun time Dylan had making Nashville Skyline with, among others, Johnny Cash..."Went to See the Gypsy" makes me wistful for my midwestern homeland, as does "Girl from the North Country"..."The Man in Me" is featured, perfectly, in The Big Lebowski..."One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)" is my favorite off Blonde on Blonde...I think you'd have to rate Blood on the Tracks as one of Dylan's best albums..."Tomorrow Is a Long Time" is a perfect love song..."Bob Dylan's Dream" is a great song of brotherhood and always makes me wistful for guys like Josh, Tom, Cebs, Grant & Pieske..."Idiot Wind," off Blood on the Tracks, is so fantastically angry..."Oh, Sister" was on my original "I'm Moving to Alaska!!!" mix, which was titled "A to tha K!...Self Portrait is a very interesting album, gifted me by fellow Dylan junkie Kyle "Kylor" Mellon..."I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Met" is here for comparison purposes, since a totally electrified and excellent version of the song appears on Biograph Disc 1.

Biograph 5: Modern Times
"Summer Days" is such a rollicking piece of 50s rock, it's unbelievable we didn't get it until the 2000s..."Political World" is great, scary, and is featured in opening credits of Pedro Almodovar's Carne Tremula (God, I hate to admit it, but I'm unsure if that fact is right. I know it was at the beginning of some Spanish film I saw last year, but I can't find the fact on the internet anywhere)...overall, I just have to say that 1989's Oh, Mercy! is one of Dylan's absolute best albums ever. And we all thought he was dead in 1989..."Po' Boy" is a fun tune. Ian Dickson introduced it to me long ago..."Someday Baby," you may recognize from Victoria's Secret commercials..."Things Have Changed" is my mom's favorite Dylan song...Time Out of Mind deserved that Best Album Grammy in 1997, that wasn't any lifetime achievement/gimme crap...on the other hand, Street Legal is an album that I have to call just "interesting." But you've got to like the use of the backup singers..."Make You Feel My Love" was a big hit for Garth Brooks...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Guest Mix: Kurd's "The Last South, Vol. 1"

[Ed: Kurd and I took a road trip to Anchorage last weekend--to just get the hell out of Fairbanks, basically--and we both made mixes for the trip. Somewhere along the way we decided it would be cool if Kurd blogged one of his mixes here, rather than me giving you the same old crap. You can read more of Kurd's award-winning writing here and here. Without further ado, then, heeeere's...Kurd!]

For the drive south to Anchorage, I felt it would be good to crank out a new mix. I have notoriously poor taste in music and thought I would torture Steve’s ears for several hours. To be nice, though, I kept the mix Nickelback free. I didn’t really have a theory for the compilation. I kept the road themes minimal (“Let It Ride”), and also kept very few songs referencing my impending departure from the AK (“Where You Goin’ Now”). I included some songs that have been popping into conversations between Steve and me weirdly often (“Show Me the Way”) and some songs I haven’t thought about in a long time. I tried to keep a nice mix of old and not-quite-as-old. I get most of my new music from Steve, so it seemed counter-productive to use any of that. I made two mixes, Volumes 1 and 2 (the list here is Volume 1), and Steve pumped out a volume 1.5. We hit some overlap with “Burden in My Hand” and “Hunger Strike,” which seemed weird, or perhaps oddly meaningful, though I have no idea what that meaning might be. I think my genius in creating the mix (if there was any) was not going with the song by an artist that the listener would expect, but instead choosing a secondary option; for example, “The Drugs Don’t Work” instead of “Bittersweet Symphony,” “Where You Goin’ Now” instead of “High Enough,” “Sacrifice” instead of “The Seed 2.0,” and “My Sweet Lord (2000 Version)” instead of “My Sweet Lord.” In retrospect, I don’t think anything here has taken on deeper meaning post-trip. The road still led where it went, we didn’t go hungry, and the drugs kept on working, praise the lord.

1. Estranged, Guns ‘n Roses
2. He’s a Mighty Good Leader, Beck
3. Where You Goin’ Now, Damn Yankees
4. Unwell, Matchbox 20
5. My Sweet Lord (2000 Version), George Harrison
6. Sacrifice, The Roots
7. Burden in My Hand, Soundgarden
8. Mary, Scissor Sisters
9. The Ghost of Tom Joad, Rage Against the Machine
10. The Drugs Don’t Work, The Verve
11. Let It Ride, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
12. Sour Girl, Stone Temple Pilots
13. The Road Leads Where It’s Led, Secret Machines
14. Show Me the Way, Styx
15. Hunger Strike, Temple of the Dog
16. Free, Vast

Somehow, I stumped Steve with four songs he didn’t know: “He’s a Mighty Good Leader,” “Where You Goin’ Now,” “Mary,” and “Free.” I did not foresee this happening...I picked the songs on the fly, and chose “Unwell” for my Matchbox 20 pick (I don’t know why I felt I needed Matchbox 20 on there)...It wasn’t as good as I remembered; I should have went with “Bright Lights,” which is better and more thematically relevant: “But if the bright lights don't receive you, you should turn yourself around and come on home”...The tune by the Roots has very subtle backing vocals by Nelly Furtado, and rocks much harder in a car with a subwoofer. Yes, I used to be that guy...You may not believe this, but I love the Scissor Sisters, especially when they run their tunes through the Elton John transmogrifier ...Holy fuck, that Verve song is good...For a stretch of several months, it seemed like I listened to six songs on Ryan Adams’ Cold Roses on endless loop. It’s probably in my top three albums, with Howl by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Last Broadcast by Doves...“Show Me the Way” reminds me of the first Gulf war, which makes me think about our current situation overseas, which makes me feel less apathetic because I’m thinking about “big issues,” which makes me feel less like I’ve failed myself and my potential as a person...When Vast started playing, Steve looked over and asked if I was doing some head-banging. I was.