Monthly Archives: October 2009

Bob Dylan: Live 1966 – The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert

bob_dylan_live_66

Bob Dylan:  Live 1966 – The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert

Jordy: It has always been difficult for me to listen to the man-and-his-guitar format.  Rock, in the end, is how a small group of musicians produces a singular, simultaneous sound.  Dylan’s acoustic set on the “Royal Albert Hall” Concert is the former yearning to be the latter.  Each of the songs he performs in it was originally recorded with an ensemble (“Mr. Tambourine Man” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” are the closest to their original studio releases, lacking only the electric guitar and electric bass counterpoints, respectively).  The stripped-down acoustic versions from this bootleg sound raw and that’s not a compliment.  Furthermore, Dylan is in a fog throughout the set, allowing his strumming, vocals, and harmonica to wander arbitrarily.

 

Adam: The Dylan we hear on the acoustic half of this show is unique.  We know he’s burned out and quite possibly high on amphetamines.  He sounds detached from the music, and he sings in a slightly lower register than we are used to.  I think the unique sound of his voice here, coupled with the sparse instrumentation and the hushed reverence of the crowd (it’s easy to forget there is a crowd at all except when we hear applause between songs) makes the set feel intimate and romantic.  I think the best example of what I’m trying to say is in “Visions of Johanna.”  Listen to Dylan’s phrasing here:  “The country music sta-tion-plays-soft” and “Just Louieeeeese and her lover soooooo entwiiieeeeened/and these visions of Johanna that connnnnnn-quer my mieeeennnd.”  It obvious he wants no one but Johanna.  Paradoxically, given the detachment present in the performance, I think that this version is more expressive and romantic than the studio version.

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Filed under 1960s, Acoustic, Live, Rock, Singer-Songwriter

Modest Mouse: The Moon & Antarctica

Modest Mouse – The Moon and Antarctica (2000)

GLENN:

I had such high hopes for The Lonesome Crowded West. But it turned out to be a droney, overlong, emoish Pixies ripoff. I dug a few tracks, but soon filed it away and returned to Fugazi.

A few years later my friends were talking about “this great new band, Modest Mouse,” and the record they just picked up at Best Buy. I shrugged and picked up The Moon & Antarctica, but again, it was a little…well…iffy.

The production was crap. Many of the songs seemed just as slight as those on The Lonesome Crowded West. The singer still lisped. The double-tracked vocals canceled each other out. The guitars lacked tactility, the bass was muddled, the cymbals were too damn loud, the rest of the drums thuddy or inaudible, and when the band tried to rock it sounded like a bad car radio with the mids cranked and the high end rolled off. Plus the cover art (the old cover art, two disembodied hands shaking over some sort of lunar landscape) sucked. What, exactly, was going on here? Continue reading

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Filed under 2000s, Rock

So Well Remembered….not what you remembered

jukebox

Friends,

For over two years we’ve offered mp3s and commentary on the songs of our lives. We met some fine people along the way and generally had a good time sharing our musical lives with you, one song at a time.

However, something seemed to be missing. This blog was formed by four friends who loved music, and loved to talk about it often (to their girlfriends’ dismay).  Music binds us to one another and few things animate us more than a lively discussion of it.  We’d like to return to these roots: friends talking about the music they love.

To that end, we will be changing the form and purpose of So Well Remembered. Our focus will be on albums, new and old. We will write in  dialogue form. On any given week you might see us arguing over a 1967 sacred cow, discussing a minor Dylan work, fawning over Charles Mingus, wandering the Kinks discography, analyzing the guitar tone on a recent post-rock opus, or sharing a memory of that one time we listened to that one record in mom’s car late at night — remember that? — and it was totally awesome. We may not turn you on to the latest and greatest or weirdest and wackiest, but we hope to provide honest insights into the pleasures and distinct pains of music listening.

Talk to you soon,

SWR Writers

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Filed under Messages

“I’m all strung out on heroin on the outskirts of town”

Warren-Zevon

Warren Zevon doesn’t get the credit he deserves for being a great songwriter.  He was well-respected among other musicians, and his songs are often covered by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and others.  As a teenager, Zevon briefly studied modern classical music with Igor Stravinsky, and in the 1970s, he was the touring keyboradist with the Everly Brothers as well as with Don and Phil Everly on their respective individual tours.  He was also an occasional stand-in for Paul Shaffer on both late-night iterations of David Letterman’s show.

Carmelita” from Preludes:  Rare and Unreleased Recordings (2007)

“Carmelita” is a junkie’s lament and one of Zevon’s most famous songs, after “Werewolves of London.”  The song first came to my attention recently after hearing a cover by GG Allin, of all people.  The version I’ve posted is an acoustic demo, but after comparing it to the original release I felt this version was more affecting.

Searching For A Heart” from Learning to Flinch (1993)

I very much like songs that are able to distill the complexities of love into such simple words, and yet still convey emotional depth, and “Searching for a Heart” succeeds admirably in that regard.

I Was in the House When the House Burned Down” from Life’ll Kill Ya (2000)

This is just a great song that showcases some of Zevon’s darkly comic style.

Posted by Adam

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Filed under 1970s, 1990s, 2000s, Acoustic, Live, Rock, Singer-Songwriter

Who is this man

Its how you float that matters

It's how you float that matters

Simon Joyner – “The Drunken Boat” from Out Into the Snow (2009)

Pardon my absence once again, but you don’t want excuses, you want results.

What we have here is an anomaly, an anachronism, a man out of time. A Billy Pilgrim, if you will. The warm sound of tape, the warm lap steel,the electric guitar tone, the mumbling juxtaposition of Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen and Dylan, the strings seemingly lifted right from the end of Astral Weeks. It’s all here. Everything about this song (especially the production!) screams “I was written and recorded in 1976!”

But no! This album came out last month! And it makes me wonder how albums (or songs) use production values to present themselves as something else entirely.  How much of the irresistible charm of this nine-and-a-half minute epic is due to its built-in nostalgia? Would Kings of Leon’s Sex on Fire be as irresistible as this song if it sounded like it was recorded in the 1970s?

These are the questions I have for you, gentle reader. Please listen and consider and respond.

Also please buy this record because you want to

Posted by Phil

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Filed under 2000s, Folk, Singer-Songwriter