, 78 tweets, 40 min read Read on Twitter
#BD969 - my song-by-song chronological Bob Dylan project - is moving into the pivotal year of 1965, so I am starting a new thread. Remember, he not busy liking and subscribing is busy dying.
Backstory: I am listening to all 969* officially-released Bob Dylan recordings in chronological order and tweeting about them with #BD969. You can find part one (1961-1964) in easy-ish to read format here:

*actually increased to 973 after I started

Once upon a time I was an English major and delighted in Dylanologists like Michael Gray, whose book Song & Dance Man ferreted out Bob’s influences. I’ve forgotten most of it but this Subterranean Homesick Blues/Robert Browning comparison stick with me. #BD969
I don’t know if Bringing it All Back Home is Bob’s best poetry but it is his most quotable. Every song has at least one lyric that stands on its own as a pithy encapsulation of an idea that frequently needs expressing. Let’s go through them shall we? #BD969
Subterranean Homesick Blues: This one inspired a whole-ass terror cell! (Personally I’m more apt to cite “twenty years of schoolin’ and they put you on the day shift”)
She Belongs to Me: tfw your friend is out of his league. #BD969
Maggie's Farm: I go to both of these pretty often, depending on which effect of capitalism strikes me as most insidious at any given moment #BD969
Love Minus Zero/No Limit: #BD969

me when I fail:
Outlaw Blues: #BD969
Supplement to the previous tweet. An original work painted for me by @gduclayan #BD969
On the Road Again: Honestly, this is the only one that's a bit of a stretch, but I wanted to do every song. #BD969
Bob Dylan's 115th Dream: I love how this one skewers both the guy who really doesn't get the meaning of the Bible and the protagonist who does, and is trying to use it to cynically manipulate the guy. #BD969
Mr. Tambourine Man: There are endless possibilities here, but I chose this one because I still vividly recall as a kid realizing that it simply means "the sky's the limit," a phrase so utterly banal we barely even hear it anymore. #BD969
Gates of Eden: I think of this every time somebody interprets a dream for me. (With bonus Cowboy Angel made by @youbejillin) #BD969
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding): This one is the motherlode. Justly quoted far and wide even beyond the circle of Dylan freaks. #BD969
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue: tbh the title is probably the most quotable line, but I think of this one quite a bit too: #BD969
I forgot to mention something from the 1964 concert that relates to my comment about Bob and pop culture. In this version the record he plays is Martha & the Vandellas' Leader of the Pack. The joke being I guess that all girl groups sound the same? #BD969
#BD969 trivia moment: Bringing It All Back Home was Bob's first US top 10 and first UK #1. Almost all his albums charted significantly higher in the UK than the US.
Let’s face it #BD969 gonna get boring (even more so!) if all I do is say this song is perfect and so is the next one and the next one. I’m in a stretch where you should just assume that and I’ll only comment if something more particular strikes me. #Highway61
One thing I realize as Highway 61 starts is it’s not just Dylan i haven’t really listened to in a long time, it’s classic rock. I grew up on this sound so the effect is comfortingly familiar-- quite the opposite of what someone hearing it in 1965 would have felt. #BD969
H61 is when Bob really starts to densely populate his songs with people. Vivid biographies evoked in a matter of a half dozen words. I once heard about a party where everyone came dressed as a Dylan character. Does that sound familiar to anyone? #BD969
Once in college I drunkenly scrawled this verse on the door of a friend I had a crush on. Didn’t work. 😭😭#BD969 (Not *on* her door kids. In pre-phone days everyone had a whiteboard on their door so people could leave messages)
Hey speaking of characters in Dylan songs what’s going on with this project? Any rumors? (Not that I have high hopes tbh) #BD969 billboard.com/articles/news/…
By linking old union song Which Side RU On to Titanic, Bob seems to be throwing shade at protest songs. It doesn’t matter which side you’re on if the ship’s going down! Except people on one side of Titanic were more likely to survive. So if that’s Bob’s intent he’s wrong. #BD969
Bob’s got a real grass is always greener mentality sometimes. Only in Gotta Serve Somebody does he acknowledge that livin in another country under another name isn’t really gonna change anything. #BD969
Mid-sixties Bob is the guy who has everyone's number and wants to make sure they know it. This is extremely my shit. (Part One: Highway 61 Revisited) #BD969
Bob's got everyone's number, part 2: Blonde on Blonde
Bob realizing that "Sara Lownds" sort of sounds like "Sad Eyed... Lowlands" (I'm assuming because he tried saying it while super drunk) is the stupidest origin story for one of the most majestic songs ever. #BD969
I've always thought that it would be wonderful to illustrate Visions of Johanna as a comic book. Apparently I'm not the only one! Is there any way to get my hands on a copy of this @dwayne_illo? #BD969
Oh man, now I need this too! #BD969 etsy.com/listing/625100…
Sometimes you just have to write a dirty joke #BD969
This stretch of #BD969 is where casual Dylan fans start to get that Bob’s oeuvre is so much more than his records. There are (previously) unreleased songs as great as any that came out and alternate/live versions that completely transform songs we thought we knew. The problem...
...is the Bootleg Series albums are overwhelming for casual fans. There’s SO much on them and a lot of it really isn’t very good (even if it’s all interesting for Bobheads). What would be great is a tight 50 track compilation of the Best of the Bootlegs as an intro course #BD969
Hot take from 1966: Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 prevents Blonde on Blonde from being a perfect album. Should have made it a single only and replaced it with She’s Your Lover Now or I’ll Keep it With Mine. #BD969 play.google.com/music/m/Tkp3in…
Oh hey, before #BD969 gets to far from Subterranean Homesick Blues I meant to share @alyankovic’s hilarious all-palindrome parody, Bob, in case some of you haven’t seen it.
Hang on... I just went to abbreviate Blonde on Blonde and realized that it’s... BoB. Did... did everyone but me get this? #BD969
#BD969 has hit the 1966: "Royal Albert Hall" concert. One of the most famous bootlegs, it was misidentified when it first circulated (it's actually a Manchester show) so the Royal Albert Hall name stuck for the official release. This is the kind of thing Dylanologists care about.
The first half of the show is acoustic and features phenomenal versions of Visions of Johanna, Desolation Row and Just Like a Woman. Although, does it sound to anyone else like he's making fun of Mr. Tambourine Man? Like, singing it extra twee? #BD969 play.google.com/music/m/Tsm25c…
I won't be doing a song-by-song recap, but fortunately someone else did (and they probably got paid for it too!) The emphasis is on the effect this transformative show had on the audience. #BD969 rollingstone.com/music/music-ne…
Wait, I just got to I Don't Believe You and the famous intro (It used to go like that, now it goes like this) is missing? Checked Biograph (where it was first officially released) and not there either?? I'm sure it used to be! Is this a problem with the streaming versions? #BD969
Any ranking of Dylan songs would have to put Visions of Johanna in the top 10. #2 seems right to me, though this person's #1 is a surprise. Sharing this with full awareness that any such list is nonsense and good only for starting dorm room fights. #BD969 ftw.usatoday.com/2015/11/bob-dy…
I started #BD969 because it's been a long time since I listened to Dylan seriously. This section of the journey has reminded me why I was once so into him and now I'm insanely looking forward to diving into the Cutting Edge bootleg: demos & outtakes I've mostly never heard...
I never heard this album (maybe one distracted listen) because it came out after I'd lost interest in Dylanology. Now the idea of alternate takes from 65-66 is making my mouth water. Tho I'm still only doing the 2-disc best-of album -- not the 6 or 18-disc deluxe sets! #BD969
So yeah the Cutting Edge is a delight. In my Dylanology days I would've spent hours pondering different arrangement and how lyrics & melodies from discarded songs found their way into eventual hits. I might even have done something like this: albumsthatneverwere.blogspot.com/2018/08/bob-dy… #BD969
Instead I'll just point out a couple things that really caught me up short. First the alternate take of Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window. Backstory: Window is a single released between Hwy61 & Blonde. It would have fit really well on the latter: open.spotify.com/track/45F49Wgo… #BD969
Jimi Hendrix did a faithful cover of it. #BD969 open.spotify.com/track/3pFUOFrK…
But the alt take has a completely different vibe. I don't have the musical knowledge to express it properly but to my ears it anticipates the gentle SanFran psychedelic sound just on horizon-- the prettiness of early Airplane or Dead. #BD969 open.spotify.com/track/7DXnuhBe…
I think it's mostly the more laid back guitar and celesta instead of organ (I looked it up!) Lose the harmonica and the transformation would be complete. I think it fascinates me because it points to a whole new direction Dylan's music could have taken but never did. #BD969
My next wtf moment: Visions of Johanna as peppy rocker. Bob is famous for transforming songs in concert but I always processed that as trying to keep them fresh. This makes clear that from the very beginning he's hearing them many different ways. #BD969 play.google.com/music/m/T4rjon…
(Spoiler alert: He did release two wildly different arrangements of Forever Young on one album, but I always assumed that was an anomaly) #BD969
So my other musical obsession is Frank Sinatra (forget #BD969, imagine #FS1800!) & it's interesting that Frank was a pioneer in transforming ballads into swing & vice versa. I wonder if Bob, a Sinatra fan, had that dynamic in mind when he was playing around with his arrangements.
OK I'm half convinced that Bob is inventing slang that won't become current for another 40 years. Help me out @jessesheidlower! When did "the D" as slang for dick come in to usage? #BD969
Anyway it's no worse than half of what's on the Genius page! By the way Genius seems underpopulated with Dylanologists. Seems like it would be a fruitful tool. Are we all just too old? #BD969
Speaking of Dylan anticipating the Grateful Dead, compare the guitar figure in this version of Stuck Inside of Mobile (it's at the very end of this sample clip) to Friend of the Devil. #BD969 open.spotify.com/track/6VDKfUHZ…
If you're following the #BD969 playlist we've just hit The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 concert. It's pretty similar to the fake RAH album but worse sound quality. Not an official Bootleg Series entry, so probably released quietly for copyright reasons? play.google.com/music/playlist…
It could be my imagination but it sounds like the audience is more on Bob's side here? I *think* this was recorded after fake RAH in Manchester, so maybe word got out about the heckling and they're trying to make amends? #BD969
Anyway I've already had my say about all these songs so while I listen here's some prep for what happens next. (Apologies to the the Bobheads who already know this whole story) Although I said I wasn't going to talk about Bob's personal life much, it's necessary now. #BD969
So: It's 1966 and Bob is burned out on drugs, fame, touring and he has a Motorcycle Accident (sort of). He's out on Striebel Rd in Woodstock (or possibly Glasco Turnpike. The exact location only matters if it's right down the road from your mom's house, which it is for me) #BD969
Depending on who you believe he either slides off the road while riding slowly or falls under the broken Triumph while pushing it, but either way he's not badly hurt. Still it gives him the excuse he needs to recover at home and take a break from being a rock icon. #BD969
And he ends up hanging out for a few months with the guys from his backup band, who will soon become The Band, recording a bunch of weirdo Americana that will quickly become widely bootlegged as The Basement Tapes. Some people consider it Bob's greatest work. #BD969
Selections from The Basement Tapes would be officially released w heavy overdubs in 1975 and #BD969 will get to those eventually. But in 2014 the original recordings were released as part of the Bootleg Series as The Basement Tapes Raw and that's what's up next on my playlist.
Confession time: I never really *got* The Basement Tapes. Possibly because, as I've said, I'm not a collector-- so I pretty much only know the 1975 album, and not the much heralded authentic recordings that inspired a rhapsodic Greil Marcus book. #BD969 amazon.com/Old-Weird-Amer…
But for whatever reason, these songs never resonated with me the way other Dylan does. If you'd asked me, I'd have said I find them jarring and indulgent. But #BD969 is about listening with fresh ears, so I'm excited to do that.
OK so I apologize for "indulgent." Experimental is better. Even with the obvious informality they seem to be working at something here. Creating a new musical vocabulary to incorporate "naive" folk music traditions into Bob's self-consciously literary take on rock n roll. #BD969
10 tracks in this feels transitional to me. Odds & Ends is only barely removed from the world of Blonde on Blonde (so it's great) while Tears of Rage feels like a rough draft of the voice (literally & figuratively) Bob will arrive at on JWH & NS. open.spotify.com/track/1WhH1bCw… #BD969
Important #BD969 Content Alert: I used to have a cat named Frances Bean (what's up, fellow Gen-Xers) and we would sing her name to her to the tune of Santa Fe. open.spotify.com/track/6VzQvIf3…
Important #BD969 Content Alert: Extremely relatable lyrics for alt version of You Ain't Goin Nowhere:

Now, look here dear Sue
You best feed the cats
The cats needs feedin'
You're the one to do it
Get you hat, feed the cats
You ain't goin' nowhere.

Hearing The Basement Tapes presented as bootlegs rather than an album is helping me process them better. It makes more sense that the results are hit or miss -- and I bet any 2 people will disagree on which is which. #BD969
More importantly I can accept that even the best songs feel frustratingly indistinct. I'm Not There could easily have been a undying Dylan masterpiece if he had actually finished and recorded it. #BD969
One thing I hear in I'm Not There is more gradual evolution of Bob's attitudes towards women. He begins to accept that his own failures -- like being emotionally unavailable -- are a contributing factor in his bad relationships. There's a reason women don't trust him! #BD969
I mean I love I Don't Believe You but it's emotionally juvenile. By 1967 #BD969 is moving beyond the dude who can't understand what's wrong & instead of trying to blames his girl for not telling him so he can just pretend he's sorry for whatever bullshit it turns out to be.
#BD969 is about to hit John Wesley Harding in what is an incredible streak of masterpieces. Off the top of my head, only the Beatles have a longer run of truly great albums.
Speaking of the Beatles, JWH came out the same year as Sgt Pepper (and Are You Experienced, Satanic Majesty's Request, Strange Days, Days of Future Past, Piper at the Gates of Dawn). JWH is a radical break not just from Dylan's previous albums but from the entire culture. #BD969
One thing I noticed in Basement Tapes Raw is that while Dylan experiments with his new sweet voice he also for the first time goes fully unintelligible on a song or two. I'm glad he steered in the former direction for JWH (but the latter is coming) #BD969
By one count there's more than 60 biblical allusions on JWH. It's steeped in the sensibility of the King James Bible but I wouldn't call any of the songs on it Christian. I do think Dylan releases one true Christian song (his best) before Slow Train but we'll get to that. #BD969
Having just linked to Sign on the Cross, which I was not familiar with until now, I should probably revise my opinion that Bob didn't record any Christian songs until later. Jumbled & confused though it is, the thrust sure feels Christian. But he didn't *release* it. #BD969
John Wesley Harding is an outsider's album, home of jokers & thieves, hobos & drifters, outlaws, demons & rebels, evil immigrants & wicked messengers. For all that, it's pretty jaunty most of the time. For that, much credit to the tuneful bass lines of Charlie McCoy. #BD969
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Daniel Radosh
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!