Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A new tour, a new neverending pool

At the website theneverendingpool.com, a new pool game is organized for the upcoming Bob Dylan tour.

The purpose of the game is to guess what songs Bob Dylan is going to play on stage from night to night. Until Bob comes on stage the first night of the tour, everybody is allowed to fill out an entry form.
Once the tour has started, the site is updated after every concert and a ranking is being made with the last concerts ranking and an overall ranking. The previous tour, more than 1000 people registered for the game so it's definitely something that can not be missed.

So, get to the www.theneverendingpool.com and sign up before it's to late!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Radiohead - Subterranean Homesick Alien

In 1997, Radiohead released one of the best albums of the nineties (and maybe "ever"), OK Computer. The album undoubtedly is one of THE milestones of rock music. Songs like Paranoid Android, Exit Music and Karma Police set examples for many artists that would follow.
The third song on the album is a clear wink to Bob Dylan. The song is called "Subterranean Homesick Alien". The lyrics are about us human beings and show a negative side of the lonelyness and uptighteness of people who live in the cities and lock themselves away in their homes at night. The singer dreams about aliens flying over our heads who are investigating these "weird creatures". He gets swooped away on their beautiful ship and can see the world like they aliens see it.
The song itself has absolutely nothing to do with Dylan as far as I can tell but the title most certainly is a reference to Bob Dylans' song "Subterranean Homesick Blues".

Thursday, January 15, 2009

thread about references

At theneverendingpool.com, there are currently two threads going about references to Bob Dylan:
First one is about references in music:

Second is about dylan references in movies:

Expect to see some extended info on some of the songs and movies in those threads here soon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The White Stripes - As Ugly As I Seem

What is with Bob Dylan and Jack White?
They must be good friends because in the last couple of years, not a year goes bye without them doing something together. I think it must have started somewhere in 2004, when Jack White suddenly appeared at a concert in Detroit. Bob showed that much respect for Jack that they covered a White Stripes song, called "Ball and Bisquit" (hear it here).
Then, in 2006, The Raconteurs - Jack White's so called side project - was allowed to tour along with Bob Dylan and they warmed up the audience every night.
In September 2007 Dylan did a couple of shows in Nashville, the city where Jack White lives. For two nights in a row, Jack came on stage to perform some very special songs. Meet me in the morning from the 1975 album Blood on the tracks got it's live debute the first night. The second night, Outlaw Blues was performed for the very first time (and this is a song from 1965!!) and One More Cup of Coffee got it's first live performance since 1993.
Besides that, The White Stripes are known to include Bob Dylan covers in their repertoire. Songs like Outlaw Blues, Love Sick and One More Cup Of Coffee have become regular songs for the stripes.

All of those are already links between Jack White and Bob Dylan but on the album Get Behind me Satan" from 2005 there is a more subtle reference. Near the end of the album there's a song called "As Ugly As I Seem". Lyrically, there is no link to Dylan whatsoever but anybody who's somewhat familiar with Bob Dylan's repertoire immediately recognizes I Believe in You, one of the highlights of the 1979 Slow Train Coming album.
Although it is not a cover and not a literal reference, i believe this is a very clear melodic nod in the direction of Bob Dylan.
Hear it for yourself in the clips below.

The White Stripes - As Ugly As I Seem

Bob Dylan - I Believe in You

Friday, January 9, 2009

I want to be Bob Dylan (Counting Crows - Mr Jones)

Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows has got everything to believe that this song is a pure reference to Bob Dylan.
First, there's the song title. As every regular Bobcat knows, Mr. Jones is the main character in the Bob Dylan song "Ballad of A Thin Man". In this song, Dylan is said to be writing about a journalist who critized him during his 1965-1966 switch from a folkie to rock artist.
So, are we talking about the same Mr. Jones here?
My belief is that this is a misunderstanding. The song actually just talks about two friends remembering the good times, their lives completely ahead of them. This theory is supported by the fact that a good friend of the Counting Crows singer Adam Duritz is actually called Marty Jones. They played together in the band "The Himalayans" and Adam himself said the song was about Marty Jones in an interview on VH1 Storytellers:
"It's really a song about my friend Marty and I. We went out one night to watch his dad play, his dad was a Flamenco guitar player who lived in Spain, and he was in San Francisco in the mission playing with his old Flamenco troupe. And after the gig we all went to this bar called the New Amsterdam in San Francisco on Columbus and we got completely drunk. And Marty and I sat at the bar staring at these two girls, wishing there was some way we could go talk to them, but we were too shy. We kept joking with each other that if we were big rock stars instead of such loser, low-budget musicians, this would be easy. I went home that night and I wrote a song about it. I joke about what it's about, that story. But it's really a song about all the dreams and all the things that make you want to go into doing whatever it is that seizes your heart, whether it's being a rock star or being a doctor or whatever. Those things run from 'all this stuff I have pent up inside of me' to 'I want to meet girls because I'm tired of not being able to.' It is a lot of those things, it's about all those dreams, but it's also kind of cautionary because it's about how misguided you may be about some of those things and how hollow they may be too. Like the character in the song keeps saying, 'When everybody loves me I will never be lonely,' and you're supposed to know that that's not the way it's gonna be. I knew that even then. And this is a song about my dreams."

with this sorted out, why am i writing about this?
Well, there's another very clear reference to Bob Dylan. Near the end of the song, Adam Dury sings:
I want to be Bob Dylan
Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky

There you have it. Can a reference be more clear?
So, after hearing this, it's up to you to decide of the story of Marty Jones is correct.

Sergeant peppers lonely hearts club band

A famous album by the fab four - The Beatles - is "Sergeant peppers lonely hearts club band". The album itself is one of the must influential albums of all time. New recording techniques and experiments with different styles of music made this album more of a piece of art than just an LP. The cover of the album was a work of art on its own.
The cover won a Grammy Award. It featured lots of famous people like Edgar Allan Poe, Karl Marx, T.E. Lawrence, Laurel & Hardy and Albert Einstein. The Beatles themselves are represented by wax statues of the young beatles at Madame Tussauds. But offcourse, i'm referencing this album because one of the celebrities featured on the album is Bob Dylan himself.
Dylan's portrait is shown in the top right corner, overlooking the rest of the pack.

Sick and tired of Maggies Farm

An unusual song when we're talking Bob Dylan is Placebo's "Slave To The Wage". The lyric "Sick and tired of Maggies Farm" suddenly appears. A very obvious reference to the Bob Dylan song Maggies Farm.
It's a very simple song. It's about saying goodbye to the boredom of leading a normal life. It's about escaping from work, habit and the shackles of society. The songs says that "all it takes is lots of guts and little vision" to wave those worries goodbye.

Maggies Farm by Bob Dylan more or less is about the same thing, only Dylan succeeds in writing a somewhat more complicated song than Placebo. When Bob Dylan sings "I ain't gonna work on Maggies Farm no more" he also implies that he's sick of the routine of working for somebody else.
As a song, Maggies Farm is by far Dylan's best song but the songs gets a whole new meaning when you know the history about it.
Originally the song was written for his 1965 album Bringing it all back home. Until then, Bob Dylan was a folk singer who performed solo acoustic songs.
When he hit the stage of the Newport Folk Festival in the summer of 1965 he burst out this song with a full electric band. The crowd was shocked and booood at him, but Bob Dylan continued to play electric and changed the way people thought about music forever.

Below, you see the video of Slave to the wage. The lyric about Maggies Farm comes at 1:47.

And next you find the 1965 performance of Maggies Farm at the Newport Folk Festival by Bob Dylan.