Seven Days

Dec 24 - 31, 2023

Seven Days in Bob Dylan

This is Seven Days, our weekly recap of the news and links plus new podcasts, events, and the photo/video of the week. There is no Bonus Version this week. 

The Week's Best News & Posts

  • Newly Uncovered Documents Reveal the FBI’s Campaign Against Bob Dylan (Truthout) [8]
    • “In the wake of the dinner, the New York FBI sent a memo, dated December 16, 1963, to J. Edgar Hoover recounting the particulars of the incident. In it, agents wrote, “The statement in the letterhead memorandum made by Dylan pertaining to the assassination of President KENNEDY has been furnished to the Secret Service in New York City.”
  • The Meaning Behind Bob Dylan’s “Lay, Lady, Lay” (American Songwiter) [5]
    • “As Dylan looked for a song to be the big hit to introduce this new sound to the world, he did not initially think “Lay, Lady, Lay” was a good option. Luckily, record mogul Clive Davis stepped in and insisted that he reconsider and release It as a single.”
  • Bob Dylan’s “House of the Rising Sun”: The Spark that Led to His Electric Revolution (Trendy Digests) [3]
    • “The Animals’ rendition not only introduced the song to a global audience but also served as a catalyst for Bob Dylan’s seminal shift from acoustic folk to electric rock. John Steel, the drummer for The Animals, recounted Dylan’s reaction to their version: it left him so astounded that he stopped his car, jumped out, and banged on the hood in disbelief.”
  • Cat Power Talks about the Power of Singing Bob Dylan’s 1966 Concert Today (The Current) [5]
    • “I think for the Hawks, for him and the Hawks, to tour with the base sort of protesting what was going on in the venues. And I wanted to offer grace and respect to those songs and that moment in time for Bob, because he’s still on tour, and you know, a lot of people do post things when people have passed, and I felt like it would just be nice to record it and put it up there as a document to offer some honor to the man.”
  • Bob Dylan’s Lost Decade (Culture Sonar) [5]
    • “If there’s a lost decade among Bob Dylan’s 60 years of making music, consensus opinion inevitably points to the 1980s. That view isn’t without irony, considering that Dylan released more albums of original songs in this period than in any of the three decades that followed, but context is everything.”
  • Paul McCartney Sends A Public Message To Bob Dylan (Rock Celebrities) [3]
    • ““Is there anyone else you would like to sing a duet with?” The singer replied, sending a message to Dylan: “Bob Dylan keeps coming up in my mind, but I don’t know if we’ll ever get round to it.”
  • Flagging Down’s Best of 2023 [10]
    • “The ten most-read newsletters of the past year, five free and five paid, as well as ten personal favorites of mine that weren’t as widely read.”
  • Mitch Blank, Bob Dylan Preservationist, Talks About His Decades of Collecting (Flagging Down The Double E’s) [10]
    • “Most of the recordings that I’ve worked on putting into the now-known body of work now live at the Bob Dylan Archives in Tulsa. A lot of these recordings sat in environments that were not healthy, in garages and all of the most horrendous situations imaginable, for decades upon decades.”
  • Dylan in Cincinnati: July 2000 (Shadow Chasing) [8]
    • “Speed comments on Cincinnati’s fraught racial history, including the unrest of 2001, in a fashion worthy of Dylan’s best socially engaged songs. I’ve devoted so much space to establishing this troubled Cincinnati context, not because I think Dylan had a crystal ball and foresaw what was coming—obviously he did not.”
  • NET Extended: Highway 61 Revisited 1989-2003 (Untold Dylan) [5]
    • “According to the official figures “Highway 61 Revisited” is the third most performed song from the Never Ending Tour beaten only by the Watchtower and Rolling Stone. As I come to write this piece the official site is showing 2000 performances dating from August 1969 to November 2019. Can you imagine playing the same song 2000 times?”
  • High Water (for Charley Patton) (2001) Pt.6 (Untold Dylan) [5]
    • “Whether Led Zeppelin led Dylan’s swirling stream of association to lead balloon is dubious – but the little-used phrase at this place in Dylan’s song is alienating enough to go looking for clues. “High Water” has seven stanzas, and only the second and this fourth stanza of “High Water” add any substance to that suggested “flood catastrophe” theme.”
  • Other People’s Songs: Repossession Blues (Untold Dylan) [5]
    • “Bob only performed it twice. The best version comes from the early-’78 rehearsals in Santa Monica, before they took off for Japan.”
  • Cover a Day: Till I Fell in Love with You in the North of Norway (Untold Dylan) [5]
    • “Maybe it’s because it is a 12-bar blues, and when singers cover Dylan they don’t want to do another 12-bar blues anymore.”
  • NET Extended: Absolutely Sweet Marie (Untold Dylan) [5]
    • “In this series we look at the way Bob has transformed certain songs over time in his live performances, in particular looking for the progression in his feelings about, and his understanding of, what the song offers, what the song says, where it can be taken next, and even on occasion how he can reinterpret the past.”
  • Live 1961–2000: Thirty-Nine Years of Great Concert Performances Review (Cult Following) [5]
    • “Get your hands on the right copy and Live 1961-2000 serves an essential purpose. These are finely selected deep cuts which do not have the distractor of being the all-time greats, the endlessly played numbers.”
  • The Best Music Boxed Sets of 2023 (Variety) [5]
    • “The mystery-train mood that permeated the released takes had its value, and it’s not like that version is suddenly getting erased out of existence by an alternative version being introduced. But when I want to listen to “Time Out of Mind” in the future, nine times out of 10, I’m probably going to be putting on the new mix conducted by Michael H. Brauer.”
  • Bob Dylan: Mixing Up The Medicine (Elsewhere) [8]
    • “People are going to say, ‘Well that’s not very truthful’. But a songwriter doesn’t care about what’s truthful. What he cares about is what should’ve happened, what could have happened. That’s it’s own kind of truth.”

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Featured Video

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Streisand on Lay Lady Lay & Dylan

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