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Tag: Bob Dylan (41-47 of 47)

Don Was on his new 'Outlaw Country' radio show, having Brando for a neighbor, and touring with Paula Abdul. An EW Exclusive!

DON-WAS_lDon Was is not the most obvious choice to host a country radio show. True, the Grammy-winning producer has worked with Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson (whose Was-masterminded album Closer to the Bone is out September 29). But the Detroit-born musician admits that he is “truthfully, an r&b guy” and, in many quarters, he is still best known for his idiosyncratic pop-funk outfit Was (Not Was).

Yet, on Saturday, August 29, at 10pm ET, Was will broadcast the first in a series of weekly shows called The Motor City Hayride for Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country channel. According to host Was, however, this isn’t going to be the most obvious of country showcases. “I’ve got an Iggy Pop song and a Conway Twitty song on the first show, so it’s pretty broad,” he explains. Was also intends the show to highlight Detroit, a city that, he says, is more of a country-loving burg than you might imagine. “It hasn’t spawned a lot of artists that have gone on to national fame in the country and western field,” he admits. “But there’s a huge audience for it. After World War Two, people flocked to Detroit from the south looking for gigs in the auto factories. I just want people to know that the city keeps going. It’s experiencing an economic disaster. But people are having fun and it’s actually a really nice place to live.”

After the jump, Was recalls having Marlon Brando as a neighbor, backing Iggy Pop, and the time Was (Not Was) made the mistake of supporting Milli Vanilli and Paula Abdul.

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Photo Credit: David Goggin

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Jim Dickinson: An appreciation of the late, and very great, Memphis musician

If my desert island discs were made up just of music by acts who had worked with Jim Dickinson then I really wouldn’t complain. Never heard of the guy? Don’t feel bad. The Memphis-based session musician and producer, who died yesterday at the age of 67, was hardly a household name and released only a handful of solo albums, none of which were exactly blockbuster hits (though his 1972 solo debut, Dixie Fried, is a terrific collection of idiosyncratic blues whose title nicely summed up this larger-than-life character.) That doesn’t stop Dickinson being a legend, particularly to the many stars of several generations who benefited from his musicianship and his production skills.

This is a man who worked with Sam & Dave and Green On Red; with Bob Dylan and Mudhoney; Aretha Franklin and Big Star. Not impressed yet? Then, it is also worth mentioning that Dickinson played piano on the classic Rolling Stones lament “Wild Horses” (because, so legend has it, the band’s regular pianist, Ian Stewart, refused to play minor chords) and produced the Replacements’ great Pleased To Meet Me album. Meanwhile, the strength of the Dickinson musical genes is evident in the careers of his sons, and North Mississippi Allstars members, Luther and Cody.

Below, you can find a tiny sample of his work, including Bob Dylan’s epic track “Highlands,” on which Dickinson played keyboards. If the clips make you want to find out more, then check out his Zebra Ranch website. Amongst the material to be found there is a quote from producer Daniel Lanois in which he recalls how Dylan once told him, “If you’ve got Dickinson, you don’t need anybody else.” Sadly, the option of “getting Dickinson” has now disappeared, and the world of music is much poorer and less colorful for it.

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Bob Dylan Christmas album: Coming to you this holiday season!

Well, look who’s knock-knock-knockin’ on Santa’s door: Mr. Bob (nee Zimmerman) Dylan.

According to Billboard.com, the rock icon will be joining a long tradition of born-Jewish artists (a mazel tov salute ’round the yuletide tree to you, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, and Phil Spector!) producing albums full of Christmas cheer.

Bullypulpit.com reports that at least four songs have already been recorded for the upcoming release at Jackson Browne’s Santa Monica studio, including “Must Be Santa,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

So tell us, dear readers, in the dog days of August: What other holiday classics would you like to hear the great Bob take on? Listen to him rasp his way through a reading of the classic “Twas the Night Before Christmas” like a beat-poet Harvey Fierstein below, and get a hint of what you’re in for:

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Bob Dylan tops the albums chart in a slow week

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Pop quiz. How many times has Bob Dylan, celebrated icon of American music for going on five decades, reached the top of the Billboard 200 chart? The answer up until this week was a mere four: 1974’s Planet Waves, 1975’s Blood on the Tracks, 1976’s Desire, and 2006’s Modern Times. His latest, Together Through Life, made it five this week, hitting No. 1 with 125,000 copies sold according to Nielsen SoundScan. That’s not an especially mighty opening number — it’s about 67,000 less than Modern Times, for instance, put up in week one — but Together Through Life was lucky enough to show up during a lull in new releases. Break out the bubbly, Bob!

The next debut to appear on this week’s chart is Black Sabbath spinoff Heaven & Hell’s The Devil You Know, down at No. 8 with 30,000 copies sold. The Playing For Change charity CD/DVD, featuring contributions from musicians around the globe, came in at No. 10 with 26,000. Houston rapper Mike Jones found that 25,000 fans still know who he is; his sophomore album, The Voice, turned up at No. 12. And that was it for Top 20 debuts this week. Any numbers you’re particularly surprised or pleased with?

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addCredit(“David Gahr”)

Bob Dylan's new video promotes gangs, art photography

Bobdylan_lA video for "Beyond Here Lies Nothin’," the first single from Together Through Life, is now streaming exclusively on Amazon (click here, then look for a small box on the right side of the screen), and it’s worth checking out if you’re into pompadours and/or cool old photographs. The entire video is made up of still photos taken from Bruce Davidson’s 1959 book Brooklyn Gang — shot after shot of greasy-haired, tatooed tough-guys, captured in moody black and white and set to Dylan’s punched-in-the-throat vocals. (Davidson also shot Together‘s cover.) Conceptually, it doesn’t quite fit the new album’s Southwestern vibe (mariachi accordion figures prominently throughout), but somehow it still works.

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Jonathan Lethem on The Godfather of Rock Critics: Paul Williams

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Novelist (and unrepentant Music Mix fan) Jonathan Lethem (author of Motherless Brooklyn, Fortress of Solitude, and the forthcoming Chronic City) writes to tell us about a new website dedicated to the work of pioneering rock critic Paul Williams. We’ll let Mr. Lethem explain:

"My dear friend and mentor Paul Williams, the creator (at age 17) ofCrawdaddy! magazine, is one of the true Founding Fathers of musicjournalism. He’s also a kind of ’60s and ’70s countercultural Zelig– beginning with a phone call to his dorm room from Bob Dylan, and continuing with hisparticipation in a Doors’ recording session, his introduction topot-smoking (courtesy of Brian Wilson–in a tent in Wilson’sliving room!), and his presence at John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-InFor Peace in Toronto (he was there as Timothy Leary’s campaign manager); he also squeezed in work asPhilip K. Dick’s literary executor, and wrote a hippie bible called Das Energi. In the ’80s and ’90s, Williams renewed his work asa music writer, adding volumes on Wilson, Neil Young, no less than fourbooks on Dylan, and one of the finest ‘rock-list’ books, Rock &Roll: The Hundred Best Singles.

In 1995 Paul suffered a serious brain injury in a bicycle accident, andhis condition’s gotten steadily worse. His wife, the terrific singer-songwriter Cindy Lee Berryhill, has largely given up her ownwork due to Paul’s need for full-time care. Now some of Paul’s friends,including myself, have pulled together a website and support fund. The"Writings" section features a cascade of testimonials from people likePeter Buck and Lenny Kaye; some nice links to material like the originaltwo-years run of Crawdaddy and his legendary Rolling Stone interviewwith Philip K. Dick; and a guide to every book Paul ever wrote.Even if you can’t donate, drop in and sample Paul’s incredible legacy."

Among the treasures you’ll find linked on the site, and scattered around the internet? Click on the first issue of Crawdaddy here, and see the first page that innocuously started it all, with the words, "Youare looking at the first issue of a magazine of rock and rollcriticism…" There’s also this 1966 piece on Bob Dylan, which Williams described as his breakthrough, a 1975 profile of Leonard Cohen, and for science fiction fans, the Philip K. Dick story cited above. Take a look around, as you continue to marvel to yourself: this guy was the first.

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Bob Dylan's free single: Snap judgment

Bobdylan_lIt was just earlier this month that we learned Bob Dylan is about to hit us with a brand-new studio album, Together Through Life, on April 28. Today he surprised us again by debuting that album’s "Beyond Here Lies Nothin’" as a free MP3 download from his official website. Never say old Bob isn’t hip to the mile-a-minute pace of music consumption on the Web.

So how’s the tune? Pretty great, at least after a couple of quick listens. I’m a huge Dylan fan who was less than thrilled with the plodding blues of his last studio effort, 2006’s Modern Times. "Beyond Here Lies Nothin’" keeps that album’s traditional chord progressions, but peps up the tempo and spices up the sound with a mean little accordion riff and an electric guitar part that almost sounds like it could have come from a peak-era partner like Robbie Robertson or Mike Bloomfield. (In fact, that’s David Hidalgo from Los Lobos on accordion and Mike Campbell from the Heartbreakers on lead guitar.) I’m digging the lyrics, too, with their classically Dylan motif of making a human connection in a dangerous world.

Right now, at least, "Beyond Here Lies Nothin’" feels like the best new Dylan song I’ve heard in years. But it’ll only be available as a free download through the end of today. So head to bobdylan.com and snap it up quickly — then let us know what you think of Bobby Z.’s latest.

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