Al Kooper with Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan Goes Electric

Jim and Greg continue their appreciation of Bob Dylan. This week they are joined by legendary music figure Al Kooper as Dylan goes electric.

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Jim calls Poly Styrene one of the most important female rock figures from the 1970's - right up there with Patti Smith. And this week, she died at age 53. Marianne Elliot-Said adopted the persona of Poly Styrene after seeing the Sex Pistols play in London. She went on to front her own band X-Ray Spex. They only put out one album, Germ Free Adolescents in 1978, but it's a classic. To say farewell to Poly, Jim and Greg play a track from that record called "I Live Off You."

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Bob Dylan

alkooper Today is Part 2 of our appreciation of Bob Dylan. During this episode, Dylan plugs in. Jim and Greg discuss how and why Dylan went electric in 1965, and get a first-hand account of his famous, or infamous, concert at the Newport Folk Festival from musician, songwriter and A&R man Al Kooper. Al performed with Dylan onstage at Newport, and he explains to Jim and Greg that there has been a lot of misinformation when it comes to the“boos.”He also lent his signature organ playing to tracks like "Like a Rolling Stone," which really changed the game in rock ‘n’ roll.

In the second half of Jim and Greg's discussion with Al Kooper, they focus on the masterful double album Blonde on Blonde, which turns 45 this year. Al shares memories from the recording sessions in Nashville where he, Dylan and Robbie Robertson were joined by harmonica player, guitarist and bassist Charlie McCoy, guitarist Wayne Moss, guitarist and bassist Joe South, and drummer Kenny Buttrey. Al recalls being truly impressed with the musicians, and describes the vibe as much more refined than during the chaotic sessions of Highway 61 Revisited. He compares Blonde on Blonde to a finely manicured lawn. To go out, Jim and Greg play their two favorite tracks from the album. Jim goes with "Leopard Skin Pill-box Hat," which illustrates Dylan's sense of music history and also his great use of humor. Greg plays "Visions of Johanna" which he describes as the quintessential song from the quintessential Dylan album.

Check out Part 1 and Part 3 of our Dylan appreciation.

Featured Songs

  1. Poly Styrene, I Love Ur Sneakers, Generation Indigo, Future Noise, 2011
  2. X-Ray Spex, I Live Off You, Germ Free Adolescents, Virgin, 1978
  3. Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bringing It All Back Home, Columbia, 1965
  4. Bob Dylan, Maggie's Farm, The Other Side of the Mirror: Live at Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965, Sony Music Distribution, 2007
  5. Bob Dylan, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, The Other Side of the Mirror: Live at Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965, Sony Music Distribution, 2007
  6. Bob Dylan, It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It takes A Train To Cry, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7: No Direction Home - The Soundtrack, Columbia Legacy, 2005
  7. Bob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone, Highway 61 Revisited, Columbia, 1965
  8. Bob Dylan, She's Your Lover Now, The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991, Sony Music Distribution, 1991
  9. Bob Dylan, One Of Us Must Know, The Original Mono Recordings, Columbia Legacy, 2010
  10. Bob Dylan, Pledging My Time, Blonde On Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  11. Bob Dylan, Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine), Blonde On Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  12. Bob Dylan, Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35, The Original Mono Recordings, Columbia/Legacy, 2010
  13. Bob Dylan, I Want You, Blonde On Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  14. Bob Dylan, Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands, Blonde On Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  15. Bob Dylan, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, Blonde On Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  16. Bob Dylan, Just Like A Woman, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: The“Royal Albert Hall”Concert, Columbia Legacy, 1998
  17. Bob Dylan, Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, Blonde On Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  18. Bob Dylan, Visions Of Johanna, Blonde On Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  19. The Black Angels, Telephone, Phosphene Dream, Rykodisc, 2010
  20. Superchunk, Crossed Wires, Majesty Shredding, Merge, 2010
  21. Bob Dylan, Moonshiner, ," The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991, Sony Music Distribution, 1991
  22. Foo Fighters, Everlong (Acoustic), Greatest Hits, Roswell, 2009

Footnotes

poly-styrene.com Poly Styrene youtube.com Dylan at Newport soundopinions.org Bob Dylan Part 1 soundopinions.org Bob Dylan Part 3 bobdylan.com Bob Dylan's homepage alkooper.com Al Kooper jimdero.com Jim on Blonde on Blonde