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Bob Dylan

moderntimes During this episode Jim and Greg wrap up our series on Bob Dylan and bring it up to "Modern Times". How, you may ask, can they gloss over the '70s and '80s so cavalierly? Trust that it was difficult to narrow down Dylan's entire canon to three episodes. And it's important to note that Dylan is one of those rare artists who emerged in the '60s and was still making great, new music into his sixties. So that's why our hosts decided to bring it up to Act III: 1989-2006. Dylan was in amazing form live and released a string of impressive albums including Oh Mercy, Time Out of Mind and Modern Times. He collaborated with producer Daniel Lanois and also worked with Jim and Greg's guest this week, engineer Mark Howard. Howard gives us a sneak peek into what it's like to record with Dylan.

As always Jim and Greg like to round out these features by highlighting significant tracks. Greg chooses an unreleased version of "Mississippi," later put out on The Bootleg Series Vol. 8. A highly produced version appears on 2001's Love and Theft, but Greg prefers the more stripped down recording, calling the performance fascinating. And he notes that Dylan draws from older material for inspiration just like he did when he was starting out as a folkie.

Jim admits that he prefers Dylan live during these years. But "Ain't Talkin'" from Modern Times in 2006 is perfectly simple and spooky–just a fiddle, percussion and that signature voice. This is a song Dylan couldn't have given justice in his younger days.

Go to episode 288
reviews
Modern TimesModern Times available on iTunes

Bob Dylan Modern Times

As fall approaches, record companies begin to roll out some of the year's biggest albums in time for the holidays. This week, Jim and Greg review some of the most notable, including the 44th studio release from rock veteran Bob Dylan. Modern Times is actually not a very modern album at all. In fact, Dylan recently dissed all of the music of the past 20 years, including that made by his son. Rather, he opted to record this music in a lo-fi style reminiscent of the music of the '30s and '40s. Jim appreciated Dylan's ever-growing sense of humor and irony, but couldn‘t take some of the tracks’ Bing Crosby/Rudy Vallée style of crooning. He gives it a Burn It. Greg doesn't think that Modern Times is as good as Dylan's previous two releases, possibly because the band seems to be intimidated by their leader, but this effort still merits a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 39
The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs - Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006 (Bonus Track Version)Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006 available on iTunes

Bob Dylan Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006

Bob Dylan has added another album to his“Bootleg Series”called Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006. Its songs were primarily from the recording sessions for three albums: Oh Mercy, Time Out of Mind and Modern Times, but for Jim and Greg it's almost like a brand new Dylan album. Greg explains that these new versions give a fresh perspective that isn't bogged down by Daniel Lanois' original production. Jim was not a huge fan of this Dylan period, but he loves that he can hear the singer/songwriter having fun with the songs. Both critics give Tell Tale Signs a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 151
news

Music News

The first item in the news is a discussion of last week's Grammy Awards. For Jim and Greg, the Grammy Awards are always about as newsworthy as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fameceremonies. It is their job to cover such things, though, despite the fact that the Awards don't really represent the best music of the year. The Dixie Chicks swept the ceremonies, but Jim and Greg suspect that might have more to do with affirming the Chicks‘ politics than it does their music. The other hype surrounding last Sunday’s broadcast was the much-anticipated Police reunion. The band mates looked as distant as ever, and Greg wonders if they have the stamina to handle a large-scale tour.

Jim and Greg think there might be better gauges of the best music of 2006. The first is the Village Voice Pazz and Jop Poll which takes into consideration the opinions of hundreds of music critics, including our own Mr. Kot. This is the first year that Robert Christgau has not curated the poll, though he was still a voter. The album that reigned supreme with these critics was Bob Dylan's Modern Times. That record did not even make our hosts' top 10 lists. Pazz and Jop's number one single of 2006 was "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley.

Other awards and polls that are worth checking out are the Idolator.com critics poll, aptly named“Jackin‘ Pop,”and the heartonastick.blog-city.com, which posts the cumulative picks of a number of music bloggers. These polls are more timely than the Grammys and are much more inclusive. Jackin’ Pop and Heart On a Stick agreed with Greg and put TV on the Radio in the number one slot.

Go to episode 64