Thursday, January 17, 2013

Music - Bob Dylan

All Samuels Public Library cardholders are eligible for three free downloads a week from Freegal, a massive online database containing over 500,000 songs.  Sifting through such an enormous selection of music can be a daunting task, so we here at Samuels have decided to offer a few suggestions for the overwhelmed (or new) Freegal user.  This week's theme is Bob Dylan:

Bob Dylan
"She’s Your Lover Now"
From Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3

I, for one, wouldn’t blame you if you spent each of your three weekly downloads for the next five years acquiring the (almost) entire Dylan discography from Freegal.  Those who have most of his classic albums, however, may just want to dig a little deeper by trying some of the many live, rare, and unreleased tracks collected in the excellent Bootleg series.  Taken from the Blonde on Blonde sessions, “She’s Your Lover Now” captures all the pain, anger, and jealousy of seeing a former flame with another person, and it is probably one of my favorite Dylan tracks despite being unfinished.

Woody Guthrie
"Talking Dust Bowl Blues"
From Dust Bowl Ballads

Woody Guthrie, writer of the famous song “This Land is Your Land,” was a tremendous influence on the young Bob Dylan and the entire folk movement of the 1960s.  As seen in “Talking Dust Bowl Blues,” Guthrie had a talent for mixing trenchant social commentary with a sly sense of humor.  Dylan would borrow the talking blues style of this song more than once on his first few albums, with tracks like “Talkin’ New York” and “Talkin’ World War III Blues.”  

The Black Keys
"Wicked Messenger"
I’m Not There [Original Soundtrack]

The soundtrack for Todd Haynes’ 2007 Dylan-inspired film I’m Not There contains an interesting array of Dylan covers by some of today’s most acclaimed bands and artists, including Sonic Youth, Cat Power, Sufjan Stevens, Yo La Tengo, and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  One of my favorite songs from this collection is The Black Keys swampy take on “The Wicked Messenger.” (Search tip: navigating Freegal can sometimes be frustrating; to find this song search either by song or album title.  A search for The Black Keys won’t bring the desired results.)    

For further reading about Bob Dylan, the following books can be checked out from Samuels Public Library:

Chronicles by Bob Dylan
Studio A: The BobDylan Reader edited by Benjamin Hedin
Dylan: The Essential Interviews edited by Jonathan Cott
(You can also look for Martin Scorsese’s excellent documentary No Direction Home: Bob Dylan)

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