The Public Records 4/19/18
Down here in the Síbín, we are dedicated to giving you a good time. That’s why this room is so awesome – the love that goes into making you happy. Now, granted the days are getting longer, the air warmer, and the Green Roof more and more inviting; we are still celebrating spring down here.
So, while the nights are still chilly and the mornings warming, we thought it appropriate to present an album to you that you either can curl up with under the blankets or bask in the early sun. For the week of April 15th, 2018 The Public Records presents Bob Dylan with The Band Planet Waves.
Growing up, I was a huge Dylan fan – he was my first big musical crush. Soon after, I discovered The Band and that circle of love was expanded. When I first heard this album in my youth, I did not enjoy or appreciate it. It was only in my later twenties that I developed the maturity to enjoy the tunes on this disc.
This album was recorded in November and the notes on the back cover make reference to ‘NYC in early autumn’, but I have always felt that this more of an rejuvenating album than one of decline. There is a hopefullness to the music, an underlying feeling of buoyancy to the chords, lyrics, and instrumentation.
The opening track, ‘On A Night Like This’ is an energetic romp full of the optimism that comes with the chance of fresh loving. There is talk of deep snow outside, but the rythym hops along – there may still be snow, but not for long. The dueling harmonica parts hint at upcoming flits through nature. ‘Going Going Gone’ sounds mournful, with its staccato guitar picking – like that of a Grecian/Italian mandolin; however, the glissando after every ‘gone’ and the bridge tells us that the singer knows that status quo is ending and the darkness will be cut short like the abrupt ending of this tune.
The ecstatic dive into A3, ‘Tough Mama’, we begin to hear of new life – ‘new flowers bloom’ and ‘sweet goddess, born of blinding light and a’changing wind’ – direct references to spring and a renewal of life. The driving energy of this song conjure up the fresh step we all acquire when the nice weather arrives and the carousel-esque organ traipse into the fade out can’t help but to make one feel like an aimless wanderer on a bright day. ‘Hazel’ begins with a light harmonica and guitar intro and the hard ‘r’s that Dylan hits in this ballad is perfect for cloud watching in a park. ‘Something There Is About You’ has a similar beginning to ‘The Weight’ – but that’s just Robertson being Robertson. That doesn’t mean we should dismiss it as just his style as Dylan sings about ‘walking the hills of old Duluth – a trip that would be almost unbearable on a winter’s day along Late Superior, like the journey made during ‘The Weight’. Hudson’s organ walks with us and keeps us company as we ponder the intricacies of love into the fade out. The closing track, ‘Forever Young’, is a dreamy version wishing us the energy and ideaology of eternal youth. It is a prayer for us to be righteous adults while at the same time keeping the eyes of a child.
The B side opens with an upbeat, funkier and folkier version of the same track. This is a doubling down on the theme of eternal youth; the coming again and again of spring. ‘Dirge’ quickly follows and is a darker song of love and loss. The light finger play on the piano is driving and angsty which is added to with the acoustic guitar. Even though this is a heartbreak song, there is a recognition that sitting on one’s ass and moping is never the solution – one must move. Which leads us into the redemptive ‘You Angel You’. Spring has fully arrived with this one – we have a found a new life to weave with our own and the joyful noise we make as we recogize this is loud. This then leads into my favorite track of the album; ‘Never Say Goodbye’. From its light and mysterious intro with heavy dropping of the bass to the slight backing vocals on ‘brown’, everything about this song screams ‘redo’. Yes, there is talk of snow, but there is also talk of changing hair color. The closing track, ‘Wedding Song’, is a basic love song. However, the acoustic guitar and twanginess of the vocals do make us think of starry night skies and the fires we sit by under them.
Enjoy this album and enjoy it with a High King Ale by Rusty Rail Brewing Co….oh yeah and enjoy the weather!