Friday, April 6, 2007

The Wonder Boys

Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Tom Rush, John Lennon, Clarence Carter, Little Willie John, Neil Young, Bob Dylan...The Wonder Boys soundtrack is a perfect mix of male vocalists. It is worth having just to hear the stunning songs by Tom Rush and Leonard Cohen, but it is also an excellent introduction to Bob.

A blogger asked me which Bob Dylan CDs I would recommend. I suggest sampling and buying Bob songs on iTunes and burning your own mix CD from them. If you want to buy essential Bob CDs, there are many classics that experts say you must have, like Blonde on Blonde and Blood On The Tracks. Some record stores still sell cassette tapes, and that is an inexpensive way to listen and see what you like.I looked at what I have been listening to most, and made a list of the random Bob CDs that are always hanging out next to my CD player.
Blonde on Blonde -1966
Time Out Of Mind -1997
Desire -1976
New Morning -1970
Modern Times -2006
Oh Mercy -1989
Blood On The Tracks -1975
Bringing It All Back Home -1965
Highway 61 Revisited -1965
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan -1963
Planet Waves -1974
Nashville Skyline -1969
MTV Unplugged -1995
Bob Dylan At Budokan -1979
Biograph (3 CD set) -1985
30th Anniversary Album -1993 (Various Artists)
Soundtrack CD Masked & Anonymous (The Magokoro Brothers singing "My Back Pages" in Japanese is one of the great songs on this CD)

This may seem like a lot, but it isn't even half of what is available.

When I was a little kid I really liked the song "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again" and it is still a favorite.
I also enjoy "Time Out Of Mind" very much. Some people find it dark and depressing, but I don't get that feeling from it. Though it speaks of lost love, yearnings, and aging, I see these as 'rites of passage' for everyone. The music and lyrics on "Time Out Of Mind" are both excellent.

I like the CDs produced by Daniel Lanois, who also worked with U2. Lanois produced "Oh Mercy" and "Time Out Of Mind" and you can tell Lanois has crafted them. As a producer, he is an artist, and Lanois is a musician as well.
In his book "Chronicles Volume 1, Bob says the following about him:
"Danny himself played a variety of instruments--mandolins, mandolas, cello-looking guitars and other fretted stuff, plastic novelty instruments resembling toys."
"He didn't want to float on the surface. He didn't even want to swim. He wanted to jump in and go deep. He wanted to marry a mermaid."