Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bob Dylan, American Poet-Songster

Bob Dylan has shaped and reflected the American character since the early 1960s.  He was one of the singer-songwriters of the "Folk Music Revival" of the 1950s and 1960s that developed in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City.  A new addition to the Music collection is a CD made from a New York City radio program that Dylan appeared on in 1962, just after he recorded his first album:  "Folk Singer's Choice" Compact Disc 22622

Early years:
In 1961 Dylan dropped out of the University of Minnesota to move to New York City, where folk singers he admired were recording folk songs as part of the "folk music revival" based in the Village.  His influences included folk revivalists such as Woody Guthrie and Delta Blues singers such as John Lee Hooker.  He changed his name to Bob Dylan (from Robert Zimmerman) and recorded his first album (Bob Dylan) in 1962.  He had a hit with his second album, Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963), which included protest songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind."  He continued to blend folk style with the Civil Rights Movement sentiments with the song, "The Times They Are A-Changing" in 1964.

Electric years:
Fifty years ago, in 1965, Dylan shocked his acoustically-minded fans and colleagues by playing an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival.  This marks the shift from his identity as a folk music icon to a rock musician. His album Bringing it all Back Home acoustic on one side and electric on the other, reached the top ten on the Billboard charts.  Having crossed over from the folk movement, he achieved more success with the song "Like a Rolling Stone," from the album Highway 61 Revisited.  His 1969 song, "Lay, Lady, Lay" was another hit.  But he continued to be socially conscious, and in 1971 performeed at the Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden.

Christian years:
In 1979 Dylan declared himself a born-again Christian and soon released the first of his three gospel albums, Slow Train Coming.  He also gave several speeches, which have been collected in Saved! The Gospel Speeches of Bob Dylan  BT 752 .D94 1990

Later years:
From 1983 to the present Dylan has involved himself in a variety of projects, including 1985's Live Aid concert, tours with The Grateful Dead and Willie Nelson, and  painting.   He wrote his memoirs and also turned his attention to film making and painting.  Rather than touring to promote specific albums, he began a "Never Ending Tour"  which continues today.  His Drawn Blank Series of paintings was exhibited in Europe in 2007-2008. (exhibition catalog:  ND 1839 .D95 A413 2007)

Dylan songs that were hits by other artists:
From the 1960s to the present many diverse artists have covered his songs.  From fellow folk music enthusiasts like Peter, Paul and Mary, The Clancy Brothers, Pete Seeger and Judy Collins to rock giants like Guns n' Roses, Cher, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Pearl Jam, and Maroon 5, Dylan's songs speak to the human condition across genres and generations.  These are just a few of his songs that were covered by other artists:
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Blowin' in the Wind
  • Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
  • Farewell, Angelina
  • Forever Young
  • Girl from the North Country
  • I Shall Be Released
  • If Not for You
  • It Ain't Me Babe
  • Just Like a Woman
  • Knockin' on Heaven's Door
  • Make You Feel My Love
  • Mr. Tambourine Man
  • Outlaw Blues
  • Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)
  • The Times They are A-Changing'
  • This Wheel's on Fire
  • Tomorrow is a Long Time
1962:  Folksinger's Choice (Live Radio Show)  Compact Disc 22622
1963:  The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan   Compact Disc 17236
1964:  Another Side of Bob Dylan  Compact Disc 17246
1965:  Highway 61 Revisited   Compact Disc 42
1965:  Bringing it All Back Home  Compact Disc 15726
1966:  Blonde on Blonde   Compact Disc 45 & 21960
1968:  Any Day Now  Compact Disc 16147
1969:  Nashville Skyline  Compact Disc 44
1974:  Planet Waves  Compact Disc 21851
1975:  Blood on the Tracks  Compact Disc 18239
1975:  Before the Flood   Compact Disc 66
1975:  Desire  Compact Disc 10699
1979:  Slow Train Coming   Compact Disc 7814 & 10696
1983:  Infidels  Compact Disc 41
1984:  Real Live  Compact Disc 10695
1985:  Empire Burlesque  Compact Disc 6247
1986:  Knocked Out Loaded   Compact Disc 10694
1995:  MTV Unplugged  Compact Disc 20516
1997:  Time Out of Mind  Compact Disc 15057
1999:  Street-Legal  Compact Disc 10697
2001:  Love and Theft  Compact Disc 11637
2006:  Modern Times  Compact Disc 16620

Biograph (1962-1981) Compact Disc 1097 and Compact Disc 13134
Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, 1962-1966  Compact Disc 18329
Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Volume II (1971)  Compact Disc 8088
Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Volune III (1994)  Compact Disc 8089
The Bootleg Series, I-III: 1961-1989  Compact Disc 19318
The Bootleg Series, IV:  Live 1966  Compact Disc 21993
The Bootleg Series, VII: No Direction Home: Bootlegs from 1959-1966  Compact Disc 18506

Listen to "Chimes of Freedom" (Compact Disc 21564) for a wide variety of performances of Dylan songs in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International.  Performers include Queens of the Stone Age, Elvis Costello, Cage the Elephant, Maroon 5 and Ke$ha.

Another album of covers is "A Nod to Bob: An Artists' Tribute to Bob Dylan on His Sixtieth Birthday" (Compact Disc 11151)


The Songs of Bob Dylan: From 1966 Through 1975  M 1630.18 .D94 S6 1976

Videos (Educational Technology & Resources Collection):
No Direction Home:  Bob Dylan, directed by Martin Scorsese  DVD Video 1873
Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back (1965 concert tour)  DVD Video 8300

Articles (Ball State Log-In Required):
"Dylan, Bob." Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 4th ed.  Ed. Colin Larkin

Kenneth S. Habib"Dylan, Bob." Grove Music OnlineOxford Music OnlineOxford University Press

RILM Search for Bob Dylan (subject search for academic articles in English):
persistent link

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Long-Playing (LP) Vinyl Record: Everything Old is New Again

The Music Collection includes over 20,000 CDs, and the Ball State Libraries' online subscriptions include Naxos Music Library, which streams over a million tracks.  So why did we just add a USB turntable to one of the Mac computers in the Music Collection?  Why is there a portable USB turntable available for check-out in the Educational Technology and Resources Collection?

First, both the Music Collection and Educational Technology and Resources Collection own some LPs that have never been reissued as a CD or online.  We have carefully preserved these records for their historical and academic interest, but fewer and fewer borrowers have home audio LP players for listening.  The USB turntable allows listeners to study the LPs via quality equipment.

Using the Advanced Search features in CardCat, you can specify "Phonodiscs (LP)" to see over 1,000 LPs owned by University Libraries:

For many years, the LP format was relegated to professional DJs, but it is experiencing something of a Renaissance.  Though still a niche market, at 3.6% of album sales,  according to Digital Trends, LP sales in 2015 are strong and getting stronger.  Having grown up on the sound of .mp3 digital audio compression, younger buyers have discovered the richer sound quality of analog recordings.

According to Billboard, sales of LPs were up 38.4% for the first half of 2015, and Taylor Swift's 1989 led the list., which allows users to select from a variety of formats to purchase, has begun making 12" vinyl records a general selection from their main page:

And for some genres, you can specify top selling LPs within a genre, for example this screen capture of Alternative Music "CDs" on vinyl:

So whether you listen to historical, experimental, or modern records, you can now listen to them in the Music Collection.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Three Famous Guitars and their Close Calls with Fire

October is Fire Prevention Month.  Much of music history has been lost to fire, from the historical Alexandria, Egypt library fire to the bombing raids that destroyed documents in World War II Europe, sheet music, documents and instruments have been lost forever.

But for three famous guitarists and their guitars, the stories have a happier ending:

B.B. King named his guitar "Lucille" for a barroom brawl over a woman named "Lucille."  A candle sparked a fire, so B.B. rushed out of the bar.  When he realized he'd left the guitar behind he went back into the burning bar to retrieve it. The brawl was caused by two men fighting over a woman named "Lucille," so he named the guitar (and subsequent guitars) "Lucille."

Read more in the Rolling Stone (May 15, 2015)
Read more about B.B. King in his autobiography, Blues All Around Me:  ML 410 .K473 A3 1996

Willie Nelson ran into his burning home to rescue "Trigger," a Martin acoustic guitar that has been his constant companion since 1969 much as Roy Rodger's horse, Trigger, was a reliable companion for him.  What higher compliment could a Texan pay to a guitar than to name it for a horse?

He tells the story in Rolling Stone (February 11, 2015)

He tells many more stories in his autobiography, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road.  (Available in the Bestseller Collection)

Peter Frampton played a 1954 Les Paul Gibson guitar on his iconic album, "Frampton Comes Alive" and previously with his band, Humble Pie.  In 1980 a cargo plane carrying Frampton's gear crashed in Venezuela and all the instruments were presumed lost in the subsequent fire.  In reality, the guitar survived the crash, was looted from the debris, and was sold to a musician from the Caribbean Island, Curaçao.  In 2010 the two guitars he'd replaced them with were destroyed by flood, and then in 2012 the original was returned to Frampton after a repairman in Curaçao recognized it.  Listen to NPR's interview with Frampton about the reunion.

He discussed it and showed the damage on CBS News in Februrary 2012.