Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline [Number One Album in UK – 9th June 1969]

Bob_Dylan_-_Nashville_Skyline

I Threw It All Away – wp.me/p3uHDF-g4

Lay Lady Lay – wp.me/p3uHDF-g3

Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You – wp.me/p3uHDF-g2

“Bob Dylan’s ninth album poses fewer mysteries and yet, paradoxically, offers greater rewards than any of his previous work. Its only difficulties aren’t metaphysical or interpretative — indeed, the beauty and openness within is kept almost rigorously simple in genre — but rather those of taking the artist’s new-found happiness and maturity for exactly what they appear to be. That smiling face on the cover tells all — and isn’t it wonderful?

Most obviously, Nashville Skyline continues Dylan’s rediscovered romance with rural music (here complete with a more suitable, subtle “country” voice). The new LP represents a natural progression, both historically and emotionally, from the folk-music landscapes of John Wesley Harding into the more modern country-and-western worlds of Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

In Harding, Dylan superimposed a vision of intellectual complexity onto the warm, inherent mysticism of Southern Mountain music, rather like certain French directors (especially Jean-Luc Godard) who have taken American gangster movies and added to them layers of 20th-century philosophy. The effect is not unlike Jean-Paul Sartre playing the five-string banjo. The folk element gains a Kafka-esque chimericality, and the philosophy a bedrock simplicity that leaves it all but invisible and thus easy to assimilate. “Down Along the Cove” and “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” exceptions to the above and the record’s last two songs, are almost a microcosm of the geography to come.

Nashville Skyline is a jewel of construction with three distinct beginnings. The much-anticipated guitar-and-vocal duet with Johnny Cash, a stately and beautiful rendition of “Girl from the North Country,” is a thoughtful bonus to the listener, a musical postcard to an old Minnesota love, and a reminder that Dylan has always been capable of tenderness. The song’s most painful verse — “Many times I’ve often prayed/In the darkness of my night” — has been deleted here.

The second beginning — or, if you prefer, an intermission in which each performer gets a chance to solo — “Nashville Skyline Rag,” serves as an instrumental introduction to the album’s excellent personnel: Kenny Buttrey, Charlie McCoy, Pete Drake, Norman Blake, Charlie Daniels, and Bob Wilson. It’s country music at its joyful, shit-kicking best.

Dylan finally announces the LP’s “real” beginning, “To Be Alone With You,” when he asks producer Bob Johnston, “Is it rolling, Bob?” Unlike the Beatles, he may not want to take us home with him, but he makes it quite clear that what follows should be viewed as a personal confrontation: “Everything is always all right/When I’m alone with you.”

“I Threw It All Away,” the first of the record’s three classic love songs, couples a haunting melody and magnificent singing to the hard-won realization that “Love is all we need/It makes the world go round.” In contradiction to the earlier “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” Dylan, cast as someone who has formerly tried to do without deep affection, now wants very much to be “A lover for your life and nothing more.” This is clearly going to be an album of staying, not leaving.

A good-natured exercise in country wordplay (“Love to spend the night with Peggy Day … Love to spend the day with Peggy Night”), complete with a Presley rave-up finale, “Peggy Day” presents two delightful sides of one ideal woman; or maybe two delightful women, each with one ideal side. “By golly, what more can I say!”

Side two begins with another classic. “Lay Lady Lay” has the organ sound of Highway 61 Dylan, and the lyrics are not as stringently genre-bound. “Whatever colors you have in mind/I’ll show them to you and you’ll see them shine” is more a metaphysical leap than a naturalistic hop, while “His clothes are dirty/But his hands are clean” seems a self-conscious attempt to needlessly bring it all back home.

“One More Night” and “Tell Me That It Isn’t True” are My-baby-left-me songs, but, as is befitting the structures of country music, there is little or no bitterness, and Dylan even calls one of the girls his “best pal.” The former, with its “Tonight, no light will shine on me” line, echoes the “dark side of the road” imagery of “Don’t Think Twice,” but its protagonist, unlike the hero of “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” can only mournfully state, “I just could not be/What she wanted me to be.” The latter bears a superficial resemblance to “Positively 4th Street” in that the singer has been put down strongly by someone dear to him. Rather than rage, the reaction here is a gentle “Darling, I’m counting on you/Tell me that it isn’t true.”

In some ways, the final song of the LP should logically be “Country Pie,” an unabashed tribute to country music (“Love that country pie!”) and a clear statement of Dylan’s present credo: “Ain’t running any race/Get me my country pie/I won’t throw it up in anybody’s face.”

As with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Nashville Skyline saves the best until last. “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” fuses personal commitment with professional preference, and functions as a sort of very content “A Day in the Life.” Musically, it’s brilliant, with a powerful Jerry Lee Lewis stride piano leading the way. Although the symbolism is hobo-traditional, the mise-en-scene of melody, lyrics, and performance overpowers and explodes any genre limitations in a glorious flow of every sort of imaginable triumph.

Perhaps, after all, it is more difficult to convey meaningfully a total fulfilment of marriage and family life than it is to create a nightmare world of complex hallucination, even though the latter seems more painfully our own. In many ways, Nashville Skyline achieves the artistically impossible: a deep, humane, and interesting statement about being happy.

It could well be what Dylan thinks it is, his best album”.

Paul Nelson – May 31st, 1969 – Rolling Stone.

Tracklisting:

Side One

Girl from the North Country (with Johnny Cash) – 3:41

Nashville Skyline Rag – 3:12

To Be Alone with You – 2:07

I Threw It All Away – 2:23

Peggy Day – 2:01

Side Two

Lay Lady Lay – 3:18

One More Night – 2:23

Tell Me That It Isn’t True – 2:41

Country Pie – 1:37

Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You – 3:23

All songs written by Bob Dylan.

Personnel

Bob Dylan – guitar, harmonica, keyboards, vocals

Additional musicians:

Norman Blake – guitar, dobro

Kenneth A. Buttrey – drums

Johnny Cash – vocals

Fred Carter, Jr. – guitar

Charlie Daniels – bass guitar, guitar

Pete Drake – pedal steel guitar

Marshall Grant – bass guitar on “Girl from North Country”

W.S. Holland – drums on “Girl from North Country”

Charlie McCoy – guitar, harmonica

Bob Wilson – organ, piano

Bob Wootton – electric guitar on “Girl from North Country”

Bob Johnston – Producer

Charlie Bragg – engineer

Neil Wilburn – engineer

Bob Dylan – I Threw It All Away (single) – Nashville Skyline (album) [Number One Album in UK – 9th June 1969]

I_Threw_It_All_Away_single_cover

The first single from the Nashville Skyline album.

This video version is from The Johnny Cash TV Show (1969).

Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline [Number One Album in UK – 9th June 1969] – wp.me/p3uHDF-g5

Lay Lady Lay – wp.me/p3uHDF-g3

Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You – wp.me/p3uHDF-g2

Bob Dylan – Lay Lady Lay (single) – Nashville Skyline (album) [Number One Album in UK – 9th June 1969]

LayLadyLay45

The second single from the Nashville Skyline album.

Released July 1969.

Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline [Number One Album in UK – 9th June 1969] – wp.me/p3uHDF-g5

I Threw It All Away – wp.me/p3uHDF-g4

Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You – wp.me/p3uHDF-g2

Bob Dylan – Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You (single) – Nashville Skyline (album) [Number One Album in UK – 9th June 1969]

Tonight_I'll_Be_Staying_Here_with_You

The third single released from the Nashville Skyline album.

This video version is an outtake from the MTV Unplugged album.

Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline [Number One Album in UK – 9th June 1969] – wp.me/p3uHDF-g5

I Threw It All Away – wp.me/p3uHDF-g4

Lay Lady Lay – wp.me/p3uHDF-g3

14th May – The Number One Album in Australia – 1971 (George Harrison – All Things Must Pass)

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George Harrison (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001), the English singer-songwriter recognized internationally for his contribution as lead guitarist for The Beatles, was at the top of both the single & album charts in Australia on the 14th May 1971 (Go Set) – with the influential triple album release All Things Must Pass and single What Is Life b/w Apple Scruffs.

Although Paul McCartney and John Lennon were principal songwriters in The Beatles, George Harrison contributed at least one song to a number of their albums including notable tracks such as Here Comes the Sun & While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

All Things Must Pass, the triple album set was released in November 1970; a matter of months following the final announcement of the breakup of The Beatles – one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful acts in popular music history – via a press release from Paul McCartney on 10 April 1970.

The recording sessions for All Things Must Pass commenced in May and were completed in October 1970, with George Harrison co-producing the project with Phil Spector, a famous American songwriter and record producer also known for being the originator of the production technique called Wall of Sound that was attained by having a number of electric and acoustic guitarists perform in unison on the same parts and then adding musical arrangements for large groups of musicians up to the size of orchestras, then recording the sound using an echo chamber.

The album was recorded in London at Abbey Road Studios, Trident Studios and Apple Studio and featured an array of guest musicians including Ringo Starr from The Beatles, Eric Clapton, on guitar who was a member of the Yardbirds and Cream & multi-instrumentalist Billy Preston – who also played on other important albums from the era including The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers (1971) and Exile On Main Street (1972), Sly & The Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On (1971).

There are many musical highlights on All Things Must Pass where George Harrison drew upon his compositions from the late Beatles era that had not been utilized by the band.

Songs ranging from Beware of Darkness, Isn’t It A Pity, the hit singles My Sweet Lord and What Is Life, the collaboration with Bob Dylan I’d Have You Anytime are just some of the many highlights where the arrangements sweep you up with their grandeur, intertwined with the excellent slide guitar from Harrison cutting through the space akin to a lighthouse beam on still night; gorgeous melodies taken to another level with the orchestral and lush production input from Spector.

An essential listening experience.

George Harrison commissioned American art director, photographer and designer Tom Wilkes, specifically to design a special hinged cardboard box for the three-disc vinyl set.

Wilkes had been the art director of Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and his design career included iconic album releases such as The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet, Janis Joplin’s Pearl & Harvest from Neil Young.

Critically acclaimed All Things Must Pass  topped charts around the world including Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the States plus hitting Top 5 in Italy and Japan.

The single My Sweet Lord was originally released in the States on the 23rd November 1970, with the UK release following on the 15th January 1971.

The single What Is Life was originally released in the States on the 15th February 1971.

All Things Must Pass is a favorite album amongst many contemporary musicians around the world – many artists including Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger) & Steve Kilbey (The Church) both having cited its importance.

In Australia in 1971, All Things Must Pass sat atop the album chart for 8 weeks.

Earlier in the same year, another single My Sweet Lord topped the Australian charts for 8 weeks (Kent Music Report).

Track listing

Original release

Side One

I’d Have You Anytime (Harrison, Bob Dylan) – 2:56

My Sweet Lord – 4:38

Wah-Wah – 5:35

Isn’t It A Pity (Version One) – 7:10

Side Two

What Is Life – 4:22

If Not for You (Dylan) – 3:29

Behind That Locked Door – 3:05

Let It Down – 4:57

Run Of The Mill – 2:49

Side Three

Beware of Darkness – 3:48

Apple Scruffs – 3:04

Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) – 3:48

Awaiting on You All – 2:45

All Things Must Pass – 3:44

Side Four

I Dig Love – 4:55

Art of Dying – 3:37

Isn’t It A Pity (Version Two) – 4:45

Hear Me Lord – 5:46

Side Five

Out of the Blue – 11:14

It’s Johnny’s Birthday (Bill Martin, Phil Coulter, Harrison) – 0:49

Plug Me In – 3:18

Side Six

I Remember Jeep – 8:07

Thanks for the Pepperoni – 5:31

All tracks written by George Harrison, except where noted.