Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#705 in the Series) is Bob Dylan, Hard Rain
I was more than a little late in becoming a Bob Dylan fan. I don’t know why, maybe I was a little too young to understand the meaning and the impact of a good protest song. That and I remember having to sing “Turn, Turn, Turn” at Church once. That wasn’t really a turn on for a this kid.
I still remember the first time that he made an impact on me. PBS was running a special on producer John Hammond Sr. On this show (which included a very young Bruce Springsteen if I remember correctly) Bob introduced his new song “Hurricane.” No, I wasn’t that familiar with the story of the possible wrongly convicted boxer but I did know at least a little about it. I did read Sports Illustrated after all. So when Bob slid into the track I was immediately intrigued. Always a great storyteller (duh), this song was clear and easy to follow. I loved it and was quickly a fan. Shortly thereafter, Desire was released. It would include “Hurricane” so it was quickly part of my collection. This album was quite good, it also was the home for some other Dylan lovelies like “Isis” and “Mozambique.” The tough thing that this album had going for it was that it was the follow-up to Blood on the Tracks. Good luck with that, then again, it wouldn’t be the first, nor the last time Bob had to follow up on a terrific album.
This brings us to the Hard Rain album. This was the album version of what was an hour long NBC special. Yes, I watched it. It was very hard to get the television back then. We only had one, and dad usually (OK, pretty much always) decided what was on it. I don’t know how I did it, but I remember being able to watch it. Once in a while he would relent when it was something I REALLY wanted to watch.
The first thing that I noticed when Bob took the stage that night in Colorado was that the band members were wearing those weird bandanas or do-rags or whatever they’re called. What was this about I didn’t know. The second thing that I noticed once they started playing was that Bob was going to give you some of the songs you wanted to hear, but he’d turn them inside out and upside down. Since I wasn’t that in love yet with the original versions I didn’t care. Old time, old school fans weren’t as pleased as they didn’t want to hear these new, twisted versions of their favorites such as “Maggie’s Farm,” “Lay, Lady, Lay,” “Sheltered From the Storm” and “Stuck Inside Of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.” I guess I had the advantage of being a new fan.
I loved those new versions then and I still do now. No, I don’t keep this on heavy rotation, but I still listen to it when the timing is right.
The timing is right tonight Mr. Dylan. Happy 71st birthday.
All songs by Bob Dylan, except where noted.
- “Maggie’s Farm”– 5:23
- “One Too Many Mornings”– 3:47
- “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again”– 6:01
- “Oh, Sister” (Dylan, Jacques Levy)– 5:08
- “Lay Lady Lay”– 4:47
- “Shelter from the Storm”– 5:29
- “You’re a Big Girl Now”– 7:01
- “I Threw It All Away”– 3:18
- “Idiot Wind”– 10:21
- Bob Dylan – vocals, Guitar
- Mick Ronson – Guitar
- T-Bone Burnett – Guitar, Piano
- Steven Soles – Guitar, Background Vocals
- David Mansfield – Guitar
- Rob Stoner – Bass, Background Vocals
- Howard Wyeth – drums, Piano
- Gary Burke – Drums
- Scarlet Rivera – strings
- Official Bob Dylan Website
- Great Bob Dylan Page (Great for old and current setlists)
- See out piece on Modern Times
- Back to the Cool Album Home Page
Give a listen to some of this album below