Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#932 in the Series) is Bob Dylan, Modern Times.
About five years ago I had a chance to visit upstate New York on a business trip. My journey would start in Albany, continue day by day west. I’d spend a day in Utica, Syracuse, Rochester and eventually Buffalo. After l landed in Albany I met up with a few other ‘soon be’ friends that would make the same trip.
When we arrived in Buffalo, ‘Tom’ jokingly suggested that next year, we should rent a Winnebago. We could all save on rental cars and hotel rooms. I added, ‘Yeah, we could call ourselves the Rolling Thunder Review!’
Of course we never did, even though we did end up in Albany again a year later.
I decided to see if there were any cool concerts in or nearby any of the cities we’d be visiting. Well gosh darn it, guess who was going to be in Rochester on the day that we would be? Bob Dylan.
I’d seen Bob Dylan in the later 70s. He was fantastic. I hadn’t seen him since except in some televised specials. I always wanted to see him again, but it never worked out. So I had to go.
We bought tickets the day of the show so we literally sat directly across from the stage in the back row. The venue was not really made for concerts and the sound wasn’t too good. It was pretty muddled.
About 2/3s through the set I decided I had to hear a little better. So I kind of worked my way though some of the general admission balcony areas to where I eventually ended up pretty close to the stage. A move here and a move there and I was now REAL close to the stage!
As I found my new place, they band started into a song I did not know. It was a nice, light shuffle piece with a tasty intro. I didn’t have Modern Times at this point. As I was now very close to this legend the song really came to life. I wish I knew it, but it didn’t matter. I was here at this point, near the stage and I was listening to this wonderful song! Damn, was it good!
I stayed there for the rest of the show. Then came more of the tunes I expected and they all rang true.
However, as I left the venue, it was this one unknown song that I couldn’t get out of my head. It was locked in!
I got back to my hotel. Jumped online and found the site that lists Bob’s tours and set lists from nearly every show. This show had ended less than thirty minutes ago and the set list was already in front of my eyes!
I scrolled down through names like “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35” (aka Everybody Must Get Stoned), “It Ain’t Me Babe,” “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” and “Positively 4th Street.” I continued down and I found the name of the track I was looking for. There it was. It was called “Spirit on the Water”’ Hello new friend!!
I quickly jumped on to the ‘net and downloaded, not just “Spirit on the Water,” but the full Modern Times album. I did know a couple tracks from radio and also from that evening.
“Spirit on the Water” sounded as good as a studio version as I could have hoped. A truly marvelous track!
I soon became a fan of more of this album as well. Highlights are many. Make sure you check out “Thunder on the Mountain,” “Rollin’ and Tumblin,” “When the Deal Goes Down,” “Working Man Blues #2,” “Nettie Moore” and “As the Levee Breaks.”
There are many old school Bob Dylan fans out there that haven’t purchased a new album of his in years. Let that trend stop now. Get Modern Times. It truly is a great album. And it’s got “Spirit on the Water!”
Oh Yeah, the opening act that night in Rochester? A solo Elvis Costello. When he opened with “Angels Want to Wear My Red Shoes” I knew it was going to be a good night.
Odds and Ends
Bob Dylan Modern Times was awarded two Grammy Awards. Bob and producer Chris Shaw won for Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album. Bob also won Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for “Someday Baby.” YES I DID say Best Vocal Performance,, Grammy and Bob Dylan all in the same subject!!!
‘Someday Baby’ reached #98 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.
See the ‘Links’ below! I have one to listen to all of Modern Times
- “Thunder on the Mountain” 5:55
- “Spirit on the Water” 7:42
- “Rollin’ and Tumblin'” 6:01
- “When the Deal Goes Down” 5:04
- “Someday Baby” 4:55
- “Workingman’s Blues #2” 6:07
- “Beyond the Horizon” 5:36
- “Nettie Moore” 6:52
- “The Levee’s Gonna Break” 5:43
- “Ain’t Talkin'” 8:48
- Bob Dylan – Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Piano
- Tony Garnier – Bass, Cello
- George G. Receli – Drums, Percussion
- Stu Kimball – Guitar
- Denny Freeman – Guitar
- Donnie Herron – Steel guitar, Violin, Viola, Mandolin