Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 1. 6th March 1974
Records Records Records Records
Records Records Records Records
Takin' My Time:
Once an album was just the hit single plus eleven B-sides. In those days an artist lived and died by his Top 40 ratings. Then, as middle class dropouts took over the music, the LP came into its own as a piece of merchandise and means of expression. But the record companies OD'd on the LP; too many were released, especially in New Zealand where radio stations still haven't discovered the difference between rock and pop. So now once again a hit 45 or some other form of notoriety is necessary for the new LP artist to break clear of the pack. Caught in the middle are some fine artists who will never crack the Top Twenty nor be dated by Henry Kissinger. I'm thinking of people like Hot Tuna, Joan Armatrading, Little Feat, Judee Sill, and Bonnie Raitt. Only you, o my brothers and sisters can save them from the usual fate; to record once, twice, regroup and disappear.
On this LP you get a bonus, Bonnie Raitt and Little Feat together, with some help from Taj Mahal. The sound is a lot more polished than on her marvellous first LP (recorded in a very ethnic garage in a fishing village in Minnesota!) but the basic ingredients have not been diluted. Bonnie shows the same expert nose for good material; among them an early Motown track, a calypso, a Fred McDowell medley, a song from Furry Lewis and a fifties romp through the Sensations' "Let Me In", Bonnie has been travelling the folk circuit since 1968, and there's a certain folkie self consciousness in the way she does the blues, but that's minor criticism for quite important artist. If you've only got $5.75 try the first LP, but both are worth your time. Who knows, maybe next lime Warners will let her do more with her fine Mississippi National steel guitar. If there is a next time.
Planet Waves: Bob Dylan. Special pre-release
"Sarah, this one's for you.........
On the back cover is a piece of autobiography: "Back to the starting point.... I dropped a double brandy and tried to recall the events...." and at last, he says: ".....the ole days are gone forever....." And what has taken their place? Well according to Planet Waves, nothing less than the joys of matrimony. Altogether there are at least six 'torch ballads': e.g. "....there's new frost on the window glass/ with each new tender Kiss...." (On a Night Like This).
It's plain that marriage ("you gave me babies one, two, three....") has cooled his fire: "I was in a whirlwind/now I'm in some better place..." and given new inspiration: "...suddenly I found you/and the spirit In me sings." (Some-thing there is about you).
In places Dylan is still bitching, only now he is able to confess: ".....there are those who worship loneliness/I'm not one of them/ in this age of fibreglass/I'm searching for a gem..." and it's pretty obvious that he's found it. The songs on this album document his emotional development and the corresponding changes to his music since, possibly 'John Wesley Harding'.
Through all this he still writes mighty fine lyrics: "You're beautiful beyond words/you're beautiful to me/ you could make me cry/never say goodbye....because my dreams are made of iron and steel/with a big bouquet of roses hanging down/from the heavens to the ground..." (Never Say Goodbye).
In fact the more I listen I'm convinced that this is Dylan's finest and faultless hour.
Together Dylan and the Band have put down ten great songs, all musically superb. Planet Waves is a positive and mature expression of love; an affirmation Of Bob Dylan's present peace.
Wake of the Hood: Grateful Dead. Warners Recording.
In which our counter-cultural heron do a zonked out impersonation of abbey Road. That's right, thry've learned to sing like the Beatles. Which is one better than singing like the Grateful Dead but still...... Alternatively, it's what you'd expect if American Beauty had been recorded by Paul McCannes. Awful.