Top Ten Songwriters of The English World

By santisstar created 11 Jul 2013 | last updated – 09 Aug 2013 (taken from IMDb)

1. Bob Dylan

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born 24 May 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota; his father Abe worked for the Standard Oil Co. Six years later the family moved to Hibbing, often the coldest place in the US, where he taught himself piano and guitar and formed several high school rock bands. In 1959 he entered the University of Minnesota and began performing as Bob Dylan at clubs in Minneapolis and St. Paul…

2. Paul Simon

Born on October 13, 1941 in Newark New Jersey, Paul Simon is one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever. In 1957, he and high school pal, Art Garfunkel, wrote and recorded the single, “Hey Schoolgirl”, under the name “Tom and Jerry”. After some failures, they broke up. Simon still wrote and recorded music as “Tico and The Triumps” and “Jerry Landis”…

3. Leonard Cohen

Leonard Norman Cohen, (born 21 September 1934) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist. His work has explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships. Cohen has been inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Second only to Bob Dylan (and perhaps Paul Simon) [in terms of influence], he commands the attention of critics and younger musicians more firmly than any other musical figure from the 1960s who is still working at the outset of the 21st century.

4. John Lennon

John Winston (later Ono) Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England, to Julia (Stanley) and Alfred Lennon, a merchant seaman. He was of Irish, and some Welsh and English, ancestry. In the mid-1950s, he formed his first band, The Quarrymen (after Quarry Bank High School, which he attended) who, with the addition of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, later became The Beatles…

5. Paul McCartney

Sir Paul McCartney is a key figure in contemporary culture as a singer, composer, poet, writer, artist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and holder of more than 3 thousand copyrights. He is in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for most records sold, most ‪#‎1s‬ (shared), most covered song, “Yesterday,” largest paid audience for a solo concert (350,000+ people…

6. Phil Ochs

Philip David “Phil” Ochs (December 19, 1940 – April 9, 1976) was an American protest singer (or, as he preferred, a topical singer) and songwriter who was known for his sharp wit, sardonic humor, earnest humanism, political activism, insightful and alliterative lyrics, and distinctive voice. He wrote hundreds of songs and released eight albums. After years of prolific writing in the 1960s, Ochs’s mental stability declined in the 1970s. He eventually succumbed to a number of problems including bipolar disorder and alcoholism, and took his own life in 1976.

7. Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell is one of the most highly regarded and influential songwriters of the 20th century. Her melodious tunes support her poetic and often very personal lyrics to make her one of the most authentic artists of her time. As a performer she is widely hailed for her unique style of playing guitar…

8. Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain was born on February 20 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. Kurt and his family lived in Hoquiam for the first few months of his life then later moved back to Aberdeen, where he had a happy childhood until his parents divorced. The divorce left Kurt’s outlook on the world forever scarred. He became withdrawn and anti-social…

9. Lou Reed

He formed the group The Velvet Underground with Welsh multi-instrumentalist John Cale, second guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Maureen Tucker in New York in 1965. The group soon became a part of Andy Warhol’s Factory scene, which housed a great number of the most freaked and experimental artists at the time…

10. Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison was born on December 8, 1943 in Melbourne, Florida, to Clara Virginia (Clarke) and George Stephen Morrison, a U.S. Naval Officer who fought in World War II. Jim eventually became so estranged from his parents that he would later claim that they were dead. Not much is known about his early years…

Coleccionando a Bob Dylan (La Cripta Del Chamán)

Traigo aquí, como introducción, el primer artículo que escribí para la revista monográfica Desolation Post, consagrada a Bob Dylan (Nº4, Febrero 2007):

La Cripta del Chamán

Iniciamos aquí esta sección dedicada a fomentar el coleccionismo e informar de las fuentes, antecedentes y medios para lograr una primera selección de grabaciones imprescindibles y orientar a los aficionados sobre cómo, dónde y qué buscar para ampliar sus colecciones o iniciarse en este mundo plagado de archivos, cifras y códigos, en el que se encuentran las esencias, o al menos porciones sustanciosas, de aquello que aún permanece oculto en la cripta del Chamán.

Cuando uno termina por admirar sin reservas la figura y el trabajo de alguien tan lúcido, inclasificable y enigmático como Bob Dylan, no puede evitar intentar acaparar toda su obra, o al menos aquella que ya ha sido editada oficialmente. Pero si un día alcanzas a juntar toda su discografía oficial (difícilmente toda, pero sí la aún catalogada y todavía disponible) y tienes la fortuna de entender el arte del judío en directo y disfrutar de su talento para recrear cada noche sobre el escenario su propio mundo y el de sus viejas, nuevas y no tan nuevas canciones, sin duda te verás abocado a intentar descifrar algo de ese mundo y coleccionar todos y cada uno de los conciertos que el juglar de Minnesota ha ido ofreciendo a lo largo de su carrera, descubrir cada día una nueva versión o hallar una interpretación sublime que colme tu necesidad de emociones. Un solo de armónica, un único y singular fraseo, un riff de guitarra, unos cuantos y arrebatadores acordes, cualquier cosa que llene el vacío que deja en el alma la ausencia prolongada de un Dylan nuevo y misterioso, un tan imitado como inimitable creador con el imprevisible don de aunar la belleza desnuda, e indómita, y la furia de la razón, en medio de la locura, porque uno ha llegado a entender al fin que sus canciones, así como cada una de sus interpretaciones, no son sino mapas de carretera para el alma, torrentes de emociones de una riqueza tal que te mueve a reconsiderar tu propio sentido de la percepción y te anima a buscar, poseer y completar todo lo que dejó tras de sí y lo que está por llegar, porque no basta con alguna, unas cuantas, muchas, las más logradas o las menos conocidas versiones, uno acaba necesitando todas para intentar abarcar al genio.

Dicen de Bob que cuenta con varias cámaras acorazadas donde conserva todo el material que su gente ha ido grabando durante toda su trayectoria artística. Miles y miles de kilómetros de cinta con cantidad de material obtenido de los conciertos que ha celebrado hasta la fecha ¿Será cierto? Si así fuera, ese sería el sueño de todo coleccionista dedicado a su obra, conseguir todas aquellas grabaciones y guardarlas en su propia cripta para escucharlas en la intimidad, conservándolas como oro en paño entre los muros de su templo privado. Pero si no dudo que el propio Dylan debe tener buena parte de su mejor obra en vivo grabada por sus acólitos y mantenida a buen recaudo, lo que ya me parece menos verosímil es que el alcance de ese material llegue a cubrir todos y cada uno de los conciertos que a lo largo de la historia ha dado el de Duluth. Sin embargo existen grabaciones realizadas desde la audiencia de gran parte de su obra en los escenarios, prácticamente toda desde el 1974 en adelante, material más que suficiente de los 60, principalmente del 63 al 66, y un gran número de grabaciones tomadas de la mesa de mezclas (Soundboard). Todas esas grabaciones, tanto realizadas desde la audiencia, como extraídas de la mesa de sonido, serán el objetivo de nuestro estudio y nuestros anhelos.

Para empezar con una o varias listas de los imprescindibles, como la mayoría de vosotros ya sabréis, basta con tener acceso a internet y obtener la lista de los “must have” (los que hay que poseer) de la ya famosa página de Craig Pinkerton donde se hace recuento de aquellas ediciones extraoficiales que contienen las más impresionantes grabaciones y remasterizaciones de los conciertos legendarios o las interpretaciones más destacables del judío errante. Otra de estas listas a considerar es la muy recomendable de John Howell que enumera aquellos conciertos de los que existe una grabación decente, o hasta excelente en muchos casos, que desde un punto de vista personal y subjetivo merecen ser escuchados al menos una vez por todo buen aficionado; También interesantes las recomendaciones de Paul Williams y Clinton Heylin, por supuesto. La documentación más exhaustiva y generalmente fiable acerca de los conciertos, actuaciones y sesiones de grabación celebradas por la figura más influyente del  rock se encuentra en los archivos de Olof Björner, que la gran mayoría ya conoceréis. Grandes coleccionistas que son y han sido de la ingente y asombrosa obra en directo del amigo Zimmerman cito aquí a continuación como fuente de información, origen y actual documentación de una gran parte de la obra grabada durante el último cuarto del siglo pasado y los años previos. Se trata de figuras tan relevantes para el estudio, recopilación, documentación y valoración del legado interpretativo de la pequeña gran maravilla blanca, como Les Kokay, Michael Krogsgaard, Glen Dundas, Jeff Friedman o Bill Pagel (autor de la inevitable página Bob Links), todos ellos investigadores, recopiladores y la gran mayoría autores de las más destacables grabaciones que uno pueda encontrar de algunos de los períodos míticos en la historia de Dylan y por tanto del rock.

Les Kokay publicó en el 2000 su catálogo  de todas  las grabaciones de la gira de 1974, “Bob Dylan/The Band (A Collectors Guide to the 74 Tour), actualizado en 2005, que el consiguió recopilar y remasterizar en gran medida, gracias a lo cual han llegado hasta nosotros en un estado todavía aceptable, algunas de ellas (pocas desde luego) excelentes registros para la época. Sin embargo, cita en el encabezamiento a Clinton Heylin, como forma de reconocimiento a la aportación de este autor, con una afirmación que no es del todo incierta pero que yo no comparto, “There are two problems with the 1974 tour: the tapes are crap and Dylan’s performances are crap.”  – C. Heylin, Telegraph 32 pag 86. Las cintas son en su mayoría de una calidad lamentable, eso es indiscutible, pero no así las interpretaciones del furibundo artista de Columbia que, si bien es cierto cantaba y tocaba su guitarra, o se sentaba al piano, en un estado probablemente resacoso cuando no directamente bajo la influencia del alcohol u otras sustancias tóxicas, de lo que no cabe duda es que su desinhibida entrega y alto grado de emotividad resultan hoy sobrecogedores. Para muestra tenemos el  “Before The Flood”, la edición oficial de la gira que contiene en mi opinión una de las mejores versiones en directo del clásico “Just Like A Woman”, puro fuego y tormenta clamorosa de lluvia purificadora antes del  diluvio. También es de obligada escucha el concierto íntegro del que se extrajeron algunas de las pistas de ese disco oficial (entre ellas ese Just Like A Woman), del 14 de Febrero de 1974 en el Forum de Los Angeles, sesión de tarde, que contiene otra autentica pieza maestra del arte interpretativo del autor de Like A Rolling Stone, una imprevisible y subyugante “It’s All Over Now,  Baby Blue” que deja al atento oyente tan desconcertado como lleno de admiración. El imprescindible “bootleg” que incluye la grabación obtenida de la mesa de mezclas de este impresionante e irrepetible concierto es el titulado “Paint The Daytime Black” de Q Records ediciones (Ref.: QR 23/24).

Otro disco imprescindible de esta trascendental gira que uno podrá ver incluído en la correspondiente lista de Bobsboots es el “Oakland Flood”, primero de los dos conciertos del Alameda County Coliseum de Oakland, California del 11 de Febrero de 1974. El sonido es de mesa y ciertamente esplendido, aunque defectuoso en ocasiones debido a daños irreparables en la cinta. Contiene una extraordinaria y vibrante versión de la siempre magnífica y en cierto sentido apocalíptica, “Gates Of Eden”. Para no perdérsela. Existe además un recopilatorio de la gira, obra de Ronnie Z, reconocible por su apodo, Barefoot, y difundido posteriormente por Stewart (Stew711), cuyo título “Sound The Battle Charge” recoge muchas de las más intensas y emocionantes interpretaciones de algunas de sus canciones durante aquél período, especialmente algunas de su álbum “Planet Waves” (Inmediatamente posterior al comienzo de la gira), que no ha vuelto a hacer en directo desde entonces, como por ejemplo “Wedding Song”, “Something There Is About You” del citado álbum , y la excelente y conmovedora “Nobody ‘Cept You”. Cómo Dylan canta en esa actuación del  4 de Enero en Chicago esta lúgubre, sombría y existencial, pero altamente apasionada declaración de amor nunca publicada oficialmente hasta 1991 (“Bootleg Series Vol.1-3, Rare and Unreleased”) es algo que estremecería a cualquier alma sensible. Todas ellas vieron su debut durante los primeros conciertos de su vuelta a los escenarios en Enero del 74, como anticipo del hoy infravalorado LP que paradójicamente llegó a ser el primero del artista en alcanzar el Nº1 en USA en las listas de ventas.

El propio Les Kokay publica también su guía “Songs of the Underground (A Collectors Guide to the Rolling Thunder Revue 1975-1976)” en 2003 y en ella encontramos la documentación relativa a ambas partes de la gira RTR, tanto la del 75 como la del 76, los conciertos celebrados y todo el material disponible. La guía del 74 traía incluso una dirección de correo electrónico donde contactar con el autor. Desconozco si aquella dirección sigue estando vigente, pero hoy en día estas grabaciones han circulado ampliamente y no resulta difícil para cualquier aficionado hacerse con cualquiera de ellas, incluso corregidas y aumentadas, y hasta reparadas, ya que la reproducción o transferencia a disco digital de alguna de ellas corría a diferente velocidad que la del equipo de grabación original (magnetofones Niagra, por lo general) y otras, incompletas, se han ido completando con los años mezclando diferentes fuentes.

De los años previos, cintas de las grabaciones Pre-Columbia realizadas por amigos y colegas del propio Bob, las Gleason Tapes o las archireproducidas Minnesota Hotel Tapes, así como de los conciertos de los 60 y la documentada trasgresión del Folk con su conversión al Rock de acompañamiento eléctrico y su adopción de la cultura pop, hasta el dramático episodio del accidente de moto que truncara su carrera en la cumbre de la fama tras la gira del 66, daremos cuenta en un próximo capítulo y comentaremos los más destacables registros, las grabaciones coleccionables, tanto descartes de las sesiones  oficiales de grabación como conciertos y títulos de los “Bootlegs” correspondientes y todo lo referente al material existente en circulación.

El Coleccionista Hipnótico

Collecting Bob Dylan (The Shaman’s Vault)

I’m bringing here, as an introduction, the first article I wrote for the monographic magazine “Desolation Post”, devoted to Bob Dylan (#4, February 2007):

The Shaman’s Vault                           

We start this dedicated section here to encourage collecting activities and provide information about the sources, antecedents and means to obtain a first selection of essential recordings. So this is meant to orient the fans on how, where and what to look for to extend their collections or to begin in this world plagued of archives, numbers and codes. I’m referring to a world in which the essences of what still remains hidden in the Shaman’s vault reside. When someone finally comes to admire without reserves the works and figure of somebody as illuminated and visionary, unclassifiable and enigmatic as Bob Dylan is, he can hardly avoid to try and monopolize all his work, or at least all that has already been officially released. But if one day you come to get all his official material (hardly everything, but still catalogued and available) and have the fortune to understand the live art of the gifted songwriter, you will want to go further. If you enjoy his talent to recreate his own world every evening on stage and the universe of his old, new and not so new songs, without a doubt you will be led to try to decipher something out of that world. That will make you eager to collect all and each one of the many concerts the minstrel of Minnesota has been offering throughout his entire career. You will want anything to help you discover every day a new version or find some sublime performance that could eventually quench your need for emotions. It could be a harmonica solo, just a singular phrasing, a guitar’s riff, a few captivating chords, anything that fills up the emptiness inside  your soul due to the prolonged absence of a new and mysterious Dylan. A dedicated collector might soon become fascinated, yearning for anything related to such an imitated yet inimitable creator with the unforseeable gift to combine the naked and untamed beauty, and the fury of reason, in the middle of madness. All of this happens because one has come to understand that his songs, as well as each one of his performances, are nothing but roadmaps for the soul, flooding torrents of wealthy emotions that moves you to reconsider your own sense of perception. There’s always something that animates you to look for and search, to catch them all and complete everything that’s been left behind him and what is about to come. Because it’s never enough with some, a few, many, the best achivements or the less known versions, one ends up needing all of them to try and totally include the whole genius.

They say that Bob owns several armored vaults where he keeps all the stuff his crew has been recording all along his artistic trajectory. It would include thousands and thousands of miles of tape with endless footage obtained from the concerts he has already celebrated to date. Could it be true? If so, it would be the dream of every collector dedicated to his work, to obtain all those recordings and keep them in his own vaults to listen to them privately. One would  want to preserve them like gold in cloth between the walls of his private temple. I do not doubt Dylan himself must have a good part of the best work he’s done, live recorded by his acolytes and carefully maintained under lock and key. But what seems to me less probable yet is that the reach of that material covers each and every one of the shows the icon from Duluth has given throughout history. Nevertheless audience recordings of a great part of his work on stage exists. We may certainly find practically everything from 1974 on, more than sufficient stuff of the 60’s (mainly from 63 to 66) and a great number of soundboard recordings.

All these recordings, either taped from the audience or extracted soundboard, will be the subject of our study and our yearnings.

In order to begin with one or several lists of the essential ones, as most of you might already know, having access to the Internet would be enough to obtain the “must have” selection off the famous Craig Pinkerton’s website http://www.bobsboots.com. Here a list can be found including a one-by-one description of those unofficial editions. The complete site is a huge catalog of bootlegs containing the most impressive recordings and remastered works of legendary shows or more remarkable performances of the nomadic artist. Another one of these lists to be considered is the very recommendable one of John Howell. His project enumerates those shows for which a decent recording exists, or even excellent in many cases. They are those that from a personal and subjective point of view deserve to be listened to, at least once, by every good fan. Also interesting are the recommendations by Paul Williams or Clinton Heylin. The most exhaustive and generally trustworthy documentation about the concerts, performances and recording sessions made by the most influential figure of Rock might be found in Olof Björner’s archives. Great collectors of the enormous and amazing live work of our friend Zimmerman  will be mentioned next. Their work should be taken as an origin, information source and present documentation of a great part of the works recorded during the last quarter of the last century and the previous years. We are talking about excellent researchers for the study, compilation, documentation and evaluation of the performing art’s legacy of the little great white wonder, such as Les Kokay, Michael Krogsgaard, Glen Dundas, Jeff Friedman or Bill Pagel (author of the unavoidable site Bob Links). All of them investigators, compilers and most likely authors themselves of the most remarkable live recordings one can find of the mythical periods in Dylan’s history and therefore of Rock.

Kokay published in 2000 his own catalogue of the complete recordings of the 1974 tour, “Bob Dylan/The Band (A Collectors Guide to the 74 Tour)”, updated in 2005, which he compiled and remastered to a great extent. So, thanks to him they have finally arrived to us in a still acceptable condition, some of them (few of course) excellent registries for the time. Nevertheless, in the heading he quotes Clinton Heylin, as a form of recognition to the contribution of this author, with a statement that is not totally wrong but I do not share it, “There are two problems with the 1974 tour: the tapes are crap and Dylan’s performances are crap.” – C. Heylin, Telegraph 32 pag 86. The tapes are in their great majority of a lamentable quality, that is unquestionable, but instead I believe the performances of the furious artist of Columbia are quite convincing. Although he most likely sang and played his guitar, or sat at the piano, in a post-moonshine state when not completely under the influence of the alcohol or any other intoxicating substances, we can tell he was fervent and still focused. For that matter,  I think  there is no doubt that his uninhibited delivery and high degree of emotional load turns out to be now a terrific moving experience. For instance we’ve got “Before The Flood”, the official edition of the tour containing, in my opinion, one of the best live versions ever of the classic “Just Like A Woman”, true fire and clamorous storm of purifying rain just before the flood. It is also obligatory to listen to the complete concert from which some of the tracks on the official disc were extracted (among them the mentioned Just Like A Woman). I’m talking about February 14th, 1974 at The Forum in Los Angeles, late show, which contains another true masterpiece of the performing art from the author of Like A Rolling Stone. An unexpected and subduing “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” that leaves the kind listener disturbed as well as full of admiration. The essential bootleg that includes the soundboard recording of this impressive and unique concert is the one titled “Paint The Daytime Black” of Q Record editions (ref: QR 23/24). Another essential disc of this transcendental tour that one should be able to find included in the corresponding Bobsboots list is “Oakland Flood”, first of both shows at the Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California on February 11th, 1974. The sound is PA and splendid, although certainly defective sometimes due to irreparable damages on the tape. It contains an extraordinary and vibrant version of the always magnificent and in a certain sense apocalyptic, “Gates of Eden.” Not to be missed. There also exists in addition a compilation of the tour, work by Ronnie Z, who should be easily recognized by his nickname, Barefoot. This compilation, whose title “Sound The Battle Charge” gathers many of the most intense and exciting performances of some of his songs during the period,  was later spread by Stewart (Stew711).  I would especially mention some of them from his album “Planet Waves” (immediately subsequent to the beginning of the tour). I mean songs that he has never done live again since then, like “Wedding Song” for instance, “Something There Is About You” off the mentioned album, and the excellent and stirring “Nobody ‘Cept You” never officially released until 1991 (“Bootleg Series Vol.1-3, Rare and Unreleased”.)  The way Dylan sings in that performance of January 4th in Chicago this dismal, shady and existential,  but highly enthusiastic declaration of love, is something that would shake any sensitive soul.  All of them saw their debut during the first concerts of his return to the stage in January 1974, in advance of the nowadays underrated LP that paradoxically got to be first from the artist to reach Nº1 in the USA top sales lists.

Les Kokay himself also publishes his guide “Songs of the Underground (A Collectors Guide to the Rolling Thunder Revue 1975-1976)” in 2003. In it we found documentation relative to both parts of RTR tour, the concerts and all the available material. Nowadays these recordings have been widely circulating and wouldn’t be difficult for any fan to acquire them. They have been now corrected, even completed and also repaired, since the reproduction or transference to digital disc of some of them ran at different speed than the equipment used for the original recording (Nagra Tape recorders, usually.) Others that were incomplete have been completed through the years mixing different sources.

As for the previous years, tapes from pre-Columbia recordings made by friends and Bob own’s colleagues, the Gleason Tapes or the multi-reproduced Minnesota Hotel Tape, as well as many of the concerts from the 60’s, we will give account in a next chapter. On subsequent issues we will continue through the documented transgression of Folk, his conversion to electrified Rock and his adoption of pop culture, until the dramatic episode of the motorcycle accident. All of this will be main subject of future installments of this section and we will comment on the most remarkable captures, the collectable recordings, corresponding outtakes of the official recording sessions, concerts, titles of bootlegs and everything referring to the existing material in circulation.

The Hipnotist Collector