Episode 70
“On the Road Again.”
Bringing It All Back Home.
Recorded October 7, 2018.

Context (3:00)

“On the Road Again” was recorded in four takes on January 14, 1964 and thirteen takes on January 15, 1964. All featured on The Cutting Edge. While the song title is probably a play on Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, there is also a well-known song by the Memphis Jug Band.

The Evolution of “On the Road Again” (4:15)

On January 14, 1965 we have two complete cuts. In the first cut, you can see the hint of the tension that made this a song that Michael Gray felt Buddy Holly could sing. But on January 15, Dylan says “I’m just gonna play a little bit of harmonica” and that was it.

From there, the band – Bob Dylan (piano, vocal), Al Gorgoni (guitar), Kenneth Rankin (guitar), Bruce Langhorne (guitar), Joseph Macho Jr. (bass), William E. Lee (bass), Bobby Gregg (drums), and Frank Owens (electric piano) – kept pushing the limits of the song. By Take 11, Tom Wilson tells Dylan “that tempo’s too fast to squeeze in all those words, Bobby” but Dylan responds, “Hey man! Come on, we were gonna do it!” One more false start and the take 13 is on Bringing It All Back Home

It’s a simple 12-bar blues song so it’s evolution was out of left field, but Dylan had a clear idea lyrically and stayed in it for a long time to see it to fruition. It may not be the best song on Bringing It All Back Home, but it works and stands alone alright. It’s the song, the lyrics, the insanity of the work that makes it worth engaging with.

Playlist and Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson is not gay, in case you were wondering.

Recommendations (20:20)

Kelly recommends Throwing Shade in general, but the episode with Corin Tucker, in particular. If you haven’t listened to our April Fool’s special on Sleater-Kiney, you need to do it now.

Daniel loves The Clash so this Joe Strummer boxset was in heavy rotation, along with Cursive’s triumphant return with Vitriola. There were also two albums that were too fuckin long but worth a listen: Fucked Up’s Dose Your Dreams and Coheed and Cambria’s Unheavenly Creatures.

Endings (26:15)

Only 440 songs left. Kelly guessed #96, which would have been “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” from Times They Are A-Changin’. Nope. It’s #311. Back to Blonde on Blonde for the great “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later).”

Published by Daniel

Occasional writer, persistent nomad; restless, moving, changing. Currently in Portland, Oregon.

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