Monday, May 19, 2014

Instrumental Backing Tracks of the Gods (An Occasional Series): Special Bob Dylan Karaoke Edition

From June 16, 1965 (at Columbia Studio A, 799 Seventh Avenue in New York City) please enjoy Bob Dylan's epochal "Like a Rolling Stone."

Without that awful yowling by the song's composer heard on the hit single version of the same summer.

In case you've forgotten, the personnel on this is Bob (rhythm guitar and harmonica), Mike Bloomfield (lead guitar), Paul Griffin (piano), Al Kooper (Hammond B-3), Joe Macho Jr. (bass guitar) and Bobby Gregg (drums). Tom Wilson was the producer.

That's Bob listening to a playback. Not sure who everybody is in the photo, but manager Albert Grossman is sitting far left, and Danny Kalb of the Blues Project stands to Dylan's immediate right.

Two things come immediately to mind at this point. First of all -- who the fuck was Joe Macho Jr.?

And secondly -- I have always found it hilarious that by the time Dylan played this song live in Britain -- as chronicled on various bootlegs and official releases of the deservedly legendary Royal Albert Hall concert (which, by the way, was not actually recorded at Albert Hall) -- the guy playing drums was Mickey Jones.

Better known today, to film and tv audiences, as this guy.

Oh, and in case you're wondering -- the actual track as heard here derives from the recent Mike Bloomfield box set compiled by Sony.

You're welcome.

[h/t Steve Schwartz]


Sal Nunziato said...

I'm pretty sure Joe Macho Jr. is Joe Mack, a session bass player who played on plenty of Dylan records, not to mention a ton of other great records in the 60s and 70s. His son Steve was a friend and customer of mine and a fine bass player himself.

Jai Guru Dave said...

Micky Jones was the drummer for (Kenny Rogers and) The First Edition at the time of "I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition my Condition Was In)"

MJConroy said...

Ken J Xenozar said...

Brings to mind the point that Dynamic is dead in most rock and roll. The swells and crescendos are great in this track.

Dave said...

I don't know how to apportion the kudos between Al Kooper and Tom Wilson, but never has a Hammond sounded so great, especially with the harmonica. Like the Pet Sounds Box, instrumentals, it's great to hear even if, like me, you aren't particularly interested in the technical aspects. Anything to defamiliarize yourself from the single imprinted in your brain is a good thing -- a way to hear classics anew.

And here's one vote for the yowl.


Anonymous said...

Paul Griffin never gets the credit due him. The piano track is wonderful and loose, like the rest of the band. They're feeling their way through it.

Joe Mack was like a minor East Coast version of Joe Osborn. Mickey Jones was First Edition drummer for the lifespan of the band and a frequent heavy on TV and film.

My late beloved uncle took me to see Dylan at the Bowl in 1965 right after Highway 61 [saw the Beatles with him at the same venue a few days earlier]. We weren't paying that much attention to the backing band but it was Robbie on guitar, Levon on drums, Harvey Brooks bass and Al Kooper keys. Jeeeez.

The Beatles sold the place out a week before. The Dylan crowd was substantially smaller. But the Bowl is 18K capacity. I wouldn't even say two thirds full. At least they didn't scream. Still, a big leap in Dylan's popularity as he previously played smaller venues such as the 3000 seat Santa Monica Civic.

I have never liked the Hollywood Bowl. Even if you have good seats it seems like you're far away. And back then they had that stupid fountain between the stage and the front boxes making it even worse. Plus the sound wasn't very good at any show I remember. It was never loud enough.

Backing tracks and outtakes are cool, but I've always preferred live recordings for their rough edges and transcendent moments.

And I second the yowl.

ciao landlubbers

Vickie Rock

steve simels said...

For what it's worth, I was kidding about the yowl.

I love--nay lurve -- Dylan's singing from this period.

pete said...

John Simon in the foreground?

wayne fraizer said...

Mickey also played with Johnny Rivers and Trinny Lopez before Bob

Anonymous said...

Al Kooper was on this? What??!!!

Kidding. Maybe he should tell his story sometime about how how he played the organ on LARS with you know, cameras rolling.

(Suppressed smirk)

Anonymous said...

The guys Steve couldn't identify in the photo are photographer Sandy Speiser and recording engineer Vinnie Fusco [in the back of the room]. John Simon is not there.

Buenas Noches de Mexico

Vickie Rock