Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mothers: The Bob Dylan & The Band Edition

Bob Dylan & The Hawks: Tell Me Momma


Bob Dylan & The Band: Tough Mama


Bob Dylan & The Band: It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding


Tell Me Momma was the opening song of the second half of Dylan's set during the controversial electric rock band tour of 1966. This take is from the infamous "Judas gig" in Manchester on May 17. The Band, or The Hawks as they were still known from their hellraising years with Ronnie Hawkins, are all present on this track, sans drummer Levon Helm who had chosen to leave the tour because of the overwhelmingly negative response from the audience, and been replaced by Mickey Jones.

Tough Mama is taken from 1974's Planet Waves, the only proper studio album Dylan and The Band recorded together. They had collaborated on Blonde On Blonde in 1966 (again without Helm), but only guitarist Robbie Robertson appeared on the finished album. And of course they had the legendary sessions in Woodstock in 1967, eventually released as The Basement Tapes in 1975, which wasn't originally intended for release but played a big role on Dylan's John Wesley Harding (1967) and The Band's debut album Music From Big Pink (1968).

Following the release of Planet Waves, Dylan and The Band went on tour - Dylan's first in eight years. Before The Flood was recorded during this tour, and it's from this live album the incendiary rendition of It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding is taken. Although I confess it doesn't entirely fit into this post, as Dylan did it by himself and doesn't feature The Band at all. But it's the only song on there that references a mother in the title, so I'm shoehorning it in.

Hats off to Darius. Photo by Neil Preston.

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