Notes on having just watched ‘Hard Rain’ for the first time.
(A one-hour TV Special of Bob Dylan playing live in 1976)
Who knows why Dylan decided to do Rolling Thunder Part Two?
Perhaps a financial decision – hence bigger venues and stadiums.
Was it to keep the party rolling, keep on the road, on a roll.
Sometimes hitting the road can be a way of avoiding emotional hassles.
Only Bob Dylan knows.
There was contractual pressure to produce a film for a TV Special.
They waited but the rain wouldn’t stop…
‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’
No hiding place – daylight, no darkness, no shadow.
Harsh, bright, bare.
They start and Dylan is singing behind a curtain – hidden from the audience.
Bass player misses cues/changes.
Dylan directs them – band get it halfway through – drummer is great! Howie Wyeth?
Shots of bewildered audience.
Long camera shots, sudden shifts, close up on Dylan’s face.
Brilliant wounded singing on “ man wounded in love”
He looks towards Baez, smiles.
Blowin’ In The Wind
Bob and Baez together.
Voices work so, so well.
Not a fan of Baez solo voice at all – but with bob on this it’s great.
Baez keeps laughing – he is messing with the phrasing and guitar strumming.
Funny at the end, playing with the notes, the harmonies.
He’s having fun on this.
‘I Pity The Poor Immigrant’
With Joan again.
Lots of breakdowns at the choruses – holding those long notes.
Voice sounds amazing – powerful, macho.
Why wasn’t this on the album?
Dylan sarcastic on the line “fills his town with laughing” – he adds “ha ha” at the end.
Great piano & bass playing.
‘Shelter From The Storm’
Bob plays slide on a white guitar – clearly enjoying the groove.
Loose, but great – no slickness, no theatre – just music and Dylan.
Not much connection to audience – playing for himself.
Band seem off their faces – Dylan glares at one point.
Lots of people on the sides of the stage.
So brutally bare – open scaffold stage – no hiding place.
Long gaps again – Mick Ronson is great.
Mick Ronson. Big loss.
Exciting but a strange atmosphere – volatile, angry.
There is no romance or nostalgia here.
Stark, bristling, furious.
‘One Too Many Mornings’ / ‘Mozambique’
Scarlett Riviera is cool – violin works 100%
Ignores crowd – cool phrasing – better than on ‘Desire’ LP.
Gives the crowd the ‘death stare’ – seems pissed off, beligerant.
Then says ‘Thank you’ at end.
Sony have to release this – it’s fucking ace.
Loose, brilliant, no-frills music and Dylan in control, leading band, totally in command.
Stunning – and such a long way from the gentle, loving, lilting early outtakes!
Vicious – he really gets into it, bending, stooping, like Chuck Berry or Keith Richards.
Band are loving it too – feeding off the fury.
Dylan is howling out those long vowels, bitterness dripping off it – seething.
Inventive arrangements, loose, roots, blistering band.
Dylan singing and leading, full of anger, machismo, swagger and style.
Great fucking voice.
They have to put this out!
Hard Rain LP
Album released on CBS, September 13, 1976
Album recorded on May 16 and 23, 1976
The album peaked at #17 in the US and #3 in the UK. Hard Rain eventually earned gold certification.
Bob Dylan: Vocals/ Guitar/ Harmonica
Bobby Neuwirth: Guitar/ Vocals
Scarlet Rivera: Violin
“T-Bone” Burnett: Guitar
Steven Soles: Guitar/ Vocal
Mick Ronson: Guitar
Roger McGuinn: Guitar
Dave Mansfield: Steel-Guitar/ Mandolin/ Violin/ Dobro
Rob Stoner: Bass
Howie Wyeth: Piano/ Drums
Gary Burke: Congas
Produced by Don DeVito & Bob Dylan.
Copyright © 2012 William Henry Prince