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.

To escape?

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.

Curtain rises.

Bass player misses cues/changes.

Dylan directs them – band get it halfway through – drummer is great! Howie Wyeth?

Long pauses.

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.



‘Maggies Farm’


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.


‘Idiot Wind’


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.

Unbelievable adrenaline.





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


7 responses to “BOB DYLAN – 1976 – HARD RAIN

  1. It IS a great voice – I wonder what happened to his voice between these shows and the rehearsals for the Japanese Tour – he goes from a power rcok and roll voice to that nasal sneer in less than two years. Odd.

  2. Although Hard Rains Gonna Fall is the first number
    On the Hard Rain TV special it was in fact the final
    Number(encore) of the Hughes Stadium gig Fort Collins1976.

  3. They need to release the entire show on DVD. The rock and roll version of “Tangled Up in Blue” is better than sex and death.

  4. It was a great performance- Under extremely difficult conditions- It rained hard all day and it was cold as hell. Roger Mcguinn apologized for planning an outdoor concert in mid May In Colorado. It would have been better in July.

  5. I watched the special shortly after it came out in the US when it was broadcasted in Holland, in 76. I already was a big fan of him since he was first heard in 65 here on the radio and I was 7 years, but could not be prepared for this, even with the bootleg Royal Albert Hall in my possesion. It was even scarier. What a vibe in his eyes and singing. Never understood the criticism, and I think he lost his self confidence thereafter for a long time, not regaining it before Time out of Mind or maybe even more correct: Things Have Changed, but it was too late to ever sound like this again. Allright, the energy was there in his first Christian tours but his voice had changed, sounding forced instead of forceful… Still makes me sad to think of how he broke down in those days of 76, funny too that it accompanied my own downfall for a while…

  6. I really enjoyed the Ginsbergian style of prose here. You captured the essence of a great period for Dylan especially his performance here. Hijacked an hour of prime time TV and produced riveting theatre….only Dylan could do that.

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