Monthly Archives: March 2010

Johnny Cash: Ain’t No Grave

The daily article at “On the Square” over at First Things today is by Yours Truly, and it’s on the new Johnny Cash album, which is titled Ain’t No Grave.

Even by itself, “I Corinthians 15:55” will make most listeners grateful for the album’s existence. With months left to live, and in the shadow of the death of his wife, June, this sweetly melodic composition, played like a chamber-piece from the hills, is simultaneously his faithful testament and urgent prayer, and so asserts a spirit that was never very far from his work during his half-century in show business. Continue reading “Johnny Cash: Ain’t No Grave” »

Daily Verse

So I’m on one of those “Daily Bible Verse” e-mail lists, and yesterday got this one:

Daniel prayed and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.

Daniel 2:20-23 (King James Version)

That would naturally remind one of this, a song Dylan wrote and performed in some shows in 1979 and 1980 but never recorded and released: Continue reading “Daily Verse” »

Here comes the rain again

I know I’ve noted it before, and it’s a pretty obvious thing to note, but the set list from the first night of Bob Dylan’s tour of Japan is another reminder of how often Dylan uses water as an image and/or metaphor in his songs. (The fact that it’s been raining heavily in my locality for the past few days adds to the timeliness of this observation.) Continue reading “Here comes the rain again” »

Bob Dylan’s first show in Osaka, Japan

Tonight in Osaka, Japan, Bob Dylan will kick off his show with Watching the River Flow, end the set with Ballad of a Thin Man, and round off the encore with All Along the Watchtower. Nothing bizarre or unprecedented in the song selections in between. Bob will be on keyboard except for Girl of the North Country, where he will play guitar. The full set list is at Bob Links.

Caribbean Wind

Caribbean Wind is a song which Bob Dylan first performed live on November 12th, 1980, and that also currently stands as the song’s final live performance. He took it into the studio with him the following year when preparing for the album to follow Saved, which turned out to be Shot of Love. However, although at least two studio recordings are known to fans, the song was not included on that album. One version was released in 1985 on the Biograph collection. It doesn’t sound anything like Shot of Love, so that may be one reason it didn’t end up on that album. It’s quite polished and poppy-sounding; in fact, if it had come along at the right time and been released as a single, I bet it could have been that rarest of species: a Bob Dylan hit from the 1980s. But it wasn’t to be. Continue reading “Caribbean Wind” »