Recording Blonde on Blonde in Nashville

Internet Histories

29.06.2010

Recording Blonde on Blonde in Nashville

Sean Wilentz in Oxford American Magazine:

The lyrics are straightforward, even ordinary, tracking a burned-out love affair’s misunderstandings. Dylan experimented with the words inside the studio; the title chorus did not even appear until the sixth take. But the sound texture that makes “One of Us Must Know” so remarkable was built steadily, late into the night and into the next morning.

After take seventeen, Dylan heeds the producer Johnston’s advice to start with a harmonica swoop. Crescendos off of an extended fifth chord, led by Paul Griffin’s astonishingpiano swells (“half Gershwin, half gospel, all heart” an astute critic later wrote), climax in choruses dominated by piano, organ, and Bobby Gregg’s drum rolls; Robbie Robertson’s guitar hits its full strength at the finale. Intimations of the thin, wild mercury sound underpin rock & roll symphonics. Johnston delivers a pep talk before one last take—“keep that soul feel”—and Gregg snaps a quick click opener, and fewer than five minutes later, the keeper is in the can.


 

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