8. blowing in the wind [live]

“I remember hating Bob Dylan’s take on Blowing in the Wind the first time I heard it. It was Grade Two, 1967 or thereabouts, Miss Horton’s class. We all loved the Peter Paul and Mary version which was sweet and wistful and fun to sing along to. But then one day Miss Horton (who was obviously at least a part-time hippie) played us the original and … well, what do you expect from a bunch of seven year olds? Over time, of course, I’d grow to like, even love, the man’s voice, like sand and glue as David Bowie put it. But Blowing In The Wind, I found it easy to remain ambivalent about. He just had so much better, more interesting stuff. Why even have an opinion about some dated hippie campfire sing-along? But then I heard the live version from 1974’s Before The Flood. The last track on the album, so the encore, I guess, of what at the time was a big deal tour indeed, Mr. Dylan reunited with The Band, re-conquering a world he’d more or less shrugged off for almost a decade in the wake of his still mysterious motorcycle accident.

The man who’d become a myth having chosen the way of invisibility for a while, then slowly, over a series of consistently inconsistent albums, reasserting himself as just a man again, a singer, a songwriter, a wanderer. Which I guess is what I love about this Blowing In The Wind, electrified now, growling shambolically along, speaking of way too many miles over too many roads, with many more still to come. Because that’s life – it ain’t over until it’s over, and thus the searching and the confusion and the reaching, never quite grasping continue. Because the answers are out there, pieces of them anyway, caught up in the weather, metaphysical and otherwise. In fact, I caught a glimpse of one just last night, but it was moving too fast for me. I finally just drank more wine, took a few notes — and so on until the stars fall from the sky. Which I imagine they did in some small way those other nights way back when, winter sometime, early 1974, the tour that came to be known simply as Tour 74. And then, in the darkness, a lot of people lit a lot of matches and candles.” (Philip Random)

20. helpless

“Because we’ve all been there – that small town in Ontario of the heart and soul, all solitude and yearning. And learning. Which hurts at the time, but in the fullness of time, we come to realize it’s about as good as life gets. And nobody’s ever put it better than Mr. Neil Young in the song known as Helpless, and he never sang it better than he did one evening toward the end of 1976, the concert known as The Last Waltz, the band known as The Band bidding a proud and fond (though not exactly permanent) farewell. Even Joni Mitchell showed up in the background making for perhaps the most righteously Canadian thing that ever happened in a San Francisco ballroom (of course, it was called Winterland). It was even snowing (backstage anyway). Way better than hockey.” (Philip Random)

(Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

212. the night they drove old Dixie down

Joan Baez had a big AM radio hit with this back in around 1972. Meanwhile, the cool FM DJs were playing the Band’s original version, which my teenybop ears didn’t really get. Too gritty, too raw. But jump ahead a few years to The Last Waltz (the movie of the Band’s big deal farewell concert) and yeah, I got it! The vast tragedy of the American South, what it is to lose a war and thus your culture, see it all burned before your eyes by the forces of Northern Aggression. Yeah, they owned slaves or certainly fought for those who did, but … I can’t think of a but for this. Slavery’s about as f***ed up as humanity gets. But there you go – where there’s humanity, there’s also soul, and thus complexity. Which is why we need songs like The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” (Philip Random)

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376. when I paint my masterpiece

“I think I prefer the Band’s take on When I Paint My Masterpiece to Dylan‘s. It feels a little more road weary, earned, a lonely night amid the rubble in Rome by way of deepest darkest Arkansas (or perhaps Ontario), somewhere vast and godless, and all those million miles in between playing rock and roll. Great song either way.” (Philip Random)

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392. please crawl out your window

“True fact. Though The Band may have been Bob Dylan’s favourite band, they didn’t do much actual studio work together. Whatever they had, it was mostly a live thing, which is certainly how Please Crawl Out Your Window feels: just plug in and go for it. Released as a single in late 1965, it mostly missed the charts at the time, thus freeing it up to land freshly with me maybe twenty years later (again via the Biograph box set). Like a postcard from some past cool scene I only wish I could’ve known. The light itself must’ve been different in those days. And it probably was, given all the speed those guys were doing.” (Philip Random)

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010. The Final Countdown*

Installment #10 of The Final Countdown aired Saturday-June-2-2018 (c/o CiTR.FM.101.9).

Tracks available on this Youtube playlist (somewhat inaccurate).

The Final Countdown* is Randophonic’s longest, most random and (if we’re doing it right) relevant countdown yet – the end of result of a long process that finally evolved into something halfway tangible in early 2018. The 1297 Greatest Records of All Time right now right here, if that makes sense. And even if it doesn’t, we’re doing it anyway for as long as it takes, and it will take a while.

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Installment #10 of The Final Countdown* went like this.

1110. Faze Action – moving cities
1109. Dalis Car – Dalis Car
1108. Tom Jones – help yourself
1107. Steve Miller Band – lucky man + gangster of love
1106. Can – come sta, la Luna [edit]
1105. Sufjan Stephens vs Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass
1104. Curtis Mayfield – keep on trippin’
1103. David Crosby – Orleans
1102. Citywide Vacuum – carbon valence
1101. Medeski Martin & Wood – Strance of the Spirit Red Gator
1100. Sacred System – driftwork
1099. Synergy – terra incognita
1098. Residents – the ultimate disaster [edit]
1097. Jah Wobble + Holger Czukay + Jaki Leibezeit – trench warfare
1096. Guess Who – smoke big factory
1095. Flasket Brinner – Gånglåten
1094. Super Furry Animals – Juxtaposed with U
1093. Band [+Van Morrison] – 4% pantomime

Randophonic airs pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and/or download options usually available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page.

620. like a rolling stone [live]

“It’s true. I wouldn’t be compiling this list if it wasn’t for Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone. Push comes to shove, it’s still probably the single record I’d grab if the house was burning down (which it is, by the way). Because it marks the moment at which the Apocalypse got interesting to me, when the big story I care about kicked into gear. It’s the snare shot to be specific, the one at the very beginning. That’s what did it – kicked the proverbial door wide open, and it’s all been wild urgency ever since. But you’ve already heard that record at least a thousand times, so it doesn’t qualify for this list. But I bet you haven’t heard the live version, from 1974’s Before the Flood, Dylan and the Band raving it up like the anthem it is, saving the world one night at a time. Because everything just keeps on exploding. Same as it ever was.” (Philip Random)

727. dry your eyes

The cool kids were confused. What the hell was Neil Diamond doing at The Last Waltz, The Band’s farewell concert (still considered by many to be one of the greatest concerts in rock and roll history)? What he was doing was delivering the goods (in leisure suit, shades, freshly coiffed hair), destroying all notions of cool and uncool with a song that told the fierce and sad truth about what time does to us all. It removes us completely, but maybe if we cut the bullsh** at least some of the time, our songs remain.

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809. too much of nothing

Speaking of the Basement Tapes, here we have Mr. Robert Zimmerman (aka Bob Dylan) and the band known as The Band (circa 1967) trading verses, talking about what seems to be the overall problem inherent in the downside of prolonged psychedelic (and other) amplification and expansion of one’s mind, body and soul. What do you do with all that nothing you’re feeling?  In the end, maybe just sing the blues.

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