“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)
“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)
“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)
“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)
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.
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 
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 
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.
“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)
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.
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.
In which Julie Driscoll + Brian Auger + The Trinity score a big deal UK hit with a then unknown Bob Dylan song concerning a burning wheel about to explode and other suitably apocalyptic stuff. The time was 1968 and it turns out the song was one of very many to emanate from what would come to be known as the Basement Tapes, the fruit of Mr. Dylan’s previous year spent hanging out in the basement of a big pink house with the band known as The Band, just messing around, drinking wine, having loose, sloppy, sometimes brilliant fun. And then, inevitably, tapes started to proliferate, such that some decades later, Absolutely Fabulous (the TV show) would have itself a suitable theme song.