Dylan joins Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (who have just concluded their own set) on stage. Together they launch straight into “Clean-Cut Kid” followed by a blues song called “Shake,” seemingly a Dylan lyric set to the rune of Roy Head’s “Treat Her Right.” Then comes the live debuts of two Empire Burlesque songs, “I’ll Remember You” and “Trust Yourself,” both of which have Dylan dueting with Madelyn Quebec, who is clearly struggling to keep up with his idiosyncratic phrasing. A searing version of “That Lucky 0l’ Sun” follows, before Willie Nelson joins them on guitar for a romp through the highly appropriate “Maggie’s Farm.” Although the American TV broadcast, courtesy of the Nashville Network, manages to omit the first and fifth songs and cut the second, the excitement of the performance comes across, reaffirming Dylan’s power in concert after the very public disaster at “Live Aid ” The buzz from the concert is enough for him to suggest a more longterm collaboration with the Heartbreakers.
~Clinton Heylin (Bob Dylan: A Life in Stolen Moments Day by Day 1941-1995)
University Of Illinois Champaign, Illinois 22 September 1985 Farm Aid Concert
When things get really bad, you just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig, and that’s all you can do
– Leonard Cohen
“He (Bob Dylan) said, ‘I like this song you wrote called Hallelujah.’ In fact, he started doing it in concert. He said, ‘How long did that take you to write?’ And I said, ‘Oh, the best part of two years.’ He said, ‘Two years?’ Kinda shocked. And then we started talking about a song of his called I And I from Infidels. I said, ‘How long did you take to write that.’ He said, ‘Ohh, 15 minutes.’ I almost fell off my chair. Bob just laughed.”
~Leonard Cohen (quoted in Telegraph 41, p. 30)
Leonard Norman Cohen (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016) was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and romantic relationships. Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour.
Daniel Lanois was born September 19, 1951 in Hull, Quebec, he is a Canadian record producer, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter.
Daniel Lanois has released several albums of his own work. However, he is best known for producing albums for a wide variety of artists, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson. Three albums produced or co-produced by Lanois have won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Four other albums received Grammy nominations.
I have picked 8 favourites among his great work, listed in chronological order:
“My American dream fell apart at the seam,” sing Nelson and Bob Dylan in this elegy to America’s family farmers. A track from Nelson’s 1993 Across the Borderline, the song details in plain language the war between forlorn farmers and unsympathetic bankers, with the latter undeniably the victor. Willie wrote the song with Dylan, who famously inspired Nelson’s annual Farm Aid benefit concerts with his off-hand remark at 1985’s Live Aid that something should be done to help U.S. farmers. The lyrics are unapologetic, brimming with as much indignation as Mellencamp’s “Rain on the Scarecrow,” but it’s the pairing of two of music’s most unconventional voices that makes it a must-hear.
Sec Taylor Stadium
Des Moines, Iowa
28 August 2004
My doctor tells me I should start slowing it down – but there are more old drunks than there are old doctors so let’s all have another round.
We create our own unhappiness. The purpose of suffering is to help us understand we are the ones who cause it.
He [Willie Nelson] takes whatever thing he’s singing and makes it his. There’s not many people who can do that. Even something like an Elvis tune. You know, once Elvis done a tune, it’s pretty much done. But Willie is the only one in my recollection that has even taken something associated with Elvis and made it his. He just puts his sorta trip on it…
~Bob Dylan (28 April 1993)
Willie Nelson Induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame (1993):