Some Big TV Network (Hollow Horn Recording Artist Vol. 4)
Disc 1 (79:54): Hurricane, Simple Twist Of Fate, Oh Sister (World Of John Hammond, September 10th, 1975), Gotta Serve Somebody, I Believe In You, When You Gonna Wake Up? (Saturday Night Live, October 20th, 1979), Don’t Start Me Talkin’, License To Kill, Jokerman (David Letterman, March 22nd, 1984), I Shall Be Released (Martin Luther King Birthday Tribute, January 20th, 1986), Thank God (Chabod Telethon, August 1986), Soon (The Gershwin Gala, March 11th, 1987), All Along The Watchtower, Like A Rolling Stone (Hall Of Fame, January 20th, 1988), Masters Of War (Grammy Awards, February 20th, 1991), Like A Rolling Stone (David Letterman, January 18th, 1992)
Disc 2 (79:57): Crazy Love, Crazy Love (take 2), Foreign Window, One Irish Rover (Hill Of Muses, June 27th, 1989), Pancho & Lefty, Hard Times (Willie Nelson Big 6-0, April 28th, 1993), Forever Young (David Letterman, November 18th, 1993), All Along The Watchtower, Just Like A Woman, Seeing The Real You At Last, Highway 61 Revisited, Forever Young (Hall Of Fame, September 2nd, 1995), Restless Farewell (Sinatra Birthday, November 19th, 1995), Love Sick (Grammy Awards, February 25th, 1998), Train Of Love (Johnny Cash Tribute, March 1999), Things Have Changed (Academy Awards, March 26th, 2001), Cry A While (Grammy Awards, February 27th, 2002)
Some Big TV Network continues where One Push Of The Button left off by collecting the major television appearances beginning in the mid seventies going up to 2002. The first part ended with Dylan’s appearance on the Johnny Cash show in 1969 and his appearances on television in the early seventies were limited to joining in the crowd on the Earl Scruggs television show on December 1st, 1970 and playing in the backing band for Allan Ginsberg on Freetime: Allen Ginsberg & Friends on October 30th, 1971. His first major performance was on September 10th, 1975 (broadcast on December 13th, 1975) on “The World Of John Hammond,” part of the “Soundstage” series. This segment was taped at the WTTW-TV studio in Chicago and Dylan is joined by three of the RTR band, Scarlet Rivera (violin), Rob Stoner (bass), and Howie Wyeth (drums), they play a twenty minute segment with two songs for the yet to be released Desire “Hurricane” and “Oh Sister” and “Simple Twist Of Fate” from the recently released Blood On The Tracks. “Simple Twist Of Fate” is arranged as if it were recorded for the following album with heavy treatment of violin.
The next major television appearance is the Hard Rain special in 1976 which is skipped in favor of Dylan’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live” on October 20th, 1979, taped at NBC studios in New York. This is right around the time Slow Train Coming was issued and he plays “Gotta Seve Somebody,” “I Believe In You” and “When You Gonna Wake Up” live for the first time. He is backed by Fred Tackett (guitar), Spooner Oldham (keyboards), Tim Drummond (bass), Terry Young (keyboards), Jim Keltner (drums), Regina Havis, Helena Springs, Mona Lisa Young (background vocals). This episode was hosted by Eric Idle of Monty Python and as is the custom the individual performances were scattered throughout the show. “Gotta Serve Somebody” came before Idle’s Prince Charles sketch, “I Belive In You” before Andy Kaufman, and “When You Gotta Wake Up” before the final good-nights.
Dylan’s appearance on David Letterman on March 22nd, 1984 occurs several months after the release of Infidels. Videotaped at NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center, Dylan is joined by a post-punk band of Justin Poskin (guitar), Tony Marsico (bass), and Chalo Quintana (drums). According to wiki, “Performing three songs with his band of post-punk musicians, Dylan delivered what many consider to be his most entertaining television performance ever. The poorly-prepared but energetic combo first performed an unrehearsed version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Don’t Start Me To Talking,’ then a radically different arrangement of ‘License To Kill.’ The final song was a peppy, somewhat new-wave version of ‘Jokerman that was to end with a harmonica solo. However, Dylan began playing before he realized the harp was in the wrong key, and the band had to riff endlessly while he stepped off-camera to retrieve the correct one.”
The Martin Luther King Day concert was broadcast on NBC on January 20th, 1986. He played “Bells Of Freedom,” “I Shall Be Released,” “Blowin’ In The Wind” and joined in on “Happy Birthday.” Hollow Horn include only the glitzy, Las Vegas arrangement of “I Shall Be Released.” This is followed by Dylan’s cover of Hank Williams’ “Thank God” on the syndicated by the anti-drug program organized by the Lubavitcher’s Chabad. It was taped at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California on September 14th, 1986 before that evening’s concert.
The celebration of the 50th anniversary of George Gershwin’s Death was at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music in New York on March 11th, 1987. It was broadcast on ZDF-TV in Germany on July 7th of that year. Dylan plays an acoustic version of the Ira Gershwin / George Gershwin tune “Soon.” Some have criticized it, but it is a stunning performance of the classic.
Following are two songs from the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction taped at The Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York on January 20th, 1988. The first song was broadcast on WMMS-FM in Cleveland Ohio the following day and the second by Super Channel in February 1988. Dylan was induced into the hall that year along with the Beatles, Beach Boys, The Supremes and The Drifters. “All Along The Watchtower” is played in the Hendrix arrangement and, given all the musicians, is very long and chaotic with solos being played everywhere. George Harrison sings the first verse (when he gets around to it) and Dylan covers the rest eventually. “Like A Rolling Stone” fares much better with Dylan singing all the verses.
“Masters Of War” was recorded at Radio City Music Hall on February 20th, 1991 at the Grammy Awards when Dylan received a Lifetime Achievement Award. He delivers a stunning performance of the piece on acoustic guitar. The final track on the first disc is again at Radio City but a year later for the 10th anniversary celebration for David Letterman. Videotaped on January 18th, 1992 for broadcast on February 6th, this includes Letterman’ introduction and reminiscences of his first appearance on the show back in 1984. “Like A Rolling Stone” is played in a big band, Las Vegas arrangement.
Disc two begins with an interesting broadcast from the BBC. Dylan is taped jamming with Van Morrison at the Philopappos (Hill Of The Muses) in Athens, Greece. This was taped on June 27th, 1989 and broadcast on BBC2 on March 16th, 1991 on the program “Arena: One Irish Rover – Van Morrison In Performance.” They play together three of Morrison’s songs, “Crazy Love” with the engineer asking for another take, “Foreign Window,” and “One Irish Rover.” Morrison’s voice is predominant in the mix for obvious reasons, but Dylan sounds very laid back and enjoying himself.
“Pancho & Lefty” was recorded for Willie Nelson: The Big Six-0: An All Star Birthday Celebration over two days, April 27th and April 28th, 1993 at KRLU-TV Studios Austin, Texas. It was broadcast on CBX on May 22nd, 1993. Dylan and Nelson sing this as a duet with Nelson’s band backing them. The sound quality is excellent and the performance is full of pathos and is a true stand out in this collection. Although the song was written and recorded by Townes Van Zandt on his 1972 album The Late Great Townes Van Zandt, it didn’t achieve any notoriety until Wilson covered it with Merle Haggard on 1983’s Pancho & Lefty. Dylan is backed by his own band for a cover of Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times” in another beautiful performance. This is followed by Dylan’s third appearance on David Letterman. Recorded on November 18th, 1993 at CBS Studios in New York after Letterman’s famous fued with Jay Leno and NBC. This is one day after the famous Supper Club sets and they perform “Forever Young” in the same arrangement used the previous two nights.
Although the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was legally established in 1983 and began inducting artists in 1986, it wasn’t until 1995 for the Hall to have a home in Cleveland. Several cities were considered including Memphis, New York and Cincinnati, but Cleveland lobbied hardest for the honor and the actual hall was finally dedicated on September 2nd, 1995. Dylan plays a half hour long, five song set with his touring band “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Just Like A Woman,” “Seeing The Real You At Last” (which the televison commentators mistakenly call a “new song”), “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Forever Young” with Bruce Springsteen joining on vocals.
The Frank Sinatra 80th Birthday Tribute was recorded at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in November 1995 and broadcast around the world on December 12th. This is a rare performance of “Restless Farewell” and is considered by some to be the best Dylan television performance ever. This is followed by the performance of “Love Sick” at the Grammy Awards on February 25th, 1998 at Radio City Music Hall when his album Time Out Of Mind received several awards including best album. This was made famous when Michael Portnoy staged his “soy bomb” incident.
The Johnny Cash Tribute was taped on April 6th, 1999 probably during rehearsals for the European tour and broadcast on TNT. Bob thanks Cash before a super version of “Train of Love” introduced as “One of your songs about trains. I used to sing this before I ever wrote a song, and I wanna thank you for standing up for me way back when.” The next track comes from the Academy Awards on March 26th, 2001 when he won the Oscar for best original song for “Things Have Changed,” written for the film Wonder Boys. “Cry A While” is from the Grammy Awards in 2002 and the second disc of this collection ends with an uncredited secret track, the audio of Dylan’s acceptance speech at the Academy Award ceremony in 2001. Like all Hollow Horn titles the packaging is superlative and they use the best available sources for their material and is very much recommended.