Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bob Dylan: "Heartbreak Hotel" (2009)

Dylan's summer tour just ended, and on the last night, in Tahoe, on the 32nd anniversary of Elvis's death, he played, for the first time ever, "Heartbreak Hotel."

Here it is.

It's off the cuff, to be sure. Rough and ragged and...just the way we like it. Full of love.

The musicians (Bob on shivery organ included) do a stand-up job with this song, which has little for musicians to do in it, truth be told; they really dig in. Listen to how Tony Garnier's bass sounds like a six-inch thick rubber band.

But of course it's Bob's singing we listen for, and he doesn't disappoint. He's not crooning it, he's not singing sexy like Elvis did. But listen to the way he sings the bellhop verse for the second time, after the instrumental break. The way he delivers "black," blatting it like a trumpet in a strip joint. And listen to the way he growls "die," taking it through real folk blues gospel shouting to eyebrow-raising hipster declamation in one falling syllable.

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