What I plan on listening to and looking at this week, and other things that are making my world a better place:
- Bob Dylan’s New Morning (CD)
Several years back, Columbia Records remixed and re-issued 15 essential Bob Dylan albums, or what they felt were the 15 essential Dylan albums. Sadly, they left untouched a few that are true classics, including The Basement Tapes and this, my personal “second favorite” Dylan record. It has languished on barely-listenable compact discs for decades, but this new incarnation – released this week – will truly open your ears. The sound improvements are subtle until the fourth song, “Went to See the Gypsy,” kicks into gear with a shuffling boogie spotlighting Al Kooper’s organ, David Bromberg’s electric guitar, some inspired syncopated comping on the piano by Dylan, and a rough-but-honeyed vocal that is one of this album’s sonic trademarks. New Morning‘s lyrics seem to be bathed in a mulled brew of American myth that is steeped in simple living and simple values, typified by these closing lines from “Sign on the Window:”
Build me a cabin in Utah,
Marry me a wife,
Catch rainbow trout,
Have a bunch of kids who call me Pa –
That must be what it’s all about.
“Went to See the Gypsy” by Bob Dylan, from New Morning (1970)
“Sign on the Window” by Bob Dylan, from New Morning (1970)
- Dexter: Season Two (DVD)
I missed this TV show’s first three seasons on cable (I don’t subscribe to Showtime), and have started catching up one disc at a time via Netflix. The first season was captivating, if a bit too aware of its own clever concept (Miami police blood splatter expert moonlights as a serial killer with a conscience). I’ve just finished the second disc of Season Two (episodes 4-7) and the web that has entangled all of the characters – not just the “hero” – is becoming unbearably tense, while the body count and gore is noticably decreased. The result is a much more involving and humane drama that seems honest and less gratuitously sensationalistic.
The rosemary bushes in my front and back yards have graduated this year from being “plants” to “bushes.” They are growing in every direction, including up, and are spilling into my neighbors’ yards, as well. I have been cutting out some of the undergrowth, drying and harvesting the needles. As a result of this herb harvest, practically everything I cook gets a dose of rosemary and, instead of getting tiring, has become intoxicating. Having tried rosemary with practically every edible item in my kitchen except water, I am now wondering how a rosemary tea would taste…