Bob Dylan – Slow Train Coming (1979)

Bob Dylan - Slow Train Coming

GREAT SONGS
None

VERY GOOD SONGS
Gotta Serve Somebody
Precious Angel

GOOD SONGS
I Believe In You
When You Gonna Wake Up

NOT MY THING
Slow Train
Do Right To Me Baby (Do Unto Others)
Man Have Names To All The Animals
When He Returns

TRASH
Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking

THE CHEESE : Bob Dylan’s Christian Album Vol. I.

 Unlike his other two ‘Christian’ albums, this one isn’t total toilet. It’s not great but it’s not half bad either. Those top 4 songs are actually worth listening to.

In fact, I occasionally pull this album out and listen to it. Not often, granted. But occasionally. Which is more than I can say for Volumes 2 & 3 of Bob Dylan’s Christian trilogy.

I wouldn’t recommend this album to anyone, but its alright.

The Cheese 10-Tracks Pearl Jam, Part III

Before we embark on the huge task of Giving Bob Dylan The Cheese, it seemed right to go back and just pay a little attention again to Pearl Jam.

Here we improve each Pearl Jam album by 10-Tracking the hell out of them in the final part of a three part series.

Riot Act (2002)

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 This is one big, bloated mess of an album that, along with ‘Vitalogy’, were probably the two key albums that needed 10 Tracking.

Quite a bit is changed here.  We lose exactly half of the 14 tracks on the album – ‘Help Help’, ‘Bushleager’, ‘1/2 Full’, ‘Green Disease’, ‘Get Right’, ‘Arc’ and ‘Ghost.’ Added in is ‘Down’ and ‘Undone.’ Both these tracks are phenomenal and should have been on the album – especially ‘Undone.’

Now this is actually a fantastic album :

Side One
1. Can’t Keep
2. Save You
3. Love Boat Captain
4. I Am Mine
5. Thumbing My Way

Side Two
1. You Are
2. Down
3. Cropduster
4. Undone
5. All Or None

Pearl Jam (2006)

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 At 13 tracks and not being at all a strong album, this was another album screaming out to be 10-Tracked. By trimming it down to 10 tracks and playing around with the sequencing, I think this album goes from being the band’s weakest to one that I would happily listen to regularly from start to finish.

Out are the two crapfests on the album – ‘Unemployable’ and ‘Comatose.’ Gone also is the nice but unnecessary ‘Wasted Reprise.’

The sequencing is changed quite a bit. ‘Gone’ and ‘Come Back’ are moved up the tracklisting to really give Side One some kick because they’re such strong songs. ‘Inside Job’ is changed from being the album’s closer to the track that opens Side Two. And it’s an excellent opener. ‘Parachutes’ makes a solid closer.

This version is a huge improvement.

Side One
1. Life Wasted
2. World Wide Suicide
3. Gone
4. Severed Hand
5. Come Back

Side Two
1. Inside Job
2. Marker In The Sand
3. Big Wave
4. Army Reserve
5. Parachutes

Backspacer (2009)

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The only Pearl Jam I wouldn’t change. It’s a good album that I really like but it is by no means perfect. But it’s 11 tracks and it absolutely flies by at less than 37 minutes. So why change anything?  It’s already a good length.

 

Lightning Bolt (2013)

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I quite like this album and wouldn’t change too much. It’s just a touch too long and could have done with something closer to ‘Backspacers’ pacing. Which is to say, quick.

Out are ‘Swallowed Whole’ and ‘Yellow Moon’, two songs that I just could not warm to. What’s left is an album that just flows that little bit better.

I probably would have changed the title too, I never liked ‘Lightning Bolt’ as a title and think it’s their only bad album title.

Side One

1. Getaway
2. Mind Your Manners
3. My Father’s Son
4. Sirens
5. Lightning Bolt

Side Two
1. Pendulum
2. Infallible
3. Let The Records Play
4. Sleeping By Myself
5. Future Days

10 tracks. Nice and clean.

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The Cheese 10-Tracks Pearl Jam, Part II

Before we embark on the huge task of Giving Bob Dylan The Cheese, it seemed right to go back and just pay a little attention again to Pearl Jam.

Here we improve each Pearl Jam album by 10-Tracking the hell out of them in Part II of a three part series.

 No Code (1996)

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I really like this album but I think this 10-Tracked version is just a little tighter. We lose ‘Habit’, ‘Mankind’ and ‘I’m Open’ to get the track listing down to something more manageable. We gain ‘All Night’ because it’s one of the strongest tracks from the ‘No Code’ sessions and should have always been included.

This is actually 11 tracks. We can get away with this because ‘Lukin’ is so short at basically only 1 minute in length.

I would have loved to have added ‘Long Road’ which is one of my favourite Pearl Jam songs and was a year old at this stage. But I feel that song got a decent release on the ‘Merkinball’ EP in 1995.

I like this version.

Side One
1. Sometimes
2. Hail Hail
3. Who You Are
4. In My Tree
5. Smile

Side Two
1. Off He Goes
2. Present Tense
3. Lukin
4. Red Mosquito
5. All Night
6. Around The Bend

 

Yield (1998)

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Like ‘No Code’, this is an excellent album and these changes just make the album a tighter listen.

Gone is the superfluous, stupid crap that are just time wasters – ‘The Color Red’ and ‘Push Me, Pull Me.’ ‘Pilate’ is gone on the grounds that it’s a bit of a crappy song.

The sequencing is changed up a little.  ‘Do The Evolution’ is a great closer for Side One.  I really like this Side One, it’s full of good rock songs.  I like ‘Wishlist’ opening Side Two.

10-Tracking this improves what is already a very strong album.

Side One
1. Brain Of J.
2. Faithful
3. No Way
4. Given To Fly
5. Do The Evolution

Side Two
1. Wishlist
2. MFC
3. Low Light
4. In Hiding
5. All Those Yesterdays

 

Binaural (2000)

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One of my least favourite Pearl Jam albums gets quite the work over.

Gone are the two unlistenable tracks – ‘Rival’ and ‘Sleight Of Hand.’  Also out is ‘Insignificance’, ‘Of The Girl’ and ‘Soon Forget’ – three tracks that just add nothing to the album at all.

Added to the track-listing is ‘Sad’, which is one of Pearl Jam’s strongest tracks from this era and should have always been on the album. It’s a great song. Also added is ‘Education’, which is not one of the band’s strongest tracks but is decent and a whole lot better than a lot of what actually made the album.

This still wouldn’t be my favourite Pearl Jam album but I think I’d listen to this version a lot more. This version would be like ‘No Code Lite’ or ‘Diet No Code. ‘ And I mean that as a compliment.

Side One
1. Breakerfall
2. God’s Dice
3. Light Years
4. Nothing As It Seems
5. Evacuation

Side Two
1. Thin Air
2. Sad
3. Education
4. Grievance
5. Parting Ways

10 tracks. Nice and clean.

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The Cheese 10-Tracks Pearl Jam, Part I

Before we embark on the huge task of Giving Bob Dylan The Cheese, it seemed right to go back and just pay a little attention again to Pearl Jam.

Here we improve each Pearl Jam album by 10-Tracking the hell out of them in a three part series.

Ten (1991)

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To 10-Track this we needed to lose ‘Garden’ and ‘Deep.’ It’s a shame to lose ‘Garden’ because it’s a very good track but something had to give to fit ‘Yellow Ledbetter’ in, which is one of Pearl Jam’s best tracks.

I really like this version. The only potential problem is Side Two is now a bit slower because of these changes and lacks some kick. But I think the strongest tracks are now actually on the album.

Side One
1. Once
2. Even Flow
3. Alive
4. Why Go
5. Black

Side Two
1. Jeremy
2. Yellow Ledbetter
3. Oceans
4. Porch
5. Release

There was enough high quality material left over from the ‘Ten’ era to make an EP. Each of these tracks are very strong, I think this would have made a great EP. I guess ‘Deep’ just becomes a b-side?

Side One
1. State Of Love & Trust
2. Garden
3. Alone

Side Two
1. Wash
2. Hold On
3. Footsteps

Vs (1993)

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Here we lose two of the weaker tracks from the album, ‘Rats’ and ‘Leash’, to get it down to 10-Tracks.

The sequencing is re-shuffled as I really like ‘Small Town’ opening Side Two and ‘Blood’ directly following it. I also like the idea of ‘Rearviewmirror’, perhaps Pearl Jam’s first true mini-epic, rounding out the album before ‘Indifference’ closes it out.

It is a shame not to fit ‘Hard To Imagine’ in somewhere, but there just isn’t space. Sadly, it has to make a great b-side.

I like this version better.

Side One
1. Go
2. Animal
3. Daughter
4. Glorified G
5. Dissident

Side Two
1. Elderly Woman Behind A Counter In A Small Town
2. Blood
3. WMA
4. Rearviewmirror
5. Indifference

Vitalogy (1994)

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As discussed when ‘Vitalogy’ was Given The Cheese, there is a ton of shit cluttering up what could have been an all-time great album. Gone is the absolute horseshit that is nothing but a total waste of time – ‘Pry, To’, ‘Bugs’ and ‘Stupidmop.’ We also lose ‘Aya Davanita’ to get us down to 10 tracks.

How much more listenable is this 10-Tracked version? It’s a huge improvement. It’s now an almost freakishly good album.

Side One
1. Last Exit
2. Spin The Black Circle
3. Not For You
4. Tremor Christ
5. Nothingman

Side Two
1. Corduroy
2. Better Man
3. Whipping
4. Satan’s Bed
5. Immortality

10 tracks. Nice and clean.

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The Cheese 10-Tracks The Rest Of Springsteen

Like when U2 was Ten-Tracked, we’re going to do a bunch of Springsteen albums at once.  These are mostly albums that haven’t changed too much and have just been tweaked around the edges.

‘Born To Run’ hasn’t been 10-Tracked because it’s everything an album should be….8 tracks, around 40 minutes.  Perfect.

Likewise, ‘Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ’, ‘The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle’ and ‘Nebraska’ don’t need 10-Tracking because their running time is perfect.  Though it would have been nice to put ‘The Fever’ on ‘The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle.’

Darkness On The Edge Of Town

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Not a huge change here because it’s one of Springsteen’s very best albums.  But I love ‘The Promise’ and it would have been a perfect fit for the album.  It replaces ‘Streets Of Fire’ here which is the weakest track on the album.  ‘The Promise’ is a natural opener for Side Two and it flows so perfectly into ‘The Promised Land.’  Though I’m not sure if I love or hate two songs with such similar titles sitting right next to each other in the track listing.

Side One
Badlands
Adam Raised A Cain
Something In The Night
Candy’s Room
Racing In The Street

Side Two
The Promise
The Promised Land
Factory
Prove It All Night
Darkness On The Edge Of Town

Tunnel Of Love

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10-Tracking this album isn’t going to make it great.  Despite it being popular amongst fans, I just never connected with this album and never will.  But I like this 10-Tracked version better.  The crap has been trimmed off and it’s front loaded to hell, which is the standard approach when the material isn’t all that good.   I would never love it but I’d prefer this version.  For sure.

Side One
Ain’t Got You
Tougher Than The Rest
Brilliant Disguise
One Step Up
Valentine’s Day

Side Two
Tunnel Of Love
Walk Like A Man
Spare Parts
Cautious Man
Two Faces

The Ghost Of Tom Joad

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One of my favourite Springsteen albums.  But as much as I love this album there is no denying that’s it is too long and that one of it’s best tracks (‘Brothers Under The Bridge’) was left off…seemingly for no reason at all. This 10-Tracked version probably takes a very good album and, maybe, makes it great.

Side One
The Ghost Of Tom Joad
Straight Time
Highway 29
Youngstown
Across The River

Side Two
Brothers Under The Bridge
Sinaloa Cowboys
The Line
Galveston Bay
The New Timer

Devils & Dust

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Nothing would make this album great but this 10-tracked version is an improvement.  This version is front loaded to make it easier to listen to, well, it makes the first part of it easier to listen to anyway.  I quite like this Side One. Overall it’s a more consistent album too because we’ve cut out most of the tracks that don’t fit the Nebraska/Tom Joad sound, leaving only the more sparse, acoustic songs.

Side One
Devils & Dust
Reno
Black Cowboys
Leah
Matamoras Banks

Side Two
Long Time Comin’
Jesus Was An Only Child
The Hitter
Silver Palomino
All I’m Thinkin’ About

Magic

Bruce-Springsteen-Magic

This is a really good album as is.  The 10-Tracked version improves it just by making it that bit tighter by cutting the excess tracks that aren’t quite up to scratch.  Similiarly with ‘The Ghost Of Tom Joad’, this 10-Tracked version takes a very good album and gets it much closer to being great.

Side One
Radio Nowhere
Livin’ In The Future
I’ll Work For Your Love
Gypsy Biker
Girls In Their Summer Clothes

Side Two
Magic
Last To Die
Long Walk Home
Devil’s Arcade
Terry’s Song

Working On A Dream

BS_WOAD_5x5_site-500x500Now this album is too far gone down the road to Shitsville to be saved merely by 10-Tracking it.  But it’s improved, no doubt.  Most of the utter shit on this album got the cut, though it would have been great to lose ‘Kingdom Of Days’ too. ‘The Wrestler’ is included despite the fact it was written for the soundtrack of the movie.  It was included as a bonus track on some versions of this album and it was pretty clear that the ‘bonus track’ was the best thing on the album.  The 10-Tracked version is front loaded to all hell and it’s improved…which is the best we can hope for here.

And yes, we’d obviously do something about the fucking god-awful cover.

Side One
Outlaw Pete
My Lucky Day
Life Itself
Working On A Dream
The Wrestler

Side Two
What Love Can Do
Kingdom Of Days
Tomorrow Never Knows
Good Eye
The Last Carnival

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The Cheese 10-Tracks Springsteen’s ‘The River’

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If I told you that Bruce Springsteen’s ‘The River’ was going to get 10-Tracked, I’d imagine you’d say something like – Why would you do that?  Isn’t it already one of the greatest albums of all time?  Isn’t that just a total waste of time?

And I would probably agree with you.   At no time in the process of 10-Tracking ‘The River’ was I not 100% aware that it was a complete waste of time.  Even more so than anything else on The Cheese.

But it was 10-Tracked.  That’s just what happened.

The good news is we’re not going to completely waste everyone’s time by trying to squeeze ‘The River’ into one, 10 track album.  Relax, it’s still a double album. This is one of the super-rare occasions where the material is so strong that it actually justifies a double album.  Not only that, as discussed when ‘The River’ was Given The Cheese, the sprawling nature of the album is one of it’s best virtues.  Squeezing it into one, 10 track album would take away one of it’s biggest strengths.

Similarly, the sequencing isn’t going to be changed much either.  Again, as raised when the album was Given The Cheese, the rambling sequencing makes the album feel  like  an epic studio concert and is one of the best things about the album.   It was tempting to dick around with track listing and make the first album full of up-tempo, party tunes and the second album full of the slower, moody tracks.  That would be a good listen.  But even though the album feels all over the place, I think Springsteen knew exactly what he was doing when he sequenced the album.  So we’re going to leave it as it is.

While we heap a lot of deserved praise on ‘The River’, it does have its weaker tracks.  And there is a lot of really strong material from this era on the ‘Tracks’ release that never made the album, so there is certainly a bit of work to be done.

In the end ‘Crush On You’ and ‘I Wanna Marry You’ had to go.  The songs are semi-decent but there are much stronger tracks available form this era.  The other two more obvious tracks to get the cut are ‘You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch’ and ‘I’m A Rocker’, which are as close as ‘The River’ tracks got to kind-of/sort-of sucking.

They’re replaced with ‘Where The Bands Are’, ‘Bring On The Night’, ‘Loose Ends’ and ‘Roulette.’  Those four songs, especially ‘Loose Ends’ and ‘Roulette’ rate right up there with the best songs Springsteen has ever written and would have fit perfectly onto the album.

So, the track listing for the 10-Tracked version of ‘The River’ is…

Side One
The Ties That Bind
Sherry Darling
Jackson Cage
Two Hearts
Independence Day

Side Two
Hungry Heart
Out In The Street
Where The Bands Are
Bring On The Night
Loose Ends
The River

Side Three
Point Blank
Cadillac Ranch
Roulette
Fade Away
Stolen Car

Side Four
Ramrod
The Price You Pay
Drive All Night
Wreck On The Highway

The biggest change is on Side Two, which had the majority of the less great tracks on it.  I like this version.  To my ears, it’s 20 strong tracks with absolutely nothing to skip.  Can you imagine a double album with nothing to skip?  Incredible.

10 Tracks, 2 albums.  Nice and clean.

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The Cheese 10-Tracks Springsteen’s ‘The Rising’

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Way back when Springsteen’s ‘The Rising’ was Given The Cheese, I wrote that this album is special to a lot of Springsteen fans because :

–  It was his comeback album and was, to many people, his best album in almost 20 years.
–  It was a cathartic reflection on 9/11, so it’s pretty serious stuff.

For those reasons, it’s best not to speak too negatively about this album around Springsteen fans. And while it is a great album, it is very long (15 tracks) and there is a bit of obvious filler that does not need to be there.

With that said, it’s actually difficult to get this down to 10 tracks. The obvious tracks to immediately cut are ‘The Fuse’ and ‘Let’s Be Friends (Skin To Skin.)’ These tracks are the weakest of the 15 and do not add anything to the overall theme of the album.

There are also a few songs that sound like they’re almost really good songs but are not completely finished or fully realised. Songs like ‘Countin’ On A Miracle’ and ‘Empty Sky’ fall into the category. They’re good songs but something is just missing in the studio versions. This is especially obvious when hearing the live version of ‘Empty Sky’, which is just perfect. Both of these songs fit perfectly within the theme of the album but ‘Empty Sky’ seems to be the stronger of the two. So ‘Countin’ On A Miracle’ is out.

‘The Rising’ is one of those rare albums that works really well as a 12-track album. So far, it joins only ‘Achtung Baby’ as the only albums The Cheese is okay at running over 10 tracks.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the sequencing of ‘The Rising’ and maybe this is a result of how big the album is. It’s no doubt difficult to turn a 15 track album into something that flows well and has a logic to its sequencing.

The track listing for the 12 tracked version of ‘The Rising’ looks like this :

Side One
Lonesome Day
Paradise
You’re Missing
Worlds Apart
Empty Sky
Waitin’ On A Sunny Day

Side Two
The Rising
Into The Fire
Nothing Man
Mary’s Place
Further On (Up The Road)
My City Of Ruins

This certainly isn’t a front loaded album like so many of the 10-tracked versions we’ve come up with so far. The sequencing works on a whole and the two sides are thematically different from different from each other, which I like.

Side One is much more bleak, full of songs dealing with loss, grief, separation and conflict. Side Two is much brighter, with songs mostly about defiance, community, faith and hope.

If the album had to be cut down to 10 tracks, I think ‘Empty Sky’ and ‘Into The Fire’ would probably be cut. They’re both good songs but other songs on the album deal with similar issues and the studio versions of these songs aren’t as strong as they could be.  But, in the end, I think the album works better with 12 tracks.  The material is strong enough to justify it.

12 tracks. Not as nice and clean as 10 tracks but an improvement on the original.

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