Before the Flood (album)

Last updated

Before the Flood
Bob Dylan and The Band - Before the Flood.jpg
Live album by
ReleasedJune 20, 1974 (1974-06-20)
RecordedFebruary 13–14, 1974, in Los Angeles, except track 4: January 30, 1974, in New York
Genre Rock
Length92:38
Label Asylum
Producer Bob Dylan and The Band
Bob Dylan chronology
Planet Waves
(1974)
Before the Flood
(1974)
Blood on the Tracks
(1975)
The Band chronology
Planet Waves
(1974)
Before the Flood
(1974)
The Basement Tapes
(1975)

Before the Flood is a live album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan and The Band, released on June 20, 1974, on Asylum Records in the United States and Island Records in the United Kingdom. It was Dylan's first live album, although live recordings of earlier performances would later be released. It is the 15th album by Dylan and the seventh by the Band, and documents their joint 1974 American tour. It peaked at No.3 on the Billboard 200, [1] reached No.8 on the popular album chart in the UK, [2] and has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. [3]

Contents

Content

Dylan and his new record label Asylum had planned professional recordings before the tour began, ten separate sessions in total: three in New York at Madison Square Garden on January 30 and 31; two in Seattle, at the Seattle Center Coliseum on February 9; two in Oakland, California, at the Alameda County Coliseum on February 11; and three in Los Angeles on February 13 and 14. [4] To compile the album, recordings were taken from the final three shows at the Los Angeles Forum in Inglewood, California, with only "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" from New York. [5]

The title of the album is thought to derive from the novel Farn Mabul by Yiddish writer Sholem Asch; Dylan had a personal relationship with Moses Asch, son of Sholem and founder of Folkways Records, a record label hugely influential in the folk music revival. [6] Another theory is that the title refers to the album arriving before the inevitable flood of bootlegs could saturate the underground market.

Dylan and the Band had recorded the studio album Planet Waves prior to the tour. In "Wedding Song", the final recording on the album, He sings, "We can't regain what went down in the flood". Few of the album's songs were incorporated into the tour's setlist, and none are represented on Before the Flood. After the double album release, Dylan signed a new contract with Columbia Records in time for his next studio album, Blood on the Tracks , after returning label president Goddard Lieberson made a determined campaign to get Dylan back from Asylum. [7] The Band continued to record on their own for Capitol Records.

Subsequent reissues were on the Columbia imprint, and on March 31, 2009, a remastered digipak version of Before the Flood was issued by Legacy Recordings/Columbia, now part of Sony Music Entertainment.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [8]
Chicago Tribune Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [9]
Christgau's Record Guide A [10]
Creem A+ [11]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [12]
MusicHound Rock 2/5 [13]
PopMatters 5/10 [14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [15]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 [16]
Tom Hull A– [17]

In a contemporary review for Creem magazine, Robert Christgau felt that the Band followed Dylan in intensifying his old songs for the arena venue and stated, "Without qualification, this is the craziest and strongest rock and roll ever recorded. All analogous live albums fall flat." [11] In a less enthusiastic review, Rolling Stone magazine's Tom Nolan said Dylan's vocal emphasis and the Band's busy arrangements make for an awkward listen, although revamped versions of songs such as "It's All Right, Ma", "Like a Rolling Stone", and "All Along the Watchtower" are successful and sound meaningful. [18] Before the Flood was voted the sixth best album of 1974, in The Village Voice 's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll. [19] Christgau, the poll's creator, ranked it second on his own list. [20]

In a retrospective review, Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune called the album "epochal", [9] while AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine described it as "one of the best live albums of its time. Ever, maybe." [8] Greil Marcus commented, "Roaring with resentment and happiness, the music touched rock and roll at its limits." [21] By contrast, Dylan himself later disparaged the tour, feeling that it was overblown. "I think I was just playing a role on that tour, I was playing Bob Dylan and the Band were playing the Band. It was all sort of mindless. The only thing people talked about was energy this, energy that. The highest compliments were things like, 'Wow, lotta energy, man.' It had become absurd." [22] In a retrospective review, Scott Hreha from PopMatters also felt that each act did not sound collaborative as on The Basement Tapes and that the album "remains a worthy but inessential item in Dylan's catalog—and both he and the Band have better live recordings available, especially the several volumes in Dylan's Bootleg Series." [14]

Track listing

Sides one and four are performances by Bob Dylan backed by the Band; side two and tracks four through six on side three are by the Band; tracks one through three on side three by Dylan alone. "Blowin' in the Wind" is a splice of two separate performances.

All tracks are written by Bob Dylan except where noted; all dates from Los Angeles except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleRecording dateLength
1."Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)"02-14 (evening)4:15
2."Lay Lady Lay"02-133:14
3."Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"02-133:27
4."Knockin' on Heaven's Door"01-30 New York City3:51
5."It Ain't Me, Babe"02-14 (evening)3:40
6."Ballad of a Thin Man"02-14 (afternoon)3:41
Side two
No.TitleRecording dateLength
1."Up on Cripple Creek" (Robbie Robertson)02-14 (evening)5:25
2."I Shall Be Released"02-14 (afternoon)3:50
3."Endless Highway" (Robertson)02-14 (evening)5:10
4."The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (Robertson)02-14 (evening)4:24
5."Stage Fright" (Robertson)02-14 (evening)4:45
Side three
No.TitleRecording dateLength
1."Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"02-14 (evening)4:36
2."Just Like a Woman"02-14 (evening)5:06
3."It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)"02-14 (evening)5:48
4."The Shape I'm In" (Robertson)02-14 (afternoon)4:01
5."When You Awake" (Richard Manuel, Robertson)02-14 (evening)3:13
6."The Weight" (Robertson)02-134:47
Side four
No.TitleRecording dateLength
1."All Along the Watchtower"02-14 (afternoon)3:07
2."Highway 61 Revisited"02-14 (evening)4:27
3."Like a Rolling Stone"02-137:09
4."Blowin' in the Wind"02-13 + 02-14 (afternoon)4:30

Personnel

Musicians

Production

Certifications

RegionCertification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI) [23] Gold100,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
United States (RIAA) [24] Platinum1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Double-dagger-14-plain.png Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Related Research Articles

The Band Rock band from Toronto

The Band was a Canadian-American rock band formed in Toronto, Ontario, in 1967. It consisted of four Canadians and one American: Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Robbie Robertson, and Levon Helm. The Band combined elements of Americana, folk, rock, jazz, country, and R&B, influencing subsequent musicians such as the Eagles, Elton John, the Grateful Dead, the Flaming Lips, and Wilco.

<i>Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.</i> 1973 studio album by Bruce Springsteen

Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was produced by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos from June through October 1972 at the budget-priced 914 Sound Studios. The album was released January 5, 1973, by Columbia Records to average sales but positive critical reviews.

<i>Highway 61 Revisited</i> 1965 studio album by Bob Dylan

Highway 61 Revisited is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 30, 1965 by Columbia Records. Having until then recorded mostly acoustic music, Dylan used rock musicians as his backing band on every track of the album, except for the closing track, the 11-minute ballad "Desolation Row". Critics have focused on the innovative way Dylan combined driving, blues-based music with the subtlety of poetry to create songs that captured the political and cultural chaos of contemporary America. Author Michael Gray has argued that, in an important sense, the 1960s "started" with this album.

<i>Music from Big Pink</i> 1968 studio album by The Band

Music from Big Pink is the debut studio album by the Band. Released in 1968, it employs a distinctive blend of country, rock, folk, classical, R&B, blues, and soul. The music was composed partly in "Big Pink", a house shared by Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson in West Saugerties, New York. The album itself was recorded in studios in New York and Los Angeles in 1968, and followed the band's backing of Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour and time spent together in upstate New York recording material that was officially released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes, also with Dylan. The cover artwork is a painting by Dylan.

<i>Live Bullet</i> 1976 live album by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

‘Live’ Bullet is a live album by American rock band Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, released in April 1976. It was recorded at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan, during the heyday of that arena's time as an important rock concert venue. The album is credited, along with Night Moves, with launching Seger's mainstream popularity.

<i>Slow Train Coming</i> 1979 studio album by Bob Dylan

Slow Train Coming is the 19th studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 20, 1979, by Columbia Records. Slow Train is the title song of the album. It was Dylan's first album following his conversion to Christianity, and the songs either express personal faith, or stress the importance of Christian teachings and philosophy. The evangelical nature of the record alienated many of Dylan's existing fans; at the same time, many Christians were drawn into his fan base. Slow Train Coming was listed at No. 16 in the 2001 book CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music.

<i>Black and Blue</i> 1976 studio album by The Rolling Stones

Black and Blue is the 13th British and 15th American studio album by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, released on 23 April 1976 by Rolling Stones Records.

<i>Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid</i> (album) 1973 studio album and soundtrack album by Bob Dylan

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid is the twelfth studio album and first soundtrack album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on July 13, 1973 by Columbia Records for the Sam Peckinpah film, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Dylan himself appeared in the film as the character "Alias". The soundtrack consists mainly of instrumental music and was inspired by the movie itself. The album includes "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", which became a trans-Atlantic Top 20 hit.

Like a Rolling Stone 1965 single by Bob Dylan

"Like a Rolling Stone" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on July 20, 1965 by Columbia Records. Its confrontational lyrics originated in an extended piece of verse Dylan wrote in June 1965, when he returned exhausted from a grueling tour of England. Dylan distilled this draft into four verses and a chorus. "Like a Rolling Stone" was recorded a few weeks later as part of the sessions for the forthcoming album Highway 61 Revisited.

<i>Hard Rain</i> (Bob Dylan album) 1976 live album by Bob Dylan

Hard Rain is a live album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on September 13, 1976 by Columbia Records. The album was recorded during the second leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue.

<i>Planet Waves</i> 1974 studio album by Bob Dylan with The Band

Planet Waves is the fourteenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on January 17, 1974 by Asylum Records in the United States and Island Records in the United Kingdom.

<i>Second Helping</i> 1974 studio album by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Second Helping is the second studio album by Lynyrd Skynyrd, released April 15, 1974. It features the band's biggest hit single, "Sweet Home Alabama," an answer song to Neil Young's "Alabama" and "Southern Man", which reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in August 1974, as well as drummer Bob Burns' final recordings.

<i>Down in the Groove</i> 1988 studio album by Bob Dylan

Down in the Groove is the 25th studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on May 30, 1988 by Columbia Records.

<i>Under the Red Sky</i> 1990 studio album by Bob Dylan

Under the Red Sky is the 27th studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on September 10, 1990 by Columbia Records. It was produced by Don Was, David Was and Dylan.

<i>The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert</i> 1998 live album by Bob Dylan

Live 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert is a two-disc live album by Bob Dylan, released in 1998. It is the second installment in the ongoing Bob Dylan Bootleg Series on Legacy Recordings, and has been certified a gold record by the RIAA. It was recorded at the Manchester Free Trade Hall during Dylan's world tour in 1966, though early bootlegs attributed the recording to the Royal Albert Hall so it became known as the Royal Albert Hall Concert. Extensively bootlegged for decades, it is an important document in the development of popular music during the 1960s.

<i>The Masked Marauders</i> 1969 studio album by The Masked Marauders

The Masked Marauders is a record album released on the Warner Bros Reprise/Deity label in the fall of 1969 that was part of an elaborate hoax concocted by Rolling Stone magazine.

Bob Dylan and the Band 1974 Tour

The Bob Dylan and the Band 1974 Tour – sometimes referred to as Tour '74 – was a two-month concert tour staged in arenas during early 1974 that featured Bob Dylan, in his first tour in eight years, performing with his old partners The Band. The tour generated intense fan and media interest and tickets for the shows, available only through mail order, were in great demand. Shows on the concert featured segments with Dylan and The Band together, The Band by themselves, and Dylan by himself. Accounts of the shows emphasized the sometimes drastic rearrangements that Dylan's well-known songs were presented with. A live double album, Before the Flood, was recorded during the tour and released later in the year.

<i>The Immortal Otis Redding</i> 1968 studio album by Otis Redding

The Immortal Otis Redding is a posthumous studio album by American soul recording artist Otis Redding, released in June 1968 by Atco Records. It compiles 11 songs recorded by Redding in a three-week stretch of sessions that concluded days prior to his death in December 1967. "The Happy Song (Dum-Dum)" was the only song previously released, having been a single in April 1968. The Immortal Otis Redding featured four charting singles including "The Happy Song", "I've Got Dreams to Remember", "Amen", and "Hard to Handle".

<i>The Basement Tapes</i> 1975 studio album by Bob Dylan and the Band

The Basement Tapes is the 16th album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan and his second with the Band. It was released on June 26, 1975, by Columbia Records. Two-thirds of the album's 24 tracks feature Dylan on lead vocals backed by the Band, and were recorded in 1967, eight years before the album's release, in the lapse between the recording and subsequent release of Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding, during sessions that began at Dylan's house in Woodstock, New York, then moved to the basement of Big Pink. While most of these had appeared on bootleg albums, The Basement Tapes marked their first official release. The remaining eight songs, all previously unavailable, feature the Band without Dylan and were recorded between 1967 and 1975.

<i>The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete</i> 2014 compilation album by Bob Dylan and the Band

The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete is a compilation album of unreleased home recordings made in 1967 by Bob Dylan and the group of musicians that would become the Band, released on November 3, 2014 on Legacy Records. It is the ninth installment of the Bob Dylan Bootleg Series, available as a six-disc complete set, and as a separate two-disc set of highlights – common to the rest of the series – entitled The Basement Tapes Raw.

References

  1. AllMusic website retrieved 26 October 2015.
  2. "Official Chart History". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  3. "RIAA – Searchable database: Before the Flood". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  4. Shelton, Robert. No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan. 1986, ISBN   978-0-688-05045-0, pp. 436-437.
  5. Bjorner's Files Still on the Road
  6. Gray, Michael (2006). The Bob Dylan encyclopedia (Updated and rev. ed.). New York, NY [u.a.]: Continuum Internat. Publ. p.  43. ISBN   978-0-8264-6933-5.
  7. Shelton, p. 378.
  8. 1 2 Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Before the Flood at AllMusic
  9. 1 2 Kot, Greg (October 25, 1992). "Dylan Through The Years: Hits And Misses". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  10. Christgau, Robert (1981). "Bob Dylan". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the '70s. Da Capo Press. ISBN   0-306-80409-3.
  11. 1 2 Christgau, Robert (October 1974). "The Christgau Consumer Guide". Creem . Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  12. Larkin, Colin (ed.) (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th edn). London: Omnibus Press. p. 853. ISBN   978-0-85712-595-8.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  13. Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Visible Ink Press. p.  371. ISBN   1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  14. 1 2 Hreha, Scott (June 25, 2009). "Bob Dylan: New Morning / The Basement Tapes / Before the Flood / Dylan & the Dead". PopMatters. Archived from the original on January 22, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  15. Rolling Stone Album Guide
  16. Thomas, Adam (April 14, 2009). "Review: Bob Dylan – Before the Flood". Sputnikmusic . Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  17. Hull, Tom (June 21, 2014). "Rhapsody Streamnotes: June 21, 2014". tomhull.com. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  18. Nolan, Tom (August 29, 1974). "Before the Flood". Rolling Stone . Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  19. "The 1974 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice . New York. January 20, 1975. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  20. Christgau, Robert (January 20, 1975). "Our Own Critics' Poll". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  21. Marcus, Greil (1997). Mystery Train Images of America in Rock & Roll Music. New York: Plume. p. 221. ISBN   978-0-452-27836-3.
  22. Dylan, Bob, in conversation with Cameron Crowe. Biograph . 1985, Columbia Records C5X 38830 vinyl edition, liner notes, p. 22.
  23. "British album certifications – Bob Dylan – Before The Flood". British Phonographic Industry . Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  24. "American album certifications – Bob Dylan – Before The Flood". Recording Industry Association of America . Retrieved May 13, 2020.