Tag Archive | Rolling Stones

Gimme Shelter–The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones first played the song live on the TV special, ‘Pop Go The Sixties’, on 31 December 1969.

Featuring Lisa Fischer: Many Say
the Greatest Performance of this Song

“Gimmer Shelter” is one of those classic songs that captures the nasty and dangerous feelings of people living on the sharp edge of annihilation for far too long, and yearning to swing the pendulum of chance the other direction towards peace and hope, but feeling gravity’s constant tug back towards destruction. It first appeared as the opening track on the band’s 1969 album, “Let It Bleed”.

The Stones were the first band I ever saw play live. It was September 25th 1981. I remember walking out on to the bleachers, and seeing more than a hundred thousand people rocking their brains out on a late summer afternoon at Philadelphia’s dilapidated JFK stadium.

There were human miseries and ecstasies my 12 year old eyes witnessed that day that I will never forget. A biker climbed up a thin pillar on the side of the stage and was balancing on one leg with a jug full of wine. He must have been 30 feet above the ground. Two guys who had been snorting something were hunched over themselves with noses pouring blood. I also saw an energized Jagger, still in his prime, marionetting around the stage with an Eagles jersey and an American flag playing great Rock and Roll. In the heat of the late afternoon, the small city of Stones fans collectively went out of their minds. I was instantly sold on this Devil’s music.

Gimme Shelter
(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away

War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin’
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way

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“Blind Willy McTell”–Bob Dylan

Released in 1991 on the The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991

Dylan Plays “Blind Willie McTell” Live

Dylan’s folk ballad, “Blind Willie McTell” reminds me of the southern fiction of Faulkner or O’Conner. The story telling is at once dark, vivid, beautiful, and enigmatic. The extraordinary power of the language is still second to the plaintiff blues of the melody. This uniquely American song is written by a great American literary giant at the height of his story telling powers. At once lyric and narrative Dylan opens with:

Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem.”
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell.

To follow an ominous beginning, Dylan drives it home like a shank in the gut:

English: Bob Dylan performing in Rotterdam, Ju...

English: Bob Dylan performing in Rotterdam, June 23 1978 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, God is in heaven
And we all want what’s his
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is
I’m gazing out the window
Of the St. James Hotel
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Dylan-Blind Willie McTell-Oberhausen 2011 

Amazing Covers

Allman Brothers  w/Bruce Katz & Danny Louis

Wanee Music Festival in Live Oak Florida 4/20/12

Oddly Unique Version (Audio Only) DREAM SYNDICATE

From the Album May Your Song Always be Sung – The Songs of Bob Dylan