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Dylan Hard Rain

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posted by Garry Corbett alias Garry Corbett on Thursday 7th of May 2020 07:57:00 AM

Hard Rain is by no means my favourite Dylan album but probably has my favourite Dylan album cover. That close cropped head shot of him at the time the album was recorded is by Ken Regan. His photographs appeared on the cover of Desire, the Bootleg Series Vol.5, plus Hard Rain. He was the exclusive official photographer on the first leg of Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review tour in 1975. That's a job I would have loved. He also did some great work for the Rolling Stones too. The Hard Rain cover shot is so direct a portrait. Those eyes look straight into you. Many years ago when Hard Rain was a new album I managed Threshold Records in Birmingham. I was given a huge poster of this by the young woman who did the window displays for CBS records. The poster was about four feet square. I put it on the wall in the spare room of my flat. The room was small & used as a guest room & occasional creative space. It was difficult to stand back far enough in the space to take in the whole picture. This was around 1978. There was a TV concert shot in a muddy field somewhere at the time the album was recorded & shown on the BBC. Dylan, head swathed in what appeared to be Arab headdress played Fender guitar. A shot from this appeared on the back of the album sleeve. The music at the time sounded incredibly rough to my ears. Not at all what I wanted to hear. The verité style of the camera work drove me to distraction. It was like the director had Dylan before his lens & couldn't believe it. The cameraman was clearly under instruction not to let him get away. The footage echoed that tightly cropped sleeve cover but with none of the style or art. Ken Regen's portrait of Dylan on the cover of the 2010 release 'Live 1975' in the Bootleg series shows what could easily be a shot from the same session. Dylan giving pretty much the same piercing stare that features on Hard Rain, is sporting one of those flower encircled fedora cowboy style hats that he wore on the Rolling Thunder Review. I'm hoping that the two recently revealed tracks that have been available to download or stream will appear on a new album. I no longer automatically buy anything Dylan related but do habitually get new albums of original material. If the Rolling Thunder documentary is still available on NETFLIX I might have to watch it again.

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  • Published 09.29.22
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