Friday, November 21, 2008

Bobby and the Plugz

On the evening of March 22, 1984, Bob Dylan appeared on the David Letterman show in order to promote his new album Infidels. And man, was he hot that night. Backed by the Plugz, one of the first Chicano punkbands to come out of L.A. in the late seventies , he literally slams into Sonny Boy Williamson´s Don´t Start Me Talking. In true Dylan fashion, it´s a song that doesn´t appear on the album he´s supposed to plug here. And what´s more: Dylan had rehearsed intensively with the band the night before, but this cover had apparently not been tried out, so it´s a small miracle that Justin Jesting (guitar), Tony Marisco (bass) and Charlie Quintana (drums) are able to follow him at all, let alone with such gusto. Dylan himself obviously doesn´t remember the words to the song very well - he even drops Sonny Boy´s to in the chorus - but makes up dummy lyrics that manage to sound utterly convincing.

Later in the show, Infidels-tracks License To Kill and Jokerman also get a fresh, speeded-up (even punked-up?) treatment, with Dylan totally into it, spitting out the lyrics like there´s no tomorrow. It wasn´t really his decade, but the Letterman performance was without a doubt one of the best things Dylan did during the eighties. The sound quality of these tracks isn´t that great, but I´m sure you´ll hear what I mean.

Bob Dylan - Don´t Start Me Talking (live Letterman show´84) MP3
Bob Dylan - License To Kill (live Letterman show ´84) MP3
Bob Dylan - Jokerman (live Letterman show ´84) MP3

Here´s Sonny Boy´s original. "Don't start me to talkin´, I'll tell everything I know, I´m gonna break up this signifying, cause somebody's got to go..."

Sonny Boy Williamson - Don´t Start Me To Talkin´ MP3

And if only for completion´s sake, here are the Plugz in their prime, from their ep debut Move (´78). Fun song.

The Plugz - Move MP3

And finally, here´s the clip of Bob doing Don´t Start Me Talking. Note that Letterman doesn´t get a word out of Bob at the end, although he tries; it was agreed before that Dylan would only play, but absolutely no interview please. Don´t start me talking indeed...


Maxim said...

Killer stuff - I've heard about this show but not heard it till now! Thanks!

Nazz Nomad said...

never realized that was the Plugz!