Is this the cover to Bob Dylan's upcoming "Triplicate" album? It's what Google Play and Amazon are showing.

New-release news: Bob Dylan and “Triplicate”

Short entry, but please bear with me …

According to a new post on YouTube by the official BobDylanVEVO account, there’s a new Bob Dylan album coming, called “Triplicate.”

You can check out a new video (and the description with the minimal “Triplicate” details) here:

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If you unfold the cover to the 1975 release of "The Basement Tapes," you get some more of the surreal cast of characters that feature on the album.

Bob Dylan, The Band, The Basement Tapes

I removed the majority of the music on my iPhone a few months back. I did this mostly for the sake of clearing up space, and also because I use Spotify to stream a lot of my favorite music.

But as I don’t want to eat up a ton of data and risk paying overages for exceeding my data plan, I usually keep some music on my phone so I can use it like an iPod when it is convenient.

(Bob Dylan’s “Series of Dreams” always captures my imagination, and it definitely made the cut to be added to my iPhone.) 

I was adding some Bob Dylan materials to my phone the other night, and that can be tricky. What do you add? What do you leave off? A lot of the man’s recorded output is worthy of appreciation and study. But I don’t have unlimited space, so I was doing a lot of picking and choosing. Darn few albums were included in their entirety (and among those was “Love and Theft,” the 2001 release that may just be my favorite Dylan album of all his works).

Sometimes it was pretty difficult to filter out songs. But for one era of Dylan’s recording, I made the effort to include lots and lots of material. That era involves The Band, and the collected works fall under the banner of “The Basement Tapes.”

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I show off some of my "Pet Sounds" swag after seeing Brian Wilson perform the classic album on Oct. 2, 2016, in Minneapolis.

Remembering to be thankful: Holidays and counting our blessings

I don’t know how it’s been for the rest of you, but 2016 has been one of the most challenging and nerve-wracking years of my life.

And here we are, it’s late in December, the year is almost over. Why wait until New Year’s Eve to look back? I’m going to use that day to look forward.

So, for this entry, I want to look back at the year and count the blessings. To talk about being unemployed or to talk about the major music deaths won’t accomplish anything.

Sometimes it’s understandable to dwell on the things mounting against you. Politics, health, loss, bills, etc. Life’s pressures can build up and become too much at times. I certainly understand and appreciate that. I’ve been there (many times), even recently.

I don’t want to sound like one of those folks who always tells you what’s best for you, but I’ll say this: I’ve learned that dwelling in the darkness does you no good. Sometimes counting your blessings helps turn things around, at least mentally.

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The sleeve to The Beatles' single "Can't Buy Me Love" b/w "You Can't Do That," released in March 1964. Courtesy of www.thebeatles.com

B-side the point: Looking at the (superior?) flip sides of singles

When I look at my favorite bands and artists across the years, I recognize the many great singles they’ve released.

These singles are the songs released that gave them the radio hits, prompted tours, helped sell albums, etc.

More often than not, artists from at least the mid 1950s through the early 1990s would release singles where the “A” side was the attempt at a hit, the strongest candidate, the song the artists or producers or record companies thought were the strongest efforts. The flip sides, the “B” sides, would sometimes be filler, or live versions, or songs from older albums. In general, this was content that didn’t have a lot of thought put into it.

Obviously, this isn’t 100 percent true for every single or every artist. Plenty of artists put out killer singles that were great on both sides. Heck, The Beatles and The Beach Boys often put out great double-sided hits (like “Penny Lane” / “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” / “God Only Knows,” for example).

This got me to thinking not just about the hit singles, or the singles that had hit B-sides, but also about singles where I actually prefer the B-side over the A-side of the single. That has happened for many of my favorite acts with some regularity.

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Paul McCartney's "New" album was released in 2013. This cover is the deluxe version variant.

Career renaissances, revivals, etc. We keep on swinging

Though the year has been hard for its deaths, 2016 also has brought to us a lot of great music. And some of it has come from older artists, not just current favorites.

Take The Monkees, for example. “Good Times!” has been a heck of a return to form. A Tribe Called Quest also came back with the knock-your-socks-off “We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service.”

If you haven’t heard Ian Hunter’s latest record, “Fingers Crossed,” go track it down. It’s excellent. David Bowie had “Blackstar.” Leonard Cohen had “You Want It Darker.”

The list goes on and on.

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