“Most of them [the songs on “Oh Mercy”] are stream-of-consciousness songs, the kind that come to you in the middle of the night, when you just want to go back to bed. The harder you try to do something, the more it evades you. These weren’t like that.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen, 21 September 1989)
While it would be unfair to compare ‘Oh Mercy’ to Dylan’s Sixties recordings, it sits well alongside his impressive body of work.
~Clinton Heylin (Behind The Shades)
August 30: Bob Dylan released Highway 61 Revisited in 1965
“I never wanted to write topical songs, have you heard my last two records, Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61? It’s all there. That’s the real Dylan.”
~Bob Dylan (Frances Taylor Interview, Aug 1965)
[Highway 61] Oh yes, it goes from where I used to live… I used to live related to that highway. It ran right through my home town in Minnesota. I traveled it for a long period of time
actually. It goes down the middle of the country, sort of southwest…. lot of famous people came off that highway.
~Bob Dylan (John Cohen And Happy Traum Interview, June/July 1968)
Dylan’s sixth album and his first fully fledged eagle-flight into rock. Revolutionary and stunning, not just for its energy, freshness and panache but in its vision: fusing radical electric music—electric music as the embodiment of our whole out-of-control, nervouenergy-fuelled, chaotic civilization—with lyrics that were light-years ahead of anyone else’s, Dylan here unites the force of blues-based rock’n’roll with the power of poetry.
~Michael Gray (Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
Like a Rolling Stone:
How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?
It’s in my system. I don’t really have enough time to talk about it. If someone really wants to know, I can explain it to them, but there are other people who can do it just as well. I don’t feel compelled to do it. I was doing a bit of that last year on the stage. I was saying stuff I figured people needed to know. I thought I was giving people an idea of what was behind the songs. I don’t think it’s necessary any more. When I walk around some of the towns we go to, however, I’m totally convinced people need Jesus. Look at the junkies and the winos and the troubled people. It’s all a sickness which can be healed in an instant. The powers that be won’t let that happen. The powers that be say it has to be healed politically.
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – Nov 1980)
Musically, this is probably Dylan’s finest record, a rare coming together of inspiration, desire and talent that completely fuse strength, vision and art.
~Jann S. Wenner (rollingstone.com – Sept. 1979)
Slow Train Coming was a collection of songs Dylan had originally intended to donate to backing singer Carolyn Dennis.
~Clinton Heylin (The Recording Sessions)
Sometimes I feel so low-down and disgusted
Can’t help but wonder what’s happenin’ to my companions
Are they lost or are they found
Have they counted the cost it’ll take to bring down
All their earthly principles they’re gonna have to abandon?
There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend
~Bob Dylan (from the title cut)
“I wrote my fourth album [“Another Side of Bob Dylan”] in Greece, but that was still an American album.”
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Shelton June 1978)
“Tom Wilson, the producer, titled it that,” [Another Side of Bob Dylan] “I begged and pleaded with him not to do it. You know, I thought it was overstating the obvious. I knew I was going to have to take a lot of heat for a title like that and it was my feeling that it wasn’t a good idea coming after The Times They Are A- Changin’, it just wasn’t right. It seemed like a negation of the past which in no way was true. I know that Tom didn’t mean it that way, but that’s what I figured that people would take it to mean, but Tom meant well and he had control, so he had it his way. I guess in the long run, he might have been right to do what he did. It doesn’t matter now.”
~Bob Dylan (to Cameron Crowe Sept. 1985)
“His writing and control of atmosphere on songs like ‘To Ramona’ and ‘Spanish Harlem Incident’ come across as early flashes of the creative explosion that he was to go through in 1965–66. A great minor album, and his last solo album until the 1990s.”
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
May 27: Bob Dylan released The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan 1963
“..easily the best of [Dylan’s] acoustic albums and a quantum leap from his debut—which shows the frantic pace at which Dylan’s mind was moving.You can see why this album got the Beatles listening. The songs at its core must have sounded like communiques from another plane.”
~John Harris (Q Magazine, 2000)
” I think it was the first time I ever heard Dylan at all… And for the rest of our three weeks in Paris, we didn’t stop playing it.”
– John Lennon (about The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan)