Category Archives: Great albums

September 13: Bob Dylan released “Hard Rain” in 1976





bobdylan-hardrain-cover

When we open our ears – and it may take a dozen listenings before we stop hearing this album in terms of what we expect these songs to sound like, or, for the fans, in terms of the performances we think should have been included – the rewards and surprises of Hard Rain are nearly inexhaustible.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)

Hindsight shows that this album introduces the ragged, postmodern Bob Dylan, right from the grungy instrumental ground-pawing ahead of the start of the first number. Moreover the running order now seems surprisingly well thought out. It represents, too, the late phase of the historic Rolling Thunder Revue tour and captures the distinctive, bare-wired sound of Dylan’s existential gypsy band. Stand-out track is ‘Idiot Wind’, which, as Dylan grows ever more engaged, bursts open and pours out its brilliant venom.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

The 3 best all time (from any artist) officially released concert albums are obviously “Hard Rain”, “Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert” & “Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue”. They are all brilliant. Today “Hard Rain” is the best of the lot.

The album received an awful lot bad criticism upon its release, and surprisingly still does. To my ears it has always sounded amazing. Listening to other bootlegs from Rolling thunder 2 & watching the Hard Rain movie (and outtakes), one could easily wish that more songs had been included, and he’d put out a double album. But it is what it is, and it’s incredible. It is also (as noted by Paul Williams) inexhaustible, it still sounds fresh & wonderful today.

Here is (a stunning) “Shelter From The Storm”:

Continue reading September 13: Bob Dylan released “Hard Rain” in 1976

August 30: Bob Dylan Released Highway 61 Revisited in 1965

Bob_Dylan_-_Highway_61_Revisited

“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?

Continue reading August 30: Bob Dylan Released Highway 61 Revisited in 1965

August 29: Bob Dylan released Modern Times in 2006

bob dylan modern times 2006
The album’s cover photo is Ted Croner’s 1947 photograph Taxi, New York at Night.

“There’s no nostalgia on this record, pining for the past doesn’t interest me.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen Aug 2006)

[the 10 songs] “are in my genealogy, I had no doubts about them. I tend to overwrite stuff, and in the past I probably would have left it all in. On this, I tried my best to edit myself, and let the facts speak. You can easily get a song convoluted. That didn’t happen. Maybe I’ve had records like this before, but I can’t remember when.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen Aug 2006)

.. This music is relaxed; it has nothing to prove. It is music of accumulated knowledge, it knows every move, anticipates every step before you take it. Producing himself for the second time running, Dylan has captured the sound of tradition as an ever-present, a sound he’s been working on since his first album, in 1962. (One reason Modern Times is so good is that Dylan has been making it so long.) These songs stand alongside their sources and are meant to, which is why their sources are so obvious, so direct..
~Joe Levy (rollingstone.com)

#1 Thunder on The Mountain (official video)

I was thinkin’ ’bout Alicia Keys, couldn’t keep from crying
When she was born in Hell’s Kitchen, I was living down the line
I’m wondering where in the world Alicia Keys could be
I been looking for her even clear through Tennessee
(from “Thunder on The Mountain”)

[about Alicia Keys]“I liked her a whole lot. People stay in your mind for one reason or another.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen Aug 2006)

Continue reading August 29: Bob Dylan released Modern Times in 2006

August 8: Bob Dylan: Another Side Of Bob Dylan (album)





another side of Bob Dylan

“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)

My Back Pages:

Continue reading August 8: Bob Dylan: Another Side Of Bob Dylan (album)

June 15: Bob Dylan released Street-Legal in 1978


bob dylan street-legal

 

June 15: Bob Dylan released Street-Legal in 1978

“On this album, I took a few steps backward, but I also took a bunch of steps forward because I had a lot of time to concentrate on it. I also had the band sounding like I want it to sound. It’s got that organ sound from ‘Blonde on Blonde’ again. That’s something that has been missing.”
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – May 1978)

Jonathan Cott interview – Sept. 1978:
Jonathan Cott: What do you think of all the criticisms of Street Legal?
Bob Dylan: I read some of them. In fact, I didn’t understand them. I don’t think these people have had the experiences I’ve had to write those songs. The reviews didn’t strike me as being particularly interesting one way or another, or as compelling to my particular scene. I don’t know who these people are. They don’t travel in the same crowd, anyway. So it would be like me criticizing Pancho Villa.

bob dylan street legal2

First of all… “Street-Legal” is a fantastic album. I have never “understood” all the criticism it got.. and still gets, and I even dig the original overall sound & production.

Continue reading June 15: Bob Dylan released Street-Legal in 1978