Yeah, I have not been too keen one the last few.
I do love all the earlier ones. And have started buying the 45rpm reissues.
If I had to say one artist i personally bought a half-dozen copies of most every album over the years it has to be Bob Dylan!!! Both on Lp and Cd.
Csontos-Curious about how much of Dylan's work you've heard if the 2 albums you mention above are your favs. Have you heard his 1960s or 70s output?
I'm 55 years old. Of course. I've been a fan since I was about 14. All the classic stuff is what it is, classic. It seems it's in a category by itself. Then there was that turning point when he had a change of attitude along with a change in style, progressive imo.
Blood on the Tracks and I thought Modern Times was amazing.
Highway 61 Revisited
Blood on the TRacks
Time Out Of Mind
I love Blood on the tracks, one of the best imo. I'm not that impressed with Modern Times. I guess I'm out of the loop.
For me it's "Blood on the Tracks" and "Blonde on Blonde". I bought "Modern Times" but it didn't do much for me.
I don't think he needs any more of my money anyway.
"Slow Train Coming", "Blood on the Tracks", "Freewheelin". Yeah, you can stick a fork in "mono-tone" Mick too!
The Rolling Thunder Review Live 1975 is my favorite as it is a retrospective with the meat of it being the songs from Blood on the Tracks, then again, I was at the Madison Square Garden show and the record just doesn't even touch that evening.
There's an event to remember. He was recently here but I didn't want to be whispered into a disappointment.
He's WELL DONE. Every since the 'protest era' ended.
Au Contraire, I used to hang on his every word. Then I became an adult. That's when I realized throwing (verbal) rocks is easy, being responsible is hard. Besides, I think he was more anti-draft, than he was anti-war. Or put another way, more pro-self preservation.
I think that his biggest achievement was assimilating the cadences of the beat poets and welding them to those loose, associative, lyrics. The amalgam produced was more than the sum of it's parts. If you are not old enough, have a listen to Ginsberg, for instance, reading his work and you will hear where Dylan cribbed.
It had the quality of being unique while still paying homage to the movement that was so much a part of the day. We used to actually go to the Village just to hear Ginsberg read "Howl" in that inimitable style that, in the final analysis, Dylan actually did imitate.
A lot of those 'radicals' grew up, and are now Republicans.
I went to a Rolling Thunder show and fell asleep about a third of the way through it (very boring, to be kind). Don't get the impression I'm a hater, I enjoy a lot of Dylan's music.
Maybe IÂm losing track of the time intervals between new Dylan albums but here lately it seems every time I turn around DylanÂs got something new to offer. I just bought ÂTempestÂ and IMO itÂs just OK.
dylan's the best-ever lyricist who's earned his critical reverence, but it's time tell the emperor he has no clothes. personally, i rarely feel compelled to listen to his post "blonde on blonde" stuff, the overrated-but-still-great "blood on the tracks" excepted. i found "tempest" baffling and unlistenable--when i was listening to it in the car the kids were actually threatening to jump out into traffic.
"Blood on the Tracks" and "Blonde on Blonde" are classics, if I had to pick only two. Dylan's voice may not be what it once was, but c'mon, anyone who says they buy Dylan albums for his voice is joking. It's the lyrics, the lyrics! BTW, I am a huge Dylan fan and really like nearly all of his material.
Ginsberg was definitely before my time even though I'll soon be 56. My involvement was more or less a position in no man's land. Under age in the midst of beatniks, protesters, peace activists and political radicals. I think they called us the "lost generation". I just googled Howl and had a listen. His influence on Dylan is unmistakeable. I do believe Dylan was in it for himself though. He's made that abundantly clear in past interviews. I think his own work titled Tarantula was an attempt to invent himself.
Glad to see that No Mercy is well regarded by others here. IMO his most underrated album. The SACD remaster sounds spectacular. For me--Blood On the Tracks, Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61. The new stuff is still good, not great,--although I do like Tempest a lot-- even if he croaks more than he sings--cause he can still emote. Saw him live last mo with Knopfler and found his band and the reimaginings of his classics to be stellar.
I have a feeling "No" mercy is what he's getting these days.
.....''Oh Mercy '' is one of my favorites. Real good stuff there....I still enjoy ; Time Out Of Mind ....a little dark for me but the message of him dealing with his own mortality is very clear. I for a long time in my life used to see him maybe two, three times a year and I'm going back to the 70's. I saw him at his best and saw him in his drunken worst....saw the Grateful Dead back him up as well as Tom Petty. ( only wished that I could have seen him be backed up by ; The Band ) I stopped seeing him about 7 years ago ....I couldn't take it any longer, it was painful. There were times that I couldn't even recognize the song that he was playing and when I figured it out.....I realized that he was ruining his own songs and the way that I grown to enjoy them and actually for them to be part of the fabric of my life..... '' Modern Times'' was the last one that I bought and I thought that it was okay to even ; '' this sucks ''. Make no mistake - there is NOBODY and I mean NOBODY after him
Nonsense, his new record is his best in a decade, to still be as creative as he is at his age despite the obvious limitations of his voice now is a remarkable feat.
And I really am baffled by a critic that states UTRS as one of his best records-it's clearly one of his worst.
Baffling assessment on every level
Here's something I posted nearly 10 years ago on here....and it is more valid than ever for a community who have the habit of putting the cart before the horse :-)
There are times when I realise why I have bothered to spend so much time honing my system and spending money I donÂt really have on it.
It happened yesterday as I spent about 5 hours listening through most of the 15 Bob Dylan SACD hybrid remasters.
I was in a state of bliss as the music that I have loved over an 18-year period unfolded in aural detail I had never heard before.
The following comments will not take into account SACD replay nor indeed the multi-channel performance that exists on 5 of these discs.
IÂll start off with some words on the man.
If you hate or donÂt get Dylan read on I might be able to change your mind or at least make you think if you are any kind of music fan at least some of this music has to be owned.
Bob Dylan-so much has been written about him that most of what is known about him and his music has descended into clichÃ© and indeed Rock/Pop mythology.
With Dylan you have to look at the whole picture and not get caught up in the clichÃ©s-protest singer, poet, Christian Rock, folk singer going electric.
ItÂs about the music and the music talks for itself in a way nobody can capture.
Clearly most peopleÂs problem with Dylan is his singing voice.
IÂm not going to try and convince anybody that hates DylanÂs vocals that he is a great singer.
I would argue though he has a great voice and at his best can produce great vocals.
The tone and delivery cannot be to everybody tastes.
If youÂve ever tried to sing some Dylan songs yourself using acoustic guitar you may have found they arenÂt as easy to capture or sing as you might think.
His voice though in my mind fits perfectly the music; itÂs music with roots, steeped in tradition.
ItÂs also a voice that grew in a remarkable manner and indeed was capable of different styles as the folk/country vocals of John Wesley Harding and the out and out country of Nashville Skyline proved.
Before that he moved from a folk style into Blues and indeed the first true elements of what would become Rock music as we know it.
I prefer to hear Dylan sing Dylan songs but hey a lot of folks donÂt.
If you are in the world of perfection, smooth aesthetics indeed technical perfection then Dylan might not be for you.
His is a voice that carries a truth and relates the journey of a very young man who would single handedly change popular music.
In short Dylan rewrote the rules on what a song could achieve.
Whilst you should never lose sight that Dylan was indeed a songwriter not a poet what he did manage with his lyrics was take high culture and fuse it into popular culture in seamless fashion.
As for types of songs, heÂs written every kind you can think of and invented new styles along the way.
Of course he isnÂt perfect-the gaps in this 15 set to a large extent mirror the gap in DylanÂs powers and indeed the problem he grew to have capturing his songs in the studio during his career.
This collection by and large though does represent the best of DylanÂs original work although I would personally liked to have seen the original Bootleg 3CD set featured too.
Firstly a disclaimer I am not an audiophile and perhaps more astute ears will find other issues with these releases.
I was perhaps approaching these releases with a fear of slight disappointment.
I was wrong, by and large they are stunning.
As DylanÂs sound develops from his early albums into a band formation the improvements become more and more clear.
Whilst the original albums are mostly vocals and guitar the new releases clearly take you closer to the sound of the original tapes.
As Dylan moves into full band mode these remasters reproduce more detail than on any previous incarnations.
A good example would be Blonde On Blonde probably DylanÂs most re-released record, this release provides detail and a cohesion of sound I have not previously heard.
Two releases do disappoint though to my ears.
John Wesley Harding-always sounded murky on CD and despite an improvement it doesnÂt still fully escape this problem.
Indeed the effect of the drums only coming out of the right channel becomes waring after a while.
Street Legal sounds a bit forced and compressed to my ears.
Other highlights in the series to my ears are Desire-a fantastic record always slated for itÂs production-now at least the full sound can be heard on instruments and backing vocals in a way previously unheard.
Planet Waves-patchy as it is fully shows off the musicianship of the Band and all their little licks and tricks.
Dylan releases are unlikely to be heralded I guess for their audio qualities and yet despite the flaws that sometimes exist in DylanÂs output and recording process these releases really do show what a difference the remastering process can have.
Simply put it takes you closer to the music and for me this is what it is all about.
Now finally my comments on each Dylan release.
THE FREEWHEELINÂ BOB DYLAN.
The first classic Dylan release showing a myriad of styles beyond his protest singer label and the brilliant humour that was always evident in DylanÂs music.
To clarify a famous ÂlieÂ A Hard RainÂs A Gonna Fall was written before the Cuban missile crisis therefore it cannot be about that although the cold war tension may have played a part in Dylan writing it.
Like the best of his songs it works on levels beyond its well-know analysis.
ANOTHER SIDE OF BOB DYLAN.
The first sign of Dylan moving into more abstract areas that he would perfect later.
Not perfect but features key highlights in his developing talent such as My Back Pages, Chimes Of Freedom and It AinÂt Me Babe.
Personal favourite here is the beautiful To Ramona.
BRINGINÂ IT ALL BACK HOME.
DylanÂs doorway from his past into his future featuring both styles of music he would become famous for.
Subterranean Homesick Blues and ItÂs All Over Now Baby Blue begin and end this work of genius.
Dylan had become a superhuman cultural sponge that would produce in 18 months a trio of records that would largely define his talent.
HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED
Now Dylan had passed into the world of Rock.
Like A Rolling Stone stretched the limits of the single and the pop charts.
Blues based rockers and a nod to the chaos of his mind in Desolation Row.
BLONDE ON BLONDE.
A double record that closed the door to the madness of fame and the rock and roll lifestyle that had gripped Dylan in his explosive rise.
The thin wild mercury sound never sounded better than on this new version.
Finishes with his epic love song to his new wife Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands.
JOHN WESLEY HARDING
The Beatles had just released Sgt. Pepper-Dylan replied to that with a plaintive acoustic based album that would become the template for alt-country.
Arguably a reaction to both the excesses of his previous lifestyle, his new domestic bliss and his thinking that popular music was losing itÂs way with the emphasis on studio effects.
Contains a few classic including All Along The Watchtower but imho is more effective for itÂs tone than itÂs overall quality.
A playful Dylan produces a country album in a new singing voice that confuses his fans.
Mostly lightweight but fun with three classics in Lay Lady Lay, I Threw It All Away and Tonight IÂll Be Staying Here With You
After the early years of raising a family and seemingly completely losing his way (Self-Portrait and Dylan were released) Dylan returned to work with The Band.
To me this now sounds quite an experimental work but Forever Young, You Angel You, Never Say Goodbye and Wedding Song make it a worthwhile and strangely unique Dylan album.
BLOOD ON THE TRACKS.
Dylan achieved the impossible by producing a record that arguably eclipsed his previous classics.
Sparsely recorded, highly emotional and a very rare expose that is clearly purely only about Dylan called Idiot Wind.
He later denied this record was only about his marriage break up.
10 tracks that prove Dylan wasnÂt paralysed by his past.
A great great record sadly shadowed by his previous release.
Features an exotic feel and a largely missed fact that with songs like Hurricane and Isis Dylan had enhanced the range of his songwriting.
Unusually Dylan co-writes on this record with Jacques Levy.
One that splits fans.
A very good to great record that was the end of road for Dylan in certain aspects as he approached 40.
Senor is a personal favourite.
The production is a bit all over the place but it has great songs.
SLOW TRAIN COMING
Dylan became a born-again Christian and created a furore.
A good record but has the odd clunker messing up DylanÂs new vision.
The music mostly works outwith the parameters that are focused on by the critics.
As for the fall-out from this record, I could write about that all day but I merely say that since DylanÂs life was in turmoil, looking outwardly wasnÂt such a strange thing in my opinion to do.
Deciding that he believed in god but he was indeed a Jew Dylan returned to mostly secular matters (started on Shot Of Love) after his religious trio of records.
This is a great collection of songs despite Dylan arguably not nailing the sound he had in his head for them.
Whilst this was always a problem, in the 80Âs Dylan disappeared into a world of bad production choices and mostly lost his powers of quality control.
Jokerman and I&I are two songs worthy of inclusion amongst his very best work.
This is a record famous amongst Dylan fans for the songs he left off.
Still well worth having and overall is underrated in the Dylan canon.
After the shambles of his Live Aid performance and a run of records that were savagely destoyed by the critics DylanÂs stock was at an all time low.
The involvement of Daniel Lanois was a master stroke but more importantly the collection of songs had were particularly strong.
As the 80Âs ended this marvelously atmospheric record put Dylan back on the map.
Sounding fantastic in this new version it struck me that Shooting Star may well be about his relationship with his father.
LOVE & THEFT.
If you havenÂt heard the wear in DylanÂs voice over the years the approach this record with caution.
Critically acclaimed itÂs a fantastic collection of songs.
Some are vary reminiscent of 40Âs and 50Âs popular songwriting which might not be to everybodyÂs taste.
ItÂs a great record and Mississipi, High Water and Sugar Baby prove Dylan is still valid.
At 60 Dylan produced a record like nothing heÂd ever released before.
Guilty as charged. A lady once walked in on a job I was working on while Dylan was playing. She was delighted to come across a fellow fan(I mean it was a celebration!). To quell the tension I simply stated "yeah he's great but he did lots of shitty stuff too". UTRS imo is not one of them. She probably could have rhymed off your chronology on the spot. I can't. I don't have a favorite artist.
Like, in 1982. The gospel albums from 1980 and 82 had crack session men and his voice sounded fantastic. It has been a painful road since.
Forget Clapton, Dylan is God
IME, Dylan has not been relevant for some time now...
IMHO, Dylan's music is better than ever. And his voice would put a bullfrog to shame.
I think the issue is he doesn't have much left and using fillers to complete albums.
Mr. Jburidan - you are kidding ...right ????
Csontos, you, of course, are entitled to your opinion, as am I. My small issue with your post is you don't make it seem as if its your opinion; rather it comes across as a matter of fact.
Why do people that dislike him so much bother to post about him?
You're clearly at the other extreme. I believe a forum is a means of discussion rather than a fan club. You seem to be confused as to whether my statement is an opinion or a declaration. I suppose a little of both based on observation of this thread. Bottom line is Dylan fans are typically diehards as I am. You either love him or you hate him right from when he came on the scene. I'm getting old and he's not God or a god so shouldn't he? Shouldn't you? Life only sucks at the beginning and at the end.
even half-assed Dylan is better than most...
Csontos....I think you are wrong and I find your stance strange especially when you state you are really not all that up on the whole Dylan back catalogue...UTRS is a very very strange choice of Dylan album from either diehard or casual fan.
I actually think Dylan's latter output from TOOM onwards has been overrated by the critics -I think because of his health scare back at the release of TOOM and the fact that they eventually woke up to Dylan's actual worth they've been in a rush to overstate the quality of later albums.
The new one is imho his best record in a decade-it's not perfect you'd be stretching things to say it's up there with his classics but it it has an inherent quality you shouldn't really expect from a man of his age I don't think any of his peers have came close to his overall output..........
Here's something I posted on another site for Dylan's 70 birthday.....
Why is Bob Dylan important? Where is the line where an icon, a superstar and a legend becomes a cliche, overrated and a myth? Well maybe to answer those questions you have to enter into the world where appreciation veers into obsession. Yes I have to confess I am a recovering Dylanologist and like an alcoholic youÂre never really cured. Yes IÂve seen the man live countless times, IÂve had the fanzine subscriptions, IÂve read over 60 books on Dylan and I suppose IÂve listened to him more than any other artist. As I once remarked to a fellow Scottish Dylan fan both lost in the hell of a massive London Dylan gig that I simply had to give those habits up, he took that to mean the expense..no I simply thought about Bob Dylan too much and too often.
Still I was 24 before I listened to Dylan, 10 years after I started listening to music seriously and if he was out of context for me then in 1988, what chance have young emerging fans today? Over 500 songs and 56 albums to date, where do you start? ThereÂs maybe four main hurdles you need to get over with Dylan, Firstly his status, like The Beatles he evokes a natural combination of resentment at the critical acclaim and of course the fact that in the main his impact is historical. Secondly his voice, IÂm told people donÂt like it much and often prefer others singing his songs. Thirdly that his words are his forte and come supplemented by second rate music. Finally the over familiarity with a handful of songs and the fact he is a shell of that kinetic wonder kid of the sixties.
Some of these hurdles arguably canÂt be cleared, his live act is clearly declining and you simply cannot talk people into liking what they naturally resist. However those were the hurdles I faced before I really started listening to Dylan and the key is listening to Dylan. The effect of listening to Dylan a lot is that voice makes more sense, he was never a ÂgreatÂ singer but he has and is an unique voice, a voice more versatile than he is given credit for but also one that retained an essence and that essence is truth; naked, cracked, funny, angry, warm, broken, lost, redeemed, -thereÂs not many emotions DylanÂs not covered. ThereÂs fewer artists whoÂve marked the terrain of a life as effectively and convincingly as he has. Indeed in that context of his work itÂs probably no surprise that Dylan (successful as he is) is the least commercially successful and viable of those considered the greatest recording artists alive.
The hurdle of Dylan as wordsmith before musician is one that has been compounded by the seriousness his work is held in by academics and critics alike. ItÂs not that in some aspects that his work cannot sustain this but it misses the key point. Dylan is a songwriter not a poet and the true magic appears in the aural form not the written one. Indeed Dylan realises more than most a great lyric will never save a bad tune...thatÂs probably why the worst of his writing fails on both fronts. Dylan has lost his audience several times over but strangely despite that fact he has created at least an album every decade that is held up close to his 60Âs masterpieces...he also has a handful of records that eclipse the banality and poverty of his peerÂs worst efforts...in similar fashion he is as uneven a live performer as you will see. HeÂs human and his music reflects that.ThatÂs why at 70 maybe his lifeÂs work looks more autobiographical and complete than any other artist.
The best observation about the barriers in listening to Dylan came from the man himself..ÂI am a mystery only to those who havenÂt felt the same things I haveÂ. Beyond that his legacy and impact on popular music transcends definition. He simply redefined what a song could be, he took the essence of several traditions and fused them together creating a new form. He quickly realised the limitations of protest and side stepped them by making the politics personal and used the raw energy of rock and roll to create cultural vandalism during his Â66 world tour..an act NME described 20 years ago as the first signs of punk. He then retreated to a more plaintive world and helped create Americana/Folk Rock when the music world was heading towards studio indulgence and psychedelia. Surprisingly for an artist who has made so many varied albums and indeed sometimes incredibly poor albums Dylan has almost never overstretched himself musically. He remained true to his core roots of rock and roll, folk, country and blues.
If you really listen to Dylan as well as the treasure lode of magnificent albums and the remarkable depth and volume of performances and songs you end up in a more profound place. ItÂs a place that suggests that the blank piece of paper and silence can be replaced by a magic that encapsulates human existence and imagination through song. He suggests that music has no barriers and no rules and understands fully the attempts to explain that are futile . ThatÂs why I took the essence of what Dylan was about and broadened my musical tastes into different areas and in the process drifted away from the more obsessive nature of being a Dylan fan. Why is Bob Dylan important? Simply because music is important.......listen to him but be careful once that door opens itÂs a long way to the other side.
'' Under the Red Sky '' - was different but Dylan is / was never consistent. Not one of my favorites but an album that has an all star cast of musicians that had an obvious influence along with Don Was on the outcome. " Born in Time '' and the album's title are the take aways. Like anything else - some like it some don't ....yuo can say that about a few of Dylan's but the last few have been terible .....
Well if you like Oh Mercy, how can you not like UTRS? They are so close in style and production, they may as well have been a double album. And you don't have to be up on the chronology to have heard at least 90% of his stuff by now. Frankly, I find your response rather odd in this regard. Especially since you seem to be in agreement otherwise.
Being obsessed is not going to give you a clear view toward an educated opinion. If he's as honest as you claim, I wonder how closely his autobiography would resemble your biography. I can think of a few artists your assessment could be applied to. Rather generic imo.
Hello Ben - I do not think that anyone here is doubting the musical, political, social etc. significance of Bob Dylan.....I persoannly just think that the last few albums have sucked. Voice, no voice - they are just not good and to see him live is painful.
Think the last few albums have been ok, but Tempest is very good. Just me. None of the recent albums rate with his best--but then a mediocre Dylan is better than most other artists.
Umm... I don't ever think he could sing.
well he certainly does not deserve to be stuck with a fork.
If it's going to hurt, definitely not.
UTRS is as different to Oh Mercy as it can be Csontos.....honestly totally different.
With OM Dylan went with Lanois created an atmosphere, had a great bunch of songs that were reflective and intriguing.
He chose not to repeat that with UTRS he went with Don Was on production and had a series of guest stars to play on the tracks-most of the songs (Born In Time and possibly another I can't recall date back to OM) were written from a different perspective indeed it has been note how much Dylan referenced nursery rhythms especially old English ones-what wasn't known at the time was that he had just had another child.
To suggest they sound like a double album on any level be it production , theme or in terms of musical approach frankly beggars belief.....
Indeed Don Was himself has reflected very recently how much he botched the production job and the subsequent album that came out of it...
The new album is a good album imho-better than the last couple better than UTRS :-) and better than the weaker output earlier in his career...I would say it's a middling/average record in his total output.
But at this stage in the game imho that is quite an achievement....personally on the live front...Dylan's last visit to Scotland was ignored by me, my first pass in nearly 25 years...I think the quality of his shows are in decline.
ben-where in Scotland? Near Rutherglen?
Have seen Dylan at his worst which can be just awful. Trust me-do not miss this tour with Knopfler. Dylan croaks thru the songs, but the band is so good that it all works beautifully.