jealous monk wrote:
Long John wrote:
I defend Self Portrait, not as a great record, but one that's better than a whole pile of others.
Silvio is OK, I wish he and Hunter would colaborate again, Hunter is such a great writer of Americana songs. I think a bit of Jack Straw in the mix would be more interesting than the co-written stuff on Desire.
I think it's perfectly easy to listen to gospel and not feel proselytized. No different from the music of any other religious tradition. If it's good it's good.
(1) What's in the pile that Self-Portrait is better than? I seriously don't know of one. I say it's Dylan's worst album by a country mile. It's lifeless and humorless too. A stinker... and I just listened to it yesterday. There's 1 or 2 songs that don't suck, but they are of the "Early Morning Rain" variety -- not exactly top drawer stuff.
(2) I too admire Hunter as a great writer of American song.
(3) Not all gospel music is proselytizing, but Dylan's surely is, especially on STC and Saved. I recoil from music that shoves belief at me and threatens me with damnation nonsense if I disagree. I call that "obnoxious" and "hooey"... but I do love a good spiritual. I even love singing a good spiritual. I also love Every Grain of Sand, which is imbued with the spirit of the lord; it shows and doesn't tell, if you know what I mean... and that's the hallmark of any great message song.
I do like Gotta Serve Somebody, regardless, because it's so damned funky and his singing is unbelievable on that song. No so, for me, on the rest of those two Christian Albums. That's 100% opinion for you to discount with a wave of your hand.
No handwaving from me.
(1) Down in the Groove, Dylan & the Dead, Knocked Out Loaded, Empire Burlesque, Real Live, Infidels, Shot of Love, Saved, Street Legal, and Dylan are all records I enjoy less than I enjoy Self Portrait.
Most of those records, except the just plain horrible ones, are records where he was playing by the numbers or so far off course that he couldn't find his keys - seriously, what does ANYONE imagine he was thinking when he thought that the cover of "They Killed Him" was a good idea?
Self Portrait, which, if we were assigning letter grades to I'd give a C or C- to, has some tracks that just work for me in the context of the record.
All the Tired Horses, Alberta #1, I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know, Days of 49, In Search of Little Sadie, Little Sadie, Belle Isle, Copper Kettle, Gotta Travel On, Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn), It Hurts Me Too, Wigwam, and Alberta #2 are all songs and performances I enjoy.
And that's the crux of the bisquit, I don't enjoy the other records I mentioned nearly as much and rarely play them (some I don't own anymore after I got over a 30 year need to own "everything").
(2) Helluva song writer, and he has two modes. His narratives like Jack Straw and Brown Eyed Women, and his haiku-like stuff like China Cat and Dark Star. Not crazy about him as a performer but as a writer, he's top notch.
(3) I think Slow Train is a great
Dylan LP and I don't find it at all hard to ignore the religious content anymore than on John Wesley Harding (or in "Amazing Grace" for that matter). The pleasure of that record is in the sound, it sounds great.