Oddly, I find myself agreeing completely with both Harmonica Albert's assessment and
most of theUnwavedHand
(and i just read Pedro's - Bravo! well stated! and welcome to ER!)
The first three legit albums i got from bob in my early acquisition days were: World Gone Wrong
(first new release I encountered on my bob curve) New Morning
(after falling in love with time passes slowly
from biograph) and Desire
(because i watched Dazed and Confused
and realized i didn't have a compilation that carried Hurricane, and I was left scratching my head as to why that was until Greatest Hits III
What a strange place to start with bob! I guess it explains a lot about where I ended up...
Well, Desire got a LOT of play during high school and early college. then it did not. for a very long time. I chalked it up to being something sonically wonderful that i was drawn to as a boy (like the beatles, the who, ozzy osbourne and Yes) but something i must have grown out of. I kept it on the shelf for special occasions, like for saturday morning cleaning, every other month or so...
This view changed a bit when I got it on vinyl and the sound
was brought to front stage once again. Front stage is a good way to describe this sound. His voice is front and center, crystal smooth, and ambitiously reaching - his harmonica, when used, is soaring above the stage, and the violin - well it does the job as far as bending the ear goes....
That's really the heart of the album i think. digging deep is similar to digging deep into Hemingway - there's good stuff there, sure, and there may be some throwaway stuff, but who cares. This is wine on the ears. I don't find the lyrics part of dylan's best catalogue - but they are not exclusively dylan lyrics - they are desiring of something else...i pass in and out of attention to them. better put, i let them reach to me to grab my attention. much like a lot of music i like from those particular years in music - i'm not seeking to gather any great insights about life - I'm singing along with my brain, whistling with my heart, and nodding with my head.Hurricane
- those are some words - and the beat - the pace - not much to top that. I'm conditioned to not like this after enough plays - but it's one of those songs like Blowin in the wind
, the first time you hear that acoustic drum roll, you feel like you must have heard that somewhere (i probably have, and it probably came from Pete Townsend). regardless, it was certainly worth learning on guitar and it was a helluva lot of fun to memorize and sing the lyrics. It has the same aggressive forward tempo that i recall from Absolutely Sweet Marie
. so chargingly fast, but inviting at the same time. These days i'm just as happy to start the album with Isis
but when i'm in the moment to hear it, Hurricane
can and will blow me away. Isis
I heard it live prior to hearing for the first time here, from the biograph collection, so it took a long time to warm up to the studio cut. it's really interesting paired with Hurricane - from an acoustic charge to a piano march. From social concern to narcissistic love...another song that fed a young man's appetite pretty easily. Today - i like the following: the cleanliness of his voice. his forced midwestern short 'a' sound, which i related to. the occasional ironic line or joke. and real subtly cool phrasings, like 'welllll, i guess.' in sum, when it begins, i usually take a piss break or move on to whatever i was doing before i started the album - but no matter what i've begun, the last verse takes me back to full attention...Mozambique
I liked it when i was young. it sounded very different from most anything i had heard from dylan (i think i first heard it on the Australian masterpieces
collection, if it was even on it), and i didn't know where Mozambique was, but i wanted to go there after hearing it! now i usually take a pass. The drums i quite like! One more cup of coffee
I find this an absolutely perfect dylan song. again different from almost anything in his catalogue. drums are incredible, bass line hypnotic. the lyrics do the job for me. I bank on and I am revived from life's struggles with cups of coffee in my day to day life, and i have acute fears about that valley below - so it has made my personal anthem dylan songlist easily hands down. i've never hard of the exotic/worldly blues song genre - but if there was one, this song would fall into that category pretty snuggly...Oh sister
the best part might be the first 10 seconds before the lyrics begin, but the lyrics do something for me that not alot of other dylan songs do - they make me think about my family and my relationship to them. needless to say i usually take a pass on this one... Joey
well, for a long time it was very hard to get through this one, but once i had the vinyl side to flip over to break up the repetition between Oh Sister and Joey - i could better attend to it. as in hurricane, i don't think it's too impressive that dylan can put a wordy narrative together - but i do enjoy how each syllable makes it's way into the meter and the melody (host-ag-es were trembling...sister Ja-que-line...one/last/good/bye/to/the/son/he/could/not/save...). the refrain and musical dance that occurs between verses bother me more than anything on this one i suppose, but i never really mind listening to the verses. and again, good bursts of phrasing - 'and i swear
he did look great.' I like how it opens. the Mandolin reminds me of Cowboy Junkies...
okay it might be too long. after the 'he did look great' verse, i'm a little tapped out...a version with the chorus removed and just the verses would be very enjoyable for me i think.Romance in durango
Love it musically. love it lyrically. love it love it. A nice tango with dylan's lyric melody and the music behind it -- song starts off wonderfully again - great drums, bass and mandolin?, lyric goes in a very different direction that adds another dimension - by the end of the first verse, all are in harmony. Very clearly, dylan is not only putting on his work desk the way words and phrases can be used to generate interesting messages in songs - he is also tuning into words as a phonetic structure. how to make a word roll and be expressive (Canteeeena) - the way an actor does it on stage. what's wrong with that?? songs like this seem so parallel to the work done on Together Through Life it makes me wonder what happened to benny in the interim to not connect the dots. okay the voice is
a lit/tle dif/fer/ent.
The segway into Black Diamond Bay
is one of my favorite dylan moments of all time...
followed by all the rest of the moments in this song. everything is perfect about this song so I won't list them. but i especially like the drums again! i may have thought about it being nice to visit mozambique earlier, but I want to find black diamond bay and build treehouse there....guess i'll need a canoe too...H.Alberts words are ringing true - it's like all the other songs were experiments leading up to what is achieved in this song. It's achieved in Abandoned Love
i've never understood the complaints against it. i guess i'm biased. i fell in love with it as a young boy. but it worked then and it works now. Initially, I bought the album for Hurricane - and this song + one more cup of coffee + sara were the goto anchors for me, because there was all this exotic instrumentation in the songs in between that I was not familiar with at the time. today, i love Sara
for the harmonica. and even the straightforward, obvious gesturing of it. I guess it's the wedding song
that works for me. especially the chelsea hotel line. when i played this one with my wife - as we drove through the American Southwest for the first time together, i enjoyed playing this album and telling her the stories behind the song and explaining those chapters in dylan's life. she would never ask me about it otherwise, so it's nice entry point for the part of the population that wouldn't read a dylan biography. given Dylan's dense and indecipherable trajectory for so much of his material - it's a nice breath of fresh air to hear something that appears to be confessional every now and again. it's important, i think, that so many of those moments are directed out towards Sara.
also, the last three closers together send an interesting message: Wedding song/Buckets of Rain/Sara.
I love the kelp and old ship line too. I wonder which word he put into that verse first, kelp or help?
the last note and fade is a fine way to leave an album...