Album no. 50/1001
Your pal Bobby D is back, and he’s gone electric! Half electric anyway, he still mopes about a bit towards the end.
This album marked Dylan’s split from the sixties folk community, who were not big fans of him ‘going electric’. Not only has he added a band, but the lyrics are no longer traditional political fare. There’s a lot of personal stuff and a lot of weird surreal stuff as well.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: I know most the songs, but weirdly I don’t think I’ve heard them on this album. On the best of album I have ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ is immediately before ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’, and I’m really used to that. Hearing them in their original order is a bit strange.
CL: No. No Dylan.
NK: ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ is the best track here. ‘It’s Alright, Ma’ and ‘It’s all over now, baby blue’ are good too. I think it’s fair to say this is the best Dylan album we’ve had so far, it’s pretty consistent, even if it does switch from electric to acoustic halfway through. It’s no contest for ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ though.
CL: Did he just do a shout out to “some Australian mountain range” on ‘Outlaw Blues’? Hmmm. ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ is nowhere near as good as The Byrds version – sorry. Ooooh ‘Gates of Eden’ is a good one – I mean, it sort of goes on a bit and I might have zoned out, but it sounded pretty good to start with. ‘It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)’ is good as well.
NK: You’re fucking way off on the byrds ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ being better. They don’t even sing all the words!
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: That’s a tough one here, because this album takes a turn halfway through. The first half is rocking out a lot more, and the second side chills right out. ‘It’s all over now, baby blue’ is a pretty good closer. This album sort of takes you through the raucous end of the party into the quiet aftermath.
CL: When you want a tasty treat of harmonica. There’s plenty of it on here. Some may say too much. I would be one of those people.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: This is Dylan’s big jump from solo with a guitar. His lyrics are even more all over the shop than they had been previously, and there’s even a hint of humour at the beginning of ‘Bob Dylan’s 115th dream’. This is a fairly big step for old mate Bobby boy.
CL: In terms of Bob Dylan, I think this takes a more musical direction. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan really was pretty simplistic in terms of musicality – just an acoustic guitar and a bit of harmonica – but this album has a lot more going on.
Will you be listening again?
NK: I’ve already listened to it a couple of extra times in preparation for this. Once this is done? Not sure.
CL: I don’t know. The trouble I’m having is that none of the song really grab me enough to want to listen to the whole album again. And it’s not a short album, it goes for almost 50 minutes. I don’t have ENDLESS time to listen to music, guys. I don’t think it’s any better or worse than his last album we listened to.