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To me Bob Dylan was the whining voice that played incessantly in my frequent visits to hippy run record shops in my punk days of youth. An endless drone that seemed directionless and empty.
Now, at the grand old age of 37, I decided it was about time that I investigated the work of the great man and what a work this is.
Essentially folk / blues in it's make up, this is a collection of songs of intense quality and breathtaking emotion. Dylan is on spectacular form and delivers each track with the depth of feeling that suggests he was personally involved with the story line of each one.
This is one of the finest albums I have ever heard and has been played to death since I bought it. I defy anyone not to connect with one or two of the songs and would describe it as educational and essential for any music lovers collection.
There's never been a doubt about Dylan's lyrical ability, but the poetry, combined with narrative flow, of Tangled Up in Blue, Simple Twist of Fate and Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts turn them into real "tours de force". The emotional connection that You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go, If You See Her, Say Hello and Shelter From the Storm make - and the sweet bitterness of Idiot Wind and Buckets of Rain - really hit the spot. Oh - and the melodies are strong too. These are Dylan tunes you can hum along too, if you're so inclined.
Surely every music lover has this album already?
Dylan may not be my favourite artiste of all time - but if I could take just one album with me when I die, it would be this one.