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Desire Original recording remastered


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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Jun 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00026WU50
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,020,568 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By jonwed on 30 Jun 2014
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Rediscovered this album recently. It's not quite a John Wesley Harding but it's still genius.
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
I just love this album, such an icon of its time and at this price, how could I resist? Excellent value!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hannington Flair on 13 Dec 2013
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Desire. By Bob Dylan. I wanted it. What more can I say? I bought it. When asked to write a review, I thought, what can I say about this? I have been listening to it for 37 years. I know it backwards, forwards, sideways. I bought the MP3 version because my original tape no longer has a machine to play it with. I Desired it. So I bought it. What more can I say...
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mr gary sharp on 1 July 2014
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Good old Bob.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 76 reviews
122 of 135 people found the following review helpful
Dylan's last "great" album? 12 Nov 2005
By ewomack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Following the string of absolute classics Dylan put out in the 1960s he slowly retreated from the scene into personal seclusion. The early 1970s left some fans scratching their heads. What was "Self Portrait" all about? And "New Morning"? Then he did a movie soundtrack for a Sam Peckinpaw film, and "Planet Waves" still seems to divide fans (some love it and some hate it). By this time he had completely shed any question of his desired role in the folk/protest scene of the 1960s. But he didn't go away, like many expected (and some really wanted). So what was up with Bob? Then suddenly, the mid 1970s saw Dylan releasing two albums that many fans rank amongst his best (and some called them "comeback" albums, though nearly every Dylan album has been called this by someone). In very early 1975 "Blood On The Tracks" apppeared like a miracle with its intimate and lush acoustic arrangements and sound. It even spurred a hit with "Tangled Up in Blue". Most critics and fans heralded Dylan's triumphant return. Dylan then outdid himself by releasing "Desire" in very early 1976.

This album contrasts with "Blood on the Tracks" to such an extent that some fans become polarized about which album stands as Dylan's true 1970s "classic". But the albums contain such disparate material that a definitive comparison and ranking between them remains difficult. They both have their respective strengths and flaws, and both doubtlessly stand amongst some of Dylan's best material.

"Desire" doesn't have the personal feel of "Blood on the Tracks" (with the salient exception of "Sara"). And Dylan introduced three items that make this album really stick out: a running violin, a lyrical collaboration with the late Jacques Levy, and a consistent backup singer in the form of Emmylou Harris. Surprsingly, Harris' voice blends with Dylan's beautifully. She apparently completed her tracks in just one or two whirlwind takes (in inimitable Dylan style). But she doesn't appear on "Hurricane", "Isis", or "Sara". She did record backing vocals for "Hurricane", but the track was scrapped due to "libelous lyrics" and Harris couldn't return to re-record the song (various bootlegs supposedly contain the original version with Harris along with other outtakes from this session, including "Golden Loom").

"Hurricane" tells the story of boxer Rubin Carter who found himself jailed for triple murder (also the subject of the 1999 movie "Hurricane" starring Denzel Washington). It portrays Carter as an innocent man trapped in a game of justice. This remains very controversial. Carter apparently was never found innocent by a court, and the hot debate over his innocence continues. Add to that, the 10 minute opus "Joey", with an amazing chorus, tells the story of the murder of mafioso Joey Gallo. Some hailed these songs as Dylan's return to "protest music" while others decried Dylan's new "irresponsible" political stance. Dylan always seems to invite controversy (which makes him so intruiging).

Other songs contain folky aspects, helped along by the nearly ubiqitous and soaring violin. "Mozambique" rhapsodizes about the paradise that is... Mozambique! "Romance in Durango" and "Black Diamond Bay" also use location to tell a story. The former even features Dylan singing in español. The latter includes extremely evocative imagery of a troubled journey. These songs, along with "One More Cup of Coffee" (with its mythological death imagery) and "Oh, Sister" lend the album a slightly western feel (in synch with Dylan's accoutrements on photos from the time).

Lastly, the very emotionally naked and autobiographical closer "Sara" really stands out in Dylan's repertoire. This song and "One More Cup of Coffee" are the only songs on the album credited to Dylan alone. "Sara" tells the story of Dylan's then failing and soon to fail marriage. She apparently witnessed the one-take recording. Dylan supposedly took her completely off guard. But the marriage dissolved regardless. Nonetheless, "Sara" represents Dylan in a rare raw emotional state. He tells it like it is with nothing held back.

Some call this album "Dylan's last great album". Obvioulsy some will agree and others will disagree with this statement. Still, "Desire" does contain some great music. And it inspired the now legendary Rolling Thunder Review tour (captured on the "Bob Dylan Live 1975" CD set released in 2002). Soon after, though, Dylan's reputation took a nosedive in the late 1970s with the ill-fated "Street Legal" and the outspoken religious views on his albums of the early 1980s. Those who hated Dylan's later direction of this period probably harkened back to "Desire" as "the good old days". But, as always, Dylan redeemed himself to many fans later on. In the end, one thing remains very true about Dylan: he's never boring.
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Underrated Dylan classic 17 May 2007
By Dave - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
On this album, perhaps more than any other, Dylan shows off his true power as a storyteller. This album is more or less a collection of stories, each one incredibly rich, vivid, and imaginative. The songs on this album could each be made into a movie, and this cinematic quality is how these songs play out in your mind as you listen to them. Dylan uses such incredible and detailed imagery that you really feel like you are in these beautiful and sometimes haunting scenes that he is describing.

Highly recommended!
44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Swan song 21 Dec 2006
By Caleb J. Melamed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Like a time capsule, Desire contains the spirit of a hopeful past. Recorded in July and October 1975 and released in January 1976, Desire is the final third of Dylan's mid-1970s trilogy, whose other parts are Planet Waves (1974) and Blood on the Tracks (1975). Although falling short of the earlier two albums' near perfection, Desire has some of Dylan's most engaging and likeable music, and his most touching love song, "Sara." In many ways, Desire resembles Planet Waves more than it does Blood on the Tracks. On Blood on the Tracks, the lyrics have primary importance, whereas on Planet Waves and Desire the music is essential in uniting these albums' diverse strands. Dylan on Blood on the Tracks is a soloist with accompaniment, but he collaborates on Planet Waves and Desire with other outstanding artists. The members of The Band join Dylan on Planet Waves in a kind of rock chamber music. On Desire, Dylan shares both songwriting and performance. Jacques Levy is co-author of all but two of the songs, and Scarlet Rivera, on violin, and Emmylou Harris and Ronee Blakley, on vocals, are notable among the musicians who help give this album its unique texture. Both Planet Waves and Desire were recorded in the aftermath of war (the Yom Kippur War for Planet Waves; the Vietnam War for Desire), and share an optimism for a better world that brackets Blood on the Tracks' tragic vision.

The trilogy's narrative progresses from first to second to third person. Dylan sings as an individual on Planet Waves, but on Blood on the Tracks he finds himself caught in a mirror play of relationships gone wrong. On Desire, Dylan adds a third party, the audience, as an integral part of the performance. Dylan pulls us into Desire by reaching outward. The songs on this album are a series of quests and adventures, all of them searches for justice or love. The stories range from a police frame-up in urban America ("Hurricane"), to a romantic idyll in Africa ("Mozambique"), to a fantastic hunt for treasure inside a frozen pyramid by the wayward husband (Dylan) of an Egyptian goddess ("Isis"). In "Black Diamond Bay," Dylan actually becomes an audience member. This song recounts the last hours in the lives of several lonely and isolated hotel guests on a sinking volcanic island. Dylan learns about the catastrophe only in the final stanza, when he hears a fragmentary report by Walter Cronkite on the television news.

The music of Desire varies with its locations and themes. In "One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)," Dylan laments his rejection by a bandit chieftain's beautiful daughter, in a style the poet Allen Ginsberg describes (in his album notes) as "Hebraic cantillation never heard before in U.S. song." The oceanic "Oh, Sister" is hymn-like in its plea for a loving partnership under the fatherhood of God. The accordion in "Joey" (Dom Cortese) evokes the Italian-American background of its real-life protagonist, Joey Gallo, a man "caught between the mob and the men in blue." "Romance in Durango" achieves its Mexican atmosphere through the sound of a Bellzouki 12-string guitar (Vincent Bell), trumpet, accordion and tambourine, as Dylan sings, partly in Spanish, about a killer's flight across the desert with his beloved Magdalena.

The eclectic nature of the album invites us to become a part of its creative process--we do not feel distanced by a single-minded vision of the artist. Hearing its songs allows us to draw our own poetic map of the world.

Two songs on Desire deserve special mention. "Hurricane" tells the true story of African-American middleweight boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, framed for a triple murder in Paterson, New Jersey. Paced like a hard-boiled crime movie, "Hurricane" is both a compelling plea for Carter's freedom and a condemnation of racial prejudice in the American judicial system, "where justice is a game." The song publicized Carter's plight (later, Dylan held two concerts to raise legal defense funds) and helped win Carter a new trial in the fall of 1976.

The jewel of this album is its last song, the inexpressibly poignant "Sara," addressed to Dylan's wife. In an unsentimental but emotional voice, Dylan sings a simple modal melody on top of Scarlet Rivera's haunting violin. The verses are a succession of flashbacks of the Dylans' life together, interspersed by a "Sara, Sara" refrain praising his wife's beauty, kindness, and mystery. Dylan recalls their children, still babies, playing on the beach; Sara in a Jamaican marketplace; himself "staying up for days in the Chelsea Hotel, writing 'Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands' for you." He concludes with the words, "don't ever leave me, don't ever go." The song feels transitory, evanescent, in contrast to "Wedding Song" on Planet Waves, where Dylan sings of the eternal verities of their marriage ("I love you more than ever, more than time and more than love").

After recording Desire, Dylan continued his deep audience connection by launching the Rolling Thunder Revue. With an all-star cast headed by Dylan and featuring Joan Baez, the Revue caravaned across the Northeastern states and neighboring parts of Canada (autumn 1975), and then through the South and Southwest (spring 1976). Its unpublicized itinerary was filled with surprise concert dates. From the Desire sessions, Rivera, Blaklee, Rob Stoner (bass), and Howard Wyeth (drums) joined this true people's tour.

But the circumstances that made Desire possible soon disappeared, as the places and people portrayed in many of its songs fell upon harder times. The new nation of Mozambique, whose freedom Desire celebrates, was devastated by a civil war. The old Mexico depicted in "Romance in Durango" became largely a memory following economic globalization and NAFTA. Rubin Carter was convicted in his second trial and not released on parole until 1988. And in 1977, Dylan's marriage to Sara ended in divorce, after which it seems he could no longer follow the same artistic path. Desire marks the completion of a grand cycle of Dylan's career, dating back to his first albums in the early 1960s. His next album, Street Legal (1978), reveals, beneath its "big band" gloss, a dark night of the soul. From Street Legal's first song, the aptly named "Changing of the Guards," we are in a new era.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Adventurous and uneven, but classic 10 Jan 2007
By Elliot Knapp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I didn't used to be much of a fan of Desire--I found it overrated with several weak tracks and I thought Emmylou Harris' background vocals were often harsh and annoying. I still feel this way, but I've come to appreciate the album a lot more and understand why so many people think it's one of Dylan's best. After giving it a few more listens, I really enjoy the stylistic diversity that the songs range over (perhaps to Dylan's collaboration with Jacques Levy on most of the songwriting) as well as Dylan's energy in delivering the tunes. I'd recommend it to anybody who's already got Dylan's greatest 60's material and Blood on the Tracks and New Morning as the last high-quality studio he put out in the 70's.

The album kicks off with the classic "Hurricane." Dylan energetically spits out the ironies of Carter's story over Scarlet Rivera's violin (which will remain throughout the album as a great addition to his sound). From there on out, the album covers a lot of lyrical and stylistic territory, form the rocking narrative of "Isis" to the world music flavor of "Romance in Durango," to the dark mystery of "One More Cup of Coffee" (one of the album's best tracks). Another highlight is Dylan's emotional tribute to his soon-to-be-ex wife, "Sara."

Like I said before, the album's weaknesses are a couple songs that either drag too much or sound A LOT like other songs on the album, and the outright mediocrity of "Joey," mainly boring and way too long for its own good. Emmylou Harris sounds pretty good on a couple songs, but I think she appears on too many, and eventually her voice gets a little grating and annoying--I think Dylan would have sound pretty good all by himself. I'd also like to note that many of the best songs from Desire are on Bob Dylan Live 1975 (The Bootleg Series Volume 5). On this live album, they sound even better than on this recording, with more energy from Dylan and his live band. They're both worth owning, though.

I've definitely softened to Desire, and though I don't think it ranks at the top of Dylan's masterpieces, I think it's a really enjoyable listen with a ton of great things going for it. Hope you enjoy!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
One of Dylans Best 5 Jan 2007
By M. Vesey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
My first copy of desire was when it came out on vinyl many years ago - some of what I consider Bob Dylans best work. Every Dylan fan needs this one in their collection.
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