Three and a half stars, really. Judged by Dylan's own standards, this album is average but it does contain some gems that no fan should be without. The faster paced rock songs like the flowing Let's Stick Together, the humorous Ugliest Girl In The World with its RnB backing vocals and Sally are merely alright, not bad but not particularly memorable either. Eric Clapton provides some impressive guitar to Had A Dream About You Baby, whilst the track Silvio is quite buoyant and catchy in a lightweight pop way. None of these is lyrically profound but some of the slow ballads are.
These slow songs are the best by far. Most of them are melancholy and all of them are tuneful. Although it does contain some frightening, perhaps prophetic imagery, Death Is Not The End is a simple and comforting masterpiece embellished by his trademark harmonica and soulful backing vocals. Ninety Miles An Hour is powerful with haunting lyrics, the traditional Shenandoah - also with bursts of harmonica - gets a gospely treatment over a lilting beat and the album concludes on a high note with the yearning lament Rank Strangers To Me. These atmospheric songs remind me of his albums Saved, Shot Of Love and Infidels.