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  • Down in the Groove [VINYL]
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Down in the Groove [VINYL] Import

21 customer reviews

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Bob Dylan's influence on popular music is incalculable. As a songwriter, he pioneered several different schools of pop songwriting, from confessional singer/songwriter to winding, hallucinatory, stream-of-consciousness narratives. As a vocalist, he broke down the notion that a singer must have a conventionally good voice in order to ... Read more in Amazon's Bob Dylan Store

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Product details

  • Vinyl (16 Dec. 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Imports
  • ASIN: B00004WX3U
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 810,699 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dave Gilmour's cat on 12 Mar. 2010
Format: Audio CD
A mixed bag, that's for sure: Down in the Groove contains some of Dylan's worst 1980s songs (as if harking back to his mid-decade low points) and some wonderful versions of old songs by other people (as if looking ahead to the wonderful covers-of-traditional-songs albums, Good As I've Been to You and World Gone Wrong). This means you get to hear charmless duds such as 'Had A Dream About You, Baby' and 'The Ugliest Girl In The World', alongside Dylan's spritely but not-quite-there version of Wilbert Harrison's 'Let's Stick Together'. Then there's the Infidels outtake, 'Death Is Not The End' (which somehow ended up waiting five years to be released here), and 'Silvio', which may not be his greatest song but which became something of a live favourite (for Dylan, at least).

What makes this album worthwhile is the closing trio of songs. On 'Ninety Miles An Hour (Down A Dead End Street)', 'Shenandoah' and 'Rank Strangers To Me', Dylan sings with conviction and emotion to deliver a compelling spiritual statement that perhaps hints at where he was heading next: the rediscovering of his songwriting muse - with a bleak new twist - on Oh Mercy.

Much to explore and to enjoy here: give this album a chance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 April 2007
Format: Audio CD
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Sept. 2012
Format: Audio CD
This 1988 album, the twenty-fifth studio release from icon Bob Dylan, is the third in a trilogy of what I have always regarded as the worst albums of his career. The preceding `Empire Burlesque' and `Knocked out Loaded' were uninspiring enough, but this finds Dylan at his worst. Dylan was great when he had something to say, but here he has nothing to say, nothing to react against. He is totally uninspired, something that is illustrated by the inclusion of so many covers on the album. Obviously he was not inspired enough to write many songs for the album. And even worse, in his singing and the production Dylan sounds totally disinterested. On his debut album and even on `Self Portrait', he showed that he could make masterful reinterpretations of other people's songs, twisting them to suit his limitations and producing something new and interesting, but here he sounds bored and seems to be just going through the motions. The production doesn't help, for the first time Dylan's voice sounds ragged and croaky - it would be used to good effect on later albums but here the producer doesn't know what to do with it and in places it sounds painful. Especially on his version of the Hank Snow classic `Ninety Miles an Hour (Down a Dead End Street)', which has potential to be the best song on the album, but Dylan's croakings make it a torture to listen to. Contrast this with the following year's masterpiece, `Oh Mercy', in which not only does Dylan find his writing muse but Danny Lanois manages to use the croak to great and moving effect. In the shadow of its mighty successor, `Down In The Groove' fails to shine, and indeed the contrast only highlights it's many shortcomings.

Most of Dylan's poor albums fail because they are uninteresting rather than actually being bad. But I have to say that, along with Empire Burlesque', this is one of the few actually bad albums in Dylan' canon. One to avoid, one star only.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By street-legal on 18 Feb. 2012
Format: Audio CD
First of all, I prefer this as an album to Knocked Out Loaded. Considerably so.
It doesn't have a single song on it with anything like the appeal of Brownsville Girl, but as an album it stands up better. It is a basic rock and roll and folk collection; and with much looking to the skies and saying 'thank you', the worst excesses of 80's production such as horrible drum sounds and swathes of irritating synths, are largely absent. For these reasons, it is perfectly listenable throughout and mostly enjoyable.
Nevertheless, there is still something half-assed about the whole affair. Death Is Not The End is a slightly turgid Infidels reject (directly so, the band is identical), and there are two songs where Robert Hunter has written the lyrics (Ugliest Girl in the World and Silvio). Based on this evidence alone, Robert Hunter can write lyrics about as well as I could rewire a house (I couldn't and wouldn't want to try) and one wonders why he was asked*. There are some pretty good knockabout rock songs; Had A Dream About You Baby springs to mind, for instance. But it is the last three songs, all covers, that actually impress me. Dylan sounds like he really cares about the material and does a rather good job on them, especially the closer - Rank Strangers To Me. I saw him sing this live in 1997 at Wembley Arena and it was probably the one song that really brought the house down, despite it being an excellent all-round show.
One of the reasons why music tends to change subtly over time is that events in the future shape the past as much as the reverse. In 1988, nobody knew that Dylan was less than a year and a ride to New Orleans away from a full critical revival.
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