|1. Like A Rolling Stone|
|2. Tombstone Blues|
|3. "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry"|
|4. From A Buick 6|
|5. Ballad Of A Thin Man|
|6. Queen Jane Approximately|
|7. Highway 61 Revisited|
|8. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues|
|9. Desolation Row|
Still, escaping fundamentalists from whatever cult they belong to is no bad thing, and it was a newly-liberated Dylan, just days after his controversial appearance at Newport, who recorded Highway 61 Revisited with a rock band in tow. This is the point where Dylan planted both feet firmly on the ground that had been partially turned on 1965’s Bringing It All Back Home, and started digging in. It’s easy to overlook the testy brilliance of “Like A Rolling Stone “on account of its having been part of the musical furniture for the last forty years. Yet the fresh air and fresh ideas, whistling alongside Al Kooper’s soaring organ lines, all add up to this being a 100% classic with one of the great cutting vocal performances to date.
Though comparatively muted at an instrumental level, the “Ballad Of A Thin Man” is no less mordant and biting a put-down. Not all imagery tucked up inside those increasingly florid lyrics plays well but there’s no mistaking the attitude jumping out of every last syllable. The abrasive scrape of his voice meets its match on the boisterous shuffle of “Tombstone Blues” with a spectacular guitar break from Mike Bloomfield ahead of the penultimate verse.
To these ears at least, Dylan works best when he’s at his most concise. Though the purists may find sanctuary in the acoustic-only eleven minute-long “Desolation Row”, and regard any dissention as sacrilege, such verbosity drags slightly upon an invigorating collection of songs which takes things at a brisk pace. --Sid Smith
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Dylan turned the musical world on its head when he went "electric", and the musicians he assembled to back him are legendary; Michael Bloomfield, guitar / Al Kooper, organ & piano / Paul Griffin, piano and organ / Bobby Gregg, drums / Harvey Goldstein, bass / Charley McCoy, guitar / Frank Owens, piano / Russ Savakus, bass. The music they make sounds as fresh today as when I first heard it four decades ago; everyone will have their favorites, mine are "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Tombstone Blues", but all nine tracks are brilliant and powerful.
Fortunately CBS/Sony has released this CD in the same format as the original LP, with Dylan's incomprehensible but terrific liner notes ("On the slow train time does not interfere..."), and with no extra tracks to ruin the feel of the music. It is a recording that is like clear water when compared to the stagnant musical times we live in, and no CD collection is truly complete without it. The sound is excellent and total playing time is 51'37.
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