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Street-Legal Original recording remastered

4.5 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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The Ultimate Music Guide to Bob Dylan
Read more about Bob Dylan in Dylan: The Ultimate Music Guide. With essays on all his albums alongside rare photographs and archive content from the NME and Melody Maker, it's a definitive overview of Dylan's brilliant life in music.
£3.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 11 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
The Ultimate Music Guide to Bob Dylan
Read more about Bob Dylan in Dylan: The Ultimate Music Guide. With essays on all his albums alongside rare photographs and archive content from the NME and Melody Maker, it's a definitive overview of Dylan's brilliant life in music.

Amazon's Bob Dylan Store


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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 Mar. 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Columbia Records
  • ASIN: B0001M0KFM
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  Mini-Disc  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,328 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Changing Of The Guards
  2. New Pony
  3. No Time To Think
  4. "Baby, Stop Crying"
  5. Is Your Love In Vain?
  6. Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
  7. True Love Tends To Forget
  8. We Better Talk This Over
  9. Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By KaleHawkwood TOP 100 REVIEWER on 22 April 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I bought the LP back in `78 I took it home and played it back to back all afternoon, hardly able to believe how stunningly good it was (especially coming after the peerless trio of Planet Waves, Blood on the Tracks & Desire) and over the years have been mystified by the critical mauling it`s received.
One of the things that first drew me to Dylan, as an idealistic boy in the early 60s, was not only his lyrics but the texture of his music. Street-Legal has texture to spare. There`s a generous density to this music, an almost gospelly feel to much of it (his next 3 LPs were the musically rich if lyrically dodgy `religious` albums) and Bob sings his heart out. Just give an ear to what, for me, are two of his greatest songs, True Love Tends to Forget, and the the gloriously cathartic Where Are You Tonight, with its joyous cry at the song`s climax - and the album`s climax too:

"I can`t believe it, I can`t believe I`m alive!"

It`s one of the most exultant moments on any Dylan song.
Then there`s the superb Senor, a long and intricate classic song with a killer opening line:

Senor, senor,
Do you know where we`re headin` -
Lincoln County Road or Armageddon?

The whole song is as fabulously quotable.
What`s so delicious about the whole of Street-Legal (don`t forget that hyphen!) is that it gets better the more it goes on, and the more one listens to it. `Side 2` has what has always sounded to me like a cohesive suite of songs beginning with the wrily wonderful, forcefully sung Is Your Love in Vain? and finishing with the simply astonishing Where Are You Tonight?
This is one Dylan album to play as loud as you dare. I was lucky enough to hear the man himself perform two-thirds of it, loud and in good voice, at Blackbushe Aerodrome in the summer of its release.
I`m playing the CD now as I type this.
God, it`s good!
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Format: Audio CD
I own over 2500 vinyl LPs & Singles & a few hundred CD's. I've been enthralled with music of all genres since age 12. I first listened to "Street Legal" shortly after it's release in 78 and it totally blew me away. This was, is and will always be my favourite piece of music ever. Dylan covers everything in these grooves; lust, love, politics, death, despair, hope and the spirituality that has been an undercurrent in his previous work. No music lover should die without hearing this great album. Forget about the muddy production and the dated brass & backing singers, instead concentrate on that superlative voice, the complex lyrics and the wonderful songs. Dylan's singing has never sounded so committed or powerful. Dylan was at a low point in his personal life when he cut this record proving that genius operates best in the dark. My personal high point is "Where Are You Tonight? (Journey through Dark Heat)" Anyone who has survived the horror of a divorce with kids and/or substance abuse should relate to this epic of despair & hope. Really there is not a single weak track on the record. I went and got myself a SACD player specifically to listen to Street Legal and hear more detail, what more can I cay, you must beg, borrow or buy this record!
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Format: Audio CD
STREET-LEGAL has a rather curious history among Dylan fans. Released in 1978, the album met rather mixed reviews, and the actual mix of the album displayed some real sound problems to the point of being very distracting. A lot of people at the time noticed, however, that Dylan was back to writing songs as dense lyrically as anything he wrote in the 1960s. Some critics felt he dressed the songs up in arrangements that worked against the lyrical structures of the song, and the songs would have been much better served had they not been recorded in "Las Vegas" arrangements. The overall critical consensus of the work, STREET LEGAL is a mixed bag, with the big band arrangements, backing vocals, and horn section working in opposition to the very dense lyrics that this album portrays. The critics have a heyday with Dylan's later output, and while some of it is dreck, a lot of it is underrated, even the generally panned 1980s output (mostly EMPIRE BURLESQUE), and this is no exception.

First thing's first, however. When STREET LEGAL was first issued, due to bad recording techniques, the mix was horrible. SL was mixed so badly it didn't even sound like a professional release. Then Don DeVito in 1999 remixed it using digital technology, which greatly enhanced the album. When Columbia remastered and released much of the Dylan catalogue in 2003 on the SACD CDs, STREET LEGAL benefitted the most of all, and now the initial mix problems have all been resolved. It sounds much better. The SACD technology is really amazing.

Second, STREET-LEGAL sports a strong selection of songs. I think had the arrangements been simplified and recorded more in the line of BLOOD, STREET-LEGAL would be considered an unqualified masterpiece.
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Format: Audio CD
This was always a great Dylan album, let that first be said. But this remastered recording is even better if that were possible. The main grumble us Dylan fans had with this record was in its rather murky production. It is not often that a Remaster can add much value to the original but this is one case where the difference is certainly noticeable and this reissue basically catipults this album up to the same level as 'Blood On The Tracks' and 'Desire' no less in my opinion. And so completing the perfect trilogy we always suspected was there in the first place. The songs were already there in my opinion, but it was only the muddy production which prevented this album from being regarded as on a par with those two timeless albums.
No Longer.
Indeed. if the quality of the opening track 'Changing Of The Guards' were to have been maintained throughout the album we would most likely be talking about 'Street Legal' as some kind of Zenith of Dylan's entire career. As it is the rest of the album is not of the same sublime quality as this quite incredible opening track. But what a track. Jesus. I reckon this track is up there with his very best. With its deeply moving if inpenetrable lyric and rousing melody this is up there in Dylan's Top Five Songs ever in my opinion.
'New Pony' is an acquired taste. But it is raucous and biting in its impact, such a great vindictive lyric (if you're not Sara on the receiving end that is of course). The sax and guitar solos are suitably dirty, perfectly matching the malicious lyrics. But just as one feels guilty rejoicing in such a track as one does on Lennon's attack on McCartney on his 1971 track 'How Do You Sleep', here we have the same dilemna. It is a thoroughly unpleasant lyric, but a great song all the same.
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