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4.5 out of 5 stars72
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 29 January 2008
I love this album and believe it is drastically underrated in terms of great Dylan albums.
For me it ranks right up there with Blonde On Blonde, Highway 61, Oh Mercy and Freewheelin'.

It is not typical Dylan record (but then what is?) in that the lyrics are not particularly poetic or obscure. They are simply structured songs with simple lyrics about love and other such light hearted matters, and it only lasts about half an hour.

It is easy to pass it off as a pleasant little country record, but I believe it is far more than that. The songs have hidden depth in that that work their way into your soul. Listening to Nashville Skyline becomes an event that is guaranteed to cheer you up any time of day or night and anywhere. It is my 'turn to' record when I'm not sure what to play or need to sing along and feel good about life.

Quite simply, I adore it. Every track. Especially 'I Threw It All Away', a beautiful song of genius simplicity.

It may not mean as much to everyone as it does to me, but it is worth the purchase just in case it is. Hope you enjoy it!
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VINE VOICEon 10 October 2008
Bob Dylan is one of those artists who elicit an almost spiritual devotion in his true fans and is constantly feted in the musical press( to a rather tedious degree in truth) but i can take him or leave him. There are Dylan albums i love just as there are Dylan albums whose critical acclaim leaves me rather baffled ( "Blonde on Blonde " for instance) Without doubt though the one Dylan album that i would listen to anytime anyplace is Nashville Skyline .
Released in 1969 it is Dylan's 9th studio album and marked a significant departure for Dylan into true rustic country music , although he had already marked a transition into this genre with John Wesley Harding. Dylan had also tired of being the spokesman of a generation so had relocated his family . The notion he said "needed pulling up by it,s roots". Nashville Skyline was part of the process.
Recorded appropriately enough in Nashville the songs have a laid back vibe and Dylan,s voice encapsulates this nicely as he sings in an endearing rough edged croon best illustrated on "Lay Lady Lay"( originally written for the film "Midnight Cowboy [1969]" it became his biggest hit in years) Though this is arguably the best known song off Nashville Skyline there is actually greater quality on the album.
"I Threw It All Away" is just sublime( Later memorably covered with ornamental strings by Scott Walker for the soundtrack of the filmTo Have And To Hold [1996) , "Tell Me That It Is,nt True" is the harrowing sound of a man in denial . "To Be Alone With You" and "Tonight I,ll Be Staying Here With You" are both sprightly statements of intent but still nowhere near as sprightly as the extremely short "Country Pie". There is also the perky instrumental "Nashville Skyline Rag" and the vivacious "Peggy Day" and the oddly sinuous "One More Night".
Best of all though is "The Girl From The North Country " recorded with Johnny Cash. Cash had been recording in the next studio and was a label mate and indeed a friend of Dylan's. They actually recorded many duets but the only one that made the album , in fact opens the album , is their interpretation of the track that originally appeared on the The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan album. I think it works really well and their harmonies and vocal interplay though a little crude are actually all the better for it , giving the song a more natural empathetic feel.
The album was well received critically but in the pantheon of albums by Dylan Nashville Skyline is never considered a classic like Blood on the Tracks or the over-rated Blonde On Blonde . Yet like Desire it is one of the Dylan albums i most enjoy. It,s possibly the most simple and emotional album of his career , an absolute treat from beginning to end.
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on 11 February 2013
I'd never really got what all the fuss was about with Dylan, but I guess he was a Brit before my time.

I can't remember where I heard Lay Lady Lay, but I love that song and after quite a while with just that track on my iPod, I figured I'd give the rest of the album a listening to.

I wasn't disappointed, it's a fun album, with a good mix of tracks. I'm not exactly a convert to Dylan, but like this album.
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on 5 June 2005
I've not been a Bob Dylan fan for all that long but after listening to this album I felt I should give it a bit of praise. The first thing you notice when listening to this L.P is Dylan's voice, it's very different to the Bob I heard on The Freewheelin and Another Side. Though his Bobness is giving his vocals more of a country flavour it doesn't distract from the overall quality of this album. I found opener Girl From The North Country a bit strange on hearing Dylan's vocals but they are matched well against the Man In Black's booming baritone voice. I love Johnny Cash and hearing him duet with Dylan made my day.
Nashville Skyline Rag is a short toe tappin', yee hawin' intrumental thats a nice little stop gap between Girl From ... and I Threw It All Away. A particular favourite of mine from this album, Peggy Day, is a fantastic uplifting tune. Lay Lady Lay is another classic Dylan hit and leaves me in no doubt why he is concidered a genius.
The album just flows from Country toe tap to soft ballad and never lets up. Well deserved of 5 stars and highly recommended to anyone who loves country music.
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VINE VOICEon 29 June 2006
It might be hard to believe, that Dylan could write another bunch of classic tunes, this time in a country style, but that's exactly what he did on this record.

The best thing about it is the concise, pop/country nature of the record that simply does what it's supposed to do, deliver quality pop tunes with his usual lyrical dexterity. There's a tremendous comment from Johnny Cash on the sleevnotes that says all you need to about Dylan. A master at work.
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on 2 October 2007
When NASVHILLE SKYLINE came out in 1969, it was a shocking album to a large portion of Dylan's fan base. Never one to be backed into labels and corners, Dylan largely turned his back on the growing political and cultural turmoils of the day, and instead made a simple country album. Another surprising element, not expected at all the public, was how different Dylan's actual voice sounds from the rest of his 1960s output. He is singing in a soft, country croon, in a voice as smooth as good whiskey, and a total departure from his earlier, more nasal singing style. The album was popular and sold well, but Dylan was taken to task over the slight nature of some of the material.

This is the first album in what is known as Dylan's domestic period, which lasted from 1969 to 1975. The subject matter and musical direction Dylan primarily explored during this era was one of domestic and family matters, which makes sense as that was his primary priorities at the time. Ultimately, this period would culminate in the 1975 masterpiece, BLOOD ON THE TRACKS.

The songs themselves are simple and direct. Eschewing the complex poetics of his electric trilogy and the socially aware lyrics of his earlier protest music, Dylan instead wrote simple love songs and lyrics much more in line with the country music of the day.

The album itself is very brief, only a mere twenty seven minutes long. This album offers several strong compositions, including the major hits "Lay, Lady, Lay," "Tell Me It Isn't True," and "Tonight I'll Be Staying here with You." "Lay, Lady, Lay" was originally written in 1968 (one of the few Dylan songs written during that year) for inclusion in the rated X film "Midnight Cowboy", but was not completed in time. Several of the songs are brief and rather slight, including an instrumental "Nashville Skyline Rag" (Dylan's first instrumental), "Peggy Day", and "Country Pie", the last song only being a mere 1:35 long. Due to these rather slight songs, NASHVILLE SKYLINE appeared to indicate that Dylan was having trouble coming up with original material, due to the brevity of the album (it is still Dylan's shortest studio album to date), and that the opening cut, a duet with Johnny Cash, is a song recycled from the 1963 album, FREEWHEELIN' BOB DYLAN.

Of the three hit singles, "Lay, Lady, Lay" proved to be his most well known. "Lay, Lady, Lay" was Dylan's last top twenty single of his career.

Though this is all descriptive of the album itself, it does not fully explain the history and context of the album. Too better appreciate and understand people's reaction and Dylan's motivation, and to get a more complete perspective on this period of Dylan's career, you should know some additional facts.

In the late 1960s, America was going through revolutionary times, both culturally and socially. Music, drugs, and wild lifestyles were brushing up against more conservative types. Racial riots occurred in several major cities. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated within months of each other. President Nixon began his administration. Viet Nam was still an extremely hot political topic. The United States was very divided.

Rock music played a large part in this 1960s cultural changes, and Bob Dylan was a large part of those changes. Lots of people, both the press and the youth culture, looked at Bob Dylan as a "spokesman of a generation," a statement that Dylan firmly rejected. While Dylan by this time had been fairly inactive since 1966, he was still highly regarded as one of the major cultural figures of the 1960s youth culture.

By 1969, the year NASHVILLE SKYLINE came out, Dylan had relocated to Woodstock, New York, trying to live with his family. He had three children, and fatherhood had changed his priorities. He largely been missing in action during most of the late 1960s. He had not toured since 1966. After his motorcycle crash, his musical direction radically changed directions, going from the wild, eclectic surrealism of his electric trilogy to the muted, rustic feel of the late 1967 album, JOHN WESLEY HARDING. Listening to JWH as a followup to BLONDE ON BLONDE, there is a huge disconnect. The missing link, naturally, is the Basement Tapes, which would not be released at all in the 1960s.

While JWH was as different from his electric output as his electric output was different from his acoustic and protest output, the album was a roots-rock music. JWH, just like The Band's BIG PINK album and The Byrds' SWEETHEARTS OF THE RODEO, was definitely in the rock genre but closely tied to country music. It was a hybrid. It was closer to rock than to straight country.

JWH sold well, and is now regarded as a seminal 1960s album that helped influence rock. JWH helped birth the whole country-rock that would become, along with psychedelic music, one of the major rock genres of the late 1960s. However, the public still did not have the Dylan they wanted, a leading figurehead for the counterculture. Dylan was feeling pressured to live up to this role, and his family lost much of their privacy.

When Dylan decided to record a followup to JWH, he decided to pull up the whole notion of his being a spokesman for the generation by "its roots". Returning to Nashville, where BLONDE ON BLONDE was recorded three years previous, Dylan decided to record a straight country album, with steel guitars, brief, simple songs which were all lyrically straight-forward and in some cases rather slight. While JWH flirted with modern country but was still primarily rooted in traditional folk music but played in a rock and roll context, NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a pure country album, through and through. Not only that, Dylan teamed up with Johnny Cash on one number! (Johnny Cash and Dylan recorded a large number of songs during the NS sessions. These recordings are widely available via bootleg, and are of more interest to Cash fans than Dylan fans, as Cash dominates the recordings).

While JWH still helped maintain Dylan's position as a counter cultural hero, NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a deliberate attempt to shed off the idea he was a spokesman for a generation. As Clinton Heylien noted, "if Dylan was concerned about retaining a hold on the rock constituency, making albums with Johnny Cash in Nashville was tantamount to abdication in many eyes."

Due to the described circumstances above, NASHVILLE SKYLINE also marks the first time the critical establishment was rather wary at supporting their favorite nasal-singing troubadour. Though the album was overall positively received, there were diffinite seeds of dischord among various factions of the rock community and the music critics. In a very short time, this critical discontent would explode into a full scale assault with the release of SELF PORTRAIT, although a few (just a few) could have gotten onto this release and sounded right at home

Overall, NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a brief, enjoyable album, and Dylan's only pure country release. Though some of the songs are slight and there's not a lot of material, the album has a nice, direct sound not often heard on a Dylan album. Though his other records from the 1960s are more esteemed, NASHVILLE SKYLINE stands as a proud last addition to his sixties songbook as that era drew to a close, both culturally and in Dylan's own career.
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on 4 January 2012
I have listened to Bob Dylan my whole life long, but I have only just discovered Nashville Skyline (although Lay Lady Lay was played at practically every student disco I went to).

Anyone who thinks Bob Dylan can't sing and is always miserable should listen to Nashville Skyline.
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on 17 July 2004
I am not a country and western fan, but this album really appeals to me. The songs are all short'n'sweet, lyrically simple but good on the theme of relationships etc. Dylan does not sing the way he usually sings on this album: he sings in a smooth, "crooner" way, which annoyed some fans, but he has always been a man/singer of many voices and puts on different styles to suit the style of songs. That's what he does here, and the songs, though kinda country, slightly lonesome and bittersweet, generally also have a positive, self-confident vibe. I've given this four stars mostly because its a very consistent album, but note: as the songs are very short, its only 28 minutes in total!
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This 1969 release, the ninth studio album from icon Bob Dylan, is my absolute favourite of his albums, even above `Highway 61' or `Blood On The Tracks'.

Following the trend set in `67s John Wesley Harding, Dylan goes completely country, with jaunty twanging guitars, and a lighter singing voice that was totally different to the voice he had employed previously. He even teams up with country legend Johnny Cash on the opener `Girl From The North Country', to great effect. What makes it stand out for me is that it is such a happy album. Dylan's best music often came from sublimating his personal adversities into music, with dark and musically powerful tales resulting. But here the man just seems to be very happy, and is trying to transmit that feeling through the music. So an album full of simple odes to love and paeans of happiness results. It's an album impossible to listen to all the way through without having a big wide grin on your face as the music uplifts you. Ant to top it all is the inclusion of `Lay Lady Lay', which I have to say would be one of my desert island discs.

I just love this album. It's got a real feelgood factor, Johnny Cash and one of my all time favourite tracks, Lay Lady Lay. 5 stars unreservedly.
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on 20 August 2011
There are few photos of Dylan not looking either serious/miserable/angry or all three at once.Here though he thinks of all the rock critics who'll foam at the mouth as they listen to his new album of country music.
Nothing really new for Dylan he was getting used to it but once said he never read reviews
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