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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the critics say
In the last song Under your spell-comes a line which gives this album its title-"knocked out loaded"-and it came from a song of the 40s called Junco Partner.
That's what I like about Dylan's music-he grabs stuff from everywhere.
Take the first song You wanna ramble-its a little known one from Junior Parker-the man who wrote Mystery Train and Feelin' Good...
Published on 29 Jan 2008 by Richard

versus
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Knocked Out Loaded
No masterpiece, clearly, Knocked Out Loaded is better than some say. Listen to the joyful exuberance in 'Precious Memories'. Enjoy the engaging surrealism when the child choir kicks in on 'They Killed Him'. The wonky gospel trimmings have the power to surprise and delight this listener (when in the right mood). Lyrically, 'Brownsville Girl' is different to pretty much...
Published on 11 Mar 2010 by Dave Gilmour's cat


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Knocked Out Loaded, 11 Mar 2010
By 
Dave Gilmour's cat (on Dave Gilmour's boat) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Knocked out loaded (Audio CD)
No masterpiece, clearly, Knocked Out Loaded is better than some say. Listen to the joyful exuberance in 'Precious Memories'. Enjoy the engaging surrealism when the child choir kicks in on 'They Killed Him'. The wonky gospel trimmings have the power to surprise and delight this listener (when in the right mood). Lyrically, 'Brownsville Girl' is different to pretty much everything else in Dylan's catalogue (or anyone else's, come to think of it): much to enjoy there. 'Under Your Spell' is a pretty good ballad and works well as a closer. If this was on another Dylan album (perhaps at the end of Infidels), people might rate the song more highly.

Okay, the '1980s rock' stylings and the booming drums don't work, but at least Bob was trying something different with a 'modern' sound. It would presumably have been easy enough for him to knock out ten acoustic songs and get rave reviews, but he bravely chose another path.

Knocked Out Loaded is an interesting experiment, despite (because of?) the parts where it doesn't quite work. Even Dylan's lesser works are worth hearing. This isn't the case with most artists.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A weak outing from Bob containing a hidden treasure., 31 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Knocked out loaded (Audio CD)
Knocked out Loaded is a typical Bob Dylan album of the 80s; it's not very good. After Dylan's religious ramblings he had been left with little credability as an artist and would not regain any until 1989's Oh Mercy. Knocked Out Loaded is a weakly put together album of material that Dylan is far superior too. Tracks like "You Wanna Ramble" and "Driftin' Too Far From Shore" will not go down as Dylan classics, and even though "They Killed him" is much more melodic it still hits no highs. If it wasn't for "Brownsville Girl", Knocked Out Loaded would not be worth a listen. "Brownsville Girl" is a long (12 minute) story about a girl, Henry Porter and Gregory Peck; at least I think it is! Basically it's a fabulous song with excellent lyrics, for example: "If there's an original thought out there, I could use it right now." Knocked Out Loaded was one of the last Dylan albums I bought, basically because by then I wanted all of Dylan's work. Don't buy it if you're just getting in to Dylan, it'll turn you right off. Do buy it if you're a hardened Dylan fan, and know that no matter what you'll still enjoy it!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the critics say, 29 Jan 2008
This review is from: Knocked out loaded (Audio CD)
In the last song Under your spell-comes a line which gives this album its title-"knocked out loaded"-and it came from a song of the 40s called Junco Partner.
That's what I like about Dylan's music-he grabs stuff from everywhere.
Take the first song You wanna ramble-its a little known one from Junior Parker-the man who wrote Mystery Train and Feelin' Good.
His restructuring of Precious Memories is I suppose unusual and shows imagination
Only 8 songs though as Brownsville Girl takes up over 11 minutes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Knocked out Loaded: Bob Dylan - Got my mind made up, I do not like this album, 3 Sep 2012
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Knocked out loaded (Audio CD)
This 1986 album, the twenty-fourth studio release from icon Bob Dylan is, next to his preceding album `Empire Burlesque', the album I like least in Dylan's back catalogue. It seems to hark back to `Self Portrait', in that it has a couple of uninspiring covers (indicating Dylan's upcoming struggle with writer's bock) followed by several totally bland and instantly forgettable tracks that fail to make any sort of impression. As with most of Dylan's poor albums however, there is one good song that redeems it a little, here it is the mighty `Brownsville Girl'. It's well produced, finds Dylan giving a committed vocal performance and tells a clear story, in which Dylan draws comparisons between himself and his position in the music industry with that of Gregory Peck's character in the classic Western `The Gunfigter'. It seems that he sees himself as the best that there is around, and that every young buck looking to make a name for themselves is trying to bring him down. It's a great song, but the rest of the album is totally uninspiring.

Dylan seems to like Gregory Peck films, as the cover art appears to be a painting of a scene from the excellent `Bravados', another Peck Western. In fact, I would recommend seeing the two Peck films referenced rather than listening to this album. They are much more entertaining. It is almost worth buying the album for Brownsville Girl, but that appears on a couple of Dylan `Best Ofs', so I would recommend getting those instead.

All in all two stars. It's not actually bad (unlike `Empire Burlesque'), just bland an unmemorable. And there is one great song on here to earn it another star.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as all that., 17 Jun 2007
By 
A. Willmer (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Knocked out loaded (Audio CD)
Undoubtedly Dylan is the most important artist of the past one hundred years. Most artists are lucky to have the one seminal album, but how many does the Bobster have? 6? 7? And there in lies the problem for him. Fans and critics alike expect so much from the great man that anything that doesn't quite match up to Blonde on Blonde or Blood on the Tracks is awful.

True, Knocked Out is hardly a classic. But there's enough here to make it a worthwhile addition to most people's cd collections - if not for Brownsville Girl alone!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Bob knocked out, 21 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Knocked out loaded (Audio CD)
Bob Dylan has made many great albums but this is not one of them. Made during the eighties and at a time when he was having a crisis in his song writing, this album should really only be worth 2 stars but for one track the magnificent and epic 'Brownsville Girl' a fabulous song written with playwright Sam Shepard, this song saves this album from being bracketed with such terrible records by Dylan as 'Down in the Groove' and 'Under the Red Sky'. so if you're just coming to Bob Dylan rule of thumb don't start with albums made in the eighties!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Thank God for Brownsville Girl!, 18 Feb 2012
By 
street-legal (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Knocked out loaded (Audio CD)
It is difficult to review an album you have spent a long time avoiding. I find this album as a whole to be the nadir of Dylan's 80's; far more so than its follow up, Down In The Groove (reviewed separately). Clearly devoid of a batch of decent ideas, Dylan didn't hang around waiting for inspiration. He just kept releasing albums in a perhaps misguided attempt to prove that something was better than nothing.
Had this been an e.p. containing the four better songs - You Wanna Ramble, Brownsville Girl, Got My Mind Made Up and Under Your Spell it would have been a reasonable critical success. But the four tracks not included in that list drag this album down, and worse, they all run concurrently. They Killed Him is just awful, with a children's choir sounding something like a Sesame Street sing-along. Driftin' Too Far From Shore has that nasty 80's drum sound as if somebody is bashing an empty cardboard box with a wooden spoon, and the other two sail past without making any impression whatsoever.
The good ones are a different matter altogether. You Wanna Ramble is actually quite a cool opener, a great little rock and roll shuffle. Got My Mind Made Up was co-written with Tom Petty (who recorded his own version) and definitely sounds that way. Its almost a pre-Wilbury, Wilbury track. Under Your Spell is co-written with Carole Bayer-Sager and, while not earth-shattering, is a perfectly respectable love song. Had it appeared on something like Infidels it would have achieved far more credit than it got.
Which brings us to Brownsville Girl, a collaboration with Sam Sheppard. Once upon a time, Dylan would have been proud to have kicked the album off with this, or at least finished with it, but for some reason it is buried somewhere on what used to be called side 2. I don't normally go for this kind of overblown production, but this song seems to call for it; the protagonist half remembering a movie and then telling his life like he was living in one. Some of the lyrics are absolutely killer Dylan (The one thing we knew for certain about Henry Porter is that his name wasn't Henry Porter), and even at 11 minutes it seems too short. It manages single handedly to turn a rough, badly sequenced album into an average one. Not a bad feat.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knocked out in the eighties, 4 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Knocked out loaded (Audio CD)
Is this the best album in the vast Dylan catalogue ?, probably not!, but like every Dylan album each and every song has a poi'gnancy and relevance to anyone who cares to listen. If you like Dylan and Knocked out and loaded is new to you, i promise you wont be disappointed. Buy it even if it's just to listen to Brownsville girl, as always were ever Dylan is going your right there with him.
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7 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Less Knocked Out More Flabbergasted!, 25 Nov 2004
By 
John Heaton (Budapest, Hungary) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Knocked out loaded (Audio CD)
Empire Burlesque (1985) the previous album was a big enough disappointment following the impressive if flawed Infidels and all the gems that had preceded that album from "Planet Waves" (1974) all the way through to the slightly below par "Shot Of Love (1981). But this album I'm afraid together with the follow up "Down In The Groove" (1987) were the low point of Dylan's entire back catalogue. And they remain so to this day. It's as if Dylan had lost interest. To this album specifically: I can't really defend ONE track, even the so called lost classic "Brownsville Girl". At its considerable length (10+ minutes) it compares to "Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands" (1966) or "Joey" (1975). But "Brownsville Girl" is boring after more than 2 or 3 listenings, basically because the lyrics are so INFERIOR to those afore mentioned classics. Who cares if Gregory Peck gets a mention? I am reminded of a more recent "epic" from "Time Out Of Mind" when Bob actually dares to rhyme Legs with Hard Boiled Eggs. This, or the lyrics on this lamentable album, are not the stuff on which your reputation was built Bob. One suspects that you were extracting the Michael somewhat, and although some fans may have bought it, this one didn't. Happily on "Oh Mercy" (1989) your redisovered your genius. But THIS album is utterly disposable.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Running On Empty, 20 May 2009
This review is from: Knocked out loaded (Audio CD)
I think most people will know the story by now that in the early to mid-80's Dylan tried REALLY hard to impress everybody, something he might have been able to do without any effort only 20 years earlier. The largely patchy and uneven Infidels album hadn't inspired many to flock to the ranks of Dylan supporters although it has its admirers. The best songs were incredulously left off that album and would not see the light of day until 1991's original Bootleg Series release.

His 1985 album and follow-up, Empire Burlesque, was by some margin the best album he made in the 80's although whilst never contemporary, it sounds horribly dated today. On that album Dylan wrote songs like he hadn't written since Blood On The Tracks a decade before; songs about truth, honesty and breakdown in personal relationships. Empire was infused with a sense of a higher power looking over the proceedings, no doubt a reference to the Christianity Dylan had converted to 5 years beforehand. It was nevertheless on Empire that Dylan made his most accessible and direct, secular album since Blood in 1975. Never before had Dylan spent so much time and effort getting everything just right in the mixing and production departments to get the sound he wanted, which is a very dense and heavy sounding production or a dirge, if you prefer. What happened?

Well, the album sank without a trace, but not before the UK and a lot of US critics had maligned it for being sub-standard. Bruce Springsteen once said that if a new songwriter had come along and written the song Sweetheart Like You (Infidels) or produced an album like Empire Burlesque, that they would instantly be called the "New Dylan". How ironic! The critics (in the main) didn't agree and Dylan also now dismisses this album. However, there was a sense that back in 1985 with the new album out and the Biograph retrospective 5LP set released, that Dylan was about to enjoy a renaissance and a period of critical acclaim. I'm certain that he expected some kind of recognition for what should have been received globally as his best album in a decade.

Well the acclaim would not arrive until 1989's grossly over-rated Oh Mercy, by which time we'd already got Knocked Out Loaded. This album was definitely NOT laboured over and consists of throwaway out-takes from Empire marginally revamped and stacked alongside a bunch of luke warm studio out-takes and some utterly lifeless cover versions. Clearly Dylan had given up; he'd lost it and lost the will to go and find it even.

Everybody cites the song Brownsville Girl as the one redeeming feature of this album but without any serious justification. The song is long slow and ponderous; it is also extremely clumsily written and meanders along going nowhere. Put simply, it is a BAD song and most definitely belongs on this album. It is certainly not worth buying this album for it. I would advise skipping all of Dylan's albums from after Empire to Oh Mercy, the long awaited "return to form". Even though the latter album would prove to be nothing very special (and sounds very weak today), it did restore Dylan's credability for a few months, mainly because of the cool clean production values stamped all over the album by Daniel Lanois. It's a shame that half of the songs are very poor.

At least from the perspective of 2009, we can see with albums like Time Out Of Mind and Love & Theft especially, that Dylan's dry period wouldn't last forever. Knocked Out Loaded is the sound of a desperately disinterested man frustrated by the lack of a positive response to his own best effort just prior to this. Leave it in the bargain bins where it's languished since its release in 1986.
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