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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 7 October 2006
If you want a great intro to Dylan, this is a pretty good collection. Be aware, however, that one of his finest, spiky, bitter and twisted songs, "Positively 4th Street", ought to be on here (it's on the vinyl) but isn't. It was a single release from 1965, and still gets airplay from the better DJs; if you like the rest of these songs, and you hear "4th Street" on the radio, you'll want to get it too. Sadly you won't find it easily; it's on the later "Essential" compilation, and it's on Biograph, but that's it, CD-wise. So compare the tracklistings carefully before you choose.
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I was busy learning how to breathe and walk about the time this second Greatest Hits album was released in 1971, so this period of Bob Dylan’s career was quite unknown to me when I became a fan as a teenager. I was familiar with early classics such as Blowin’ in the Wind and Like a Rolling Stone, but the songs featured on this Greatest Hits Volume 2 package have been somewhat overlooked over the years. What few Dylan songs I would hear on the radio were the early wonders featured on the original Greatest Hits album. Thus, this 2-CD set of songs has helped fill a real void in my musical knowledge and experience. Dylan’s remarkable versatility and diverse means of delivering his message are revealed in this collection of songs hand-picked by the man himself. There is great variety here, from up-tempo tracks such as Maggie’s Farm and The Mighty Quinn to slow, romantic ballads like Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You and If Not For You to long, story-telling songs such as Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues and A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall which bear traces of stream-of-consciousness revelatory wonder. What strikes me the most here, though, is the dramatic difference in Dylan’s vocal delivery. Tunes such as Lay, Lady, Lay and Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You feature a rather smooth, even refined voice that bears only a slight resemblance to the gritty vocals of Dylan’s youth and the gravelly potency of his later releases.
The very notion of “greatest hits” almost seems beneath Dylan’s standards. A Dylan “hit” is not necessarily a song that topped the charts; each of these songs is a hit because of the incredible writing and singing that gave it life. Some of these tracks weren’t even popularized by Bob Dylan: All Along the Watchtower, for example, immediately brings to mind Jimi Hendrix. Notwithstanding this, each of these 21 tracks belong heart and soul to the man who wrote them and performed them in his unmatched, unique way. The most significant of these tracks, in my opinion, are Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again, My Back Pages, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, and It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue. Perhaps the most wonderful thing about this compilation, though, is its inclusion of the powerful, previously unreleased recordings Watching the River Flow, Tomorrow Is a Long Time (a live version from 1963, no less), the incredible When I Paint My Masterpiece, I Shall Be Released, You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere, and Down in the Flood.
I think a person needs to have a degree of appreciation of Bob Dylan before introducing himself to the songs on this second volume of his greatest hits. Start with his early classics and/or his critically acclaimed albums of the late 90s and early twenty-first century. Once you are properly grounded in Dylanology, you will marvel at the talent and power displayed on the somewhat neglected and definitely underappreciated tracks featured on this Greatest Hits Volume 2 compilation.
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The 21 tracks on this 1972 release are the same as on 1971's "Greatest Hits, vol. II", and both albums are greatest hits-compilations only in the loosest sense of the word.
1966's "Greatest Hits" was excactly that, Dylan's greatest hits, but this is much more - and in a way even better.
"More Greatest Hits" compile genuine hit singles, rarities and album tracks, making this double album one of the strongest releases in the Dylan catalogue.It starts off with the non-album track "Watching The River Flow" (covered by Joe Cocker among others), which is one of Dylan's best rock songs, and one of the highlights of the album (well, they're pretty much all highlights). And it's this mixture of singles and non-singles that makes this such a fabulous shows the incredible breadth and depth of Dylan's talent much better than a literal hits compilation could have done.
Other highlights include "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again" (one of the longer titles in popular music!), a live version of another non-LP track, "When I Paint My Masterpiece", the simple, country-ish "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight", and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue". But as I said, they're really all highlights. "My Back Pages", "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", "I Shall Be Released", "If Not For You", "Lay, Lady, Lay", "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You", "The Mighty Quinn"....well, you get the picture.
On most of these songs, Dylan is backed by other musicians, making them more immediately accessible than his earliest, sometimes rather harsh folk songs.
All in all, this is a super CD, and should not be missed. "More Greatest Hits" features some of the very best songs recorded by popular music's greatest and most versatile talent, and it proves that there was much, much more to Bob Dylan than just an angry protest singer with a harmonica rack and a handful of weird, stream-of-consciousness narratives.
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on 20 February 2016
Bought this cd for one track only really , that being " Watching the River Flow " I lent the vinyl gatefold to a pal back in 1973 and never saw it again. Always been on the lookout for a replacement ,still am actually because i'm sure the album was titled "Watching the River Flow " although a greatest hits LP it had quite a different content list, in the meantime i'm enjoying this cd set which has arrived in perfect condition for next to nothing . Less than 3 quid ,a used one of course but you can't tell, my thanks to the lady seller,highly recommended.
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on 18 September 2015
Arrived in good condition despite age (He's over 70 you know). Bought for one track unavailable elsewhere. It's Bob of course so therefore brilliant. This is the second review as the first was disallowed for some unfathomable purpose?????????
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on 27 April 2013
Well if you were around in the mid 1950's you will remember the start of rock and roll, then the change in sonds of the sixties, the anti-war scene, CND, flower power and of course folk-rock. Nothing wrong with living in the past and certainly nothing wrong with this Album. Load it up and turn it on. Make sure you are alone , crank up the volume and sing out loud ,YEAHHHHH!
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on 5 February 2016
What a brilliant double disc package this is. I had bought this before but lent it to a friend
and never got it back, so I decided I would buy it again from this supplier , and I am
glad I did . Great track list from an absolute legend in the world of music . Yes , OK Bob
is not for everyone , but I grew up with his music and was in awe of his lyrics , no one
comes close. Although this purchase was used it arrived with discs that were minted .
Will certainly buy from this supplier again
Many thanks, JimiG.
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'Greatest Hits' is a bit of a misnomer, Bob Dylan hardly being a 'hit singles' artist, of course. But, this is a fine collecetion of material, up to the time of its release - 1971. It's notable insofar as it includes the likes of the single-only 'Watching The River Flow' which was Bob in a more rockin' mode, and some live rarities, including 'Tomorrow Is A Long Time', recorded by Elvis Presley, of course. This comp includes examples of Dylan the 'protest singer', Dylan the crooner, but most of all, Dylan in all his innovative, stream-of-consciousness lyricist finery. It's also great fun, too, and you will have fun exploring some of the greatest pop music of the late twentieth century. An endlessly rewarding listen.
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on 7 September 2011
This is a wonderful collection of songs by Bob Dylan first released on vinyl in 1971. However if you are not familiar with Dylan`s work I would not suggest this as a very good starting point. You would be far better off getting one of the other numerous greatest hits compilations that are available. People who are `into` Dylan and want to dig a little bit deeper will love this compilation.
I cannot believe that they have left off " Positively 4th Street " from the vinyl version. How crazy is that ? At least you still get the brilliant and difficult to find " Watching the river flow ".
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on 9 November 2015
Cover pictures were taken during the George Harrison inspired Concert for Bangla-Desh.Dylan so heavily influenced Beatles , Stones, every top band and artist ever since. A true legend of modern music and brilliant songsmith......but what was " Stuck inside the mobile with the Memphis blues again " all about??
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