There are 22 reviews of this album on amazon.co.uk, and you might well ask what on earth I can write that hasn`t already been said. My initial response would be "You`ve got some attitude, Mr!", but the short answer is I can add nothing; but that doesn`t mean I don`t feel I should write something to express how breathtaking it is.
I`m too young to have a context in terms of society or where Dylan was in his life in `74, so I`ll just keep it simple. I normally listen to hard rock, and some friends don`t like the sound of Dylan`s voice on his earlier work; this definitely is more accessible. Only in terms of sound though - not content. "Idiot Wind" is mind-blowing, containing some chilling imagery, and terrific delivery, and followed by as contrasting a piece as possible, "You`re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go"...your head is still reeling and it`s like putting a Gainsborough next to a Goya - both masterpieces but the juxtaposition is the killer. I hope that makes sense! This album meets whatever need you may have as a listener. "Shelter From The Storm" is another wonderful song, preceded by "If You See Her, Say Hello", where Dylan`s voice sounds as though it`s genuinely drowning in emotion, especially when compared with the bile of "Idiot Wind"...it`s just one stunning moment after another, one great line after another, one great song after another...I`ve tried to avoid simple song for song explications, as it`s an album that needs to be listened to in it`s entirety to be appreciated as it should be. If you`ve got any doubts about this purchase, dispel them and buy it, as your jaw will hit the floor, more than once.
on 27 July 2006
This album is monumental. No longer is Dylan the whiny, cocky kid from Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde and Bringing it all Back home. Here, he shows that he is all too human. The idiots who treated Dylan as their "messiah" find that he is the same as us all, that he does suffer trials and tribulations. It opens with the magnificent Tangled Up in Blue which is quite simply an epic piece of storytelling. Simple twist of fate
is possibly the saddest song about love ever written. Lonesome when you go is great (sounds like something Elvis would have sung) and meet me in the morning is catchy. Then there is Idiot Wind. Without a doubt the nastiest song Ive ever heard as Dylan spits his venom at all those who have double crossed him. You can actually hear his anger and resentment burst from the song and it is a truly masterful piece of dark dark poetry. All in all, the only following albums that come anywhere near close are Desire and Oh Mercy.
on 12 October 2006
Listen to this loud and alone,without distractions,and have the lyric sheet near at hand.This will make you think,listen again and think some more.In possibly his greatest work Dylan expresses one or more emotions to which we can all relate somewhere or at sometime.If you want the antithesis of manufactured image driven substanceless pop you have found it.
Although there was some very good intervening material,Dylan would not produce anything of this quality again until 1997 when Grammy winner Time Out of Mind enriched our lives and on which his masterpiece Not Dark Yet appears.
One of these two is his best and which may depend on your mood when you listen.
Blood On The Tracks best track? That is a very difficult question and in many ways it only exists as a whole work but,if pressed, Shelter From The Storm. Pure Genius
Bob Dylan's 'Blood on the Tracks' is one of the most talked about albums of all time and having recently discovered it's contents I can now understand why.
To me Bob Dylan was the whining voice that played incessantly in my frequent visits to hippy run record shops in my punk days of youth. An endless drone that seemed directionless and empty.
Now, at the grand old age of 37, I decided it was about time that I investigated the work of the great man and what a work this is.
Essentially folk / blues in it's make up, this is a collection of songs of intense quality and breathtaking emotion. Dylan is on spectacular form and delivers each track with the depth of feeling that suggests he was personally involved with the story line of each one.
This is one of the finest albums I have ever heard and has been played to death since I bought it. I defy anyone not to connect with one or two of the songs and would describe it as educational and essential for any music lovers collection.
on 5 June 2008
Just a note for anyone who, like me, wants to buy a CD version of this, after the old vinyl copy's become battered. Has Dylan's singing ever sounded so fresh, so full of intent and invention? It's a bizarre idea, as one reviewer here suggests, to listen to this while reading the lyric sheet; for every sentence, each word, is crystal-clear, the voice full of tautness and intelligence. On this CD (remastered?) version, the voice sits slightly apart from the instruments, not muffled behind them. A stunning performance.
on 30 July 2005
Some personal stuff first: hearing Tangled Up In Blue under the bedclothes on late night radio, when I should have been revising for O' Levels, first turned me on to this album - and to the power of poetry and the blues. Until punk came along and shifted my musical axis, this album was rarely off my turntable...ultimately the turntable broke and got replaced by a CD player, so that it has been twenty years since I listened to this album. I finally got around to buying it on CD 6 months ago - and it sounds as great and moving as it first did to the callow teenager under the bedclothes.
There's never been a doubt about Dylan's lyrical ability, but the poetry, combined with narrative flow, of Tangled Up in Blue, Simple Twist of Fate and Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts turn them into real "tours de force". The emotional connection that You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go, If You See Her, Say Hello and Shelter From the Storm make - and the sweet bitterness of Idiot Wind and Buckets of Rain - really hit the spot. Oh - and the melodies are strong too. These are Dylan tunes you can hum along too, if you're so inclined.
Surely every music lover has this album already?
Dylan may not be my favourite artiste of all time - but if I could take just one album with me when I die, it would be this one.
on 24 May 2004
Described simply but accuratley by many as 'the ultimate break-up album', Dylan manages to convert raw emotion into 10 tracks of musical genius. Despite releasing a number of strong albums in the late 60s and early 70's, critics remained skeptical as to whether Dylan would ever reach the heights of talent that he had exhibited in the 60's with legendary albums like Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61 Revisted. Dylan's credibility as a legendary songwriter was instantly restored with this 1975 release, documenting the unraveling of his marriage. One of the clear stand-out tracks is 'Idiot Wind', a seven minute long outpouring of bitterness and hatred, exquisitely crafted by Dylan's unique style. Whilst 'Idiot Wind' is a highlight, every track shines, and this album is both essential for even the most casual of Dylan fans, as well as the perfect starting point for the uninitiated.
The 2003 remastering of the album has only served to accentuate the 'bare-bones' atmosphere of the album, making you feel as if you're right there in the studio listening to Dylan pour his heart out.
Bob Dylan: Planet Waves (1974)
The precursor to Blood On The Tracks, a much more positive albums, but still emotionally driven and lyrically complex.
Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (1991)
An all encompassing 3CD release, with endless highlights, but worth buying if only for the alternative versions of several of the standout tracks from Blood On The Tracks.
The undisputed singer-songwriter champ/people's poet of the Sixties was all but commercially washed up by 1974. Neither the weedy "Dylan" from 1973 nor "Planet Waves" from 1974 were good as whole albums with only "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue" and "Knocking On Heaven's Door" showing that old melody and lyrical magic. A pointless live double "Before The Flood" with The Band followed in July of 1974 and smacked of contract filler - damaging his reputation further. But come early the following year - all that lost faith was about to change...
Fast forward to April 1975 - and I'm scouring the singles boxes in Dublin's cool and trendy Dandelion Market (a sort of indoor Camden Town). Dealers would collect ex chart singles that were a few weeks past their sell-by-date from the city's abundant record shops and flog them for 50p or less. New and in their label bags - you'd pick up deals and take chances on new names. So I'm flicking through the Dawn and Bell label bubble gum pop when I spot "Tangled Up In Blue" by Bob Dylan on its Orange and Yellow CBS Records label (3160). I paid my 50p, took it home and hoped for the best when I put the needle down. My jaw promptly fell to the kitchen lino...and in many unhygienic ways...its been there ever since...
There can't be too many Dylan nuts who don't worship at the feet of CBS Records S 69097 and Columbia PC 33235 released January 1975 in the States and February 1975 in the UK. Charted at 4 in Blighty but going all the way to the top in America - "Blood On The Tracks" signalled that the man was back - and how. In all truth he hadn't sounded this vital (or confused) since "Blonde On Blonde" in 1966.
Let's get to the CD - two standard versions in 1989 and 1993 preceded the real deal - a proper remaster on a 2003 Columbia SACD Hybrid CD that contained both an SACD layer and a Standard STEREO mix. Easily available in a glossy card digipak - it has beautiful sound quality and should be enough for most. But this is Bob Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks" and if I can attain another microscopic ounce of audio quality out of yet another release - I'm gonna spend money on that sucker. So I bought this gorgeous USA-Only Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab audiophile pressing - and I'm thrilled I did. Here are the buckets of rain...
1. Tangled Up In Blue
2. Simple Twist Of Faith
3. You're A Big Girl Now
4. Idiot Wind
5. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
6. Meet Me In The Morning [Side 2]
7. Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts
8. If You See Her, Say Hello
9. Shelter From The Storm
10. Buckets Of Rain
USA released November 2012 (February 2013 in the UK) - this issue of "Blood On The Tracks" is an "Original Master Recording" CD on Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab UDSACD 2098 (Barcode 821797209861). An Audiophile Hybrid Edition - it has both SACD and DSD CD layers and does not require an SACD player for playback (it will automatically default to the DSD CD layer once in standard machines). The transfer from the original master tapes used Mobile Fidelity's patented ULTRADISC UHR GAIN 2 Remaster System with mastering by ROB LoVERDE (assisted by SHAWN R. BRITTON). It's a straightforward 10-track transfer of the album at 51:48 minutes housed in oversized hard card repro artwork. An inner gatefold black and gold card sleeve houses the gold CD (itself in a gauze protective) and there's a numbered (embossed) square on the rear cover.
When you first hear the opening triple-whammy of brilliance - "Tangled Up In Blue", "Simple Twist Of Faith" and "You're A Big Girl Now" - the differences to my ear are the acoustic guitars and the beautiful clarity to the bass - they're floating around the room but not drowning out his impassioned vocals. The high hats and drum taps on "Big Girl" are crystal clear but again they're not amped to a point where they take over. It's properly beautiful stuff.
And as everyone now knows the album revolved around the dissolution of his marriage - so the lyrics and songs flit between apathy and stupor ("Meet Me In The Morning") to slighting bitterness ("Idiot Wind") and a sort of hurting reconciliation ("If You See Her, Say Hello"). But then they come roaring back to simplicity and lingering affection ("Shelter From The Storm" and "Buckets Of Rain"). Dylan ends Side 1 with the short but oh so sweet "You're Gonna Make Lonesome When You Go". It's typical of the album - confessional yet still guarded - its Sixties throwback sound and vocals has to be one of his loveliest songs -with lyrical rhymes that thrill to this day (words from it title this review). The smacking of the acoustic guitar strings on "Buckets Of Rain" have fabulous clarity and that double bass in the background is warm and full too. Wonderfully done...
In some respects it's a shame Columbia simply don't just get on with it and do a DELUXE EDITION of this most iconic of his albums - maybe they will with its 40th Anniversary looming in 2015. There are two outtakes on Biograph and a further four on "The Bootleg Series Volumes 1 - 3" and with the original withdrawn album mix - would make a corker of a reissue.
In the meantime - if it's the best sound you want - then the spondulicks spent on this lovely reissue of "Blood On The Tracks" will pay dividends...
Dylan may have written better songs but many of his albums are patchy enough in terms of songwriting or performing and Blood on the Tracks is top quality throughout, his best since Highway 61, ten years before. Indeed, although amazingly poorly represented on Best Of Dylan type compilations, the album's first 5 tracks are pretty indispensible in the the Dylan canon - Tangled Up in Blue, Simple Twist Of Fate, You're A Big Girl Now, Idiot Wind and You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. From a technical point of view, his voice strains, his guitar is slightly out of tune, the harmonica playing is at times amateurish and the lyrics scan unnaturally but, whaddyaknow, it sounds brilliant. Only Dylan can get away with this! Other standouts are If You See Her Say Hello and Shelter from the Storm but really the album is a wonderfully homogenous whole, variations on the theme of tangled and broken down relationships coming, I believe, at a time when he was having marital problems. Of the other tracks Meet Me in the Morning is simple blues format, Buckets of Rain unassuming and Lily, Rosemary etc is a catchy uptempo story-song that goes on a bit long. In a Desert Island Disc situation this is the Dylan album you'd want to bring along. Powerful stuff and still fresh.
on 7 December 2011
Dylan's vocal ability has been questioned by some over the years, but the lyrical and poetic majesty that is Bob Dylan and had and has never been equalled in popular music was never more profundly,succinctly and painfully put onto disc until Blood On The Tracks hit the shops in 1975.
Personally, I have never cared for other people singing Dylan's stuff especially when it's as emotional and personal as this material. Called the ultimate break up record by the most discerning critics it was especially poignant when I heard it, going through a break up myself. Everything that I felt at all levels of my being but could not express was pin pointed concisely and magically presented to me on this record.
Tangled Up in Blue, a time mixed narative which alternates between 'then', 'now' and 'when' and the narator switches from 'me' to 'him' in a verse.
Simple Twist of Fate, a simple boy meets girl, falls in love and breaks apart story that ends in a lovers' regret/remorse that leads to him haunting the places where they met and went.
Lily, Rosemary and Jack of Hearts, a western movie put onto record. One of Dylan's masterworks in imagery, story telling and with an ensemble cast of characters.
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go, a poet's lyrical dream with a honeysuckle melody.
If You See Her, Say Hello, it's said the original lyric was too raw and so Dylan softened it. The remnaining song is still a painful and powerful jolt and will trigger unhappy memories to anyone who has loved and lost.
Idiot Wind, could be the most vitriolic attack by a genius against anyone, let alone a spouse. I read somewhere that when Dylan first performed this live, his wife was in the audience - ouch! That must have been the most uncomfortable seat in house that night.
I have played this album repeatedly for over 35 years (on disc, tape, CD and now i-tunes digital format) and it is truly a timeless and classic piece of work that in my humble opinion has never been equalled.