31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
A soundtrack - but so good,
This review is from: Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid (Audio CD)
Having come to this album through the film, I never cease to be amazed at how Bob Dylan got this so right. Usually, soundtracks are bitty and without the film action to guide them, seem spare. This is not the case of PAT GARRETT..., which is so convincing an album in its own right. I guess the style fitted in well with his own country blues leanings of BLONDE ON BLONDE and the later BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, (which must have been his reward from the Byrds and their having used so many of his songs in the past).
Dylan threads his themes very well, and there is a touch of repetition that might have been borrowed from classical sources (to the great benefit of the album). While most songs are country folk, I like "Turkey Chase" which is heading into Bluegrass, with I guess Roger McGuinn on banjo. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" is also well-positioned on the album, and pops up almost as a surprise due to the size of its popularity.
I have only one slight, slight quibble (oh, here it comes...); the two versions of "Billy" at the end do have the feeling that Dylan pre-empted the modern practice of bonus tracks without ever having gone through the re-issue phase. These two versions do seem a little bit tagged on at the end, but memory fails me, and I cannot say for sure if they are used in the film or not (last seen in 1995 by myself). That said, it is interesting to see Dylan playing with the lyrics, his voice, and choice of instrumental styles - all three versions of "Billy" are both different and sit well enough to make it difficult to say which is best (which is probably why all were included). Also Dylan's playful humour comes out more in these versions.
To be honest, it may be sacrilegious to say, but I would have to say that this is my favourite Dylan album, which is almost embarrassing to admit BECAUSE it is a soundtrack.