32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
One of the most important works of the 20th century,
This review is from: Highway 61 Revisited (Audio CD)
Dont listen to the guy who gave this 1 star. It is obvious that he doesnt realise that poetry doesnt need a political gain...
This album is as rough and ready as it comes. It sounds like it was a whirlwind session, as if everone ran into the studio to record it all in one go, one take each song, before everyone legged it out of the studio once again to follow Dylan on the next leg of his creative evolution. The song that sounds the worst on this album is Like a Rolling Stone; a fantastic song, powerful and spiteful in all its other forms, but the sound of the original is, dare I say it, horrendous. Listen to that 'chuga-a-lug-lug' guitar in the middle of the mix (possibly Dylan) especially when he loses the timing.
I always thought Tombstone Blues would've made a better start. This is a stonking song; violent, fast, like a steam train driving through your stereo. Dylan's voice on this is wonderful, so full of character, especially when he slyly and dirtily sneers "stop all this weeping, swallow your pride. You will not die, it's not poison" (my interpretation of this line doesn't bare thinking about!). The length of this song is impressive too. How they kept up that beat for the entire length of the song is a mystery.
It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry and From A Buick 6 are sublimely sluggish songs, kind of like (I can only imagine) rolling slowly down a muddy hill, but they still dont lose that loose urgency that appears with the other songs. Ballad of a Thin Man is possibly the dirtiest, most metaphorical song I've ever heard and is delivered with that same disgust and foreboding that poor old Mr Jones must feel for himself.
Highway 61 Revisited returns to the same powerhouse stomp-a-long as Tombstone Blues and is similar too in its humorous, character driven lyrics, a quality of his songs I have always loved. Just Like Tom Thumb Blues is a good song, but every time I hear this version, I have to go put on the vastly superior version from the Bootleg Series vol 4.
Now...what words can I use to describe Desolation Row? Nothing that will do it justice, that's for sure. One of my favourite songs of all time and certainly one of the most beautiful I've ever heard. Again, a wonderful character driven song, featuring Romeo, Cinderella, Casanova, Betty Davis, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Einstein, The Phantom of the Opera, T.S Eliot and others. The imagery that this song envokes and the gorgeous poetry it is formed around is made all the better in its heartfelt delivery. This is a song that I can listen to again and again; indeed, I never really want it to end. During the last harmonica solo, I am always anticipating that hidden verse I've always missed, that perhaps this time his voice will kick in again and the song continues in an everlasting roam. Of course, this never happens, the song comes to a close and all I can do is play it again from the start.
Please, buy this album, because if you have any kind of creative bone in your body then this will serve as the greatest of inspirations. Some of the most beautiful use of the English language ever is contained in this album, of which Dylan is one of the true great masters. His voice may not be to everyone's taste, but the poetry he writes and the way he delivers it makes his songs truly beautiful. When Dylan writes and sings a song, you know he's not messing about...he TRULY means it.
What kind of genius writes like that? The best kind...
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Initial post: 29 Sep 2011 18:50:40 BDT
C. Harry says:
I happen to have the exact same interpretation of said line in tombstone blues - glad to know I'm not the only one ;)!
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