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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 31 July 2001
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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on 11 March 2010
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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on 29 January 2008
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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on 21 December 2013
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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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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VINE VOICEon 17 June 2007
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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on 25 March 2016
Have to say I felt I was missing out by not having some of Bob's 80s catalogue so I got this, 'Empire Burlesque' and 'Infidels' in one go. Hmmm, maybe giving them the swerve previously was not such a bad idea on reflection.
'Knocked Out Loaded' is the worst Bob Dylan album I have ever heard, I just can't find one redeeming feature even the presence of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers together on one track - they play individually on some tracks too - can't save the day. 'Brownsville Girl' is the most talked-about track on the album but it's scraping the barrel.
This is one album which is best avoided!
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on 18 February 2012
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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on 4 September 2013
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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on 25 June 2016
Great service and great value addition yo my Dylan collection
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