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Dylan At His Most Heart-Breaking And Personal
on 22 May 2018
Partly prompted by film-maker Todd Haynes’ highly inventive Dylan 'biopic’, I’m Not There, I have just revisited this 1975 masterpiece by the man himself. It’s an album I’ve lived with since its release but, having subsequently gone through periods of punk, reggae, soul, (everlasting) Springsteen, etc., one that had not seen a turntable, cassette deck(!) or CD player for a good 20 or so years. It is rather like running into an old familiar friend and it finds Dylan in wonderfully intimate mood as he reflects mostly tenderly, sometimes angrily and always nostalgically on his (at the time) recent split with his wife. My long-time recollection was that the album’s first four songs were all nailed-on classics but, on re-listening, I can see that there is no duff song amongst the ten here. Dylan’s vocals are on fine form, with much memorably plaintive wailing, revealing the passion behind the man’s typically poetic lyrics.
Personal favourite songs include the haunting Simple Twist of Fate, plus the album’s two magnum opi, the scathing Idiot Wind and the jaunty Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts (the latter song which I’ve always considered an admittedly slightly inferior counterpart to Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again). But, probably the pinnacle of the album’s heartfelt emotion is reached on the sublime ballads You’re A Big Girl Now and If You See Her, Say Hello (the latter featuring Dylan on mandolin). A classic album well worth revisiting.