I love Dylan, I mean I have the lot, everything he's done, but I never gave this one the time of day. Why? Well... it's Under the Red Sky, I mean it's a dud, right? Well actually no, it's isn't half bad. Of course if you're going to compare this with The Freewheelin' or Desire or "Love & Theft" it's utterly disposable, if you're looking for faultless Dylanesque poetry then Wiggle Wiggle and Handy Dandy aren't going to make the grade. But! If you can take this album for what it is then you're in for a nice surprise; this is Dylan doing what he wants; this is his 90's Nashville Skyline, or maybe his John Wesley Harding, if Oh Mercy had signaled and end to Dylan's desperately trying to sound contemporary (Empire Burlesque, Down in the Groove etc), then Under the Red Sky is a continuation of that 1989 gem.
One irony is that Oh Mercy and this album lack any stone cold masterpieces, on his much weaker albums we have Dark Eyes, Brownsville Girl, Every Grain of Sand, Jokerman etc, whereas everything here is of a consistently great but never spectacular nature. Born in Time is perhaps the most enduring tune here (a superior version can be found on Tell Tale Signs though), Wiggle Wiggle isn't half as bad as the name infers, TV Talking Song is another stab at Tweeter & The Monkey Man, and there are a bunch of nursery rhymes. And fundamentally that's what this album is, Bob Dylan singing nursery rhymes in a funky 90's style, he'd just had a child (or so i'm led to believe), he was singing for his kids, and if that isn't a worthy sentiment then what is?