St. Pauli Stadion
Hamburg, West Germany
31 May 1984
- Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
- Mick Taylor (guitar)
- Ian McLagan (keyboards)
- Greg Sutton (bass)
- Colin Allen (drums)
Down the street the dogs are barkin’
And the day is a-gettin’ dark
As the night comes in a-fallin’
The dogs’ll lose their bark
An’ the silent night will shatter
From the sounds inside my mind
For I’m one too many mornings
And a thousand miles behind
“Bob’s bad stuff is better than other musicians’ best”
Down in the Groove is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan‘s 25th studio album, released by Columbia Records 30 May 1988. Egil here at Johannasvisions rate it as maybe Dylan’s lowest point. Me? I’m not so sure anymore…
It got pretty terrible reviews upon it’s release. Many reviewers compared it to his previous album, Knocked Out Loaded, and not in a favourable way.
“A highly collaborative effort, it was Dylan’s second consecutive album to receive almost unanimous negative reviews. Released during a period when his recording career was experiencing a slump, sales were disappointing, reaching only #61 in the US and #32 in the UK.”
How is it in hindsight? Was it unfairly slated? I think it’s better than reported and as usual Dylan’s standards were expected to be higher than anybody else’s. We cannot expect a masterpiece every time. Can we?
The album was delayed for more than six months and the track listing changed at least three times. The tracks that made the final album come from many different recording sessions spread out over a long time (six years?).
I’ve always thought of it as a strangely confusing album, but it gets less confusing with each listen session. It has some very good cover songs. Let’s Stick together opens the record in an energetic way, I would love to hear it live!
The comes the song I think is not very good at all, the cover When did you leave heaven. Very eighties drum sound, strange production, it just sounds a bit off, I don’t think the song suits Dylan, and it ends kind of funny.
Sally Sue Brown, the third track is another rockn’roll/soul standard that gets a good run through. I prefer Arthur Alexanders classic, but it is not bad at all.
The last three songs on the album are also cover songs (Ninety Miles an Hour (Down a dead end street), Shenandoah and Rank Strangers To Me, and they are all quite good actually.
Continue reading May 30: Bob Dylan released Down In The Groove in 1988
“There must be some way out of here,” said the joker to the thief
“There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth”
..Dylan draws all the power and excitement that has been created by the tour and the two new albums, and unleashes it in a fury into the wide-eyed Carolina crowd. Dylan rants and raves, and spits the vocals out with venom. Every word rings true as if written in his soul. Possibly the finest performance of the extensive tour. The sound quality is nice as well. Rich, bright, and full. Of course, it falls well below the quality of ‘Budokan’; but the fiery performance leaves the official release in ashes.
..By this point Dylan was playing songs from Street Legal, which was recorded with his touring band. Unlike most of his catalog, these tracks were actually enhanced by the big band. On this tape from Charlotte, Dylan is on fire as the band plays killer versions of Street Legal tracks “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power),” “We Better Talk This Over” and “Changing of the Guards.” With the exception of “Señor,” he’d play virtually nothing from the drastically underrated Street Legal over the next three decades.