….when we recorded Bringing It All Back Home, that was like a break through point, it’s the kind of music I’ve been striving to make and I believe that in time people will see that. It’s hard to explain it, it’s that indefinable thing..
~Bob Dylan (Paul Gambaccini Interview, June 81)
This is the point where Dylan eclipses any conventional sense of folk and rewrites the rules of rock, making it safe for personal expression and poetry, not only making words mean as much as the music, but making the music an extension of the words. A truly remarkable album.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)
#1 – Subterranean Homesick Blues
Johnny’s in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I’m on the pavement
Thinking about the government
The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he’s got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off
Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
You better duck down the alley way
Lookin’ for a new friend
The man in the coon-skin cap
By the big pen
Wants eleven dollar bills
You only got ten
..Well, there were two good songs on S. P., DAYS OF FORTY-NINE and COPPER KETTLE… and without those two LPs there’d be no New Morning. Anyway I’m just starting to get back on my feet as far as my music goes… Al, do you use amphetamine?
~Bob Dylan (A.J. Weberman Interview, Jan 1971)
This is a quirky album, from a Dylan not pointing a way for anyone, but from a great artist remaining at his work knowingly in the face of not being creatively on top form in the phenomenal way he had been in the period 1964–68.Warm and abiding, it sounds better and better as the years go by.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
Day of The Locusts:
October 19, 1970
June–August 1970 at Studio B and Studio E, Columbia Studio Building, 49 East 52nd Street, New York City
Rock, country rock, country
New Morning is the eleventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in October 1970 by Columbia Records.
I don’t know… It’s certainly not an album of felicity… I try to live within that line between despondency and hope. I’m suited to walk that line, right between the fire … I see [the album] right straight down the middle of the line, really.
~Bob Dylan to Robert Hilburn in 1997
“My recollection of that record is that it was a struggle. A struggle every inch of the way. Ask Daniel Lanois, who was trying to produce the songs. Ask anyone involved in it. They all would say the same. I didn’t trust the touring band I had at the time to do a good job in the studio, and so I hired these outside guys. But with me not knowing them, and them not knowing the music, things kept on taking unexpected turns. Repeatedly, I’d find myself compromising on this to get to mat. As a result, though it held together as a collection of songs, that album sounds to me a little off.
~Bob Dylan (Press conference 2001)
“Most of them [the songs on “Oh Mercy”] are stream-of-consciousness songs, the kind that come to you in the middle of the night, when you just want to go back to bed. The harder you try to do something, the more it evades you. These weren’t like that.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen, 21 September 1989)
While it would be unfair to compare ‘Oh Mercy’ to Dylan’s Sixties recordings, it sits well alongside his impressive body of work.
~Clinton Heylin (Behind The Shades)
When we open our ears – and it may take a dozen listenings before we stop hearing this album in terms of what we expect these songs to sound like, or, for the fans, in terms of the performances we think should have been included – the rewards and surprises of Hard Rain are nearly inexhaustible.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)
Hindsight shows that this album introduces the ragged, postmodern Bob Dylan, right from the grungy instrumental ground-pawing ahead of the start of the first number. Moreover the running order now seems surprisingly well thought out. It represents, too, the late phase of the historic Rolling Thunder Revue tour and captures the distinctive, bare-wired sound of Dylan’s existential gypsy band. Stand-out track is ‘Idiot Wind’, which, as Dylan grows ever more engaged, bursts open and pours out its brilliant venom.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
The 3 best all time (from any artist) officially released concert albums are obviously “Hard Rain”, “Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert” & “Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue”. They are all brilliant. Today “Hard Rain” is the best of the lot.
The album received an awful lot bad criticism upon its release, and surprisingly still does. To my ears it has always sounded amazing. Listening to other bootlegs from Rolling thunder 2 & watching the Hard Rain movie (and outtakes), one could easily wish that more songs had been included, and he’d put out a double album. But it is what it is, and it’s incredible. It is also (as noted by Paul Williams) inexhaustible, it still sounds fresh & wonderful today.