BF: Why does your voice change so much? From the country albums to Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid to the way you sound on tour…
Bob Dylan: That’s a good question. I don’t know. I could only guess, if it has changed. I’ve never gone for having a great voice, for cultivating one. I’m still not doing it now.
~Ben Fong-Torres interview (Jan 1974)
TC: Your music often seems to get ignored as compared with the emphasis that’s placed on the lyrics, but there have been some really nice instrumental passages like Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid, for example.
Bob Dylan: Yes, I just did a bunch of tracks with Dave Stewart that have no lyrics, and you don’t even miss the lyrics, really. They’re just different chord patterns that make up a melody. My records usually don’t have a lot of guitar solos or anything like that on them. The vocals mean a lot, and the rhythm means a lot, that’s about it.
~Toby Creswell interview (Jan 1986)
Here is the brilliant “Knocking On Heavens Door” scene from the movie:
“You see, I spend too much time working out the sound of my records these days, .. and if the records I’m making only sell a certain amount anyway, then why should I take so long putting them together?… I’ve got a lot of different records inside me, and it’s time just to start getting them out.”
~Bob Dylan (to Mikal Gilmore, Sept 1985)
“I’m thinking about calling this album Knocked Out Loaded, Is that any good, you think, Knocked Out Loaded?”
~Bob Dylan (to Mikal Gilmore, May 1986)
“Sounds like something he threw together in a week and away forever. But throwing it away is how he gets that off-the-cuff feel, and side two is great fun”
~Robert Christgau (robertchristgau.com)
…just left it there. The mix… it was mixed wrong or something, I don’t know, it didn’t sound right to me anyway, so I… I don’t know. I must’ve told somebody at that time who was, uh, working on the album. I know I didn’t really say anything to the record company about it. But some people tell me that they saw it in the press that I’d said
~Bob Dylan (to Paul Vincent, Nov 1980)
Like Slow Train was a big album. Saved didn’t have those kind of numbers but to me it was just as big an album.
~Bob Dylan (to Dave Herman, July 1981)
The nearest thing to a follow-up album Dylan has ever made: a Slow Train Coming II, and inferior. Two stand-out tracks, nonetheless: the turbulent ‘Pressing On’ (Dylan creating convincing hot gospel) and the intelligently submissive, courageous address (including a lovely, aptly devotional harmonica) that is ‘What Can I Do For You?”
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
“On this album, I took a few steps backward, but I also took a bunch of steps forward because I had a lot of time to concentrate on it. I also had the band sounding like I want it to sound. It’s got that organ sound from ‘Blonde on Blonde’ again. That’s something that has been missing.”
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – May 1978)
Jonathan Cott interview – Sept. 1978: Jonathan Cott: What do you think of all the criticisms of Street Legal? Bob Dylan: I read some of them. In fact, I didn’t understand them. I don’t think these people have had the experiences I’ve had to write those songs. The reviews didn’t strike me as being particularly interesting one way or another, or as compelling to my particular scene. I don’t know who these people are. They don’t travel in the same crowd, anyway. So it would be like me criticizing Pancho Villa.
First of all… “Street-Legal” is a fantastic album. I have never “understood” all the criticism it got.. and still gets, and I even dig the original overall sound & production.
“Say what you want about Empire Burlesque — at the very least, it’s the most consistent record Bob Dylan has made since Blood on the Tracks, even if it isn’t quite as interesting as Desire. However, it is a better set of songs, all deriving from the same place and filled with subtle gems — the most obvious being “Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love?),” but also “Emotionally Yours” and “Dark Eyes” — proving that his powers are still there.”
I’ll Remember You (my favorite version from the movie Masked and Anonymous):
Bob Dylan fans and music critics continue to debate the album’s merits, especially when compared to the styles he pioneered in the 1960s and 1970s. It is one of Dylan’s most discussed albums in terms of quality, having a distinct “80s style” production to the songs. There are some really great songs on this album, but they seem hidden under the “80s sound”.
The sessions for Empire Burlesque were held in New York and Hollywood from July 1984 to April 1985.