Well, Jann, I’ll tell you something. There’s not too much of a change in my singing style, but I’ll tell you something which is true… I stopped smoking. When I stopped smoking my voice changed… So drastically, I couldn’t believe it myself. That’s true. I tell you, you stop smoking those cigarettes (laughter)… and you’ll be able to sing like Caruso.
~Bob Dylan (to Jann Wenner Nov 1969)
Anyway, on Nashville Skyline you had to read between the lines. I was trying to grasp something that would lead me on to where I thought I should be, and it didn’t go nowhere – it just went down, down, down.
~Bob Dylan (to Jonathan Cott, Sept 1978)
Released 49 years ago, it surely is one of his most controversial albums.. “Embracing” classic Country music & kicking off the “Country Rock” genre.
I’ve always liked this album… not a masterpiece, but a solid Dylan album.
#1 – Girl from the North Country (with Johnny Cash)
….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
..His talent takes many forms. He is one of the most compelling white blues singers ever recorded. He is a songwriter of exceptional facility and cleverness. He is an uncommonly skillful guitar player and harmonica player.
~Stacy Williams (“Bob Dylan” LP. liner notes)
Dylan’s first album can hardly be faulted. It is a brilliant debut, a performer’s tour de force,….
~Michael Gray (BD Encyclopedia)
A lot of people tell me they enjoy that album. It’s hard for me to relate to that. I mean, you know, people enjoying the type of pain, you know.
~Bob Dylan (to Mary Travers April 1975)
Well, Blood On The Tracks did consciously what I used to do unconsciously. I didn’t perform it well, I didn’t have the power to perform it well, but I did write the songs; they can be changed but the idea was right…
~Bob Dylan (to Matt Damsker, September 1978)
In stunning, total contrast to the previous album, Before the Flood, this 16th Dylan album triumphantly shows more subtlety and nuance than anything he’d ever done, and as honed a use of understatement as on John Wesley Harding. At the time this was the most unexpected leap of Dylan’s career. After years of comparatively second-rate work and a considerable decline in his reputation, here was an album to stand with Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
Early one mornin’ the sun was shinin’
I was layin’ in bed
Wond’rin’ if she’d changed at all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like Mama’s homemade dress
Papa’s bankbook wasn’t big enough
And I was standin’ on the side of the road
Rain fallin’ on my shoes
Heading out for the East Coast
Lord knows I’ve paid some dues gettin’ through
The message isn’t in the words, …. I don’t do anything with a sort of message.
I’m just transferring my thoughts into music. Nobody can give you a message like that.
~Bob Dylan (to Ray Coleman, May 1965)
Dylan’s third album reflects his mood in August-October 1963. It is also a product for his need to live up to and expand on the role he found himself in, topical poet, the restless young man with something to say, singing to and for a new generation.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan Performing Artist I: The Early Years 1960-1973)
Released January 13, 1964 – 54 years ago today… it is one of his weakest albums from the 60’s.. and still a fantastic album.
“The Times They Are A-Changin'” @ The White House in Feb 2010:
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll – 5/7/65 – Free Trade Hall, Manchester, England:
Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now’s the time for your tears
(The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll)
The story I took out of the newspaper and I only changed the words.
~Bob Dylan (to Steve Allen, Feb 1964)